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The 10 Big Advisory Questions: 10 – Getting Started With Advisory What Are My Next Steps?

Welcome to the ninth edition of this video series where we talk you through The 10 Big Advisory Questions.

Join Micheal as he answers Question 10 – Getting Started With Advisory What Are My Next Steps?

The below is a transcript of Question 10 of the 10 Big Advisory Questions Video Series – Getting Started With Advisory What Are My Next Steps?

My name is Micheal O’Neil, and I am delighted to welcome with you in this video series, where I answer the ten big questions about Advisory services.

These are the questions that I get asked by my clients in Ireland on a regular basis and also the questions that my colleagues in the UK, US, Canada, and Africa get asked.

So let’s get started with today’s question.

Question 10 – Getting Started With Advisory – What Are My Next Steps?

Now, this is a difficult question to answer, because I don’t know where you are in your Advisory journey.

I don’t know if you’re an accomplished advisor, who is working with clients on a daily basis in a structured way, delivering Advisory packages. Or you could be somebody who is just starting out.

You could be somebody who is delivering elements of structured Advisory, or you could be right at the start. You could have a real interest in Advisory, and you’re wondering where to start.

So, I don’t know exactly where you are; however, we have identified seven steps on the path to becoming the most trusted advisor.

During this video, you can identify your current stage and jump in where you need and identify your next steps.

Step 1: Interest

Well, interest, you’re displaying this at the moment. You’ve actually come, and you’ve looked at one of these Advisory videos, so this is the 10th in my series of 10 big Advisory questions.

Hopefully, you’ve checked out the previous videos as well. Really, it’s about understanding why Advisory is important and accepting that this is something that you need to pay attention to.

Step 2: Awareness

So, what is business Advisory? And how do I get started? This is really about understanding Advisory. For a lot of accountants, it is difficult to find out more about Advisory. There is actually very few consolidated Advisory resources available to accountants.

The institutes don’t even have much. Some of them have surveys that are done every now and again, but there’s no consolidated resource.

Step 3: Education

You need to find somewhere that you can educate yourself in relation to Advisory, educate yourself in what you should be doing, how you should do it, and what are the steps and processes that you need to take.

Through education, you will truly understand the model and how to deliver Advisory, then it’s about going and creating demand.

Step 4: Demand

Now, how do we create demand? Well, demand is created by having conversations with clients.

Those conversations are really about piquing their interest. It’s about throwing your line into the pond and seeing if you can get a nibble, if you can get a bite on the line.

This is having initial client conversations, creating interest and desire and creating Advisory opportunities.

Step 5: Discovery

Then comes the real step forward. In a lot of ways, steps one to four are largely internal; there’s no offer being made, this is really you, setting your stall out.

But then we get to discovery.

Now, the beautiful thing about discovery is it can be done at the start of your Advisory journey, but even the most accomplished advisors use discovery in an extraordinary way to generate interest and opportunities.

So, this cycle goals one to seven, but then it loops back. Once you get to seven, you’re going to loop back to five and repeat steps five, six and seven.

Discovery ticks a lot of the boxes.

First of all, discovery is delivered in brief bitesize sessions, brief meetings. I believe discovery session can be run with a large portion of your clients.

Discovery actually fits in perfectly with your end of year client meetings. You’re sitting down, you’re talking to these clients anyway. Why don’t you enter Advisory into the conversation?

Pull out the data for the last two years.

You could look at sales revenue. You can look at costs. You can have this done in advance and have some ideas about areas of focus that could benefit the client.

Then, you ask “what are your goals for next year?” once you have identified the goals, then you ask. “What needs to happen in order for you to meet your goals?” And in that conversation now you’re going to start generating both, revenue opportunities and also, opening the door to further strategic work.

Because once the clients get a taste of this, once the clients have the conversation, they’re going to be eager to take it further and expand out on those conversations, have deeper conversations with you, around their business and about what they want to do.

Step 6: Strategic

That’s when we step from discovery into the delivery of strategic solutions. This is where you’re facilitating strategic reviews.

We have our pillar event, our annual strategic event, which is either your business or your wealth, depending on the client type.

This is where you start identifying and developing your packages. In addition to your pillar event you then hold regular review events happening either quarterly or on a more regular basis.

It’s amazing to see. The first couple of steps can take a long time. One, two and three, accountants can be looking Advisory for a long time. I’ve been having conversations with accountants about Advisory, some of them for four, five, six years.

The once they start having the conversations with clients, they normally find the steps four and five, can start happening a much quicker. Once five happens, and you get on to discovery path, normally, six will follow fairly quickly.

One of the key things with five and six is having a process in order to bring clients through. As I said in an earlier presentation, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. You could sit down, you could spend years trying to figure out the sequence of questions and the sort of questions you could ask but would that be the best use of your time. And if you were to take this approach, what do you think your likelihood of success might be?

For faster and more assured results find a solution with a proven track record for accountants who have all the processes and questions identified for you.

Sometimes once accountants start with discovery, it can take them time to step to the strategic level and this is fine. On the other hand some accountants take to it like a duck to water and jump straight. They don’t even go into discovery, they just jump straight to strategic, and they deliver full packages straight off the bat. But most accountants take their time. And that’s a good thing as well.

Step 7: Passion

But once accountants get into the delivery of strategic sessions, normally, steps six to seven happen very, very quickly.

And that’s where we talk about becoming a passionate business advisor.

So this is where you’re facilitating full-on strategic packages with performance planning sessions. This is where you become the most trusted strategic advisor; you’re indispensable to the client’s future.

And remember what we said about being indispensable? It’s really about being in the room when your clients are making key business decisions, rather than being asked to implement them, following the decision being made.

And that’s really distinction, and that’s really where you want to get to, as an advisor.

So, as I said, I don’t know where you are in your journey. But find your spot. Know what your next step is, create that plan in order to get to it.

And remember this is not a revolution; this is an evolution.

You are not going to wake up one morning delivering full strategic Advisory packages, but what you need to do is put the stepping stones in place. And remember, intention does equal attention.

So, you need to have very clearly identified in your head what you want, and how you want your Advisory to develop in your firm.

No matter where you are, you should be targeting and holding client discovery meetings.

Whether you are a battle-hardened advisor, who’s been delivering this for years, or whether you’re somebody who is just getting into it, this really is one of the things that I implore people to do the most.

It works all-round. The client has a wonderful experience. You, as the accountant, get comfortable with Advisory. The client identifies opportunities and possibilities for their business, and you identify opportunities and possibilities for your firm leading to enhanced Advisory packages and also additional consulting and compliance work.

But, the next steps are all about actions. And actions should only be based on plans. Plans should only be based on goals.

So, here it’s about setting your goal, creating your plan and identifying your actions, that you want to take with advisory.

So that’s question ten of our 10 Big Advisory Questions.

Getting Started With Advisory – What Are My Next Steps?

If you haven’t seen the first videos in the series, please do go find them and check them out now.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the remaining series where I deal with some of the other big questions in relation to Advisory.

And from me, good luck, goodbye. Thank you for listening and I’ll talk to you soon.