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The end of financial year (EOFY) is more than a race to close off, sign off and lodge. It’s an opportunity for savvy accountants to set themselves and their practices up for success as the start of the financial year - SOFY - hits.
Research from The Access Group found:
Here, accounting experts across The Access Group have put together the ultimate SOFY checklist that will ensure you keep profit margins up, free more time for higher value work and remove unnecessary tax time stress.
1. Review, meet, greet, repeat
Review your client list. Check profitability from each client and be decisive (ruthless even). With many practices struggling to hire accounting staff in the face of a massive talent shortage, now is the time to cut the wheat from the chaff and bid farewell to those low-to-no margin clients.
Then it’s about the follow up. Lock in planning meetings with clients you need to re-engage with before the new financial year starts. Draft a clear agenda that aims to clarify all your client’s professional goals. Do a P&L analysis. Review payroll liabilities. Do they want to invest? R&D funding? Sell? Retire? As a true accountant partner and advisor, you have the opportunity to be across more than just their accounts, by offering real value to their business planning.
From here, build in reviews and keep connected via a client portal so all actions can be updated and adjusted as needed. Our research has shown 87% of accountants with a portal say it improves their client experience, yet two in five still don’t have one*.
Look at your practice and client base for opportunities to shift from data entry and preparing tax returns to take on paid advisory or outsourced roles.
We know accountants spend, on average, two hours every day collating and curating practice and client data**. Consider - is this the best use of your time? Where you can, use this pivot point to look at how you can automate manual, time consuming tasks, or outsource bookkeeping and data entry to free up time for higher value work. Could you become the outsourced CFO for a client who doesn't want to commit to a full-time, in-house CFO?
Advising doesn’t just create a new revenue stream. When you educate clients on how to improve their data capture and processes, the upshot is better quality records for them – and an easier year end for you.
Building in incentives for clients can make EOFY easier for them and you, so now is the time to integrate this type of thinking for the year ahead. For example, you could offer fixed price agreements based on the quality of clients’ books – a percentage discount for a certain standard, a bigger reduction if records are reconciled, backed up or on an electronic system.
It sounds counter intuitive – give your clients ways to pay you less – but it’s not. You may get a lower fee but can do the job faster. Your margin increases and you can take on more clients or other work.
With all this in mind, it’s clear SOFY planning should include leveraging the right technology tools.
Advising clients to use the bookkeeping software that’s best suited to their industry will make EOFY easier for them and result in cleaner records for you. Using a centralised data warehouse and analytics platform means you can import client data, directly from their bookkeeping package of choice.
Likewise, it’s important to use solutions best suited to your practice, including support for new standards and compliance changes. This SOFY, that includes major changes to Special Purpose Financial Statements. Heading into FY23, it really is time to get ahead and get your head into SOFY planning, and if you weren’t already convinced, here are two more important reasons why…
All you need is to plan to start - and start planning.
*Momentum Intelligence conducted research on behalf of The Access Group between 18th to 24th January 2022 comprised 480 Australian accountants and bookkeepers.
**Momentum Intelligence conducted research on behalf of The Access Group between 1st to 21st of September 2021 comprised 320 Australian accountants and bookkeepers.