Accountants need to take action to ensure their practices are able to cope with the “rising tide” of industry challenges, an industry executive has warned.
At the recent Institute of Public Accountants 2018 Victoria Congress in Lorne, Victoria, Australian Wealth Solutions founder and principal Sam Zervides listed diminishing client bases, ATO standardised ireturns and legislative barriers, such as providing SMSF advice under a licence, as the rising tide accountants are facing.
“You need to start thinking where this is all going to take us,” Zervides told delegates.
“You’re on top of the tree when it comes to advisory work, but the question is what do you do when you sit down with a client?
“We usually go in with a mindset that’s just about tax – that’s all we look at and that’s how we’ve been trained – but you need to step back and realise that clients want advisory and strategic work from you.”
He highlighted one way to bullet-proof an accounting business for the next level of growth was to collaborate with other professionals at the same technical and soft skills level in order to expand on services.
“To get the best outcome for clients, what we do is collaborate with accountants, mortgage brokers, corporate brokers, lawyers, insurance brokers, et cetera,” he said.
“In my trusted panel of advisory I have a minimum of seven to eight people because I’m not an expert on everything so sometimes you need to bring people in.
“And I like to have professionals in the same room that have a similar cultural mindset and [operate] like we do – looking clients in the eyes, don’t interrupt when clients are speaking and not taking any shortcuts with SMSFs, for example.
“Don’t compromise on any of that.”
In addition, he said client meetings can be better coordinated with a holistic team of professionals.
“When your client sits down and has a collaborative meeting with your mortgage broker and yourself, it’s a different experience and has done amazing things for businesses,” he revealed.
“You are the maestro of the orchestra [your business] and you are the project manager of your clients.
“So by doing things differently, that’s how you stand out from the rest and bullet-proof your business.”