Helping Accountants Win More Accounting Advisory Work - Accounting Influencers

Episode 18

Published on:

30th Sep 2018

Helping Accountants Win More Accounting Advisory Work

Mark Holton

Mark Holton, FCPA, has more than 35 years’ experience as an Accountant and Tax Agent in practice. He is the Managing Director of Dynamic Taxation and Training Services and a Director of Smithink.

Mark has developed specialised skills in corporate presentations and training with extensive experience in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and North America. He is also a respected consultant in taxation and business management, in particular, value-added services implementation and administration.

Mark holds a Master of Commerce Degree as well as several postgraduate qualifications in accounting and management. He also has a Degree in Adult Education and an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning. Mark is a passionate and engaging personality, and this interview is packed with insight and practical advice for accountants who want to adopt a more advisory vz compliance led approach to their work. Shownotes:

  • An advisory approach improves profitability for accountants and strengthens cashflow
  • Larger accounting firms often struggle to develop advisory capability because too many strategic decisions are made by committee
  • The two things accounting firms of all sizes need to become more advisory focused – commitment (appetite) to embrace it and the capacity (resources) to execute it
  • Trusted advisor status for accountants simply means the client comes to you with key problems (family and wider business), not just financial and accounting
  • As trusted advisors, accountants are the central point of entry for clients to analyse their issues and unlock their needs in a project management capacity
  • A family and business approach to advising clients moves accountants from compliance to reliance
  • Three key elements to a successful infrastructure in an advisory firm (system, processes and right people)
  • Accountants are big on compliance value systems, processes, checklists and quality assurance, which are actually the foundation for great advisory work
  • The importance of storytelling for accountants, particularly future storytelling vz the traditional historical reporting.
  • An example of great storytelling for accountants – how to make the narrative come alive for clients. Hint – green and red flags highlight strengths and weaknesses.
  • Excel (the accountants love tool) is as good as anything to show what’s happening in a business
  • It’s not for every accountant to delivery advisory services (it might be a different department). But it is everyone’s job to develop business and diagnose the needs that arise from client interactions. Ongoing training is vital for that
  • Ever wondered what a Client Engagement Model looks like for accountants? Mark Holton explains with the help of WITY – ‘what’s important to you?’
  • Good accounting advisors ask the right questions of their clients, listen carefully to the answers and get inside their head to understand what they really need
  • How positioning and offering advisory work can differentiate you from your accounting competitors. Thus it becomes a unique selling proposition (USP)
  • Can you as an accountant show your client’s the financial impact of every decision they’ll take before they take it? That’s great advisory work!
  • The definition of value pricing in the Mark Holton Dictionary of Life and Business. Value is determined by the client, not the accountant
  • Mark’s excellent four word response to accountants who say ‘I’m not sure if my clients will pay for this advisory work’
  • How accountants can ascertain whether or not a client is price sensitive, and what they’re sensitive about
  • Offering successful advisory services is not so much about the software if your accounting firm is not committed to and willing to resource more advisory work
  • Hear some of the big reasons accounting firms fail to implement the advisory model. The number one reason is a four letter word!
  • The importance of an advisory champion if an accounting firm truly wants to become advisory led
  • What’s an Business Advisory Implementation Plan and why is it vital for accounting firms wanting to move away from reliance on compliance?
  • Where does Mark Holton’s passion come from? This is a guy who truly loves what he does and really makes a difference with accounting clients
  • Practical tips for accountants to dip their toes into advisory work, starting with a plan and a commitment to change
  • Compliance is the greatest annuity model in the world. So how can you build annuity into advisory work so it happens over and over again?
  • The role accountability plays for accountants who need to take action on their objectives
  • What’s coming up in the accounting world over the next few years according to expert Mark Holton. It’s not going to be dull!
  • Are UK accounting firms lagging behind those in Australia? In some respects, yes, particularly with technology. But the UK leads the world with digitalisation.

During his free time, Mark enjoy spending time with wife Linda and their two children, watching rugby league (Mark is a a very passionate supporters of the South Sydney Rabbitohs) and playing golf. To contact Mark

Phone: 61 4144 11122 (Australia)  Liked your Top 100 Club Podcast Interview with Rob Brown" target="_blank">email him directly>>

Smithink Website or

Twitter: @holton_mark

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About the Podcast

Accounting Influencers
Insights, interviews and commentary for accounting, CPA, bookkeeping and finance professionals
ACCOUNTING INFLUENCERS is a weekly podcast for accountants, CPAs, bookkeeping and finance professionals, together with the networks, associations, fintech vendors and influencers who lead them, work in them and serve them.

The show is hosted by Rob Brown. co-founder of the Accounting Influencers Roundtable (AIR). The style of the show is not overly technical/technological/tax in nature but more on people, performance and success in the accounting world. Popular topics and themes covered include:

☑ leadership, executive presence, trust, integrity & reputation
☑ M&A, business models, future proofing, drivers of change & disruption
☑ performance, values, culture, vision & strategy
☑ employer brand, gen z/millennials & talent - succession, recruitment and retention
☑ industry trends, statistics and patterns
☑ growth, marketing, differentiation & positioning
☑ pricing & profitability
☑ digitisation, cloud, technology & automation
☑ advisory services, niches & emerging markets
☑ environmental & social governance ESG
☑ diversity, equity & inclusion DEI
☑ professionalism, career development & CPE/CPD
☑ business acumen & commercial awareness

Sources and guests come from:
★ EXPERTS - influencers, disrupters, consultants, gurus, podcasters and broadcasters in accounting and fintech
★ EVENTS - live coverage and interviews from exhibitions, conferences and a range of industry events
★ MEDIA - newspapers, online outlets, commentators, writers, bloggers and authors
★ VENDORS - suppliers and providers of accounting apps, platforms, fintech and software
★ REGULATORS - professional accounting bodies, institutes and associations
★ NETWORKS - alliances, associations, networks and communities of professional firms and accounting practices
★ SOCIAL MEDIA - opinion pieces, high engagement posts and controversial conversations

Rob Brown is a renowned presenter, facilitator and chair of high level conferences, panels and events globally for the accounting and fintech profession. He is retained by many professional networks, alliances, associations, practices and vendors to chair their events and provide high-level interview content for their communities.

He is a dynamic speaker and accomplished expert on trust, reputation, employer brand, talent, career development, succession, gen z/generations, executive presence, referrals, networking and winning new business. He is also the bestselling author of Build Your Reputation (Wiley) and his TEDx talk ‘The Personal Brand of You’ has been viewed 320K times on YouTube.
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About your hosts

Martin Bissett

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Martin Bissett is the founder of the Bissett Group of companies that provide practice and personal growth communities, content, and continuing education exclusively to the accounting and bookkeeping professions worldwide.

Previously he established a high six-figure consulting firm while serving as a keynote speaker with over 100 one-off and repeat engagements to his name, as well as becoming the most published author on his topics of specialism with 11 books including 1 bestseller.

Since 1998, he has played a major part in working with over 1800 accounting firms in over 40 countries. These projects have led to those firms acquiring over £500m of recurring fees before inflationary increases, referrals and upselling are factored in. He stopped keeping track of this number over 5 years ago. Martin now advises both accounting practitioners and FinTech companies alike, at board level.

Rob Brown

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Rob Brown is a renowned MC, facilitator and chair of virtual and in-person panels, conferences and events globally for the accounting and fintech profession.

Rob is co-founder of the Accounting Influencers Roundtable (AIR) mastermind group and co-hosts the world’s most popular accounting and fintech podcast: Accounting Influencers.

Throughout the pandemic, he chaired 24 virtual panels with leaders of global accounting networks and alliances to discuss the key issues and challenges. Rob is retained by several associations and vendors to chair their events and provide high-level interview content for their communities.

He is the bestselling author of Build Your Reputation (Wiley) and his TEDx talk ‘The Personal Brand of You’ has been viewed 300K times on YouTube.