“seize, retain, and exploit the initiative” …. pivoting from reactive to proactive
Published Date: 30-Nov-2019
The paradigm shift which Accountants in practice are experiencing is effectively a growing client expectation that they move from their historic reactive rearward facing reporting function to a proactive forward facing strategic advisory role.
There is of course a degree of perceptional bias in this view as accountants are often viewed solely through the optic of their audit ‘EOY’ role. It ignores the value (for example) of the Tax advice delivered for anticipated future cashflows as part of the EOY assessment. This example however is in its own way reactive as clients deliver scenarios and accountants devise strategies to deliver the best results based on the delivered scenario.
To put it in contemporary parlance the accountant is now expected to stand beside their client not behind them. This expectation has the potential to deliver huge fee opportunities to accountants. As digitisation and AI take over ledger activity the focus is now on advisory, the added value that an accountant’s experience and specialist knowledge can offer to a business all the way from Start-Up to Exit Planning. Partnering and advising is the requirement not the aspiration.
There is a simple test to see how you rate on a proactive scale:
- Outside of chasing regulatory requirements and fees how often do you contact your clients?
- Have you ever contacted them with a suggestion or advice about their business strategy?
Anecdotally it appears the answer is ‘very rarely’. If your client’s perception of you, at core, is as a cost to the business and resource only in times of trouble it is not certain that you will be the first port of call when an opportunity for advisory work arises. Remember Client / Accountant relationships are no longer monogamous – if you do not provide the service another firm will.
The boom in Corporate Finance work experienced during the last four years as a result of the pent up demand from the years after the 2009 economic collapse will plateau or even drop “the total value of UK transactions has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade” Experian Business Research: H1 2019
leaving CF teams with excess capacity. However, previous lack of interaction with your own and other’s clients can now be reversed and leveraged to provide an untapped source of deal opportunities to ensure that work rates plateau or rise rather than drop.
A key component of success in this paradigm shift is acknowledging that deal origination is a team activity where all service areas of the firm are potential sources and are alert to opportunities as they are signalled by client’s and acquaintance’s comments. In parallel to this is the need for external deal opportunities to be available to all client facing service areas so that deal opportunities are recognised and signalled to the CF team.
Access to external deal opportunities is essential in this new paradigm
CIEX was created to deliver ACCESS to deals –By granting access to all employees as a standard feature the CIEX platform can transform your mid-size M&A deals process, allowing you to achieve higher deal volumes, access new opportunities and bring exciting new deals to existing clients, thereby growing your fee income. All from your desk without requiring volumes of research.
CIEX, #AccountantSeries, M&A, Corporate Finance, Deal Teams