You’ve heard most of these before, and I’ve already written about most of them, so I’ll keep this brief.
Here is my list of the most widely discussed problems with VAS and it’s implementation in today’s firms. (Please note that my experience is limited to the Australian industry.)
- Clients don’t know what they are.
- Our Teams struggle to upsell them.
- They are difficult to leverage.
- As a result they are left to the Partners to sell and deliver – so we just get busier!
What drives the REAL problem with VAS?
Our industry is old. We have been relied upon to account for our clients private and business dealings for centuries. The adage that there are only two things we can be sure of in life, death and taxes pretty much sums it up.
I think a lot of marketers who target our industry overlook or downplay this factor.
Our age also means that our industry is fairly stable by comparison to many others, such as the marketing industry. Sure, we have our fair share of technology advancements, but it would take civilisation wide changes to diminish our impact on our clients abilities to function on a quarterly basis.
We know this, but I think a lot of others forget it.
Especially when they market to us about a new “disruptive something or other”. Sure there have been some big administrative changes in the past twenty years, but were they really as big as we were told they would be in the marketing?
- Did the Y2K bug…
- Have we become paperless offices? Do we really want to?
- Have our clients stopped asking for compliance services?
- Software disruption (introduction of desktop accounting software for SME ie MYOB/Quickbooks).
In hindsight, these events either never came to be or fizzled out.
What they did do, was contribute to a skeptical marketplace. The partners I know have seen 25+ years of industry turnovers, turnarounds and turndowns. They’ve pretty much seen it a it’s best and worst.
And right now, the marketing would have you believe that we are facing another shake-up.
So what is the REAL problem with Value Add Services?
Given all this, I think there is one big question lurking in the back of every partner’s mind when they think of VAS…
What if compliance isn’t really dying???
What if compliance doesn’t disappear the way we’ve been warned? Certainly most practices I know are just getting busier and busier. While software companies would have us believe we need to adapt or die, they don’t seem to have told our clients this.
What happens if we embark on te VAS journey?
Does that mean we’re just twice as busy trying to manage the practice AND design, implement and sell new services which our existing clients are not asking for?
What happens if VAS is a passing phase?
What if we’ve spent all this time (and money) designing new services, training team members and creating client communications, and our clients just never buy? Could it all be a waste?
So many questions, and yet they remain mostly unanswered by the industry.
I’m going to change that. I want to start a conversation.
I think the conversation should address what we should be doing right now to minimise some risks:
- Missing the VAS rush and market opportunities.
- Overcapitalising on VAS products that may not be sustainable?
- Safeguarding our profit into an uncertain future.
A Conversation about the REAL problems we face over the next decade
I’ll be having this conversation in my upcoming online workshop : “The REAL problem with Future Proofing your Firm”.
Join me on Thursday, 18th August 2016 for a 45-minute workshop.
- What senior partners need to focus on to ensure profitability
- Why I think profitability will continue to drop (and how to stop it)
- The REAL problem behind why a firm doesn’t grow the way we want
- Fundamentals of growing value add services that will be profitable for the next decade
It’s a 45-minute conversation between myself and other proactive, senior Australian accountants who are invested in growing their firms and ensuring sustainable profits for the next decade.
Plus, if you listen right to the very end I can offer Partners a FREE firm review valued at $795. So make sure you listen to the end for details on how to get access.
There will be no replay on this one, and the workshop nature means that callers have multiple opportunities to join the conversation, ask questions and hear how other practices are responding. Your best value is to join in conversation and I encourage you to bring your questions – just post them below.
If you can’t make this call, let me know you’re interested and I will send an invite to the next one.