In 1994, I made a pilgrimage to the town of Sansepolcro in Tuscany.
The occasion was the 500th anniversary of the publication of Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proptionalita. In this treatise, Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan monk and native of Sansepolcro, laid down the principles of double-entry bookkeeping and provided the foundation for financial record-keeping and reporting. This was the first version of how to add client value.
Since then, not much has changed in the way books are kept—it has always been a matter of taking source documents and transcribing information into “books of account.” The advent of personal computers and accounting programs, such as QuickBooks, made it economical and practical for clients to keep their own books. But in the last 2–3 years, we have seen a new, seismic shift away from paper-based systems towards automated electronic data systems and enhanced OCR. These systems are precursors to a world without data keying (and eventually a world without paper money!).
Doing accounting is yours! It’s time to take it back!
It’s time to reclaim your ancient role of “keeping the books” and interpreting the results. Why? Because with all data being moved electronically, it has become cost effective for companies to “outsource” all of their accounting functions to their accountant and for you to provide required services at a competitive price. This represents a major growth opportunity for accounting firms.
For the last 10 years, every consultant to the accounting profession has urged us to add client value by offering better business advice and becoming a trusted advisor. These urgings have largely stopped; one of the key reasons for this is that neither we nor the clients trusted the data they produced from their internal systems.
New technology allows us to take accounting functions back from our clients and do so in a cost-effective manner. Using software with direct downloads, portals, cloud servers, and Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, we can produce real-time, accurate information.
Now, of course, we can comfortably and confidently give business advice.
How complete CFO Services can add Client Value.
The following steps will help you provide a complete CFO service:
• Assume responsibility for your client’s accounting function.
• Have the client outsource most, if not all, of the mechanical aspects of recording transactions to your accounting firm.
• Process data efficiently.
• Produce reports that are accurate, timely, and meaningful to the client.
Provide more and better advice, including:
• Strategic planning;
• Profit improvement;
• KPI analysis; and
• Ongoing business coaching.
Every day, technology makes number crunching more of a commodity. It’s time to fight back! Take over your client’s accounting functions, make your $5,000-a-year client into a $5,000-a-month client, add value, make more fun!