• Diagnostax

4 skills every trusted advisor needs

Updated: Feb 16

According to the latest IFAC Global Survey, advisory revenues increased by 32% in 2015, with a forecast for the trend to continue in the same direction over the coming years. But as an advisor, what does this mean for you?

Everyone is all too familiar with the cliché, “trusted advisor” but the truth is, it isn’t going to go away. As the growth of advisory shows no signs of slowing down, your role and skillset will have more emphasis on becoming an all-round trusted advisor to your clients.

Your biggest challenge will be to transition your clients into an advisory led relationship; achieving this will require a different set of skills to the day-to-day technical skills required as an accountant. These technical skills – also known as hard skills – could include:

  1. Accounting qualifications

  2. Mathematics

  3. Expertise of accounting software

  4. Knowledge of relevant laws and regulations

However, being an expert “trusted advisor” requires a very different set of soft skills, those personal qualities that enable you to build trust and to interact effectively with your clients.

Communication skills

Do you have the capacity to really listen to what your clients want and to understand their goals and objectives? Being able to listen and draw out the information you need from your client is critical to be able to deliver an advisory service that your client values.

Simplify technical terms

As an advisor, you need the ability to explain technical concepts to your clients in an easy to understand way; this is particularly important where tax planning concerned. Clients do not have time to be confused by complex jargon, your task is to break it down and make it accessible. Understanding your client’s communication style is key, tailor your interactions to match your clients preference and strengthen your relationships even more.

Influencing skills

Delivering advisory proposals to your clients requires the ability to negotiate and build relationships through positive and open communication – influence. The ability to influence can often be seen as a skill you either possess or don’t but that is simply not true. Everyone has the ability to build relationships and negotiate it just takes confidence and a determination to identify a style that works for you.

Problem-solving

As an advisory you need to be able to think laterally, in order to identify the right opportunities and to find solutions to address your client’s goals and objectives. Being a trusted advisor to your client will take you outside the comfort zone of, explaining the what’s and the how’s, you need to be able to explain the why’s – this is where the additional value is created for the client.

To be a successful advisor, these are the types of skills you will need. However, unfortunately, these types of skills are often undervalued, and there is far less focus on providing training for them versus hard skills. Make it your focus and be the trusted advisor your clients want.

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