Date posted: 08/08/2022

Building future-proof advisory services: Liam McNamara’s experience

We speak to Liam McNamara CA about the value of offering advisory services in building stronger, long-term relationships with his firm’s clients.

In brief

  • For Liam McNamara CA, business advisory services provide the foundation for building long-term client relationships
  • Participating in the Business Advisory Foundations Program enabled him to build a more robust consultative framework
  • The Business Advisory Foundations Program is a 9-week online course suited for leaders of firms looking to introduce or better integrate their advisory services

Liam McNamara CA founded his small accounting firm, McNamara & Company, in 2005 and has an accounting career spanning more than two decades. In that time, he’s seen first-hand how the industry – and clients’ expectations – have evolved. 

“Accounting has changed quite incredibly over the last 20 years. If you think about the products available today and the capabilities of cloud accounting, it really has streamlined a lot of processes. So clients are looking for more out of their accountant other than basic taxation work,” he says. 

“I remember speaking to another accountant a while ago who had lost 200 individual clients because tax returns are all online now. You’ve got to think ahead and figure out where you can provide added value.” 

For Liam, business advisory services serve as the foundation for building trusted, lasting client relationships that go beyond taxation and compliance work.  

When he heard about the Business Advisory Foundations Program offered by CA Catalyst and The Gap, he saw it as a welcome opportunity to expand his expertise in the advisory space. 

“I was looking at using The Gap software and wanted to learn more about how they deliver business advisory to clients. Although I was already offering advisory services, I saw the program as a way to maintain and grow my knowledge,” he says. 

Liam found that the program’s structured, process-driven format enabled him to build a more robust consultative framework. 

“The program teaches you new ways of engaging with clients but it also gives you greater confidence in applying what you already know,” he explains. “It’s about building that framework to be able to relate to clients in a more defined, positive way. There are a lot of resources available and I found the material really relevant to what a lot of businesses are going through. I got a lot out of it.” 

Participating in the program also helped Liam get to the core of what successful business advisory is all about: pinpointing clients’ needs and providing targeted guidance to help them achieve their goals. 

“One thing I learnt was to never assume what clients are thinking and always try to understand where they’re coming from. I have quite a lot of clients at the moment who need different types of support around things like succession planning and selling their business. Many factors come into play and I have to be aware of them all,” he says. 

“Advisory is about mapping out a method of getting a client from where they are to where they want to be, but you have to know what they’re aiming for first. It involves a lot of listening and diagnosis.” 

Most accountants will agree that finding the time for professional development is a challenge – but Liam says choosing to do the program during a busy period worked out in his favour. 

“This turned out to be beneficial because it was when we were having the most client interactions, so I got to apply learnings straight away,” he shares.  

For accounting leaders looking to future-proof their firm, Liam believes offering advisory services is one of the most effective ways to establish a point of difference. 

"If you want to do more involved and interesting work, advisory is a great way to build that sticky relationship with clients where they trust you and rely on you to help improve their business,” he says. 

“The program gives you relevant ways to engage with clients in an advisory capacity. So you’re not just providing a product like tax compliance. You’re providing more value and that enables you to differentiate yourself from other firms.” 

To learn more about the Foundations program, visit Business Advisory Foundations Program

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