Accountants encouraged to utilise data mining

The extensive and under-utilised client data held by accountants could be a powerful tool for identifying client advice needs and better targeting services, according to one licensee.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, FPT Wealth director Tony Bates said the data that accountants have for their clients is invaluable, and with technology becoming better at extracting it, it can be used across the practice to better identify client needs, and thus provide more targeted services.

"There's approximately 60,000 data fields that go into a tax return that have to be legally correct, so it's better than data that you might get from any other source because the accountant has to verify that it's correct," said Mr Bates.

"If they wish to grab the opportunity all they need to do is look at that data, and start the conversation."

Mr Bates said accountants can interpret the data and then make enquiries with clients about what it means, which paves the way for upselling opportunities.

"[For example], why is profit down this year in a business sense? Or how much interest are you paying relative to salary?"

If the data shows the client has a lot of debt or young children, he said, this might be an opportunity to address insurance with the client.

"Or if they're looking at what age, they might ask the client if they've commenced a transition to retirement income stream," said Mr Bates.

"There's a lot of data there that can lead to a conversation."

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