How to become a trusted advisor
Updated: Feb 16
The pivotal word is ‘trust’. To seek you out as an advisor or a source of business decision-making support, clients need to have confidence in your abilities and insights. We’ve identified three key areas where you can maximise your position and be the trusted advisor your clients want.
Use technology to good effect
The quality of your advice may come down to two things – looking backwards and forwards.
New technology offers you far greater opportunities for forensic accounting – gathering data to analyse and map a clear financial picture for your client. The starting point of any work as a trusted advisor is to show that you know exactly where they are now, as well as how they got there.
From there, you can work out what they need to do to meet their aims and expectations. There are lots of tools available for accurately predicting financial outcomes. This takes much of the risk out of the advice you can give and enables you to provide clients with a meaningful roadmap for their financial future.
Knowing me, knowing you
Becoming a trusted advisor means coming out from underneath the sea of financial data and compliance know-how. To provide meaningful advice, you would need to know the individual or company on a far more in-depth level. Where do they aim to be? What do they feel are the biggest concerns and hurdles? How feasible is your advice?
This is a two-way street. Your clients need to develop an understanding of you. This can mean providing greater clarity of your own professional standpoint, but also establishing a real-time relationship.
The two attributes that psychologists believe underpin all business relationships are competence and warmth. Your professional abilities need to be readily accessible in a highly responsive way, but you also need to be empathetic.
Consistency and consideration
100% reliability and staying one step ahead is vital. Your clients shouldn’t always be bringing the issues and opportunities to you. But, when they do, it should be because they need your calm, measured and honest assessment, delivered consistently in a timely manner.
You need to challenge your clients and step in before problems arise, or suggest positive new initiatives without being asked. This amount of agility and insight is rarely down to accountancy expertise alone – it comes from being proactive in nature and placing the client’s needs at the core of everything you do.
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