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Four steps to starting your own CAS offering

Recently, you are probably hearing more and more about client advisory services (or what used to be known as client accounting services). This is because it can provide your firm the ability to meet your clients’ needs whether you choose to offer strategic consulting, outsourcing or growth services. CAS has been a growing area for a number of years, but it now is a service line that has grown as important as tax or audit to offer in your firm. 

Since the term CAS is used in so many ways, to level set, it refers to many different services that CPAs, accounting professionals and bookkeepers can offer so you can be a strategic part of your clients business and help them achieve their goals.

Each firm is different in the types of advisory services they offer under the CAS umbrella. To list a few: 

  • Outsourced bookkeeping, controllership, or CFO services;
  • Cash flow planning;
  • Business intelligence;
  • Strategic planning;
  • Budgeting & forecasting; and,
  • Reporting & analytics.

Adding more work to your firm can seem like a proposition you might not be willing to take on with the increase in workload you may have experienced over the last couple years. However, with planning and preparation, your firm can begin to convert existing clients to streamline work throughout the year, increase overall revenue, and provide a better balance between work and your personal life.

Step 1: Work with the clients you want

When looking for new CAS clients, begin with existing ones that will benefit the most from your new services and are willing to invest in your value. They will be your beta testers and can give you early positive reviews at the beginning stages of your advisory services. 

It’s important to define your ideal client so that you enjoy the clients you are working with. There are more traits to consider than business size. Remembering that you can choose your ideal client is important in building the right foundation for your service. Their personality, willingness to be open to your advice and to collaborate, and that they are in industries where you have expertise are just a few areas to consider.

Step 2: Selecting a niche

Why niche down? 

Your clients want specialists when seeking advice. They want you to know the ins and outs of their industry. With a deep understanding of your client’s industry, you can provide the kind of operational and financial advice they are seeking.

Acquiring industry-specific knowledge takes time and effort, but with more clients in similar industries, your advice and expertise will grow. You can specialize in any industry that calls to you; that doesn’t feel like work; and that you have more passion around and enjoy learning about. For instance, those who work with restaurants may be “foodies” themselves and love to learn more about  food and delivery costs, trends, and state-specific tipping laws. 

Step 3: Stay on top of changing technology

Why do you need to stay on top of tech?

Embracing new tech and streamlining existing tech can save you time and money. Technology and accounting have always gone hand in hand, but new apps and software emerge daily, making it hard to keep up. Knowing the industry and client personas you want to focus on will help you in identifying the right applications for your practice.

By deploying cloud technology in your practice, you can automate many of the tasks that are repeatable so you can free up more time to spend with your clients and advising them on their business. 

Step 4: Set goals and monitor performance

As part of your services, setting and monitoring KPIs for your clients to help them conceptualize and achieve their goals is the opportunity that differentiates you from others. Creating the right foundation in your practice, with the right technology, can help you advise your clients by setting realistic targets for them. 

As an advisor, your clients will begin to see you as a valued business partner. You’re not only helping your clients achieve short-term goals but also setting them up to succeed in the long term.

Adding advisory services to your current practice is an exciting step but one you should properly plan yourself so as to create the practice you desire. To benefit you and your clients the most, add your new services at a pace that allows you to increase your knowledge and be open to what your clients are asking for. 



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