What is “Business Advisory” and How Does it Help Your Small Business or Medical Practice

The phrase “business advisory” is used a lot in the accounting industry, more now than ever, but what is it really?

More and more small business owners and medical practitioners are realizing they want and need more than just an accountant to fill in the boxes on their tax returns, and frankly, they are right, they do need more than just tax compliance!

What does business advisory look like for your medical practice or small business?

Business advisory = Business Advice with a Plan and Actionable Items to Help You Reach Your Goal

Business advisory should be a service provided by a trained professional who understands the “pain points” in your industry.  They should be able to help you identify key issues in your practice, work with you to create a strategy and help guide your medical practice or small business to success (whatever that means to you).

What does a great adviser do?

A great adviser helps you create a plan to reach your goals.  For most business owners, the goal is to grow their business so that they can achieve financial stability and have the funds to provide for their family. A great business adviser is just like a sports coach. They work closely with you to help you implement a training plan, improve your efficiency and reach pole position.  While a coach designs drills to strengthen skills, a business adviser designs processes to strengthen business outcomes. 

Start with a vision

We believe in starting with a vision to shape your business plan; we use the firm’s business plan as a map. When a business advisor works as part of your team they can identify your destination and chart out a course of action to help you reach your end goal(s).  We use a specific process and have several tools that we employ throughout the process.  Most importantly we are a member of your team, acting as your mirror and sounding board.   A great business adviser helps you stay on track and clarify your WHY.

A great adviser looks ahead.  Traditionally, accountants work with your prior year’s or quarter’s data to show you where you’ve been. Thankfully, recent years have brought about great changes; current technology options and cloud accounting being top of the list! While looking at the past helps us work out trends and patterns, a great business adviser will always be future-focused. The tools we have now help us forecast various options so we can test ideas on computer models.  Once we are satisfied with the expected return on investment, we help implement the idea. We know when money will be tight; when you should save money and when you can afford to spend it. We can project financing needs and help you line up funding options ahead of time, minimizing the stress of tight cash flow times. Using real-time, accurate data so everyone is up-to-date at all times makes the process work.

A great adviser will ask the tough questions. This might seem like a simple one but it’s important to be prepared. The main difference between a good adviser and a great one is how willing they are to challenge you. A great adviser is prepared to ask you the tough questions and dig deep into the real issues that your business is facing. Once they’re in the trenches with you, they’ll be able to see what’s really going on and what needs to be fixed.

You are at a huge advantage when you have a strategic partner to guide and support you.  I find that the most important function in many cases is keeping you on track; keeping you accountable.  I’m in business too and that works for me!


Watch this interview with Andrea Parness and other CPAs to find out what advisory services can mean in your small business or medical practice.

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