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Advisory services offer opportunity for firms

Written on Sep 9, 2021

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager 

The evolution of technology has increased firms’ abilities to offer advisory services, said Amy Vetter, CPA. 

Woman smiling for camera.“With technology coming into play, it's taking a lot of the non-value time that we spent trying to get the data into the system and given us the space we need to spend more time with our clients learning about their business,” said Vetter, a member of the Ohio Society of CPAs Board of Directors, CEO of The B3 Method Institute and owner of DRISHTIQ Yoga. 

This evolution means that the expectation of the client has changed as well, Vetter said. As more information is available to the client this can result in more questions about certain data or how to best achieve specific business goals. 

This is an opportunity for CPAs to shine, Vetter said, as they get the chance to spend more time with clients, listen to pain points and understand the business on both a financial and operational level. A CPA’s expertise can help drive the results the clients are looking for in the future. 

“The mistake I see over and over again is when firms think they can let advisory services happen organically, or that you can do the service line just like you do audit or tax,” she said. “And it really does take more foundational thinking about the clients that you want to attract how you're going to deliver the services.” 

A foundational plan needs to be developed by the firm for advisory services to flourish, Vetter said. This type of practice is entrepreneurial, and it’s crucial to find the niche that makes sense for your business. This means sometimes saying no to the clients that don’t fit or aren’t a fit for what this line of business delivers. 

“That foundational work a lot of times is not done,” Vetter said. “And then you've got to undo what you started when you see that everybody's working too hard and not making enough money. But there is a way to make money at this practice.” 

Vetter said the success of advisory services will depend on intentionality, and when done correctly there are enormous growth opportunities. 

“What happens is through this process, you really want to create a value message of what is it that you're trying to create for your client,” Vetter said. “What I see when these practices turn around is everyone stops getting so stressed out on a daily basis, you're better able to manage your workload, you have better expectations with the client and the client is happier.” 

To hear more about building an advisory service practice from Amy Vetter, listen to the State of Business podcast episode. 

Attend the Oct. 27 or Nov. 17 Virtual Accounting Show to Amy’s presentation “The Cherished Advisor®: 4 Steps to Building Your Client Advisory Services Practice with Passion & Purpose.”