A Whistlestop Roundup of Accountex 2022: 4 Things We Learned from London's Premiere Accounting Exhibit

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Well, it’s been a hot minute since the last Accountex! 

Like many events, London’s premiere exhibit for all things accounting and finance was postponed due to the pandemic. But as we all exit this strange vortex that was Covid-19, in-person events are making a rather fantastic comeback.

Accountex 2022 saw finance brands bring their experiential A-game. There were coffee bars, games, and lots (and lots) of goodie bags.

Of course, there were loads of informative discussions and panels as well; all highly educational and CIPC-accredited, we should add. Our team soaked up as much information as possible to whip up this roundup of the exhibit’s freshest ideas. Here’s what we learned.

It’s all about Advisory

Advisory. Advisory. Advisory. This term kept cropping up repeatedly during our two days at the Excel Center. 

But what does it actually mean, and why has it suddenly become so popular for accountants?

Advisory Guys Martin Bissett and John Thompson probably summed it up best during their keynote; advisory work is simply about helping clients do better

In other words, it’s not enough to just focus on compliance anymore. Clients want more expert guidance than they did ten years ago. While some clients may voice this desire out loud, many won’t. Firms proactive enough to tease this information out are better placed to serve their clients more powerfully.

Of course, making sure business owners don’t run into regulatory hot water will always be an essential part of any accountant's role. But learning to anticipate client needs and wants beyond the basics is how firms can truly stand out in a rapidly changing market.

Serve the whole client 

With more and more people starting their own businesses, many accountants are now serving a greater slice of the SME market.

Unlike corporations, founders of SMEs can often face financial challenges  - both from a personal and business perspective. It’s, therefore, crucial to view the client as a whole person - one whose business goals will actually enable their personal objectives.

Putting this into action

With smaller clients, it’s best to take a personal first, business second approach. If you can help clients improve their personal situation with basic financial planning, they’ll be better placed to smash those business goals with you.

Think before you integrate 

As a tech-first platform ourselves, we’d be remiss not to touch on the topic of technology and automation.

Now, more than ever, there are a ton of tools you can integrate with to encourage streamlining and routinisation in business. But Will Farnell, author of the Digital Firm, was quick to remind us that tech isn’t always the answer.

Tech overload is very real. Instead of over tooling, find out your clients' real problems and start asking the right questions. If a tool or platform isn’t going to provide the right value-driven services for your clients, the answer is simple…don’t integrate it!

Putting this into action

Before implementing any new technology, conduct thorough fact-finding, research and process-mapping. Pay special attention to what kind of support the vendor offers. For instance, PayFit offers support from actual CIPP-qualified payroll experts.

Over-communicate your value

It sounds obvious. But communication is one of the most underrated tactics underpinning your advisory strategy.

This is especially crucial as more entry-level financial solutions begin to flood the marketplace. You’ve got to highlight what makes your services so valuable and how they’re impacting your clients’ lives.

As Bissett and Thompson stated during their keynote: If a client doesn't know you've delivered specific value to them (e.g. helping their business reach seven figures), how can they justify paying for your services moving forward?  

Putting this into action

Keep your clients informed regularly of what you’re doing for them - be sure to spell it out for them with actual figures and numbers rather than wishy-washy language. When big wins happen, don’t forget to celebrate these.

When courting a prospect, be sure to communicate what you’ll be able to achieve together. Make it clear, powerful and relevant to their personal situation with a water-tight proposal. 

Last but not least…

Ask the question that will save their life 

We loved Andrew Van De Beek of Illumint8’s talk on Advisory Beyond Numbers: How Thinking Big Could Save Your Client’s Life.

Funny, engaging and unapologetically Australian, this is one finance guru that’s worth checking out - you can listen to his musings on the All Aussie Accounting Adventures podcast. 

Numbers certainly form the foundation of great accountancy. But Andrew was keen to point out it’s sometimes worth asking questions that aren’t about the numbers. For example, he explained how simply asking one of his clients if they were healthy meant he was able to help turn their situation around. That, in turn, had a powerful effect on the performance of their business.

Putting this into action

Don’t forget that the clients you serve are people too. Get curious about their lives and what you can do to help them personally as much as on a business level.

So there you have it, four lessons to take away from Accountex 2022. Whether you were in attendance or not, we’ve outlined a few simple things you can take action on today. 

You can find more insights on finance and payroll topics on our blog.

PayFit blog author

PayFit blog author


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