Here are 5 steps to help you get started with CAS at your accounting firm.
1 min read
Lauren Miller is a content writer for Canopy.
Client Accounting Services, or CAS firms, can offer greater value to their clients, earn more revenue, and enjoy a better work life. For some in the industry, you might already be doing CAS work…now it’s time to level up and start getting paid for it! If you’re not engaging with your clients in this way (but a client is interested in using your firm's accounting services), keep reading. Here are 5 steps to help you get started with CAS at your accounting firm.
Take that first step and officially commit to offering CAS services. Simply creating the intention to transform your accounting firm to the CAS model is an important first step.
Once you’ve committed to adopting a CAS model, begin by drafting a written plan for your transformation. Reach out to your peers in the industry with CAS experience and ask them for mentorship. How did they get started? Do they have advice? Can they offer you a list of do’s and don’ts? Do you need a new tech stack to help you accomplish your CAS goals? Once you’ve done your research, create some actionable steps you’ll need to take to be ready to offer CAS. Rely on your network to help you develop what things your firm needs to do to launch advisory services.
As part of your written plan, you’ll also need to come up with a pricing strategy to support your new business model. Many CAS firms offload hourly billing and instead adopt the value-based pricing model, or subscription-based pricing model, in which clients are charged upfront at a set rate and the accountant is paid before the work is done. Learn more about these pricing strategies in this free checklist.
Now that you’re serious about CAS and have a plan, next up is reviewing all of your clients. Go over a list of all of your clients and look at what industry they’re in, what service you’re already providing and try to pinpoint ways you could offer more value to each client. Do you see an opportunity for a business development plan? Do you know someone else in their industry that can help them? How can you expand your value to each client? Keep track of what service you’re already providing them as you make your way through the list and add a note about any areas of opportunities you see as well.
Once you’ve gone through the list and noted the service you provide and service expansion areas, write down your top three favorite clients and your top three highest-fees clients (there may be some overlap here).
The clients you enjoy working with are a great place to start with CAS. Odds are, they are high-energy clients who enjoy your services already and will be open to seeing what other value you can bring to the table. Consider approaching these clients with potential areas in which you could add value. Find out what’s working for their business, what’s not working and pinpoint an area where you can add value. Once you’ve found that area, draft a proposal of services you can offer them and pitch it to them!
Once you’ve gotten your feet wet in CAS with your existing clients, now it’s time to take the next step. Figure out how you can take the experience you have with your first CAS clients and make it scalable for new clients. This doesn’t have to happen right away—completely transforming your business doesn’t happen overnight, so go easy on yourself. But, the goal here is to offer CAS services to new prospects. When you interview potential clients, ask them questions to help you figure out what value-add services you can offer them—not just the compliance services they may have found you through.
After you gain some experience talking to clients to find out where you can add value, you’ll be able to develop a standard list of questions you can continue to ask other clients. As you continue down the road of CAS, it’ll become easier and easier to expand your firm’s resources and before you know it, you’ll become a CAS expert.
Do you already offer CAS? Let us know the mistakes you made when you first started out and wished you knew to avoid in the comments below.
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