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Accounting Advisory

Cashflow advisory guide: How can I identify which clients to help?

Although the pandemic has dealt small business owners a heavy blow, it has also brought cash into sharp focus. Clients now have a far better understanding of the money moving through their business, making cashflow services more viable than ever. 

But there’s a lot to think about when it comes to launching a new service – from pricing to simply deciding which clients to start with. So with this new three-part guide we’re breaking down everything you need to know. 

We want to help you hit the ground running, so you can get on with providing advice and helping businesses. To kick off the series, we’re looking at five simple ways you can identify who to help with your newly-launched cashflow service.

1. Start with the clients who need support most

Slow-paying customers, reduced revenue, difficulty making payroll – there are plenty of warning signs when it comes to cashflow. So if you already know your clients’ cash situation, prioritise those who are visibly struggling. 

Of course, cashflow issues can hide beneath the surface too. And when you don’t hear from clients, it can be tempting to think “no news is good news”, but this is rarely the case. Rather than leaving them be, keep a close eye on your clients’ cashflow and go to them armed with a solution – before they’ve even asked. 

There are various ways you can spot cashflow issues, whether it’s through clients’ accounting data or the problems you see them grappling with. Either way, catching things early can make an enormous impact, reinforcing the value of your services and differentiating your practice from competitors. 

How you can take action:

Have a client burning through a Bounce Back loan at an unsustainable rate? Help them refinance the funding and borrow more with a CBILS loan, to create a longer-lasting safety net. 

2. Make the most of receptive clients 

Some of your clients may have requested cashflow advice already, or you might have helped them with forecasting before. At the very least, you’ll know which clients are more engaged with their finances. 

These businesses are like gold-dust, so treat them as such – they may well be open to additional advice. With clients who already ‘get’ cashflow, you can skip the education piece and get on with delivery. 

Early customers can also provide learnings which you can apply to more difficult clients. Plus, after you’ve helped a client, you can use their story for a case study or get them to write a glowing review. All you need to do is ask. 

How you can take action:

Identify clients who do their own cashflow forecasting, then tell them how much time they could save with Fluidly, which automates all the hard work. 

3. Act on the information you already have

When it comes to cashflow, it’s generally easier to work with clients who reconcile their accounts more frequently. So it can pay to help those clients first – you’ll have a clearer picture of their finances, what’s coming ahead and be in a better position to give advice. 

But even when clients don’t have accurate data you still have plenty of options. You could pick out clients for cashflow support based on your existing knowledge of their business, for example, or the tell-tale questions they come to you with. 

You might also be able to prepare initial recommendations using the information you do have, which you can use as a conversation-starter. This proactive work could encourage better bookkeeping habits and ignite interest in other services too. 

How you can take action:

If you work with young businesses with little to no financial history, ask them “what keeps you awake at night?”, to uncover their most pressing issues and kickstart an advisory conversation. 

4. Pay special attention to at-risk sectors 

Hospitality, personal care and leisure businesses are in a particularly precarious position right now. So if you’re not sure about which clients need help, those in at-risk sectors will always be a prudent choice. 

Before this crisis you might have kept an eye on clients making big changes, like opening up new locations or investing in new equipment. Now the biggest changes your clients face relate to local and nationwide restrictions, which could prevent them from trading entirely. 

While many made it through the height of lockdown with the help of government support or reserves, 39% of businesses say they are about to run out of cash. With more uncertain winter months ahead, now’s the time to step in.  

How you can take action:

Go through your clients list, identify businesses more likely to be impacted by coronavirus restrictions and reach out systematically. 

5. Use the tools at your disposal 

With the advent of cloud accounting software, many day-to-day accounting tasks take far less time than they would have even a few years ago. But Fluidly goes even further – it gives you everything you need to get a new service off the ground too. 

Take portfolio view, which provides a view of all of your clients’ cash situation at a glance. This feature not only highlights how good a match specific businesses are for cashflow support, it also reveals the various funding options available to them. Even a quick skim reveals crucial insights. 

Fluidly helps you dive deeper still, uncovering your clients’ biggest debtors and helping your clients plan for all-important ‘what if….?’ questions, like “what if my biggest customers can’t pay me anymore?”

How you can take action: 

Use insights from Fluidly to inform client meetings, so you come prepared and feel better equipped to start conversations about cashflow support. 

For more information on how to launch a cashflow service, visit the Fluidly partner resources page

 
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