How To Move from Compliance to Business Advisory

business advisory strategies for accountants Jan 28, 2020

Before we can look at how to make the move to advisory, we need to first ask two other questions…

‘What is advisory service, and why do we need it?’


You can watch the video here.


In our modern world, with the rise of cloud technology and artificial intelligence, we are seeing compliance work become more and more automated.

Compliance work can be done at the touch of a button, so we need to start changing our services away from simply adding up numbers and towards interpreting numbers. We need to move to advisory services.

However, everyone has different definitions of what advisory services include. For example, it could involve tax planning, technology and app advice, business advice, management reporting or consulting work.

In this blog, I’m going to refer to advisory as business advisory, meaning adding value through management reports and meeting periodically to give business advice.

I’ve come up with 7 steps that you will need to take to make the move from compliance to advisory…


Step 1 - Get Skilled


In our profession, when we take our exams and get our qualifications, we are taught most compliance services like payroll, taxes and bookkeeping, but we are never really taught advisory.

We need to increase our skills in that area.

You can do that by reading business books, taking courses, or finding training.


Step 2 - Aquire the Right Tools


You can’t make this up as you go along. You will need to either create some systems or purchase some tools.

This could include manuals and training resources that you can provide to your clients, or software. There are many different software tools available for business advisory services. There was a great thread on this in my Facebook group - you can see it here.


Step 3 - Packaging


When it comes to packaging, one of the things you need to bear in mind is everyone has different needs.

Having a single package for advisory work isn’t going to meet everyone's needs.

Give your clients a choice. Give them options. I call this Menu Pricing.

Create 3 packages with a differing level of service, and a different price for each. Think about what you might put in your ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’ advisory packages.

If clients have choice, they are more likely to buy.


Step 4 - Communicate Value


Advisory is a luxury service. Unlike compliance work, the client does not have to buy advisory services. Therefore it’s important that you communicate the value of the service.

You will need to learn good communication techniques such as how to turn features into benefits, and how to use anchors to quantify those benefits.


Step 5 - Tell Your Clients Constantly


Some people may have never bought advisory, or may not know the service exists.

Make sure you regularly inform your clients about your advisory service so that they are aware of it and begin to appreciate the value.

Put it on your website, in your brochures, tell them in your emails and during your meetings. Take every opportunity you can to make your clients aware of your service and they will soon begin to appreciate that you can help to take their business to another level.


Step 6 - 'No' isn't No Forever


If you offer your advisory services to a client and they decline, that doesn’t mean they will never want your services in the future.

Sometimes, we have to hear things several times before the message sinks in.

Their circumstances or mindset may change, and they may decide down the line that actually they do want those services.

You need to keep asking.


Step 7 - You Don’t Need To Sell


It’s really hard to ‘sell’ your advisory services - so don’t bother.

What you want to do is allow your clients to buy.

Inspire them to take action by demonstrating using numbers. Show them what’s possible in their business if they make some changes. Show them the numbers, accountants and bookkeepers are numbers people.

Demonstrate with ideas, examples, and stories.

By following these 7 steps you should be able to move smoothly from compliance to advisory.



If you found this valuable and would like to learn more about value pricing, I run a free live online training session every month with a topic chosen by you. Attend live and you can ask me any questions you have. Click here to register and I will send you an invitation to the next session.

Wishing you every success on your pricing journey

Mark Wickersham

Chartered Accountant, Public Speaker and Author of Amazon No.1 Best Seller “Effective Pricing for Accountants”