Just as the average small business may not fully understand cash flow, many small to medium-sized accounting firms fall into the trap of thinking that small business clients are focused more on price than value.
Mark Wickersham, author of Effective Pricing for Accountants, argues that if a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) client thinks you’re charging too much — the issue isn’t price. The problem is that the business isn’t seeing or understanding the value of what you’re providing.
It may seem like mere semantics. But, as advocates for clarity that builds the bottom line, at Smansha, we think the distinction between value and price is as important as knowing the difference between cash flow and profit.
Why business advisory services are the best way to provide value
Wickersham believes that accountants can maximize their pricing by the value they deliver to their small business clients. One avenue for delivering the most value is business advisory services, including cash flow consulting.
How do you know which advisory services to offer?
That’s simple. Wickersham says to put yourself in the small business’ place. If you were a small business, what are some of the questions you’d want your accountant to answer? What problems would you like your accountant to help you solve?
Survey after survey puts cash flow firmly at the top of every small business’ priority list. As does the resulting failure rate of 60% or higher when cash flow issues aren’t addressed. Not to mention how cash flow affects all other areas of business performance, including the ability to secure funding and build solid relationships with vendors.
How accountants can help SMEs see the value in business advisory services
Explaining the value cash flow consulting is as simple as bring up the topic of cash flow and explaining why it’s important to the business and its overall financial health. Accounting concepts can be unclear to even the smartest business person, but the benefits of proper cash flow management are crystal clear.
The benefits of cash flow consulting as a business advisory service
When helping a small business understand how and when the money flows in and out of their business, the impact is transformative. Accounting software, like QuickBooks Online (QBO), makes it easier to gather a business’ financial information in one place.
Cash flow consulting, using cash flow forecasts and analysis — takes this data and makes it a million times more meaningful and useful.
As an accountant, you know that accounts receivable and payable have a huge impact on cash flow. When you help the businesses you serve understand this, you’re delivering the kind of value that no other kind of advisor can offer.
It’s knowledge you already have. Thanks to the automation stemming from the cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning, you can spend less time on data entry and more time applying the specialized training and skills you worked so hard to acquire.
SMEs want their accountants to be advisors
According to a recent Accounting Today survey, 78% of small businesses want an accountant who’s a trusted advisor. In fact, this need ranked 10% higher than feeling that services were priced affordably.
Like Wickersham’s argument for creating value instead of focusing on a price point, this survey found that the biggest challenge for accountants was showing the businesses the actual value in working with an accountant. In other words, they don’t want someone to simply oversee their accounting software, they want a partner who can help them make sense of their financial data.
Smansha makes offering cash flow advisory services easier
Creating cash flow forecasts and providing visuals like charts and graphs used require a considerable amount of time and effort, making it a challenge to not only price but scale advising businesses on cash flow as part of your firm’s business model.
Fast forward to today, when you have sophisticated cash flow forecasting applications, like Smansha. All you have to do is connect a business’ QBO or Xero account.
With a few quick clicks, you’ve got a full analytics dashboard that includes daily and monthly cash flow forecasting, in-depth breakdowns of accounts receivable and payable, comparisons of income and expenses as well as powerful performance insights.
Business advisory services are the future of small business accounting
Data entry and repetitive tasks are going the way of the dodo. This means accountants have the unique opportunity to leverage the specialized skills they’ve worked so hard to achieve. Face it, you didn’t spend all that time studying accounting and so that you could reconcile expenses day in and day out.
Sensationalist headlines like to tout that accountants will be replaced by robots. The truth is, there’s no reason to fear the bots. The ones that bring you automation actually help you do your job and fulfill your potential even further.
Use Smansha’s powerful cash flow assessment tools and performance analytics to help SMEs make sense of the day-to-day factors that affect business financial health. Leverage this knowledge even further by scheduling regular conversations about cash flow to help clients make better, data-backed decisions.
Build the future of your business today. Lay the foundation of your cash flow consulting by learning more about Smansha .
The information in this article is not financial advice. This content is general while every financial situation is unique. It does not replace the expertise that comes from working with an accountant, bookkeeper or financial professional.