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Don't Let Cash Flow Forecasting Be a Crutch: Roundtable Recap

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Last week we hosted the first of our Advisor Roundtable Series. A series designed for advisors to discuss and learn from one other. 

Shoutout to Michael Eckstein for being our first featured guest, and to everyone else who joined Kelvin in our discussion!

If you missed our session, no worries! We’ve got you covered here with key moments from the discussion right here. If you’d like you can also watch the full session on our YouTube Channel here

In today’s recap: 

  • Don't let Cash Flow Forecasting be a Crutch
  • Not Every Client Needs Advisory 
  • Challenges in Scaling Advisory Services 
  • A few good laughs 

Let’s dive in! 

Don't let Cash Flow Forecasting be a Crutch 

 

At Helm we talk a lot about cash flow forecasting and how valuable we believe cash flow advisory is for advisors, clients, and businesses. However, cash flow forecasting should also be supported by sound business practices. 

Cash flow forecasts are more proactive than things like P&L statements. However, if we want to be truly proactive we need to look at the processes and bottlenecks. You can forecast all you want but it won’t eliminate all your problems. 

That’s why when we talk about cash flow forecasting we also emphasize setting up the right process and procedures behind your forecast. Of course in some industries, ones with really tight margins (ex: retail), you can’t get away from cash flow forecasts because you need to keep a close eye on your margins. 

But for some service based industries, while forecasting is nice, what is likely more needed is proper processes in place, ex: proper payables policy. 

That leads us to the next point…

Not Every Client Needs Advisory 

 

There's been a big push towards advisory, when in reality a large percentage of clients don’t see the value or want advisory. (And that’s okay!)

Not everyone needs or wants advisory or forecasting. 

Some clients just need compliance work. As an advisor don’t feel like you have to force advisory on everyone just because you heard an influencer or ‘thought’ leader say to. Not everyone needs to be the next ‘mega’ advisory firm. We know we should be only taking on the ‘ideal’ client, but at the end of the day some of your clients will just need compliance and you should feel comfortable taking on some of these clients if you want. 

Don’t be afraid to be a ‘different’ kind of advisor too. For example, you could be an advisor for a certain industry, such as construction. 

As we’ll touch on in the next section, at the end of the day it all comes down to you and what you want to do. Do the work you want to, just make sure you can also pay the bills. 

Challenges in Scaling Advisory Services 

 

As we mentioned, there's a lot of push for advisory and talk about it, but a lot less talk about scaling those services. Niching can help a lot with this, because to scale you ultimately do need some level of standardization and procedures in place. 

Some things like bookkeeping may seem relatively easy to scale because there's checklists, and numbers, and procedures that we can follow. But even as we move up a bit to controllership work, there starts to be a lot more than just creating a forecast. There's a lot of discussion, interaction and back and forth with clients in forecasting and controllership that makes scaling trickier. 

When it comes to advisory and trying to define what that is exactly and then scale it, things suddenly become even more complicated. 

A tricky part of advisory (and scaling advisory) is there is so much of an advisor's practice that as we were not taught as bookkeepers, accountants, ect... in school. We were taught numbers, not bedside manners or how to handle client interactions. 

Some parts of advisory can't be taught, or are very difficult to learn from a book. Sometimes you need to see it done to understand the nuance and the in and outs.

These soft skills are what makes scaling so difficult. There’s no rulebook or set way of doing things that will work for every client. Niching can help here to elevate some of these and prevent scope creep. By focusing on a specific industry and specific aspects of financial advisor this allows you to be an expert in your domain and more easily scale your services. 

Wrapping Up

We hoped you enjoyed the first of our Advisor Roundtable Series! Follow us for more and keep an eye for our next session coming soon! 

If you have any topics you’d like to discuss at a future roundtable, or a featured guest you’d like to see reach out at marketing@takethehelm.app 

See you next time!