Why businesses big and small need their Accountants to become the ‘Business Advisors of the future’. This is the first of a regular series of blogs about the Accountant, who also serves as a Business Advisor to their clients.
It looks at why businesses, who have access to unprecedented amounts of data, need a Business Advisor who can use that data to solve problems and point to better ways of working. And do so in a way that keeps things simple and makes sense to the client.
There is a world of data within reach of businesses big and small that is not being used to its full potential. The data can show you ways to take cost out of your business or make best use of your capacity, or show you how much money you are making on each customer and contract. It can also show the strength of your customer relationships and where new lines of business might be found.
But, much of this data may be hard to reach and not be all in one place. Some of the most important may also sit outside the business, held by suppliers and customers.
For example, imagine you are an aspiring Amazon and you ship what you sell by courier. You need your own data to tell you whether you are producing what you sell in the most efficient way. But that might be located across order booking, work scheduling and financial systems plus some supporting spreadsheets.
You may need data from the courier to tell you how often your customers receive their orders on time – a critical measure of customer satisfaction with the service. You might also want data from social media sites such as Facebook to tell you what other things your customers might be buying.
You then need to turn all of this data into a set of clear and simple pictures that show you what’s important for you to know.
Businesses need Advisors who know how to use data to create those pictures – and explain what they mean in a language that everyone can understand. It’s a challenging task. Not least because the tools and methods needed often sit behind a wall of jargon and can appear to be impenetrable to all but the most experienced practitioner.
Nevertheless, we believe that, with access to the right training and support, their Accountant is ideally placed to perform this much needed role.
You know your clients’ business and what they have to do well in order to grow, you are already there as a trusted advisor, you do numbers, and, perhaps most important of all, you know how to explain things in ways that are simple and easy to understand.
We have launched a service aimed at equipping Business Advisors with everything they need for this role. It involves use of an expanding on-line knowledge base, access to technology designed to be easy to master, and help and support in accessing and using data. Please see below for more information.
We are working in partnership with: Keen Shay Keen MK Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors in Milton Keynes in the UK who are piloting the service, as well as member organisations within The Biztech Technology Forum also based in Milton Keynes. And we have big amibitions. To change the face of accountancy so that you become the data smart, digitally savvy Business Advisors who can use data to help solve the problems standing in the way of your clients’ ambitions.
Within the next blog we will be looking at the starting point – the need for a new conversation with your clients. They may see you as principally their Accountant. They know you for their financial reporting. What does it take to convince them that you are so much more?