Maximizing Business Advice: A Systematic Approach for Accountants

As a CPA, it's common to find yourself limited to tax returns and audits due to the regulatory and compliance nature of your work. This can hinder your ability to generate additional revenue or expand your consulting services. However, there are strategies you can employ to shift from a compliance-focused role to becoming a trusted advisor who offers consulting and advisory services.

CPAs are uniquely positioned to take on the role of a "quarterback " for business owners, thanks to their expertise in financial and regulatory matters. Since tax regulations are ever-changing, CPAs are often seen as essential advisors for business owners, giving you a seat at the table. The key is to strategically position yourself as the “go-to” advisor to facilitate any business concern, which will drive revenue and grow your practice.

Use Strategic Frameworks as a value-added service

To transition from a compliance-based approach to building a reliance relationship with your clients, it is crucial to begin by asking the right questions and possessing the knowledge to guide them toward their goals. By implementing a systematic process for delivering solutions, you can effectively provide valuable insights and gain a competitive advantage over other advisors.

However, the first and most important step is to earn the right to be heard and offer high-value advice. Understanding all the factors that can impact a business owner's vision is essential in this process.

For accountants, the ISPA's Succession Matrix serves as a valuable tool that identifies 10 key planning issues. It offers a comprehensive approach to efficiently facilitate solutions that align with business owners' goals. Additionally, the ISPA provides access to tools, templates, and "how-to" strategies, offering support along the way.

Remember, you don't need to be an expert in all areas, but rather, you should know how to connect the dots and have a network of strategic relationships to support you on your journey.

In your current practice, do you have any frameworks or tools you can use to work with your clients to explore more complex challenges?

Help your clients apply Strategic Tactics to succeed

Frameworks like the "Succession Matrix" are valuable planning tools for your business. When you apply strategic thinking to your clients business you increase your value and build trust. When you help them actually apply these tools and create opportunity, you become an invaluable asset.

When they think differently about themselves, they will think differently about you.

Each aspect of the matrix has a direct influence on the others, and therefore your ability to drive results. For example, understanding the "Owner Motivation & Perspective " is crucial as it allows you to comprehend what drives your clients to take action. By knowing their motivations, you can effectively incorporate their desires and reasons into your language, inspiring them to engage in planning. With a deep understanding of their motivations, you can tailor your messaging to address their fears and help them progress towards their goals.

Let's consider how “Personal Financial Planning” influences management, strategy, business performance, structuring, and family dynamics/governance.

1. Estate planning, lifestyle, and credit continuity needs influence business structuring options, requiring effective documentation with complexities and details.

2. Financial dependence on business profits affects the organization's ability to leverage resources for growth and increased profitability.

3. Preparation towards financial independence from the business impacts the availability of resources for achieving strategic goals.

4. Empowering management and deploying their exit strategy affects key manager retention and motivation to provide leadership support.

5. Confidence in management's ability to work as a team towards strategic goals and support successor development influences an owner's motivation to deploy their exit strategy.

6. Willingness to deploy their exit strategy impacts a successor's ability to take on leadership responsibilities, feel empowered, and make a long-term career commitment.

7. Capacity for communicating exit strategy, estate planning, wealth management, and credit guarantee details to family members.

8. The ability to effectively communicate exit strategy, estate planning, wealth management, and credit guarantee details impacts family members' understanding, acceptance, and respect for effective governance.

These examples highlight the numerous opportunities available to CPAs who want to elevate their business advisory practice beyond tax returns and audits. From personal coaching and strategic planning to key manager retention programs and family governance strategies, the holistic planning approach of the Succession Matrix offers endless possibilities to add value.

You don't have to be the expert implementer, but if you can connect the dots and facilitate solutions through strategic relationships, you can earn the role of the trusted advisor.

Do you have a strong network of trusted partners that can help you look at your clients' businesses from multiple angles?

Clear Implementation: Turning Strategies into Results

CPAs have the power to transform strategies into tangible results through an enhanced data-gathering process. You have the unique opportunity to have a behind-the-scenes look at the reality of your clients' business - the numbers. How can you help them utilize that information to make more strategic, comprehensive decisions? Or at the very least, explore complex interdependencies?

Can you connect the dots for them and show them unique ways to structure teams, find market opportunities, identify trends, or highlight a hidden opportunity?

Can your insight into the data help them avoid a potential roadblock?

When you look at their world through multiple, interconnected lenses, you will start to see patterns they don’t and will be their secret weapon when it comes time to expand.

How are you currently making yourself indispensable through your unique ability and services?

Are there ways you could see yourself taking this further and expanding your service offerings? What would you need to put in place?

Elevate Your Accounting Practice with ISPA: Holistic Planning Approach

By completing the Certified Succession Planner™ designation, which provides a comprehensive exploration of the Succession Matrix, you will gain a deeper comprehension of how each aspect of the matrix directly influences your core service offering and impacts your clients' goals. Armed with this knowledge, you will possess the ability to ask insightful questions that uncover missed opportunities and crucial issues. Additionally, by utilizing the Succession Planning Assessment, you will have a pre-defined set of questions at your disposal, enabling you to pinpoint actionable steps automatically. This is especially valuable for accountants who want to excel in their field.

The Succession Matrix and Succession Planning Assessment, both developed by a collaborative team of CPA, attorney, wealth advisor, financial planner, and organizational psychologists, serve as your ultimate solution for identifying crucial issues, motivating your clients to take action, and implementing effective strategies to achieve their goals. By ensuring that your clients' needs are fulfilled, you not only establish strong lucrative relationships but also generate valuable referrals, ultimately growing your practice.

In the ever-evolving landscape of business advisory services, CPAs often find themselves limited to tax returns and audits. However, ambitious CPAs can break free from this mold and become trusted advisors capable of offering invaluable consulting and advisory services. To embark on this journey, strategic positioning and a commitment to constant evolution are essential. A key factor in this transformation is applying the Succession Matrix. This powerful tool empowers CPAs to navigate the complex web of business concerns and guide their clients towards their ultimate goals. By understanding the intricate interplay between various factors, such as owner motivations, financial dependencies, and communication strategies, CPAs equipped with the Succession Matrix can provide unparalleled insights.

This approach goes beyond traditional roles and enables CPAs to offer comprehensive assistance to their clients.


Take your practice to new heights through world-class training that will help your clients succeed and ultimately grow your own business. 

Are You Looking to Grow Your Practice?

Check out these other free downloads


Multi-generational clients grow your business. Whether you are a lawyer, accountant, financial advisor, or consultant, we have a list of actionable strategies you can test today to motivate your clients to work with you long term.


In this free resource of 12 powerful questions you can ask to identify client motivations and influence business owners to take action. You will have a better discussion with prospects & clients immediately.


Want to get into the specifics of what it takes in succession planning? Gain insights into the inner-workings of a real long-term family business succession planning case study and a business engagement that was worth over $75,000 per year.


We outlined three of our best examples of projects you could learn from and potentially apply in your business. From objective to successful outcome, these family business examples help you build strategies.