Tap into the financing advisory opportunity

If you asked each of your firm’s client advisory services (CAS) clients to write down their top 3 pain points, then compared the list to the top 3 services you provide to them, how would the two lists match up? Is your CAS practice delivering services that really pinpoint the challenges that keep your clients up at night?

Especially for owners of small businesses, cash flow and business financing issues often top the list of their worries. But when it comes to financing, many firms don’t currently offer services that directly address this aspect of their clients’ businesses. Instead, financing issues are left for clients to work out with their banks or other lenders.

This is a major missed opportunity. CAS practices are better positioned to help clients identify, understand, and address their financing challenges than anyone else – even banks – because of their intimate knowledge of the day-to-day workings of clients’ businesses, from strategy to spreadsheet.

Why firms haven’t jumped on the financing advisory opportunity before now.
So why don’t many CAS practices help guide and support their clients’ financing needs today? For starters, although they have access to clients’ detailed financial information, CAS practitioners may not have taken the next important step of analyzing it through the lens of their financial needs. Just as important, CAS leaders may be unsure of exactly how their firms can help – and what tools they need – to address these issues once they’re identified.

Financing advisory is quickly emerging as one of the most valuable ways for CAS practices to serve clients’ most critical needs, enabling them to deepen client relationships and trust while creating a new source of additional revenue. The growth of this practice area has been accelerated by the emergence of advanced financial technology (fintech) tools designed specifically to help accounting firms and CAS practices deliver these services – not just banks.

It all starts with holistic accounting.
Holistic accounting is the key to unlocking the potential of financing advisory. In a holistic approach, firms go beyond traditional financial statements to consider every key aspect of their clients’ businesses, from operational efficiency and financial health to market positioning, growth prospects, and more.

Taking a holistic approach requires engaging more deeply with clients to better understand their businesses, beyond traditional accounting tasks. What are the most important challenges and obstacles they face today? What are their business goals – and what strategies are they pursuing to reach them?

With a steady cadence of formal and informal meetings structured to get the answers to questions like these, your team will gain the insights they need to uncover financing needs for clients – at the moments they’re needed most. Combine these meetings with a more comprehensive business analysis and financial forecasting/scenario planning tools, and you’ll be able to provide a level of value to clients that they won’t get from other relationships. Whether they’re facing cash flow issues or need to make strategic investments in real estate or equipment, you can help enable their success. Without a holistic accounting approach, your firm may never even know about these issues until it’s too late to help.

Technology can help. Here’s how.
Not sure your firm is ready to deliver financing insights and help clients obtain the capital they need? A host of powerful new fintech tools have brought these capabilities within reach, even for small firms. These tools change the traditional financing dynamic, putting firms at the center of the transaction – they can finally take the lead in the financing process, providing a direct path from identifying financing needs to accessing capital. For example, CPA.com’s partner Biz2Credit delivers a cloud-based service that allows firms to actively monitor the loan approval process and secure highly competitive financing for their clients.

Over the course of only a couple of years, fintech has already transformed what’s possible for firms to deliver in financing – see this short video for a first-hand account of how these capabilities have already changed one firm leader’s practice. These advances have unfolded so quickly that many firm leaders haven’t even noticed – yet.

Take the first step.
Want to know more about these new tools and capabilities? Start with a visit to the CPA business funding portal page to learn more about how the portal works and how to access it for free. It may be the first step you take toward unlocking an entirely new revenue stream and helping clients where they need it most.

Matt Elwell is the Product Account Manager for Financing Advisory Services with CPA.com. Matt started his career in the banking sector and spent the majority of his career as a consultant in the franchise space. Matt is passionate about helping entrepreneurs to work on their businesses rather than simply working in them. He brings together his banking and consulting backgrounds to work with accounting firms to help them build deeper relationships with their clients by adopting financing advisory services.

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