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3 common roadblocks to advisory

Practice Management Advisory Services

Tax advisory continues to be an emerging trend in the tax and accounting profession, but why are so many still hesitant to begin their journey toward advisory services? There are a few reasons, including mindset, comfort levels, and practice. Some firms may never get started because they want everything to be perfect before they begin, don’t want to go on the multi-year journey, or just can’t get into the right mindset.

Whatever is holding these firms back, it’s time to reevaluate. Nothing is perfect, and there’s no time like the present to start this new way of doing business to improve your firm’s culture and bottom line. And most importantly to have the biggest impact possible on your clients lives.

#1: Shift your mindset

First and foremost, tax pros need to be in the right mindset before pursuing these changes to their firm, and making advisory a service and a common practice. Some firms never get started because they can’t get their head around it–they want everything to be perfect from the beginning, from every process to every checklist. What holds them back is that they don’t want to get into a situation with the client where they don’t know an answer.

But nothing is perfect, and it’s all about getting started. If you wait for perfection, you’ll be too far behind to catch up. There’s a myth that tax professionals are too stuck in their ways to change—but that’s not true. There comes a point in every tax pro’s journey where their mindset will shift, and they’ll see how the market is changing and how they can adapt with it. Many tax pros have started to make these changes, but there are several that still need that epiphany moment where their mindset changes and they can finally see how the switch to advisory services can change their firm’s vision and future.

#2: Find a new comfort level

Similarly to shifting your mindset, some tax pros aren’t comfortable, yet, when thinking about making a big change to their firm. Everyone has had to change and adapt in the last five years, and while firms are good at adapting, 90 percent of the time they adapt by reacting. We’ve had so much legislation in the last few years and so many new things coming at us within weeks. If you’re not comfortable with change, think about everything you’ve done over the last few years and how far you’ve come.

Change isn’t always proactive. Most of the time, we wait and respond to a stimulus that forces us to react, but knowing you can adapt to change should open up your comfort level with it. This is an opportunity to be proactive and define what the practice looks like to create something that is much more beautiful.

To add to your comfort level, look locally for help. Find the conversations out there on advisory and look online for group discussions, webinars, or blogs. There are so many services and support groups to help you get started and ease any nerves you have around making these changes.

#3: Practice, practice, practice

Once the mindset and comfort level roadblocks are overcome, there comes the moment where firms realize this isn’t a quick change. This is a multi-year journey that needs to be practiced. Sometimes firms aren’t willing to put in the work and practice, but this is what we do at the core of our profession. We practice accounting, writeups, and tax returns. Those didn’t come easy to us overnight, but when we put the work in and are passionate about the results, it eventually becomes second nature. It doesn’t have to be an overnight transformation. In fact, doing that would be ill advised. Start small and test into advisory to really get this right.

So while practice may be a roadblock holding you back from advisory, it is such an important part of the advisory journey. When firms are just first beginning on the road to advisory, they need to practice on a trusted, loyal client and then implement on other clients until the entire firm and client roster is implementing advisory. Start with clients with great relationships and move along from there.

Firms that lead with advisory today are the ones that launched and practiced along the way and made mistakes. Like we said before, no one is perfect, and building confidence through practice is so important when you’re making a big change to how your firm operates.

Remember, this won’t happen overnight. It’s a multi-year journey and process, so take your time, but don’t let these common roadblocks get in the way of your firm’s success.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published by the CPA Practice Advisor. Check out the whitepaper, “The Path to Advisory,” that can be downloaded and used extensively in your firm. The PDF includes checklists, charts, and many other activities that could not be included in this article. Download it today. There is also an Executive Summary available for download.

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