Q4 Clarity Case Study
Introduction to Cornish Accounting Solutions
Thank you for asking me to be your Q4 Clarity Case Study. It’s been a pleasure working with Clarity so far! I started the practice back in 1994. We became a Xero firm in 2011 after immediately recognising the potential in cloud accounting and real-time information. It’s been nice to have won a few awards along the way too. We currently have a team of 10, with some of those offshore. And we have built strong relationships with our clients over the years and enjoy helping them to build extraordinary businesses.
What happened before Clarity?
We tended not to really look at forward planning and budgets for the majority of clients. We approached ‘advisory’ in a slightly piecemeal and ad hoc way and didn’t have a system to deliver it to the whole client base. Perhaps we assumed the majority didn’t need or want this type of service. We are quickly realising that that’s not the case at all.
All small businesses need a plan and we are perfectly positioned to help them make one.
What challenges did you come up against when trying to deliver business advisory to your clients?
In the past it was difficult as we had no standard approach. It was all completely dependent on the principal which made it impossible for us to scale it as a service to all. I knew what to do but had very little time to do it.
Why did you choose Clarity?
I saw the success that fellow Accountant Millionaire Club members were having with Clarity and could see how it could fit into CAS. It was easy to implement and we saw the benefits of using it straight away. I have always looked for a way of providing this added-value service for my clients and I knew I had to give this a go.
I like that it has been built by accountants who have been there and run their own successful advisory-led businesses. To have given that up to set up Clarity, I figured there must be something in this. It has also helped me to up-sell other services and use of other apps such as cash flow forecasting and management information.
Why is Clarity different from other business advisory apps?
It’s very easy to use. The support and handholding by the owners and member success are by people who are accountants themselves. They understand the work that’s involved, the challenges that we have in practice and what it takes to roll out a service and piece of technology successfully.
How do you use Clarity?
We initially used the portfolio view to segment and grade our clients. We’ve then used the information that’s available in one dashboard to identify those of our clients who need support right away, and also those who could and should be using more of our services.
I am talking my clients through what they can achieve and then creating an action plan with them to help give them focus, direction and accountability. Having the action plan gives me a great excuse to keep in contact with them regularly to check in on their progress.
What has been the response from your clients?
The take up so far has been astounding.
They love it! For some it’s given them a new lease of life and enthusiasm for their business after what has been a difficult year. By having these close conversations with them, it has given them a more positive view of the position of their business and what they can achieve in the coming year.
I have been pleasantly surprised that they ‘get it’ immediately and I’m excited to speak with even more of them.
What you have you found to be the most effective way to engage your clients with Clarity?
To engage clients, I send out short 2 minute videos saying what effect increasing the 7 key number has on profit and cash and asking them to call me to set up a meeting. Recording a video is more personable and more human. I am using Clarity to have more conversations with my clients and speaking to business owners about the potential within their business.
What value have you found from using Clarity on your own business?
Whilst I have always had a budget and forecast for my own business, it has made me focus on the most important metrics. By understanding the benchmarking statistics provided, it has made me realise where I can make improvements. It’s also nice to know that the Clarity member success team will hold me accountable for progress. We don’t always get that as business owners!
What would you say to anyone thinking of signing up to Clarity?
Just do it.
Pick the clients that you have the best relationships with and go for it. Whether it results in increased fees or not, your clients will appreciate the effort and concern. It will create stickier relationships and show that you can offer so much more than just a compliance service.
Do not wait for the ‘right time’ or the ‘perfect moment’ and don’t assume that your client doesn’t want this service. Just try it. Be yourself, record a video and show your clients you’re there for them. Just do it.
It is an investment, not a cost.
What happened as a result of using Clarity?
We have quickly seen an increase in fees. In my first ‘Clarity-led sale’, we brought on work that would cover the Clarity Starter Plus subscription for the whole year!
Our clients want to plan for their future and get a new focus for 2021. And they have been delighted that we have taken the time to reach out and offer a different sort of support.
Using Clarity has resulted in more content and happy clients.
Did you enjoy our Q4 Clarity Case Study?
Read another! Digital Account of the Year 2020, Graeme Tennick, made an extra £42K GRF in his first two weeks as a Clarity member: https://clarity-hq.com/clarity-case-study/