If your firm is in the business of helping businesses (and individuals) with their periodic write-up and reconciliation needs, and year-end tax reporting, you are providing after-the-fact services. It’s time to take a more proactive approach to their business’ financials by helping them grow and increase their profitability. If you’ve developed a client specialty, contractors for instance, you have knowledge and experience that is valuable to others who are in that sector or who are considering starting a business. Common services include developing and honing business plans, business valuations, helping clients explore new markets for expansion, and creating new business entities for LLCs and corporations. This can be a one-time engagement for some clients, but ideally you will offer annual or semi-annual business consulting briefings with your business clients.
Did you play detective as a kid? Most people don’t see the connection, but accountants frequently play that role, sifting through mountains of client data to find that one misclassified transaction (there’s always more than one) that’s messing up the balances. With forensic accounting services, generally offered on as as-needed engagement, the accounting professional is often looking for diverted or missing funds. While the cause may be a thieving employee, there isn’t always an evil-doer at work: There may be erroneous recurring payments, overages or other issues at fault.
Most accountants aren’t lawyers, and very few lawyers are accountants. But lawyers do need accounting experts for cases involving financial crimes, divorces and family disputes over business and estate holdings. Accounting professionals are highly-valued as expert witnesses, particularly if they have a knack for explaining business and financial data in layman’s terms that a jury can understand. These services are offered on a per-case or per-hour basis.
Bundled Business Services
Many of the above engagements can be bundled into inclusive package pricing for clients. For instance, instead of billing separately for handling a client’s booking and payroll functions, the firm can include these together, along with monthly sales tax compliance, annual wage reporting and one business consulting and review engagement per year, for a recurring monthly fee. Some firms even bundle in a business client’s tax returns and planning. These engagements can help even out some of the bumps in your firm’s cashflow and workflow throughout the year, providing more stable revenue across more services, and strengthening client engagements.
Accountants and CPAs have a stereotype of being primarily income tax professionals. And while it’s great to be considered an expert, if that’s the only thing that your clients (or potential clients) think of when your firm comes to mind, you could be missing out on many areas where you could provide them with service. Unfortunately, the income tax focus is an impression that has been reinforced by many small and mid-sized accounting firms that over-specialize in those taxes. In fact, income tax compliance in some firms may account for well over 50 or 60 percent of total annual revenue crunched into two months of the year.
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Support Clients with Consulting Services
A number of consulting services represent opportunities for accounting firms to develop new revenue streams. The latest in this series of articles exams three areas that are beyond the business areas of most tax and accounting firms.
The Accounting Top 100
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The Accounting Top 100 social media leaderboard ranks accounting professionals based on their overall presence, influence, and engagement on social media platforms. Each user’s rank is determined by that user’s Klout Score in addition to a list of custom metrics, and all updated rankings are displayed in new leaderboards generated every two weeks.
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Avalara’s Accounting Top 100 leaderboard (the “Leaderboard”) is assembled using a list of accounting professional users that’s curated by manual entry as well as by Rise.Global's internal Twitter search functionality. We reserve the right to change scoring metrics used for ranking and to exclude anyone from the list, in our sole discretion. The Leaderboard is not an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any of the accounting professionals on the Leaderboard, and we do not make any representation or guarantee of their ability or reliability. Assessments by different methods or based on different information may yield different results. The Leaderboard is only a starting point to gather information about accounting professionals, and you should not rely on it to decide whether to hire an accounting professional.
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