5 accounting services to diversify your business, grow revenue

Accountant & Bookkeeper Guides

5 min read

Accounting firms that focus solely on tax and compliance are probably missing out on income. Small businesses want more of your expertise – in fact they’re actively looking for it. Now’s the time to broaden your services and add new revenue streams.

Clients want to do more business

One of the most common reasons that small businesses switch accountants is to find more proactive financial advice. Small business owners are also increasingly seeking their accountant's advice on business planning and strategy.

Now could be the time to diversify your business and offer more services like these.

1. Tax planning and financial planning

Use your credibility in the tax space as a springboard into more strategic work. Schedule an annual planning session to help your clients achieve their financial goals in the most tax-efficient way.

Tax planning:

  • happens once a year (generally in the final quarter)
  • can be done in a one-off, face-to-face meeting
  • draws on your client’s financial plan for the upcoming year
  • is usually charged out as a one-time consulting fee

Develop some key performance indicators (KPIs) to help your clients track the progress of their financial goals. But don’t stop there. Regularly share simple reports that let clients see how they’re doing. It’ll help you demonstrate your relevance year-round and it’s an ideal first step to diversify your business.

2. Virtual CFO services

Small business is leading the transition to the cloud. Some studies say two-thirds are already using cloud software, others say 87 percent. But everyone agrees it’s trending upwards – and fast. Take advantage by offering virtual CFO services where:

  • you act as CFO from your office, using cloud accounting software
  • your client gets previously unaffordable financial oversight, on an as-needed basis

This is one of the main reasons small business love the cloud. It gives them access to services that were once limited to corporations. Read more about becoming a virtual CFO and add a recurring monthly revenue stream to your business.

3. Payroll processing

It wasn’t long ago that no one wanted to do payroll. It was manual and labour intensive. However, a recent Accounting Today survey estimates 65 percent of firms now offer the service, with another 6 percent planning to add it in 2016.

Now that payroll is automated, you can process several clients with minimal hands-on time. That means you can offer a competitive rate for the service while still generating solid revenue. Good cloud accounting platforms with payroll will automatically:

  • apply the correct taxes
  • track employee hours
  • manage pay runs
  • fill out tax forms

You can also customize these systems to meet specific client needs.

Payroll’s becoming an increasingly popular accounting service to offer and is in high demand – making it a great way to diversify your business. Find out more about profiting from payroll services and start asking your clients what they need.

Small businesses are changing firms to find more proactive financial advice.

4. Business consulting

Global spending on management consulting went up six percent in 2014. Big firms like PwC and Deloitte are using the trend to drive big revenue growth. Could you be doing the same in the small-business market?

Small businesses are increasingly eager to get business advice from their accountants. They’re even leaving accountants that don’t take enough of a lead.

Look at our tips on how to build your advisory services and see if your clients are interested in expanding your relationship. Don’t be afraid to sell the idea. They may not be aware of all you can do for them.

5. Forensic accounting services

With the right accounting knowledge and investigative skills, you could offer forensic accounting services. This can be useful for small businesses who haven’t previously had an accountant involved in their business. You can help them:

  • check all their sales are legitimate
  • prepare financial statements for investors
  • protect themselves from fraud

This is a great opportunity to deliver peace of mind and underline the value of accountancy to a new client.

You might even take forensic accounting a step further and provide expert witness services. Expert witnesses explain complex financial issues to judges and juries in court cases.

Keep looking for ways to diversify your business

Many accounting firms are adding advisory services to their compliance work. Fortuitously, this move comes at a time when small businesses are looking for extra insights from their accountants.

Chances are that you already provide some of these services. And you probably have the expertise within your firm to grow this side of your business. Test the water with your clients and try promoting these services harder.

Consider bundling them with your bread-and-butter tax work and giving clients one price for everything. It’ll help introduce them to your full range of capabilities, while helping avoid some of the workflow and cash flow crunches that affect tax and compliance-focused practices.