For accounting firms that already provide tax services to high-net and ultra-high-net worth clients, expanding their value proposition to offer family office services is a natural extension. Especially since the professionals in these firms already play the role of a trusted advisor. And while their clients often have multiple investment managers, private bankers—they only have only one trusted accountant. Plus, many of the clients who would definitely benefit from these services don’t know where to turn to get them and would be thrilled to find that the answer is right in front of them.
At Masttro, we’ve worked with many accounting firms who have successfully scaled their family office services. Most took a similar path to get where they are today. Here are six steps that will help you get there too:
- Recognize that you are primed to offer family office services. As part of your accounting services, you’re already in the business of aggregating and collecting the wealth data that is relevant to these individuals and families. One simple way to raise those services to the level of a family office is to leverage that wealth data to deliver value-added insights to your clients. Enhancing your value proposition will include deploying the technology that allows you to provide such intelligence—and would also make the firm’s core services more efficient and scalable.
- Determine your particular clients’ needs. The best and “stickiest” advisors are client-centric; that is, they prioritize problem-solving. Talking to the existing clients to understand their unmet needs and validate your enhanced value proposition will offer great insights. We have seen this done either through interviews, surveys or workshops.
- Identify a pilot group to test your unique value proposition. You might find this group amid clients who are already receiving family office services from you in an unofficial way. Alternatively, or in addition, consider approaching anyone who identified the need for such services based on your conversations in step 2.
- Create a strong division between the audit and family office services teams. To avoid the ethical conflict that would come from auditors providing family office services, wall off the two divisions from one another.
- Incorporate technology. As you undertake this expansion, you can expect clients to seek out guidance on a variety of everyday concerns, from cash flow to the management of their varied assets. A platform that allows you and them real-time visibility is an invaluable investment. Masttro’s, for one, monitors liquid and illiquid assets alike and includes dashboards that will provide backup for your financial analyses. Whatever product you onboard, though, needs to be both automated and data secure. A breach is never good for business.
- Broaden your reach. Once you’ve shown you can effectively provide these services to some portion of your clients, you can begin to market your new capabilities to a larger client base and beyond.