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Tips for Positioning Your FP&A Firm

Mike Triantos
Posted by Mike Triantos on Nov 29, 2023 2:35:12 PM

Financial planning & analysis (FP&A) is something every business owner can benefit from. But showing them the value is tricky. 

In some ways, you’re like an insurance salesperson. Unsurprisingly, it’s easiest to show someone the value of car insurance after they’ve already been in an accident. For FP&A, your clients will value it most when they’ve had a rough year because of poor planning.  

But you don’t want your clients to suffer for them to see the value that your firm’s FP&A provides.  

That’s why we’ve outlined five tips for positioning your FP&A firm. These tips will help you promote the value of your services, position yourself as a valued expert, and find the niche that’ll help you bring in the best clients.

What FP&A means to your clients 

Let’s start with the most important step: understanding what your clients want from FP&A. 
FP&A isn’t the deliverables, but what they help your client accomplish. Ultimately, what you provide comes down to three key points: 

  • Cutting out the uncertainty 
  • Providing an unbiased opinion 
  • Helping with strategy to accomplish goals  

All of these three emotional values come down to one thing: peace of mind.  

Business owners deal with uncertainty at every turn. Especially when it comes to smaller operations, they don’t have the people to turn to to help reduce the noise. These are the things that keep business owners up at night.  

So when you’re talking about FP&A, don’t talk about what you’re delivering, but what that ultimately accomplishes for your client. They can confidently invest in their business, have more predictability in their day-to-day finances, and yes, sleep a little more sound.  

Messaging tips: 

  • Position yourself as support and your services as collaborative 
  • Focus on the endgame and what your client can achieve 
  • Bridge your services to something emotional for the client 

Translating deliverables to value props 

No matter how important financial reporting is, it can be tough to make your clients care about it. This is why it’s important to think about what you deliver as value props.  

Value props, or value propositions, are the benefits something has for a customer. In simplest terms, it’s why they buy the things they buy.  

When thinking of value props, you’ll need to get a bit abstract in your thinking. For example, someone might buy a sweater because it’s warm, but the value prop would be the ability to go outside and do what they love in colder weather.  

Value props shouldn’t be what is delivered, but what it means for the client.  

With your deliverables, look at them and think about how they are used, what they accomplish, and what it means for your client both emotionally and practically.  

Messaging tips: 

  • Find a balance between the practical and the emotional 
  • Focus on what the deliverables help accomplish 
  • Ask your clients about what they value and turn it into messaging 

Leveraging your expertise 

There are times and places to be modest, but not in your FP&A messaging.  

There are two aspects of your experience that you want to leverage: your accounting experience and your past client experiences. 

The accounting part is obvious. You have credentials and certifications that prove you have that skill set. However, leveraging past client experiences is arguably more important.  

There’s a concept in marketing called “social proof.” Social proof is the phenomenon of how people copy the actions of others, in particular when there is a reward for doing so.  

What this means for you is leveraging your past client relationships as social proof through storytelling. Ask your favorite clients what they appreciated about your services or any improvements they experienced.  

What they mention is what you should turn to social proof. Whether it’s taking their quotes for your website and marketing resources or simply mentioning them in conversations, they help turn your services into aspects people understand.  

Messaging tips: 

  • Talk about your years of experience in the industry 
  • Use quotes and references from clients to provide social proof 
  • Leverage client success stories to showcase what you’ve helped accomplish 

Niching down your targets 

When you have a problem with your car, who would you rather take it to: a general mechanic or one specializing in that manufacturer?  

There’s a chance both of them can do the exact same work, but you’d feel more confident in the specialist. Not to mention, they might provide some additional context and information about the problem you face.  

It’s the same with all services. The more you niche down, the smaller your intended audience, but that audience is a guaranteed fit that’s more likely to see your value.  

If you have prior experience or multiple clients who fall within an industry, that makes it a pretty natural choice. But if not, try to find an industry you think would be a good fit.  

When choosing an industry, think about where you’ll be sourcing clients from. For example, if there’s a common type of industry in your area, you’ll have networking options for finding new clients. Specializing in this industry would help generate leads.  

Messaging tips: 

  • Use jargon specific to an industry to demonstrate know-how 
  • Talk to your clients for referrals 
  • List yourself as an industry expert on your website and other public-facing platforms 

Promoting continued support 

Clients don’t want to feel like they’re a one-and-done responsibility. Nor do you want to treat them that way. But even if that’s an unspoken agreement between you, sometimes it’s best to make it spoken and then back it up with actions.  

A great way of doing this is by setting expectations around your FP&A services with concrete actions you deliver. Outline a set meeting cadence, on-call availability hours, and whatever else is included in your continued support.  

Outlining your continued support has two purposes. The first we’ve talked about, you’re displaying your care and investment in the service. The second is that clients come in with an understanding of what you’re offering. Ideally, you have the same understanding of what your services entail so there’s no disappointment or frustration on either side.  

Messaging tips: 

  • Outline what your continued support looks like 
  • Set expectations for what regular touchpoints entail 
  • Focus on the long-term in client conversations 

Make tracking targets a breeze 

The integration of technology in FP&A (Financial Planning & Analysis) practices can significantly enhance a company's ability to manage financial data efficiently. With the advent of advanced software solutions, companies can now access real-time data, customizable reports, and sophisticated target trackers. This technological advancement enables FP&A professionals to focus more on strategic analysis and less on manual data processing. The use of these tools can streamline the workflow, ensuring accuracy and timely insights, which are crucial for informed decision-making and effective financial planning. The ability to quickly adapt and respond to financial trends and changes, backed by reliable data, positions FP&A practices as pivotal in guiding a company's financial health and strategic direction. 

Topics: Financial Advisory


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