‘The result is a substantial new income stream in the hundreds of thousands of pounds per annum.’
The lightbulb moment
One particular incident sticks in Will Abbott’s mind when he reflects on the lightbulb moment that led him to becoming a successful business advisor.
‘I met with a client for our usual accounts meeting, and their profit was low. We talked about all the non-chargeable work he was doing and how he might go about changing that. Twelve months later, we met again and had the same conversation! The client jokingly said ‘you’re a bit of a one trick pony aren’t you?’ and that really brought it home to me.
Our clients wanted to do more than just talk about the numbers, they wanted someone to help change the numbers, and I felt that I did not have enough knowledge or tools to really help. I could see what they needed to do, but couldn’t help them with the how to do it.
I was aware that some of my other clients were working with business coaches and seemed to be paying them a lot more than they were paying me to do their accounts. That was a lightbulb moment – it was time to do something, and that something was Mindshop.’
Becoming a facilitator of change, not just a consultant
‘So after joining up, I completed all the online courses and became accredited as a ‘Mindshop Expert’ which was more than enough skills to build an advisory offer. But I found what takes time to learn is that we are not acting as consultants, but as facilitators. Our role is to help and guide the client to develop their own solutions and then hold them accountable for taking the necessary steps. The Mindshop toolkit is the key to drive this facilitation, the resources are all there, including workshops, which means a lot of the work is already done so there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Picking a ‘favourite’ Mindshop element is difficult. Being able to draw together my clients into a Growth Hub keeps me up to date with new thinking and enables me to promote my advisory services to new clients. Then there’s the combination of online resources (accessible in my own time and at my own pace), access to an experienced coach and a network of like-minded individuals which together is very powerful.’
A substantial new income stream
‘Mindshop has given me the ability to talk confidently with clients regarding a broad spectrum of issues from profitability, sales growth and strategy. What client would not want to have a conversation about those issues? The result is a substantial new income stream in the hundreds of thousands of pounds per annum. Even better, 50% of our advisory service work is coming from clients where another firm does their compliance work! Plus advisory is generating opportunities for other departments including compliance, tax planning and corporate finance.’
What tips do you have for other accounting firms looking to grow their advisory business?
‘Accountants need to stop trying to get paid for every minute spent with clients and recognise that every conversation is an opportunity to help, which clients will value and pay for. Try to take the time to really understand what a client is trying to achieve and how their business fits into those bigger plans. Focus on the outcomes clients need, recognise the value in what we do, then share these stories with prospects.
This is challenging, as it requires a complete change in mindset, a move away from time-based billing. Unfortunately, most accounting firms will stick with what they know, leaving these valuable opportunities for others.
I think one of my longstanding clients says it best, ‘you help us understand the issues and make us do the things we need to do.’