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‘Talk early and often’ to ensure good client advice

Business

You need to be in conversation throughout the year to enable accurate forecasts, says Hot Toast chief executive.

By Josh Needs4 minute read

Accurate forecasting means meeting clients on a regular basis, said Hot Toast CEO Sarah Lawrance.

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“Don’t make it a once-a-year type of thing, make sure that you build out those moments in time throughout the year so you can have regular touchpoints,” said Ms Lawrance, who is also a member of the Xero partner advisory council.

She said now was the best time to initiate these conversations off the back of tax planning at the end of the financial year.

“The key is – and always has been – get to understand the client’s business,” said Ms Lawrance.

“It’s to take a step back from the numbers and go, what are we trying to achieve, what are we trying to look for, and where do we want to go?”

She said posing those questions made forecasting easier because you would understand what your client was trying to achieve.

“Off the back of that conversation it really informs the numbers and that forecasting and planning stage, and actually makes that part exponentially easier as well because you actually know what the client is trying to do moving forward,' she said.

With increasing pressures such as inflation, more regular contact with clients would allow advisers to be flexible and adjust as the business and external factors required.

“It’s top of mind for clients at the moment because the pressure’s on,” said Ms Lawrance.

“It’s a really good time to look at a margin review as part of your advisory services, and then also building out those points in time throughout the year so you have those buffer points and reserves around if things continue to move up.”

As the nation continued to emerge from the pandemic, Ms Lawrance said that smooth sailing was far from guaranteed.

“We are in uncertain times so the narrative hasn’t really changed from COVID times to now,” said Ms Lawrance.

“There’s a level of uncertainty in the economy that hasn’t really been there before, so make sure your budgets and forecasting are robust enough to be able to weather the storms as well.”

Robust forecasts relied on regular meetings with clients.

“It comes down to building out those reserves and having those regular touchpoints to say, ‘How are we going? Are we on target? Are we on budget? How do we look for the next 30 to 60 to 90 days?’” said Ms Lawrance.

“I always say to people if you want to do advisory services just have a conversation with your client, and then build it out from there.”

‘Talk early and often’ to ensure good client advice
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Josh Needs

Josh Needs

AUTHOR

Josh Needs is a journalist at Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, which are the leading sources of news, strategy, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Josh studied journalism at the University of NSW and previously wrote news, feature articles and video reviews for Unsealed 4x4, a specialist offroad motoring website. Since joining the Momentum Media Team in 2022, Josh has written for Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser.

You can email Josh on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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