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Dec 5, 2016

As we get near the end of another calendar year it's an appropriate time for accountants to be asking yourselves what services will your clients want in 2017? 


There has been a lot of debate over the last few months about tax returns and how much reliance clients are placing on accountants to prepare tax returns, but I think we need to think of the bigger picture; what do your clients want?


The growth in the consultancy and coaching industries around Australia have indicated that many of your clients want additional services.  Indeed the surveys that have been conducted over the last 15 years by MYOB, CCH, Smithink and some universities have all indicated that SMEs are looking for a wider range of commercial services.  Some of which, in fact the majority of which, accountants could provide, if you offer a broader range of services.  I suggest to you that that is the challenge for 2017; because your clients are not going to wait forever for accountants to respond to their requests for a wider range of services to be made available.


What do these services include?  The first one is Chief Financial Officer service, or if you like, just an accounting service, but with technology and communications these days you should be able to operate a virtual CFO service to clients irrespective of where they are located in Australia so that you are part of the management team making input daily, weekly and of course monthly.


Debtors' management is an enormous issue for the majority of SMEs which have to give credit.  The Small Business Ombudsman recently indicated that the Australian debtors' days outstanding is one of the highest in the western world at 56.8 days.  What can you do about helping your clients to implement appropriate systems to reduce the debtors' days outstanding and thus save cashflow?


The Personal Property Securities Register is a huge risk management area that the vast majority of small/medium enterprises, and indeed some larger businesses, as evidenced by the court case decisions, don't know much about.


Your clients talk to you about insurance, they talk to you about corporate governance risks, and you need to raise the discussion with them about their risk from not registering on the Personal Property Securities Register.


Succession planning is always an issue, but as more and more business people get to the retirement age, because they are baby boomers, succession issues are becoming a more discussed subject.  Are you part of the discussions with your clients, or are you leaving it to financial planners?  They don't understand the history of the clients and they're not there to offer an all-round Chief Financial Officer service.


These are some of the issues that you might think about.  Next week we're going to talk about some more services that you can think about introducing into your firm in 2017. 


If you're not a decision maker in your firm, why don't you raise these issues at your team meetings to make your managers and your firm's partners aware that you have got some ideas on the future services that your clients, in 2017, are going to be looking for?


Attached to this material is an article prepared by ESS BIZTOOLS - "Predictions of Accounting Businesses Evolution 2016-2019 (BAS001).


Have a wonderful day!




Peter Towers


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