The A-B-C’s of Getting Started with Advisory Services

Don't forget the basics.

By Sandi Leyva

The other day, I sat in on a session on advisory services delivered by a leading consultant to multi-partner CPA firms. But I have a little bit different approach for smaller firms. That’s today’s topic.

When you ask an employee or partner of one of the top accounting firms what advisory services are, you’ll get a list with at least some of these items on it:

  • Personal Financial Planning
  • Fraud Detection
  • Technology Services
  • IT Assurance
  • Business Valuation
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Litigation Support

All of these are specialties within our industry where you can get additional training and certifications to demonstrate your expertise.

The problem with most of these advisory services is that they skip over the basics.

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Build Reputation through Credentials, Testimonials

Plus how to craft your biography.

By Sandi Leyva

Reputation is a very common way that experts get business, and the power of this method for marketing is often overlooked.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Partnering: Referrals on Steroids | 3 More Kinds of Referrals | Turn to the ABCs for Client Feedback | Use Client ‘Touch Plans’ to Stay in Touch | Build Your Revenue Plan in Reverse | 5 Fast, Easy Ways to Turn Annual Clients into Year-Round Clients | How to Teach Financial Literacy | Best Practices for Growth: Network, Specialize, Share | 10 Easy Tips to Boost Your Business Cash Flow | 2 Ways to Serve Clients Better | How to Fire a Client | How to Manage Client Expectations
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

When you are hired through repute, the client initially learns about you from some other source other than yourself or your firm’s employees. They may see your work or discover your work ethic in a variety of ways:
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Partnering: Referrals on Steroids

Portrait of young man and woman in business suits4 ways to spread the word.

By Sandi Leyva

Whenever you partner with another business person, you have access to all of their clients, effectively doubling your network.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: 3 More Kinds of Referrals | 5 Ways to Get More Referrals | Use Feedback for Service Innovation | Create Your Marketing Plan | 3 Steps to Using Social Media to Increase Your Search Rankings
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Of course, they have access to all of your clients too, so the benefit must be mutual and fairly even. It’s great if your partner has something you need but don’t have, and vice versa.
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5 Ways to Get More Referrals

Woman pressing one of many faces on a gridDo your clients even know you WANT them to share your name?

By Sandi Leyva

The most popular way to get clients is from referrals or by word of mouth.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Measure Client Retention … Against Yourself | Turn to the ABCs for Client Feedback | Use Client ‘Touch Plans’ to Stay in Touch | Build Your Revenue Plan in Reverse | 5 Fast, Easy Ways to Turn Annual Clients into Year-Round Clients | Best Practices for Growth: Network, Specialize, Share | How to Handle Referrals – And How Not To
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

A referral takes place when other clients refer you to their friends or a business associate passes your business card to a prospect, and the prospect calls you for more information. At the beginning of your career, you may get started with referrals from relatives, personal friends, previous employers or co-workers, or other entrepreneurs if you have been active in professional business groups.
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Measure Client Retention … Against Yourself

Young businesswoman working on laptop computer with growth chart in backgroundLearn where you stand in 8 simple steps.

By Sandi Leyva

In order to find out whether client retention is improving, you need to compute a baseline rate.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Turn to the ABCs for Client Feedback | Use Feedback for Service Innovation | Create Your Marketing Plan | 3 Steps to Using Social Media to Increase Your Search Rankings | Six Concrete Ways to Help Business Clients Reach their Full Potential | Why Businesses Offer Subscriptions | Your Time Has No Inherent Value
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

You can easily do this by starting out with the Sales by Customer Summary in QuickBooks or a similar report in your accounting system.
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Turn to the ABCs for Client Feedback

Two businessmen shaking hands at a restaurant tableAnd remember the 80-20 rule.

By Sandi Leyva

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about taking every client to lunch or coffee and wondering where you’re going to get the time, then try the ABCs first.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Use Feedback for Service Innovation | Take Your Client’s Pulse | How to Determine Your Ideal Client | Clients Need Advisory Services More Than They Know | Welcome to the Subscription Economy | Marketing vs. Sales and How to Plunge
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Not every client needs extra private (unbilled) time with you, just your top clients. The ABCs is a ranking method that will help you figure out which clients your top clients are. Group your clients into three groups: A, B, and C.
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