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Resourcing Advisory

Resourcing Advisory |

One of the biggest issues for Accountants and Bookkeepers in offerin g Advisory Services is resourcing. I’ve heard divergent views on this.

First is this concept of the partner doing the advisory and it’s a topic I have some really strong opinions on.

I think that partners just need to get out of their own way.

I’ve written articles on this, published reports in the Good, Bad, and the Ugly.

I’ve presented at workshops. and conferences, talking about this concept of getting out of your own way, as a partner. 

You can’t just put your arms around advisory and say, ‘This is the holy grail. These are the services that I believe I’ve always wanted to do. Therefore nobody else is going to get near them”.

It’s like saying to the guys do all the boring stuff…I’ll do the advisory thank you very much.

Then what typically happens is, and  it’s either you as the sole practitioner or one of the partners in a multi-partner firm, goes over and does advisory for a little bit and then realises that it’s a little bit slow in the takeoff.

So you come back over onto the tools because the files are piling up on the compliance work and it needs to get out the door because that’s what makes you the money.

As a result. Advisory never happens because you never get back to it. You get stuck over in compliance land. 

Resourcing Advisory |

Now there is nothing wrong with compliance, it isn’t going away, but the fact of the matter is, if you want to be doing advisory, you can’t live in both worlds. You’ve got to make a choice and for you to go over to advisory land, then you’ve got to be ready for it, you’ve got to have either extra resources on the compliance side or you’ve got to resource yourself correctly on the advisory.

So I don’t think that the “partner doing it all” model really works. You’ve got to get out of your own way.

The second model that I see is training junior staff to do the work. The problem here is that junior staff don’t, as a whole, really have the conversational and the analytical skills that we’ve built up over a number of years.

Again, I am generalising, but in my experience, the ability to provide quality advisory comes with experience.

You cannot beat the experience that you’ve developed over years and years and years as an accountant advising small business owners.

So if the person that you’re wanting to put in the advisory chair doesn’t have a wealth of experience of dealing with small business owners, all they’ll be doing is following a system, churning out reports.  I think this is one of the reasons why accountants love that reporting function of the quarterly or the monthly meeting because they can get junior staff and they can scale it. I get the scaling thing. 

Resourcing Advisory |

However, the ,fact of the matter is if you want quality advisory project work, then you’re going to have to up the game in terms of the knowledge of your junior people.

Not saying that it can’t happen, but I think it is a longer road to be able to bring them on.

The third option is bringing in outside resources. They may be on a contract basis or they may be on a joint venture basis, similar to what we do with our SuperFirm or Colab products.

You need to look outside of your own practice if the skill set isn’t there. We’re in an age where getting quality people is near impossible. We also have to pay a premium for good quality if we can find it. It’s a great option then, to look at people outside of your own firm. If you have to contract somebody to do a particular job, then do it. We’re all accountants here, we all understand the concept of making a markup on our inputs. Contracting services out for advisory is no different. We just need to be able to make the appropriate margin. So there are three options that I believe are there.

I really think that the best option, if you can’t find the talent within,  is to contract it out. Develop a close relationship with a professional that focuses on  that type of work.

It can provide a solid approach to resourcing your advisory division.

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