Eva Mrazikova
2 minutes length
Posted: 17th August 2021

Compliance is dead? Long live compliance!

How do you create stunning financial performance reviews to deliver brilliant advisory conversations?

Compliance is dead, so some people have claimed.

Why? It’s often in reference to the rise in advisory services and the suggestion that the latter will replace the former.

But will it really? No, not at all in my view. In fact the opposite is true.

Compliance is alive and kicking, remains a critical part of the accountant’s role, and probably always will be.

In fact, I see compliance as the fundamental basis for advisory conversations, opening the door to many opportunities. It’s a cornerstone for any additional services that accountants might want to offer. If it’s handled the right way, everything else will fall into place.

Defining advisory

The thrust of advisory is presenting numbers in a meaningful, engaging way for your clients and to demonstrate how to:

  • Improve profitability
  • Identify ways to increase available cash
  • Become more efficient
  • Grow and/or sell the firm

How does tax and compliance start an advisory conversation?

The great thing about tax is it’s written in black ink, but there are many grey areas requiring much interpretation.

The start of advisory conversations might be small steps like going through a set of accounts with the client before using graphical representations of their KPIs to make it easier for them to understand and for you to explain. 

It’s about painting a picture and a narrative for investors and stakeholders – often using colourful graphics to liven up normally boring numbers.

The COVID catalyst

Many accountants already offer some sort of advice during regular client meetings, even though they don’t necessarily charge extra for it.

And the pandemic has accelerated this, with vast numbers of clients ringing their accountant in a panic saying ‘my whole world has just changed, what do I do?’.

With accountants perfectly positioned to understand new Government schemes and offer critical advice, many accountants have already organically become advisors. The majority don’t charge, seeing it as their duty to help people through turbulent times.

So, there is a choice to be made, but some or all of this advice can be rolled into an upgraded, more formal, and specific service, as one part of a higher value package.

Developing skills

Rather than just reading the figures, accountants will need to put them into the context of what the future looks like for the client. There’s the cash flow implications of the tax bill, and even thinking further ahead – do the figures align, for example with clients wanting to sell and exit in five years?

Taking the first steps

Perhaps you haven’t quite cracked advisory yet. Begin with defining what success looks like for you and your goals. Move on to small steps with what you know, such as accounts production data.

Software can help. If you’d like to see how IRIS could help you to take those first steps, please click here.