7 value-added services to expand your practice
As a trusted advisor, you have an opportunity to help your clients with much more than accounting and taxes. Clients often need assistance beyond these standard services.
According to a survey conducted by L. Harris Partners, nearly one in three clients (32%) say they use multiple CPA firms.
There are tremendous gains to be had for your practice and your clients by becoming a one-stop shop. Here are seven value-added services you can easily introduce to your lineup:
1. Bank financing
A big mistake many small business owners make in attempting to grow their business is applying for a loan with insufficient preparation. In the first half of 2014, half of small businesses that applied for financing were rejected. This is also likely a reason why a recent QuickBooks® survey found that only one-third of all small businesses get all the funding they need.
You can help your clients become savvier by preparing comprehensive loan proposals. These should include the documentation needed for these applications, such as a business plan, business credit report, income tax returns, and financial and bank statements. A complete list can be found on the SBA’s website. You can also prep clients on the questions lenders will ask, such as how the loan proceeds will be used, and coach them on their responses.
2. Business valuation
According to a survey by B2B CFO, more than one-third of companies believe they are undervalued, while nearly one-fifth (17 percent) claim to not know their company’s worth. Because valuations are so important to business success, the ability to obtain an objective, defensible valuation is a highly valued service.
There are a number of scenarios that require a business to determine its valuation, including bankruptcy and business disputes, financing, succession planning and business sales, and mergers and acquisitions. By conducting a business valuation analysis, you can ensure your clients have a strong, documented opinion when these and other scenarios arise.
3. Cash flow management
Given you are already immersed in your client’s finances, it makes sense to make the jump to advising small businesses when cash-flow issues arise. You can be a resource for your clients in a number of ways, from developing cash flow projections (daily, weekly, monthly, annual or 3-5 times a year) to directing them to lenders, such as factoring companies, who can extend a competitive line of credit to ensure payroll, bills and other key business needs are met. Factoring companies help businesses feeling the strain of Net 60 or Net 90 payment terms obtain an advance on their unpaid invoices.
4. Strategic business planning
Many businesses rely on informed strategists outside their organization to help shape their roadmap. You can put your clients’ plans and ideas on paper through business plans, which are not only needed to secure financing, but also are recommended when starting a new venture or product, expanding or pivoting a business, buying a competitor, or attempting to save a struggling business. You can also help your clients conduct market research to help inform them of the potential of these moves.
5. Succession planning
According to an article on Harvard Business Review, 70% of family-owned businesses fail or are sold before the second generation has a chance to take over. Estate taxes and family disputes are frequently to blame, but you can help your clients avoid an ugly, drawn-out affair through a carefully crafted succession plan. From discussing who will run and own the business to reducing the tax burden, you can save a client a headache with a smooth transition.
6. New business formation
In the race to bring their novel idea to market, small business owners can end up stumbling out of the gate before they’ve even had a chance to gain traction. You can help entrepreneurs avoid common pitfalls by getting their ducks in a row at the start. Through preparing cash flow budget, selecting the right accounting software and providing small but key details such as obtaining a Federal Employer Identification Number, you can ensure that your clients’ business gets off the ground with a secure foundation.
7. Part-time CFO
Every growing business eventually reaches a crossroads where they have to consider bringing on a chief financial officer, but at their current stage, many businesses cannot afford the salary that accompanies the title. Enter the part-time CFO, a role your practice can fulfill. This service provides a growing business with a mature, seasoned financial professional at a significantly reduced cost, without sacrificing quality.
Like your clients, you can benefit substantially from evaluating and pursuing new sources of revenue for your business. Diversifying and expanding your services is a win-win for you and your clients. Take some time to review which of these supplemental services suits you and your clients best, and you’ll be on track to achieving your business goals while also helping your clients realize theirs.