How Robertson Scannell use dashboards to win new advisory work

October 5, 2020

Clients need to see their data in a way that works for them, before they can think about what to do next. So Robertson Scannell built brand new custom dashboard reports in Fathom to win over more clients to advisory services. Here’s how they did it.

Dashboard reports in Fathom are a great way of providing a quick up-to-date snapshot to clients, giving them the top headlines of where their business is before they get stuck into more detailed reporting. Not only that, but they can also help you win more business too, without spending time generating a full-blown report.

Read: Tips for building engaging performance dashboards

At Robertson Scannell, they realised that some of their clients could benefit from the information presented in this way using Fathom. We caught up with Susan Geran and Angelica Rickwood to find out more.

Download: A sample dashboards made in Fathom (PDF)

sample dashboard in Fathom

Fathom: How did you first develop the idea of dashboards?

Susan Geran: It was Angelica’s idea, she envisaged a sort of one-page snapshot that could be issued to the client once their compliance work is finished for a quarter as an introduction to more services. It was a process of really putting the client hat on and looking at what sort of analytical data they would want to know and what's going to give them value.

Ask yourself what’s going to be relevant for most clients?’

Angelica Rickwood: I thought ‘rather than overwhelming clients and trying to give them a big long report, could we just give them something when we finalise their quarterly BAS?’. When Susan and I were trying to figure out what key data we wanted to put into this snapshot, we asked ourselves ‘What’s going to be relevant for most clients?’

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Fathom: You mentioned using the one-page snapshot as a way to show the client what's possible. What do you provide if a client wants more?

Susan: We would generate a customised report based on what the clients are looking for. Some people like historical analysis – this quarter compared to last quarter for example. Others are more forward-looking and want projections. Others are very cash sensitive. A lot of people like the top 10 expenses. So it's opened up the way that we can talk to the clients about their data and also present it to them in a way that is instantly understandable to them.

You just don't want to overwhelm people, especially people who may not have much financial background

Once you get past that first initial interest of ‘Yep, I want some managerial analytic work’, it's very much customised from there, we can give them all the figures in the world but if it's not what they're looking for, it's just more numbers and more graphs.

Angelica: I think the snapshots are just so simple. You just don't want to overwhelm people, especially people who may not have much financial background and have no idea what some of the ratios mean, or it may not even be relevant for some of our clients. We can customise our advisory offering to literally whatever the client needs, but that’s a hard thing to market because it is so broad. Snapshots target that sort of basic financial data analysis, KPI side of the advisory space.

Fathom: What would be an ideal outcome from those initial conversations?

Angelica: For some clients it would be them then asking “well what else can I find out from my financial data and what else can we track?”. Then we could move into helping them build KPIs or organising monthly or quarterly management meetings so that we can be more proactive with the client. We might do an audit of the numbers to identify the root cause of any problems within the business. This could lead us to providing advice or training on leadership and business culture. We might also work with them to develop a business plan. Looking at where they are now, where they want to be and how to get them there. The opportunities and areas we can help are so broad and don’t have to be based on numbers.

Download: Fathom sample dashboards (PDF)

Fathom: What’s been the uptake for snapshot reports?

Susan: So the snapshot is pretty new for us, we’ve only just started to roll this out. But the clients we have shown it to have said it’s useful. There’s a client we produce monthly board reports for, they're a not for profit organisation. One of the impacts I saw there was the confidence it gave the CFO of the not for profit.

But beyond that, we’re hoping snapshots will drive better engagement for us. We’re educating clients that this is what we can do, and these are the services we offer. We hope that we can educate clients that looking at your numbers on a managerial and an analytical level on a minimum quarterly level provides you with a lot of information about your business.

Free ebook: How to sell advisory services using Fathom

Fathom: How was Fathom taken up by the rest of your firm?

Susan: It’s a good starting point for a conversation for the accountants here. Some of them are very skilled and trained in the business advisory sector, others are wanting to train up to that level, so we’re using Fathom as a platform for people to find and have comfort in analytical areas that they can talk about to their clients.

Fathom: So you’re also using Fathom as a platform for teaching how to analyse and advise clients as well?

Susan: Yes, anyone within the firm that shows an interest in that area. They’re encouraged to use it as a platform to give them the confidence to move into business advisory and get that link across where it's visually appealing to the client, looking at their financial data.

Angelica: The client can then say ‘okay, that looks a lot worse than I thought, but what does it mean?’ That's not something we can answer on a quick 20-minute phone call, so my response would be 'well, why don't you come into the office and we'll go into this in a little bit more detail...'

If you’d like to find out how to build simple snapshot dashboards in Fathom as a way to start an advisory conversation with clients, read our 'how to' guide here. And if you’re not currently a user, try Fathom now for free for 14 days.

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