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Over the past few months I’ve had several opportunities to think about ways to help firms increase their capabilities in services. One of the great many benefits of belonging to an association is having fellow members who do things your firm doesn’t and vice versa. I continue to worry about firms that say they lost a client who “outgrew” the firm or simply found other options.

Any time another firm is providing a service to your client outside of the Allinial Global family, you face the risk of losing the client. Below is a list of some service opportunities that could potentially result in such a loss.

Service Opportunity Current Service at Risk
Wealth management Tax planning and compliance
Sales (indirect) and local tax (SALT) Tax planning and compliance
Financial planning Tax planning and compliance
Forensics Audit, review, client accounting
Valuation All business services
Cyber assurance and/or advisory Audit
IT assurance Audit
Business/management advisory Client accounting and tax services

This list is by no means exhaustive; it is meant to get you thinking about what you could lose by not offering the additional services your clients need. And it’s not only other accounting firms that pose a risk—take wealth management for example. There are wealth management firms offering tax as part of their services today because they understand the value of owning the entire client relationship. And now there’s news that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has backed a client accounting start-up company that is already seeing valuations far higher than accounting firms. I can guarantee you’ll see automation as a big part of that offering—and a revenue model that will not be built on hours times rate. Getting the client’s attention is critical.

Knowing what is at stake, we are committed to helping member firms strategize and scale up for new service opportunities. In the coming months, you’ll be seeing some exciting news about technology partnerships, service-focused workshops, and roadshows highlighting the capabilities within Allinial Global member firms, as well as additional programs that help firms take it to the next level by providing that service themselves.

Adding a new service can be a complex process, and Allinial Global wants to support members at various stages of these decisions. A great example of this support is our SALT webinar series starting on May 6. This four-part series is focused on the work relating to SALT, helping firms identify opportunities and decide how they want to support the service. Led by experienced panelists from Allinial Global member firms, these webinars will provide valuable opportunities to ask questions and learn directly from firms who excel in state and local tax.

We are also creating ways for members to simply refer the work entirely to an Allinial Global firm, as well as opportunities to get into doing compliance with a strategic partnership, as you’ll see with Avalara, coming soon. These options allow the firm to remain in charge of the client relationship while outsourcing bigger advisory to another Allinial Global firm. And of course, you can always work with a current member to advance your capabilities so you can go it alone in the future. The option is entirely yours.

We look forward to building out a variety of programs and support so that we have firms covered as new services are added to the mix. For now, if you’re wondering whether an Allinial Global firm offers a particular service, reach out to me and I’ll be glad to walk you through that decision and how to structure the engagement. We’ll continue to highlight various services individually in future blog posts, so stay tuned for more to come.

 

Mark Koziel CPA, CGMA

Mark Koziel CPA, CGMA

President and CEO at Allinial Global