As an accountant with construction clients, you know that developing a successful practice requires more than doing the books and filing taxes. Clients expect their accountants to act as trusted advisors who can offer strategic guidance and general business advice.
To grow into this role, you need to develop certain skills. In this article, we’ll share some areas to focus on as you develop your professional toolbox, with topics in building expertise, client relationship management, value-added services, and technology.
Develop industry expertise
It might seem obvious, but developing domain expertise is one of the best ways to gain client trust. At a basic level, that means staying up to date with the latest trends, regulations, and best practices in construction accounting and financial management.
You’ll also want to learn more about how construction projects work and where financial insight can unlock more value for your client. For example, learning more about project bidding can allow you to help your client improve the competitiveness of their bids.
Similarly, commercial and residential construction projects differ greatly in execution and accounting needs. Understanding the nuances of each demonstrates your versatility to your clients.
If you are a CPA, that’s great, but also consider other business certifications.
Provide value-added services
To be seen as a trusted advisor, you need to offer more than basic accounting services. For a construction accountant, consider budgeting and forecasting, cash flow management, risk management consulting, dispute resolution with subcontractors or suppliers, and software implementation for job costing and project tracking.
You can also provide advice on best practices within the industry, such as contract review, labor law compliance, or impending regulatory changes.
Offer personalized solutions
Offering value-added services is one effective way to differentiate yourself from other accounting practices, but personalizing those services distances you even further.
Sit down with your client and work together to map out their particular financial situation and business goals. Then put together a package of advisory services that’ll help them get there.
For example, if your client is looking to improve the profitability of their business, you could offer a consulting package that covers:
● Evaluating project financials to find areas of improvement.
● Mapping out defined processes, such as job costing, to correct issues.
● Recommending a construction accounting tech stack—multiple integrated pieces of software—to support new processes.
● Supporting the implementation of the tech stack through value-added services.
● Analyzing financial performance as projects close out.
By taking the time to understand a client’s particular situation and offering personalized solutions, construction accountants can provide valued input that helps their clients solve pressing business problems.