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How to have a thriving advisory services practice

Written on Oct 13, 2022

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager 
Firms interested in advisory services need to develop a thorough plan before jumping in and expecting immediate results.  

“There are different ways of processing work, different touchpoints with the clients, different pricing structures, different ways to evaluate the profitability of the business and the benefit to the entire firm,” said Amy Vetter, CPA, CEO of the B3 Method Institute.   

Developing advisory services is like being an entrepreneur, Vetter said, because while you can learn from other practitioners, ultimately you must design it for your own clients and company. This is where firms can sometimes make mistakes, and it’s crucial to consider which kind of clients you are targeting and which you don’t want.  

After that’s been decided, create a marketing and sales strategy. Be prepared for it to look different from other areas of the firm and know that it’s okay to try new things as you establish the advisory services practice.  

“Know how you're going to benefit the rest of the firm and how you are going to communicate with the firm,” Vetter said. “What I see go wrong a lot of times is that this hasn't been defined, and then the advisory services department will get a lot of leads or referrals they don't want, and they then struggle.” 

Having transparent conversations among leadership at the beginning about expectations will make a difference later, Vetter said, especially when things might get confusing. 

Vetter said more education and resources are becoming available on client advisory services on how it can provide value for firms. It’s becoming an area where firms are working to understand more and motivated to make a success.   

“There's so much burnout in the work that everybody's doing just because there's been so much work with so little time to take a deep breath,” Vetter said. “There are opportunities available within accounting firms to grow skill sets and reinvigorate and energize.”  

Hear more from Amy Vetter at two upcoming learning events:   

October 28 – December 14: The Client Advisory Services Practice Roadmap: The Cherished Advisor® Step-by-Step Program  

Related Upcoming Events