Foreword: For the most part, this newsletter is and will be about me and my views and things I am personally involved in. To that end, I have been working with my good friend and colleague W. Michael Hsu to help get the word out, in a practical and meaningful way, about his Measure x Hack Method and CPA to CFO program.
Through years of work as an outsourced CFO, Michael has had his share of successes and failures. As these challenges are often the best teachers, Michael has devised methodology and processes to build on for success as many CPAs transition into CFO-type roles and build client advisory service practices. Not an easy task by any means.
In this article, Michael explains how the task of growing a CAS practice can seem daunting and even unattainable at times, especially if you look at all you have to do. But, by breaking things down into smaller, but meaningful tasks, practice owners stand a better chance at achieving their goals. Read on and learn!
By W. Michael Hsu
We can marvel at great engineering achievements like massive bridges and skyscrapers, but when it comes to building a CAS practice, the same principles apply. It all breaks down into tasks.
In starting something like a CAS practice, our goals may seem just as daunting or near impossible as they do in thinking about creating some of the greatest structures on the planet. But when you look at your practice’s creation into smaller, simple tasks you will be able to better see how you can achieve it.
So now, those who have plans or are in the midst of building a CAS practice, your assignment is to break it down into five simple tasks. These are tasks that are achievable and maybe you can even accomplish one with a day.
1. Identify clients’ needs
2. Build process and frameworks
3. Set up recurring reporting rhythm
4. Assess client’s business infrastructure and financial health
5. Develop financial forecasts and projections
By the end of this article, we also want to share what exactly it was that you did so that others may have a chance to learn from it. Nobody building this kind of a business should go through it alone. We need to hold each other accountable for measuring and hacking our professional lives and building a bridge to our success.
If you’ve actively participated in accounting events over the last couple of months, you’d certainly have noticed the buzz around CAS. Yet, practical advice on implementing CAS, particularly for startups with limited resources, seems to be scarce.
Don’t worry, though. If you’re already on the CAS journey, you’re a step ahead, 30 percent ahead of your competition, in fact. This article aims to fill that void by offering. So let’s hit the road to CAS success together, shall we?
Here’s a clear, five-step guide to aid both budding and established CAS practitioners.
Step 1: Tap into the Power of Client Insights
Set yourself apart by really getting to know your clients’ wants and needs. Asking the right questions that can help you unearth their pain points, paving the way for solutions custom-built to meet their specific challenges. This approach will differentiate your firm from others, fortifying lasting relationships and propelling your CAS practice sky-high.
Step 2: Construct a Solid Operational Framework
A well-devised plan leads to efficient action. So step two is to establish an operational framework that supercharges efficiency and accuracy. Embrace the latest tech, make those tedious tasks automatic, and set up foolproof processes that secure your spot as a trendsetter in the industry. With this strong foundation, you’ll not only deliver impressive results but also save precious time and effort.
Step 3: Create a Splash with Effective Communication
In the whirlwind of today’s digital age, top-notch communication is critical. Lift your CAS practice by instituting a regular reporting rhythm that will keep your clients hooked. Design visually captivating reports that translate complex financial data into easily digestible insights. By displaying an eye for detail and building trust, you’ll position yourself as the go-to advisor in the accounting scene.
Step 4: Unearth Hidden Wealth in Client Financials
Put your detective hat on and discover the hidden riches within your clients’ financials. Dive into their business infrastructure, examine their financial health, and spot opportunities for growth. Armed with this intel, you can offer strategic advice and implement innovative solutions that catapult your clients to new heights.
Step 5: Illuminate the Pathway to Future Prosperity
Take the lead by creating precise financial forecasts and projections. Help your clients navigate the ever-changing business landscape with unwavering confidence. Your forward-thinking expertise will enable them to make informed decisions, seize promising opportunities, and face any arising challenges. Together, you can craft a future teeming with growth and financial prosperity.
Establishing a thriving CAS practice is far from an impossible dream. It took me 13 years to transition from offering basic accounting services to becoming a fractional CFO, but you now have a well-laid plan to emulate that success. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to set sail on your voyage of transition from being a CPA to becoming a strategic CFO.
To wrap up, building a CAS practice is achievable, particularly with this five-step guide: identifying client needs, building processes, establishing reporting rhythms, assessing financial health, and developing financial projections.
It’s crucial to approach these tasks methodically and to continually adapt based on your clients’ evolving needs. It may seem daunting initially, but remember, every significant achievement begins with the first step.
Don’t hesitate to leverage the community around you for support and shared wisdom. After all, we’re all aiming to not just survive but thrive in the accounting landscape. So, it’s time to get started on your CAS journey. Let’s dive in!