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Feb 25, 2016

No business is too big to fail. Businesses, including accountants, need to respond to changing market conditions. This is best illustrated by what occurred with Kodak.

Kodak had the first patented digital technologies but was happy with their current model. They didn’t make the changes therefore the business went into bankruptcy.

At the 2014 ATSA Conference, Jason Bender from Deloitte discussed in some detail the lessons from Kodak. At the end he said to accountants, “Don’t let this happen on our watch!”

Cloud technology has given small/medium enterprises the encouragement to be seeking more services and accountants now have the tools to implement part of the virtual business package to your small/medium enterprise clients.

The accountant’s role, as part of a business package, includes being the coordinator of allied commercial services, just as you would if you were the full time CFO of a business. This includes issues such as:
• Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
• Marketing – looking at the marketing plan and social media if they are all operating satisfactorily
• Sales – is there coordination between marketing, sales and the accounting team?
• Legal
• Insurance
• Human Resources consultants
• Does the business need assistance with the establishment of customers’ committees?
• Engagement of a sales coach
• Does the business need to have some input from an international banker as to what’s happening in overseas markets?
• Is there need for an input in financial planning and superannuation issues?

What services could your accountancy business provide?

The first one is obviously a virtual CFO service, whereby your firm becomes the CFO to your key business clients. This would include:
• accounting queries – coming to you all day from the client’s own staff because you’re there as their CFO
• daily input
• daily and weekly reports that help the business operate
• monthly management financial accounts targeted at the individual businesses
• preparation of annual budgets and cashflow forecasts
• review of actual performance
• preparation of KPIs, ratios, comparison to benchmarks
• debtors’ management
• review of creditors
• calculation of actual cashflow and comparing actuals to budgets
• research and development (if the business undertakes R&D) – are the records being appropriately prepared?
• grant applications
• currency monitoring if the business is an exporter or an importer
• capital expenditure evaluations
• “what-if” calculations – these go on all the time in large businesses so surely your small business clients have also got some queries on a “what-if” basis
• feasibility studies
• bank relationships
• loan applications
• if the client requires help with getting the business investment ready to facilitate capital raising
• industry knowledge – does your team understand the industries with which they’re working?
• preparation of financial reports for the monthly Board of Advice or Board of Directors’ meetings
• with your client’s permission, you could offer to promote them by including details of your clients on your website
• prepare a client matrix of services that are available from your clients to other businesses
• organise periodic functions for clients
• organising benchmarking reviews for clients against similar industries
• registration on the Industry Capabilities Network – are all your clients registered on this free register?
• encouraging clients to be involved in networks and industry associations

What can your team do to encourage this evolution in your accountancy business?

You will need to encourage the development of “product champions” in things such as
• debtors’ management
• PPSR due diligence
• budgets and cashflow forecasts
• succession planning
• use of benchmarks
• preparation of business health checks
• offering of a virtual CFO service
• grant applications
• getting investment ready
• business planning

The other side of the “champions” is to encourage “industry champions”. First of all, identify the industries that generate 80% of your firm’s income. Identify the industries to which they relate and what are the challenges and issues confronting those industries. Appoint your “champions” who will do an extra bit of reading and research to understand more about those industries. Encourage the “champions” to get involved by writing articles, attending seminars; to be seen with people from those industries.

ESS BIZTOOLS has prepared a wide range of templates, forms, articles and seminars to help accountants to deliver a wider range of commercial services for which the small/medium enterprise clients are looking, including “Chief Financial Officer Services Package”, which is attached with this transcript.

ESS BIZTOOLS is presenting a special webinar on ESS BIZGRANTS on Tuesday 1st March 2016 at 11am AEST (12pm AEDT), featuring “Delivering a Business Package to your Clients”. You’re invited to register to attend this webinar, free of charge, which will give you a great introduction to getting ready to offer business advisory services. Click here to register to attend.


Peter Towers
+61 7 4724 1118 | 1800 232 088 |