Why Are Advisory Meetings Important?

Advisory meetings are a cornerstone of effective client relationship management for accountants looking to expand their advisory services. These meetings are a consistent platform for accountants to offer strategic advice, discuss financial health, and outline future goals with their clients. Unlike standard check-ins or transactional interactions, advisory meetings focus on providing valuable insights that can drive a client's business forward.

In an era where AI and automation handle much of the number-crunching, the human touch becomes even more critical. These one-on-one sessions are where accountants can truly shine, offering nuanced advice and building the trust that machines cannot.

In this article, we’ll offer the best practices and tips for before, during, and after your client advisory meetings.

Before The Meeting

Preparation is crucial for a successful advisory meeting with your client. Creating a set agenda ensures that the meeting stays focused and productive. Here’s what you need to prepare:

Financial Statements

Gather the latest financial statements, including the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. These documents provide a comprehensive view of your client's current financial health. Reviewing these statements will allow you to identify trends, anomalies, and areas that need attention. 

Using a comprehensive financial dashboard can help you easily visualize and interpret this data, making it more accessible and actionable for your clients.

Financial Forecasts

Next, prepare detailed financial forecasts that cover revenue, expenses, and cash flow projections. Accurate forecasts are essential for setting realistic goals and planning for the future. They help in anticipating potential financial outcomes and preparing strategies to address them. 

Often, cash flow forecasts provide precise weekly projections — some even extending up to a full year’s worth of predictive data. 

Scenario Planning

Based on previous conversations or client concerns, it’s important to develop a few different scenarios based on key performance indicators (KPIs). This will help address potential challenges and opportunities. Scenario planning allows you to present different strategic options to your client, demonstrating the impact of various decisions. 

With certain FP&A tools, you can easily create and analyze multiple financial scenarios, facilitating better decision-making for your clients.

Month-End Close

Compile all necessary month-end close reports, including reconciliations, accruals, and adjustments. This ensures you have the most accurate and up-to-date information for your meeting. A thorough month-end close process is critical for identifying any discrepancies or issues that need to be addressed promptly. 

During The Meeting

During the meeting, stick to your prepped agenda to ensure the conversation stays on track. Here’s a sample agenda to help:

Start the Conversation Simply

Begin by asking your client how sales are going this month. This simple question can open the door to deeper discussions about their business performance and any issues they are facing. Listen to their concerns but keep the conversation focused on the agenda topics to ensure all critical points are covered.

Review The Numbers

Present the metrics and identify any gaps. Address questions and dig deeper by asking not just what is happening, but why it’s happening. This approach helps in understanding the root causes of financial trends and variances, leading to more effective solutions. Using your financial dashboard, you can clearly present the key metrics, financial models, and overall health of the business.

Help Your Client Readjust Goals Based on Performance

In areas where goals are being met, assist in establishing new, more ambitious goals to drive further business growth. Make sure to celebrate successes and encourage your client to build on them. You’re not just a partner to your client, you’re an ally as well! 

In areas where goals are not being met, help the business owner set realistic, achievable goals that align with their current capabilities and resources. Offer actionable steps and support to help them get back on track.

Update Forecasts Accordingly

Adjust the forecast for the next 6-12 months based on the decisions made during the meeting. Accurate and updated forecasts are essential for maintaining financial stability and planning for the future. Encourage your client to stay aligned with the forecast plan to achieve their business objectives. Automated forecasting tools make it easy to update and adjust forecasts in real-time, ensuring they remain relevant and accurate.

After The Meeting

After the meeting is over, it’s always good to send a follow-up email summarizing what was discussed in the meeting, including findings, action items, and topics to discuss next time. A well-documented follow-up ensures that both you and your client are on the same page and that there is a clear plan moving forward. Make sure to include a link to schedule the following meeting to maintain momentum and continuity.

Ready to Offer More High-Impact Advisory Value to Clients?

Here at Clockwork, we love helping accountants save time and money. Our partners save 120+ hours per month by letting our proprietary AI crunch the numbers, so you can focus on strategic insights and handle more clients. Seamlessly and instantly connect your clients’ QuickBooks or Xero accounts, and in just 3 minutes, start getting value out of Clockwork. 

Start your 14-day free trial today or speak to our team to learn how you can become a Clockwork partner (and get perks like wholesale pricing and dedicated support!).


To learn more about how Clockwork helps small businesses realize and work towards a better financial future, create your account to start a free 14-day trial (no credit card required). Connect your QuickBooks Online or Xero account to create your first financial model in minutes.

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