Business Advisory Income

Why would practices need a business advisory strategy? What’s wrong with being a compliance practice? Why add new services when you’re already flat out?

Mark Holton from Smithink 2020 ( ) answers as follows:

Less billable hours & increased competition

While compliance has been the main practice income since … well … forever, software improvements meant that the number of errors in compliance data is potentially diminishing.

Features such as automatic coding rules and bank feeds mean human errors are slowing being eroded – which is a good thing. Accountants can also
Business Advisory Group
access their clients’ data directly at any time using cloud accounting.

However there’s a flow-on effect in the practice. Accountants are now able to make adjustments to company files during the year – not just when they see their clients – and there are potentially fewer billable hours throughout the year.

Add to this the pressure of competition, and the idea of offering financial advice as well as compliance is a more attractive proposition than a compliance-only. It’s clear why practices are under increasing pressure to expand their service offerings.

“There’s certainly pressure mounting overseas from compliance leading to the need to offer extra financial services,” Mark notes, “Especially in places like Canada, where practices have grown on the back of their successful advisory services.”

“It’s no good just dipping your toes in the water, unfortunately. Becoming a business advisory practice requires a major commitment, but the payoff can be immense,” Mark says.

Three keys to success for business advisory practices

One on one advice
Mark suggests that the 3 keys to success for business advisory practices are:
  1. Identifying and solving capacity and workflow issues, to ensure service delivery is smooth and on-time. This is where INMAN's automation and workflow services are so valuable.
  2. Appointing a business advisory practice champion and ensuring their KPIs are appropriate to the role. INMAN partners provide training and mentoring help.
  3. Committing to an implementation plan (and sticking to it) to make it all happen. This is where the practice needs good management.

High Performance Spaces

Warwick Cavell at Linnergy ( mentors practices in High Performance Spaces. These exhibit five characteristics – they are safe, accessible, challenging, productive and connected. Practice leader are challenged to ensure all spaces are and remain High Performance Spaces, for a high performance culture is built one space at a time.

Business Strategy: Use technology to gain growth, profitability and competitive advantage.

Tactical: Do more with less. Better, faster and cheaper ways to provide ongoing activities through Cloud subscriptions.

The move towards the cloud is often driven by customers wanting better, faster and cheaper ways to provide their ongoing to outsource their technology platform. Businesses can use cloud software to avoid owning and babysitting a Windows server (backups, updates, power failures ...). They can disperse their workforce more easily, and use contract staff and remote staff for back-office functions. So the cost saving and flexibility advantages extend further than it seems at first glance. 

To users, the cloud means one key thing: it's just there. It doesn't matter what computer you're on to access your files. It's just there. It doesn't matter
Process automation cogs
what tablet you're on to access your Gmail. It's just there. It doesn't matter what phone you're on to be advised of an important meeting in your calendar. It's just there.

The cloud removes friction. It removes the hassle of figuring out how to keep things in sync. It eliminates the problem of figuring out how to share something with someone else. It increases reliability.

It removes the hassle of checking for and installing updates. Updates just happen (whether you want that new interface or not). For the most part, the cloud even removes the hassle of figuring out where your data is stored and how to make sure you don't lose it. We expect to open a browser tab, log in (preferably through single sign on) and run. 

INMAN is a highly effective, lower cost IT organization that maintains and connects business-critical platforms using standardized Cloud interconnections to connect disparate platforms.