Accountants, How to Create Value-Add for your Clients

Accountants, how to create value-add for your clients is undoubtedly one of the biggest questions you need to answer at the beginning of the 2017/18 financial year.

We suggest that, in the first instance, you develop a plan; a plan for how you’re going to deliver business advisory services’ products to your clients.  In the beginning, you’re going to have to concentrate on team training to get your team prepared for this new challenge; some new work beyond taxation compliance work.

Who are your clients?  What industries do 80% of the clients’ fees that you receive belong to?  What services do those industries require?  What services have your clients asked you to perform for them over the years?  Have you classified your clients into “A”, “B” and “C” class clients?  “A” class clients are the ones that you should be able to rollout a wide range of value-adding services.

Let’s look at some of the services that you could supply to your clients to help them to add value to their businesses:

  • Debtors’ Review – the preparation of a Debtors’ System Manual will significantly contribute to reducing debtors’ days outstanding to help rid Australia of this very dubious title of having the “longest debtors’ days outstanding in the world”.
  • Personal Property Securities Register Due Diligence Review – this could potentially save your clients thousands of dollars, if not business failure, because they have not registered a particular customer on the Personal Property Securities Register. It’s well worth you looking at this.
  • Business Plans – will help businesses to plan where they want to go to in the future and then to be able to assist in the execution of those plans so that the added-value components of the business plan are able to be implemented.
  • Business Expansion or Payout of Loans – there is a very significant opportunity just around the corner. That is to introduce your clients to the concept of Crowd-Sourced Funding.  Crowd-Sourced Funding applies to any type of company, irrespective of the age or industry in which that company is operating.  A reminder that the first capital raising can commence from the 29th September 2017.  Have you surveyed your clients?  Have you conducted a seminar or are you potentially running the risk that some of your clients, who are interested in crowd-sourced funding, are going to go and talk to someone else because they think that you’re only interested in taxation?
  • Government Grants – this is another product that you could look at – identifying government grants. Obtaining a government grant could save your clients thousands of dollars in the implementation of business improvement strategies within their business.  Grants such as Accelerating Commercialisation, which is up to $1M, Business Improvement Grant – $20,000 but it can be used to undertake virtually any type of activity which will improve the business’ performance.  If your clients are in the mining industry or the equipment businesses that are associated with the mining industry, there is the METS Ignite grants which are there for collaborative projects.  Two, three or four businesses could come together to develop a new product or service for the benefit of the mining industry or the mining equipment industry or technology industries.  Grants of up to $3M are available. 




Accountants, You Need More Than Marketing Gimmicks in a Business Advisory Services’ Package

Accountants, you need more than marketing gimmicks in a Business Advisory Services’ Package.  Whilst marketing and selling skills are important attributes for accountants who are looking to diversify their

practices by offering a wider range of services, they are not the only skills that are required if you are going to successfully launch your accountancy or consultancy business into business advisory services.

Firms need skills for the development of this next generation of product tools which you can confidently take to your clients and indicate to them that you have developed the expertise to enable your accountancy team to be able to deliver a range of high-level commercial services which will assist your small/medium enterprise

clients to add value.

So where to do you start?  In the first place, there has to be adequate preparation.  Work through with the team to make sure they understand the ramifications of what developing business advisory services is all about; that is team training.  Part of the preparation is leadership and in the material we supply, there is a complete package to assist you to get the team ready.

One of the key requirements is to develop, within your accountancy team, industry “champions”.  In the first

instance, you need to clearly understand from which industries your major clients are coming – the clients that contribute 80% of your fee income.  Identify the industries that they’re from and, I think, one of the key

requirements is to make sure you develop, within your accounting team, industry “champions” for each of those industries.

Then you need to decide the products that you’re going to offer.  Things like:

  • Chief Financial Officer Services
  • Risk Management
  • Succession Planning
  • How to Raise Capital:
  • Crowd-Sourced Funding – which commences on the 29th September 2017
  • Early Stage Innovation Companies
  • Debtors’ Management and Debtors’ Systems – so we can rid Australia of the very unwelcome title of having the “longest debtors’ days outstanding in the world”
  • Business Plans
  • Budgets & Cashflow Forecasts
  • Directors’ Mentoring – so that directors have a clearer understanding of corporate governance
  • Identification of government grants suitable for your individual clients

This is the key work that, we believe, you need to undertake if you’re going to be able to successfully

develop business advisory services.



Accountants, Government Grants Assist in the Delivery of Business Advisory Services for your Clients

Hello, I’m Peter Towers, Managing Director of ESS BIZTOOLS and ESS BASIP.  Welcome to Accountants Minute.

Accountants; government grants assist in the delivery of business advisory services for your clients.  

There are hundreds of grants, incentives and special loans payable each year by the Federal, State and

Territory governments.  The vast majority of these grants are targeted at, what I assume is, your key client group – small/medium enterprises.

Many of these grants relate to the delivery of business advisory services to your clients so, as far as I’m concerned, they are closely inter-related. 

Grants can help your clients undertake projects that, in normal circumstances, they may have been reluctant to do, but if the government is paying 50% of the cost, they would probably look at it a little differently.




Accountants, Small/Medium Enterprises Want “Valued-Added” Services

Hello, I’m Peter Towers, Managing Director of ESS BIZTOOLS and ESS BASIP.  Welcome to Accountants Minute.

Accountants, small/medium enterprises want value added services.  Services that your clients can applaud and say, “thank you very much”.  Do your clients thank you for the services that you provide? 

We’re at the start of a new financial year.  What are your resolutions for 2017/18 when it comes to supplying “value-added” services to your clients?

I’d like to have a discussion with you this morning in relation to the different characteristics of the services that you might provide, or that you might consider providing, to your clients.



Accountants, There Are Plenty of Challenges in 2017/18

Hello, I’m Peter Towers, Managing Director of ESS BIZTOOLS and ESS BASIP.  Welcome to Accountants Minute.

Accountants, there are plenty of challenges in 2017/18 and you probably don’t need me to tell you that.

Firstly however, happy new financial year!  I trust that 2017/18 will be a great year for your accountancy business, everyone who works in your firm and all your clients.


Accountants, Business Plans are “Real Accountants’ Work”

Welcome to Accountants Minute.  I’m Peter Towers, Managing Director of ESS BIZTOOLS, ESS BASIP and ESS BIZGRANTS.

Accountants, business plans are “real accountants’ work”, and that’s what I want to talk to you about today.  “Real accountants’ work”.

The majority of small/medium enterprises want more information, more commercial information, and more business information from their principal advisers… their accountants.

The majority of SMEs crave for this additional information, but you will have to be proactive in marketing and communicating to your clients that you are able to offer business advisory services if, indeed, you offer business advisory services or you’re planning to do so; don’t expect your clients to know that you are performing these tasks unless you tell them and market your services to them.

Business plan preparation is ideal work for accounting firms.  It will give you a far better idea of what’s going on in your client’s business and far more information will come your way than what you ever received for the preparation of an annual set of accounts and income tax returns.



Accountants – You Can Help Eliminate the “Silent Killer of Small Business”

Late payments are the “silent killer of small business” Kate Carnell the Australian Government’s Small Business Ombudsman said in her reaction to the UK based “Market Invoice” report in late 2016.

Australia has the dubious title of the “Longest Debtors Days Outstanding in the World”.  The report identified that Australian small/medium enterprises were being paid 26.4 days later than the normal 30 day credit terms –  a staggering 56.4 days as compared to the next closest country Mexico with 48.6 days or South Africa with 46.5 days.

These delayed payments are having a significant impact on the viability of thousands of small businesses all over Australia.  The government’s Small Business Ombudsman has indicated that she is going to have discussions with government departments and big businesses about improving their payment times with small businesses, however accountants have a very significant role to play in reducing the debtors’ days outstanding problem.


Accountants – Don’t Forget Early Stage Innovation Companies!”

The Early-Stage Innovation Company legislation has been available since July 2016 but unfortunately there has been little publicity about the significant benefits this legislation offers small/medium enterprises and investors.

An accountant rang me last week and asked me whether a “two-year old company that had undertaken a significant amount of research and development to develop a new product was suitable for Crowd Sourced Funding?”

I said no!

I suspect the accountant was a little bit surprised at my answer!

I said I thought the company would be a very suitable candidate for Early Stage Innovation Company status.  Why?


Sourcing Grants for SMEs Is Good Business Sense!

Good for your small/medium enterprise clients who want to access grants so as to improve their business activities with a subsidy from the government.

Good for accountants to show your SME clients that you are proactive and acting as the SMEs’ “trusted advisor” to assist them to get a grant to improve their businesses by adding value.

If it’s good for small/medium enterprises and good for accountants why do so many accountants ignore their small/medium enterprise clients desire to know about government grants and, more importantly, the business improvements that your client would have been able to undertake at a significantly cheaper cost because of the grant?

Whilst at the same time depriving your accountancy business team of the opportunity to undertake some interesting work assignments (“real accountants work”) that approximately 50% of the accountancy firm’s fee has been paid for by governments.

“Financial Planning was Primarily an Accountant’s Domain!”

Whilst there was some superannuation available in Australia prior to 1983 it was basically organised by employers with advice from accountants.

In 1983 the Federal Government introduced compulsory superannuation with contributions originally at 3% of salary now 9.5% of salary.

This event heralded the commencement of “independent businesses” advising individuals and superannuation funds on their investments.

Most accountants, including myself, ignored the new “financial planning” businesses and thought that client loyalty would preserve the status quo.

This didn’t happen – the accountancy profession significantly underestimated the emergence of a whole new industry – “Financial Planning for Individuals and Self-Managed Superannuation Funds”.

In December 2016 that new investment category has grown to $2.2 trillion, making Australia the fourth largest holder of pension fund assets in the world.