Why Business Advisory is a Bad Idea

I got a question the other day from a lovely lady called Kim.

She showed me her plans to launch a new service and then asked:

“Is this a good idea?”

It got me thinking…

The current buzzword in the accounting space is business advisory. Accountants want to start launching their own business advisory services.

This can be a great thing to do… but some people really struggle with it.

If you are going to launch something brand new, like business advisory, and you want to go all out on that new service, there are 3 things you really ought to consider first... 

By the way, you can watch the video here if you prefer...

 

Can you do it?

  • Can you deliver that solution?
  • Do you have the skills, or are you willing to learn the skills?
  • Are you ready to do what is necessary to develop a successful service and deliver huge value?

I know many accounting and bookkeeping firms who are doing an amazing job with business advisory. However, I have also found that more than half really struggle…

That’s largely because in our profession we have been trained in compliance work. Compliance work suits a certain type of personality: you have to be very methodical, detailed and analytical.

Business advisory is a very different type of service, with a different set of skills. You will have to help a client grow their business which requires asking lots of great questions and really listening. 

If you have been working in tax, you would usually be the one telling the client what to do and giving them the answers. But when it comes to advisory and consulting, it’s more about asking the right questions and facilitating those conversations to encourage the client to come up with their own solutions. The client knows the answers, they just need someone like you to draw it out of them by asking the right questions.

If you are going to go into advisory work, you need to understand that it is a very different type of work to compliance and it will require a totally different set of skills.

Are you willing to take the time to learn those skills?

 

Is there a market? 

When launching a new service, you need to consider whether there will actually be an interest.

For example, if you found you really love polar bears, and you also spent some time in Africa over the past few years, you may think the perfect business for you would be to provide advisory services to polar bear breeders in Africa. 

Unfortunately, the market for that particular service is not going to be very big. 

That’s a crazy example, but you need to ask this question before you launch a new service. If there is no market, you will seriously struggle to make your service profitable.

 

Can you attract clients to this service?

At the core of accounting and bookkeeping is compliance work – bookkeeping, payroll, tax returns, annual financial statements.

The lucky thing about our profession is that people need our work, so winning some business is actually fairly natural. You don’t have to be great at sales and marketing.

But if you are launching a new service like advisory, it’s not compliance work, they don’t have to buy that service. Therefore, you will need a different approach to your sales and marketing.

You need to be more purposeful and focused. You will need to create the right value propositions, develop your branding and positioning statement, and build up your expert positioning. 

Are you willing to do that for your new service?

You need to ask yourself these 3 questions whenever you consider launching any new service.

Business advisory can be hugely successful but you have to be willing to learn new skills and make the transition into a totally new style of work.

 


 

If you found this helpful and you would like to learn more about value pricing, marketing and business strategy, I run a free live training session every month with a different topic chosen by you. I also take Q&A at the end of each session to answer all of your burning questions. Click here to register and I will send you an invitation to the next session.

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Wishing you every success on your pricing journey.

Mark Wickersham

Chartered Accountant, Public Speaker and Author of Amazon No.1 Best-Seller, “Effective Pricing for Accountants”

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