Getting the most out of a broker relationship
Promoted by FAST.
As a leading aggregator supporting more than 1,350 finance brokers across Australia, FAST has helped dozens of accounting firms to branch out into financing services. FAST Head of Southern Region Simon Southwell shares his top tips for making a broker relationship work.
In a fast-paced world where clients are increasingly looking to accountants to provide multi-disciplined professional advice, adding debt advisory and financing services can be an effective way to add another string to your business’ bow.
Over the years I have helped many accounting firms to implement financing services into their businesses, either through a referral partnership or a joint venture. And as a former owner of an accounting, financial planning and broking firm myself, I have learned some important lessons about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the accountant – broker relationship.
Find the right broker
For accounting firms considering a referral relationship, the first step should be to match the accounting firm’s brand, proposition and client base with the right capability and skillset of a broker.
For example, if the accounting firm mainly deals with manufacturing clients, the broker must bring a strong understanding of the sources and uses of cash in manufacturing and how to fund that type of business. Similarly, if the client base mainly comprises of import-export businesses, the broker should have knowledge of foreign exchange risk management.
From working with a multitude of accounting firms, I know that connecting the right broker with the right accounting firm can bring tangible business benefits for both businesses, and their clients.
Ask the right questions
The next step in the process is to ensure that everyone in the accounting business is aware of, and promoting, the additional service to clients. Often the simplest way to go about this is to ask the right questions at client review time.
Enquire about any outstanding debts, from home loans to car loans and credit cards and the rate of interest on each. Most clients focus heavily on the cost of their debt when they take out a loan but with interest rates and the cost of capital changing rapidly, a review of existing debt positions can really pay off.
Set the right KPIs
Accountants are busy people, and many are focused on servicing clients’ accounting needs and meeting their billable hours. The problem with this is that the only person with lending KPIs is usually the broker.
Therefore, for accounting firms who are serious about expanding the range of services they offer, there should be joint accountability when it comes to promoting additional services to clients, which are built into the team’s KPIs.
Research shows that more than half (54%) of businesses found their current accountant through recommendation or referral, so there is no doubt that a solid referral strategy can yield excellent results.
FAST was recently awarded the title of ‘Aggregator of the Year’ at the prestigious 2018 MFAA National Excellence Awards for the second year in a row, and ‘Mortgage Aggregator of the Year’ at the Australian Business Banking Awards 2018. FAST finance brokers can help accountants offer a broader range of services to their clients. To find out more about how FAST can help your business visit www.fastgroup.com.au/numbers