True Advisory Work Isn’t Just Consulting

The difference may seem slight. But the dollars are very real.

This is the first in a series of articles by Gary Bolinger, the former CEO of the Indiana CPA Society, explaining how accountants can move beyond consulting and into higher-level advisory relationships with clients

By Gary Bolinger

Call it consulting, advisory, small business growth or entrepreneurial services – does it make a  difference? CPA firms are seeking to add value to clients in non-traditional ways. Something other than compliance-related services. But firms seem to struggle with defining what “it” actually is.

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All too often consulting services are after the fact. Practitioners discover a “problem” or some kind of shortcoming through a tax or financial reporting engagement. Dutifully, the practitioner brings the issue to the attention of the client. The client dutifully asks what should and can be done. After some discussion, there are agreed-upon next steps. Problem solved. Sort of. That is consulting.
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