When CPAs open their firm, they usually start with essential services such as accounting and bookkeeping. However, if you are looking to really expand your firm’s revenue, then you will want to add Client Accounting Services (CAS). Here, we will take a look at what CAS is and how you can add these services to provide real growth for your accounting firm.
What is CAS and how firms benefit from it?
CAS are specialized accounting and financial services that can help you generate more revenue per client. According to an Accounting Today survey, 39% of small accounting firms offer CAS and 15% more plan to add it in the future. With CAS, you can become more valuable and indispensable to your client’s everyday operations. This will make your client less likely to “jump ship” to another accounting firm. Also, CAS are considered more specialized than accounting and bookkeeping services. Therefore, you will be able to bill more per hour. What is a client accountant, or even what is an accounting firm to clients? It means more when you offer CAS. Here’s a look at some top CAS services offered by accounting firms:
- Financial advisory
- Tax compliance
- Bill payment
- Financial reporting
- Outsourced CFO or controller services
- Succession planning
- Cash flow management
As you can see, there are many ways that you can help your clients’ operations.
How CAS can grow your CPA business
By offering CAS, you will be perceived more as a client accounting advisory service rather than a simple accounting firm. This can help elevate the reputation of your firm. Offering CAS can also help you pursue larger clients with more complex needs.
With CAS, you also have more opportunity to fit into a client’s roster of advisors. Here’s an example: Let’s say that a prospective client already has an accounting firm that they are happy with. However, the prospective client’s accounting firm does not offer tax compliance services. You can acquire that piece of the client’s business. Over time, the client may also shift over their accounting and bookkeeping to your firm.
One of the biggest issues with accounting firms is that their business is seasonal. By offering CAS, you are able to maintain a steady rate of operations throughout the year.
CAS can also help you generate more revenue per client. For instance, if you only have the accounting and bookkeeping part of a client’s business, you can also offer the client your CAS services such as tax compliance or cash flow management.
Finally, CAS can give you the opportunity to grow with your client. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing your client grow by leaps and bounds to only leave you behind because they prefer an accounting firm that “offers more.” With CAS, you can be sure that your clients will not outgrow your firm.
How to widen your firm’s services with CAS
Getting started with CAS is not a decision that should be taken lightly. The CAS service that your firm offers should be on par or exceed your core accounting and bookkeeping services. You need to think how to package your bookkeeping servicesHere are some tips on how to widen your firm’s services with CAS:
Make an assessment of your current business – Take a look at any client losses that you may have experienced in the last 12 months. Did you lose clients to firms that offer CAS? If so, then you may want to consider adding those services to your firm.
Perform market research – This is no use in offering a CAS that your client will not want. Therefore, it is a good idea to survey your existing clients to see what CAS they would actually use. If you find that 50% of your clients are looking to outsource their CFO, then your firm should seriously consider outsourced CFO services.
Spy on the competition – Take a look at what other CAS competitive accounting firms are offering. If you notice that other accounting firms are offering succession services, then your firm should consider adding that CAS.
How to get started with CAS
It is important that you have a plan in place to add CAS. Here are some client accounting services best practices to help get your CAS off on the right foot:
Market your CAS – It is important to let prospective clients know about your firm’s CAS. Therefore, you will want to take the time to create the marketing materials and communications needed to gain more CAS business.
Pitch CAS to existing clients – Be sure to create a pitch for your CAS to your existing clients. Gaining more business from an existing clients costs your firm less time and money than trying to get a new client to sign on to your firm.
Leverage cloud based software – Much like your accounting and bookkeeping services, there are cloud based services that can help you automate or streamline your CAS services. Be sure to see what CAS accounting services you can use for your firm.
Create a business plan – Chances are, you had to put together a business plan when you started your accounting business. Therefore, you should take the time to create a business plan with your CAS. Think about which CAS you are going to offer, who you are going to pitch that CAS to and how much CAS business can you handle at one time.
Have the right pricing model – You should make sure that you are pricing your CAS at a competitive rate that also leaves room for profit. You may want to see what the competition is offering in your market before setting your prices.
Plan for growth – If you are able to offer the right CAS to the right clients with the right pricing model, then your firm should experience some significant growth. Therefore, you should have a plan in place to meet the expanding services to your clients. Have a plan to add staff, expand your automation and keep your firm operations running smoothly.
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Growing your accounting firm with CAS
CAS can offer your accounting firm an incredible opportunity to gain some serious growth. However, it is important to make sure that you or your accounting firm are offering CAS services that are right for your client and your market. With the right plan, you will be able to successfully grow your accounting firm’s business with CAS.
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