Melbourne adviser and Principal of Australian Wealth Solutions, Sam Zervidis, outlines what he considers to be the five Rs in business and how successfully managing these critical factors will be the key to future success…

Far too many accountants and financial planners have entered the new decade failing to recognise and appreciate that the future of their advisory businesses is dependent on how well they manage and navigate the Five Rs:

  • Risk
  • Renewal
  • Regulation
  • Relationships
  • Reputation

For those that failed to master them effectively, the ramifications have been devasting.

Not enough advisory businesses took the time in past years to scan the horizon and acknowledge not only the looming storm clouds – but emerging trends and opportunities that could enhance and improve their businesses i.e. the Five Rs.

Firstly, managing the Five Rs is not a task that can be delegated to the EA or underutilised clerk. It demands the principal’s leadership, coordination and management as no one understands and appreciates a business better than its owner.


Accounting and financial planning advisory businesses operate under a cloud of internal and external challenges that include increasing costs, downward pressure on margins, attracting and retaining staff, constant legislation/regulatory changes and heightened client expectations.

Those businesses that stood still and failed to adapt found themselves swimming against a tsunami of challenges that drowned their operations.


Amongst the carnage, there were also those that chose to renew and reinvent themselves and their businesses. These businesses seized the opportunity to explore new markets, harness alliances and implement operational efficiencies, pricing / service models relevant to the needs of the modern-day client.


Constant regulatory changes and resultant compliance demands have become a key function and cornerstone for businesses. The overwhelming need to get it right are enormous, with the variety and complexity of regulations, directives, and laws shaping an advisory business’s everyday internal and external operations.

Because compliance violations can quickly lead to penalties, reputational damage, or even media coverage, there is a lot at stake.

With regulations only becoming more numerous and tighter, advice businesses need to plan longer-term strategies in order to deal with regulatory agendas.


The best practitioners have treated and leveraged all their relationships as strategic assets.

The building blocks of any successful business relationship are the same as a personal relationship: respect, commitment, and trust. Once established, the relationship transcends into clients being ambassadors for the business measured in referrals, testimonials and profits.


Business reputation is more important than ever. Although positive reputations are created over time from many interpersonal actions, negative reputations can result from a single action with catastrophic consequences.

The best advice businesses understand the link between building a great reputation and the client experience. Every touch point reaffirms and reassures the client that the practice values them as a client and is dedicated to their financial well-being and attainment of their wealth creation goals.

Recently, the power of Australian Wealth Solution’s (AWS) reputation was demonstrated to me by the addition of Robert Taylor to our team.

It came about as the result of a combination of industry contacts referring Robert to AWS when his university lecturer Peter Moran sought an employment opportunity for his student. Without hesitation, AWS was regarded as the employer of choice for the new industry entrant.

As advice businesses grapple with the new decade and beyond, it’s clear a more strategic approach that embraces the Five Rs is needed. By doing so, it demonstrates the creation of value for clients; acts as beacon to attract highly talented, motivated employees; and positions the business for long-term growth and financial success.


Sam Zervides is Principal – Australian Wealth Solutions and Victorian President – Institute of Public Accountants

Issued by Australian Wealth Solutions

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