When most people think of accountants, they often picture a detail-oriented person filing taxes, auditing, or balancing the books. In other words, a number cruncher. They don’t usually imagine them as strategic advisors or consultants who play a crucial role in the growth of a business.

Yet, advisory is a significant part of the job description. While it has been around for a long time, it recently witnessed a surge in demand from businesses due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses. These businesses turned to accounting firms offering Client Accounting Services (CAS) (or advisory services) to help them stay afloat. As Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, said, “CAS has become an increasingly strategic component of CPA firms’ offerings, and this was never more clear than during the pandemic.”

This trend is growing and isn’t showing signs of fading anytime soon. According to research by Gusto, 83% of business owners want their accountants to offer business advisory services in addition to their regular accounting work. And they are even willing to pay more for this! The resulting effect is more accounting practices are now looking to expand into this sector.

So, in this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about CAS accounting and how your practice can offer this specialized service to clients.

What is CAS Accounting?

Client Accounting Services (CAS) or Client Accounting Advisory Services (CAAS) refer to a range of services an accounting firm provides to a business to help it better manage its finances and make informed decisions. These services include keeping financial records, paying bills, managing cash flow, and providing financial advice.

A business that employs a CAS firm is looking to outsource most, if not all, of its accounting needs. They also want expert advice to operate more efficiently.

Services That CAS Firms Offer

CAS firm sells its knowledge and experience in various accounting and financial management areas like…

Basic Bookkeeping

As you know, bookkeeping is the starting point of accounting. Every business, no matter its size, must have accurate and up-to-date financial records before performing other advanced accounting tasks.

Since bookkeeping is fundamental and evergreen, it makes sense to be part of CAS firms’ services. After all, clients will always need it, and it will also inform the firm’s advice to them.

As Daniel Hood, Editor-in-chief of Accounting Today, reasons (paraphrased), “You need to be doing that bookkeeping to generate the insights that you build your advisory services around. You need insights and an inside look at the company’s ins, books, billings, and all that sort of stuff to advise them properly.”

Preparing Financial Statements or Reports

The three core financial statements — balance sheet, income statement (profit & loss), and cash flow statement —  help accountants analyze the financial health of a business. CAS firms prepare these statements for clients because knowing their financial position and performance makes it easier to make well-informed decisions and plan for the future.

Payroll and Payroll Taxes

Business owners have a lot to deal with when running their company. They don’t want to add managing employee compensation payments like salaries, benefits, bonuses, and tax deductions to their duties. So, they’d rather outsource it. That’s where CAS practices come in, as they relieve this burden off business owners.

Sales Tax Filings

CAS firms also help businesses calculate, file, and remit the appropriate sales (consumption) tax on their products or services. This is to avoid potential errors or penalties associated with incorrect remittance of sales tax.

Bill Paying

These firms also offer bill pay as a service to assist their clients and increase financial control. Bill paying involves scheduling bill payments, processing invoices, and managing vendors. It’s also a useful medium to acquire information, which comes in handy at some point.

Collecting Receivables

The counterpart of bill paying is collecting receivables. This involves creating invoices, monitoring payment due dates, contacting the client’s customers to collect payments, and negotiating payment arrangements with those having difficulties paying. Both bill paying and collecting receivables contribute to effective cash flow management for businesses, which is why it is a necessary service.

Virtual Controller Services

A virtual or outsourced controller generally oversees the financial operations of a business. It is a strategic duty that most people don’t associate with accounting. Controller services involve

  • Providing businesses with financial guidance,
  • Helping them budget and forecast for the future,
  • Establishing and implementing internal control systems for a more efficient financial process,
  • And helping with business strategy.

It is a vital part of the services CAS firms offer.

Outsourced CFO Services, Business Advisory, and Consulting Services

Finally, there is the outsourced CFO and consulting services. Although there is some debate in the finance world on whether or not these services fall under CAS, we argue that it does. It is just a modernized version of accounting, elevating the accountant’s role from purely transactional record-keeping to that of a strategic partner.

CAS firms that offer this service handle financial strategy & modeling, market analysis, feasibility studies, and provide guidance on certain financial issues.

We provide detailed 15 examples of client accounting services that you can offer in your firm in this article.

Benefits of Offering Client Accounting Services for Firms

Business owners are engaging CAS firms because it gives them access to experts who provide customized and specific advice. In the end, this saves time (and cost), allowing them to focus on growing their company.

But why should you include this service in your firm?

It Helps to Improve Relationship With Your Client

Providing additional services to your clients — courtesy of the CAS model — deepens your engagement. For instance, as a CAS firm, you’ll become more integrated into their financial operations,  solve challenges, offer strategic advice, and contribute significantly to their business growth. This increases your value in their eyes and strengthens the relationship. A research showed that 80% of businesses who find their accountants client advisory services satisfactory are most likely to refer them to other customers.

It is What Your Clients Want From You

In a collaborative playbook between Financial Cents and Brandon Hall of Hall CPA PLLC, Brandon said,

Advisory work is the work that clients actually want. Tax compliance services are services that clients NEED on an annual basis but don’t necessarily WANT."

You’re probably already offering CAS services in some capacity in your firm. E.g when you give your clients strategies on how to reduce their taxes. Clients want this advice as it helps them save money. Now instead of giving it away for free, you can make advisory services official in your firm and start charging for it.

It Increases Your Firm’s Revenue

Another benefit of CAS is that it helps your firm make more money because it has a higher margin. Case in point: Hall CPA PLLC reports annual revenue in the high 7 figures, with advisory making up about Also, a survey shows that CAS practices saw a 16% growth rate in net client fees per professional in 2022. So, if your firm’s average revenue is $500,000, you can add an extra $80,000, making a total of $580,000 because you expanded your firm offerings.

Aside from this increased revenue, it also allows firms to diversify their revenue streams, as it opens up new avenues for revenue generation.

For Hall CPA LLC, Brandon Hall reports that advisory makes up about 35% of  their high 7 figure annual revenue and runs at a 65% net margin.

“It took us a long time to figure it out. But we always tested and rolled out new offers.” – Brandon Hall

It Increases Your Firm’s Scalability

CAS firms often have the latest technology (like Financial Cents), standardized processes, and templates. This is to automate processes and improve efficiency to serve their clients better.

All these tools and processes mean the practice can handle an increased workload without sacrificing quality, i.e., increased scalability.

Learn how to use Financial Cents to manage your clients with our robust Accounting Client Management Software

It Positions Your Firm as More Than Just an Accounting Firm

A CAS firm is an all-in-one. You don’t just offer one service; you offer a suite from bookkeeping, tax advice, paying and collecting receivables to advisory services. This elevates you from the conventional “accounting firm” to a versatile financial entity dedicated to improving the financial health of a business.

Some CAS Accounting Best Practices

There are a few recommended practices to follow when providing these services to your clients.

  1. Maintain regular communication with clients and keep them in the loop.
  2. Make sure to tailor your services to the client’s needs. Don’t offer generic solutions.
  3. Take data security seriously. Protect your clients’ financial data and back them up regularly.
  4. Invest in technology tools like Financial Cents to organize all your client work and improve efficiency.
  5. Keep to set deadlines, and ensure your reports are error-free.
  6. Hire the best professionals for each role and see to their continuous professional development.
  7. Stay up to date on compliance and regulatory changes.
  8. Put your clients’ best interests first and provide guidance to them.
  9. Maintain confidentiality. Don’t disclose sensitive information to others not part of the project.
  10. Don’t cheat your clients or be shady with them.


(Culled from the 7 Figure Advisory Services playbook)

We asked Brandon what skills he considers pertinent to becoming successful at CAS, he said:


To be a great advisor, you need to love talking to clients. Not every accountant is going to make a good advisor and I learned that the hard way.

That you’re a good accountant does not mean you’ll make a good advisor, because it requires a different skill set. It requires empathy. It requires an understanding of how to read body language and it requires being laser-attentive during a conversation. You need to be able to understand what a client is actually saying when they communicate.

Customer Service

A great advisor gets back to clients extremely quickly. I’m talking within an hour or two. That type of person is going to vastly out-earn and out-succeed the other person that doesn’t believe that responding quickly to clients is a priority.

And that’s just basic customer service.

The reality is, a firm can build a little team that responds to all clients almost instantaneously. If you have a continuous “out-of-office” up and are responding to emails week after week, you will lose out in the long run. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about customer service and our customers want answers to their questions fast.

It’s a little mindset change. But in the client’s eyes, it makes all the difference.

Start Slow And Go Steady

When transitioning to a CAS model, don’t try to go big or take on too many clients immediately. Start small, or you’ll find it difficult to handle the new workload.

Instead, expand the services you offer your current clients, and when you get the hang of it, go after new clients.

See below, Brandon Hall’s advice for you if you went to get started in CAS –

Do one of two things:

If you are in a niche, you should look at new clients coming in the door. Pay attention to what questions they're asking, and create an advisory offer that services that and test that offer with the next 30 people that come in the door. And if nobody buys, don't give up. Just change the offer. Change the price point and the scope. Keep doing that until people start buying your advisory offers.

If you are not in a niche, my first suggestion would be to identify a niche and try to create a brand within that niche. Now that focus is on new clients, you could have a sizable client base today in a bunch of different niches. That's fine. Low hanging fruit is to go to your current clients and let them know you’re testing a new offer.

Tell them,

‘I'm looking for 10 participants to do this with. The first 10 People that email me will get a seat at this price point. My only ask is that, at the end of this, you give me feedback on how I can make it better.’

That’s how you get started and get better with feedback."


Whether you’re just getting started in CAS or looking to improve the quality of the service you provide to your clients, you need to get your tech stack right.

As per Brandon Hall’s recommendation in the 7 Figure Advisory Services Playbook, the client accounting services software tools you need to run your firm and offer advisory services are:

  • A Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) to track prospects’ progress through your sales process.
  • An Email Marketing System to send newsletters and marketing emails to prospects and clients. It also helps you track your most engaged contacts and working emails.
  • A Proposal Tracking System to oversee the progress and completion of the proposals you’ve sent.
  • An Accounting Project Management Software.
  • Tax research tools to give your advisors fresh insights and information to give informed guidance and recommendations to clients.

Read our detailed review of the 10 best client accounting services software you should use in your firm.

Give Financial Cents a Try

Our recommendation? Check out Financial Cents, a simple, industry-focused project management software to help you easily track client work, manage your workload, automate admin work, and hit deadlines.