Many businesses are self-analysing their services to their customers, to get a better understanding of what their customers think about them.
In many businesses, the aim is to achieve a 10/10 rating from their customers. I wonder how many accountants have undertaken this type of survey.
How do you think your clients would rate you? Do you think you would get a rating of 10/10?
The reason I’m posing these questions is that I’ve been analysing the surveys that were undertaken over the last decade by MYOB, CCH and other organisations such as Smithink.
Have accountants made any changes to their service offering, to indicate to their clients that they’ve taken notes on what the surveys indicated?
The surveys were indicating that small/medium enterprises required a wider range of commercial services from their accountants. These services included:
- management of costs (which, incidentally, the CCH survey indicated that this was the highest level of concern for small/medium enterprise operators)
- management monitoring
- business plans
- assistance in raising capital or loan funds
- future planning
- business analysis and interpretation
- raising finance
- succession or exit planning
The questions I put to many accountants are:
- Have you responded to these surveys?
- Have you asked your own clients what type of services they would like to receive from you?
- If so, have you then developed strategies to offer these new services?
When I interview small/medium enterprises – normally as part of a process of assisting an accountancy firm to introduce a wider range of services – I get the following response: “I want my accountant to know more about my business than just the Profit & Loss Account.” What does that mean?
I believe it means that the clients want accountants to know more about their industry, the conditions that apply in that industry and the changes that are occurring due to Australian and overseas governments ‘policies, new technologies and changes in consumer preferences.
- What are the client’s aspirations?
- Does the client want to expand their business to go down a completely different path?
- Does the accountancy team understand any of this or is the focus only to produce an overall Profit & Loss Account, irrespective of the number of business activities that have been conducted within that business, so that an income tax return could be prepared?
- Shouldn’t a Profit & Loss Account be prepared for the individual business units so that management is able to evaluate the performance of the individual business units, rather than the business on an overall basis?
- What about government grants? There are over $5B worth of grants, incentives and special loans made available in Australia each year.
- Do you think that your clients are happy with your customer service, on alerting them to grants for which they might be eligible which, incidentally, they’ve paid for through their taxes?
- Have “product champions” been developed within your firm to assist clients to understand some of the issues that relate to them?
- Have you developed people who know something about your clientele’s industries, apart from just the Profit & Loss Account? As a suggestion, why don’t you analyse your clientele, allocate your clients into various industries and identify the top 5 industries to which your clients belong. Then allocate an individual within your team to become the “industry champion”, who will do a little bit of extra reading. Ask your client if you can go to some industry seminars so that you can get a better understanding of the industry.
How would your client rate you on your services in areas about which your clients are concerned, such as:
- Debtors’ Management?
- Cashflow Management?
- Succession Planning?
- CFO Services?
- Cost Reviews?
- Assistance in Getting Investment Ready?
- Business Plans?
- Identifying Government Grants?
- Corporate Governance?
There’s no doubt there’s plenty of challenges out there at present, such as:
- Digital Disruption.
- Standard Business Reporting.
- Competition from consultancy firms and other accountants who are perhaps better prepared.
- Tax returns becoming a commodity product.
- Outsourcing – which is going to lead to competitive pressures on accountants who don’t wish to outsource. If you’re one of those, have you developed a strategy to combat the competitors in your market who embraced outsourcing?
The biggest challenge of all is; are you delivering the services your clients want? How would your clients rate you on your customer service?
Why not ask your clients to rate your services? Ask them to tell you the additional services they would like to receive.
ESS BIZTOOLS can assist in the supply of training material, to assist accountancy firms to offer a first-class business advisory services that we honestly believe will enable you to obtain a very high rating from your clients.
As part of their subscription to ESS BIZTOOLS, members of ESS BIZTOOLS receive material, papers, templates and articles, on a wide range of business advisory service issues.
If you would like to receive further information on the services provided, please send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.essbiztools.com.au.
Why not try ESS BIZTOOLS? We invite you to visit our website, www.essbiztools.com.au and take advantage of our 30-day, no obligation free trial of the services offered.
For Accountants and ESS BIZTOOLS have negotiated a 10% discount for all For Accountants’ members who subscribe to ESS BIZTOOLS. To obtain this discount, please quote ESS3FORA when completing the ESS BIZTOOLS’ subscription form.