The 2023 tax filing season will hopefully be back to normal, but your clients may still feel the effects of the pandemic. Many businesses experienced a downturn during the lockdowns, causing financial instability that will need to be overcome. Conversely, some businesses actually grew during the pandemic, growth that these clients will want to maintain and build.
Step 1: Get ready to pivot (again)
As your clients’ needs change post-pandemic, you and your firm should take a close look at how you also need to change in order to serve your clients. This can be a challenge at first, especially if you have not yet collected much feedback from your clients, but look at general market issues and start there.
Your biggest pivot may be to delve into financial advisory services. Because of the volatility of the post-pandemic environment, clients want more from their accountants than just crunching numbers; they want advice.
Step 2: Listen
This step should be in conjunction with Step 1, as you begin to pivot your practice’s offerings to help your best clients solve issues that may have cropped up due to the pandemic. Some areas where your clients need help may include:
- Understanding changes in tax law
- Tactics to improve their credit rating
- Development of long-term goals and financial plans
- Securing business loans when the pandemic hurt the bottom line
- Drilling down debt and dealing with creditors
- Collection suggestions for overdue accounts receivables
- Cash flow management
- Tax-savings strategies for those clients who grew financially during the pandemic
- Exemptions, deductions, and credits for those who struggled financially during the pandemic
- Consultation on business diversification or expansion to avoid future market volatility
Step 3: Provide needed services
Once you’ve listened, offer an advisory service plan customized for their particular needs. Some clients may only want monthly access to ask you questions. Others may want your help in regular business operations, such as payroll, auditing, quarterly tax payments, and financial statements. Others may want your expertise to guide them through strategic planning, business valuation, and compliance. You could also offer your services as a part-time CFO.
Develop several levels of advisory service, with a menu of options from which your clients can choose. This gives them the opportunity to customize their services, makes them feel valued as clients, and provides you with regular monthly income that you can count on.
Given the current unpredictable business environment, your clients need you to be their trusted business advisor. Without your help, many business owners will make poor decisions and see their companies go under. But wiser clients will see the value in securing your expert services in an advisory capacity. This will not only help their businesses grow, but yours, as well.