How to take the first step into advisory

There are so many brilliant apps around that will add on to both Xero and Quickbooks. I like both Fathom and Fluidly and Futrli and Float too so how do you choose which one you like? It depends what you want to do to help your clients.

At the moment the fancy algorithms basing forecasting on past performance are of limited use but they still give you a nice template for semi-manual forecasting and will come in to their own again as businesses establish a new normal. The real advisory work comes in the time you spend with clients showing how they can change the numbers.

If you’re interested in getting into real business advice then look at Clarity as a way of automating the conversation. Using sliders you can show clients the impact on 7 different indicators. They’ve also just recruited a team who will help you to roll it out to your clients.

One way to roll out these apps is to

  • sign up for a trial period
  • spend a day fiddling with the app and watching the relevant training videos
  • send sample reports to all your relevant clients (and maybe a few prospects)
  • follow up with a phone call to see who would pay for it now and who might be interested in paying in the future
  • make your decision commercially based on this information, including how to price the new service. E.g. 1-2 clients paying now should cover the licence costs (often sold in minimum batches which is a real burden for small firms) so that the second or third client makes it profitable
  • start paying for the app and get yourself (or a member of your team) fully trained

All these apps rely on having good numbers in the core accounting software so good compliance is still vital to your advisory service.

*I receive no commission from any of these apps (although I’m happy for them to buy me a drink next time we meet up). They will all enhance your business in some way but it is up to you to make sure that they are commercially viable in a small practice.

**I love advisory work but, if it’s not your cup of tea, stick to the compliance work that you know and love.