We asked 428 business owners if they were interested in you having direct access to their data in real time and then send you alerts and advice if something untoward is happening. As you can see 21% are not interested at all yet 79% said they were interested in this, said it was worth exploring or suggested that is what you should be doing in the first place!

Survey - real time data

With real time data consolidated into one location using tools like PANALITIX (www.panalitix.com) you can interpret the numbers, be alerted to what is going on and then advise your clients accordingly.

With all of this data at your fingertips, what are you going to do with it? I think you have a duty of care and obligation to advise the clients how to improve the numbers. If you are living by the mantra of ‘all clients are buying all services that help them achieve their goals’ then it’s not selling new services. It’s servicing your clients properly.

Here is a list of 14 services that you could offer:

  1. Cash flow forecasting and analysis
  2. Profit improvement program
  3. Monitoring & accountability program
  4. Debt re-structuring
  5. Capital raising
  6. Interest reduction service
  7. Waste audit
  8. Revenue improvement strategies
  9. Creditor analysis & negotiation
  10. Product profitability analysis
  11. Debtor management service
  12. Tax planning & tax minimization
  13. Business Planning
  14. Inventory management system

All are valuable services that will make a significant impact to your client’s financial future. By ‘staying close to the numbers’ you have a better chance of the client buying the service. With good systemization of the services you can have Accountants of all levels deliver the service – not just the Partners.

You will need to learn some sales skills on how to have your clients buy them. You will also need some new tools (get rid of the spreadsheets, please) so you can systemize the services.

Now here’s the big one. We all know that cashflow (lack thereof) is the main reason businesses fail. The number one issue in businesses around the world right now is cashflow management.

We all know it and the Accounting profession is uniquely placed to help improve it.

Your clients want it as well. Well, not all clients want it. In our survey 29% said they did not. However, 71% said that if the service was reasonably priced and they could see value in it then they would be interested in exploring the idea.

Survey - cashflow

It’s a no brainer. I ask Accountants what’s the most valuable service they can offer to their business clients. No surprises. It is cashflow monitoring and forecasting. So if it’s the most valuable then how many of your business clients have a live, working, accurate and real time cashflow forecast? Very few is always the answer. Yet this is the most valuable thing you can do. Here’s what we (the business community) want when it comes to cashflow. We want to know how much free cash we have each month to spend on whatever we want to spend it on. We want to know how we are tracking and what we can do to improve it. Your clients are not financial analysts like you. You can help us in this area.

The service you provide is a cashflow forecasting and monitoring service. In your definition you call it a ‘3 way rolling cashflow.’ It covers the cash flow forecast, the profit & loss and the balance sheet. If your client is borrowing money from a bank then the bank wants it. Even if your client is not borrowing money then it is a good thing to have. The problem with ‘hard drive’ based systems (or heaven forbid spreadsheets) is that once they are created they are out of date. By using old technology you cannot monitor the cashflow unless it is manually entered.

With cloud accounting and ‘add on’ partners like PANALITIX you can do this automatically. You can prepare the forecast based on historical data plus some planning. You can ‘normalize’ the numbers month to month with the client. You can consolidate the data as it is transacted at the client’s end and because the accounting data is linked to the ‘bank feeds,’ the cashflow, the forecast and the balance sheet is kept up to date every single day. Now that’s Real Time Accounting!

If the bank needs an update then you can provide it quickly. If your client wants it then you can provide it quickly. If you have got your client on a monitoring service then you can be immensely valuable.

Becoming the Real Time Accountant is more than a goal, a wish, a hope or a mindset shift. It’s about changing your behavior, your systems, your technology and your services. It’s about making a difference.

RIP the Redundant Data Accountant. Rise…the Real Time Accountant.

PS. A full report on what 428 business owners want from their Accountant can be downloaded for free by clicking here.