According to the 2019 Small Business Finance and HR report , 86% of the small business owners agreed that their accountant is “a trusted advisor they can turn to for a wide range of business advice.” Because accountants are one of the most trusted business professionals, this places them in a positive light for offering additional advisory services to their clients.
Today’s small businesses are increasingly looking to accountants for services beyond bookkeeping, tax preparation, and compliance. Offering strategic advisory services from accounting professionals to their clients is a win-win for everyone. While it allows accounting professionals to deepen their relationships with current and existing clients, it helps clients make intelligent financial decisions and improved business results.
No matter whether you’re a novice or an experienced accounting professional in offering business advisory services, adding funding advisory services to your accounting armory is one of the smartest ideas. A report of SBA.gov revealed that “there are 30.2 million small businesses”, which comprise a whopping 99.9% of all United States businesses.
Spite of having this much market share, qualifying for funding is one of the top financing challenges for small businesses. According to a recent survey by Ondeck, “Out of the total loan applications by the U.S applicants, 82% were denied by the banks”.
With this in mind, assisting clients in securing a business loan can help you grow your accounting firm and provide additional funding advisory services to your clients without adding heavy costs. In this guide, we take a look at how your funding offering can help you build trust, make you profitable and beat competitors with a consistent and proactive approach.
Understand Different Funding Resources Available to You
Thanks to the rise of the digital marketplace, online lending platforms & aggregators, and crowdsourcing, today, the accountant can help business clients seeking a business loan in various ways, irrespective of what stage of development the business is in.
Since there are a plethora of small business financing options available, choosing which funding options are the best for your clients should be at the top of your funding advisory list. You’ll need to understand what your current funding solution is and what you can do for a client seeking funding today.
When you fully understand your current offering, you will be in a better position to promote your services and eventually fix your client’s funding problems. All businesses will experience the phases of the business life cycles where they need different types of financing to conquer the various obstacles. So it’s vital to understand the different reasons of your clients for taking out a business loan. The key is to take your time to understand your client’s funding needs, making them aware of the solution you offer so that they approach you when they are in need of financing for their small businesses.
Even if you’re a smaller accounting firm that might not offer funding advisory services at all, you can also leverage the benefits of this ever-growing financial consulting and advisory industry. Using an online lending marketplace, you can now access financial options you never knew you had. The evolution of technology has brought a number of online lending platforms that dramatically changed the accounting profession. As a result, all accountants now can offer businesses a better funding solution and use it to build relationships and boost revenue.
Talk to a business funding specialist in your company and ask them what you can do to make financing easy and fast for small businesses. Partner with a reliable lending marketplace that can help assist your accounting firm in obtaining various types of financing for your clients.
If you’re an accounting professional, make yourself aware of funding advisory services and ponder what you can do to solve your client’s small business funding needs. Explore and connect with different small business alternative lenders who are willing to fund your clients. Besides, take time to understand your client’s unique financial needs and make them aware of the different funding options available in the market
Identify Your Client’s Funding Needs
The next step in providing value-added service to your clients is to help them qualify their needs. Take your time to understand the unique financial needs of your clients, so you can choose the best lending options available in the market. It’s a great idea to ask them to clearly state the purpose and amount of the loan and try to find out if the desired loan is essential for your client’s business or not.
Before you start exploring different financing options, consider why your clients need one in the first place. Are they looking for some extra cash for short-term cash flow shortages? Are they planning to make large investments that will create new growth? Or do they have enough in savings to cover an emergency expense? It’s crucial to first determine why your client needs the extra capital.
Ask the Right Questions
Your clients may find it daunting, you must ask the right questions to understand your client’s funding needs. Ask clients about their bank balance, credit point and history, current borrowing position, future borrowing needs and if they can afford to make regular loan payments. It’s also worth asking if they are prepared to offer collateral or a personal guarantee.
Having your client’s important funding information available in hand means you’re in a better position to understand how your client’s business is looking to grow –and fund-over time.
Questions you should ask before your client get a business loan
- What do they need extra capital for?
- How much money they are looking for?
- What does their credit profile look like?
- How quickly do they need the funds?
- What type of loan they need?
- Do they have a backup plan?
- Can they risk collateral?
- Is their business stable?
You can ask the right funding questions from your current and existing clients via a broad-based business survey that includes questions about growth, capital, requirements, cash flow forecasting, funding, etc. This way, you will not only collect the essential information about your client’s business but boost your trust and reputation as an accountant. With answers in hand, you can offer funding solutions easily and quickly that meet their unique financial needs.
How to Develop Funding Advisory Culture in Your Company
From preparing for ups and downs of cash flow to handling emergencies, the benefits of getting a business loan are numerous. As per Small Business Lending Statistic and Trend 2020, “There are 43% of small businesses that applied for a loan last year, and only 48% of small businesses overall have their financing needs”.
With more and more small businesses are facing the problem of inadequate working capital and complicated loan approval process, it’s the key that accountants add funding into their financial advisory services, so clients can convert their business loan dream into reality.
Whether large or small, every accounting firm should develop a funding culture throughout the company that appreciates how important funding is to your business and to your clients. Mere collecting information about funding is not enough, it’s important that you fully understand what the actual funding needs of your client’s business is. Let your financial advisors work in a team and make sure that everyone is being positive and enthusiastic when it comes to funding.
Building a funding culture is essential in order to accomplish the overall small business financing goals and objectives, so it should be informed to everyone in the company. If you want to nurture the culture of funding in your organization, you should develop the way the different departments communicate with clients. From the way your front office team meets and greets the clients and to the way your CPA teams attend to their accounting. Importantly, your marketing and PR team can play a vital role in spreading the awareness of your funding solutions and boost the trust among your prospective clients.
What Role Does An Accountant Play In Funding Advisory?
As a funding advisor, accountants are responsible for the qualification, quantification, and presentation of the client’s financing needs for successfully securing a business loan. They are responsible for determining which loan option would be appropriate for their clients.
Also, you need to quantify the current financial condition and the credit need, so your business clients can get the best out of their loans. Finally, you can help clients collect all the important information that will improve the chances that the bank or an alternative lender will approve a loan request.
How Funding Advisory Can Help You Grow Your Accounting Business?
If you’re applying a proactive approach for your funding advisory service, no one can stop you from becoming a trusted advisor and growing your accounting business. It is one of the fastest-growing financial sectors that can give you a wonderful opportunity to solve the client’s biggest business problem, win the trust and take your accounting firm to the next level.
An accounting firm can use funding advisory services to help and improve their client’s bottom line and eventually grow their own business and revenue. Here are some top benefits of becoming a funding advisor:
- You will help prospects funding their small businesses, so will become a trusted accounting professional
- Depending on what you put in offering funding solutions, your income potential is essentially unlimited.
- You will be the reason for making meaningful changes in your client’s lives and businesses.
- It’s a high growth industry. More and more businesses will need the funding advisor to successfully get a business loan.
- You will get the opportunity to work with a variety of exciting clients and enhance your small business funding knowledge.
- You don’t need any start-up cost to start the funding advisory service
Considering providing additional value to your clients? By adding funding advisory services, you will not only help business clients create a strong financial foundation but provide yourself an amazing opportunity to build a successful career as an accountant. However, you and your financial team need to be proactive in communicating with clients, understanding their financial needs, marketing your service, and importantly, providing the best funding solution that meets your client’s unique financial needs.
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