Course Outline



The recent ‘Firm of the Future’ update from CPA Australia recognised that ‘accountants need diagnostic skills to interpret financial statements, along with a range of soft skills.’

The accountant-analyst can see beyond the numbers to picture the world of the client in relation to business life cycle, cashflow, profitability, value and strategy. Being curious about these numbers can open up immense opportunities for your firm to provide additional services.

How many of the accountants in your firm have these skills and the confidence to use them?

In this special online learning course, we’ll take your accountants step by step through the process of developing their analytical skills through a strong curiosity about the numbers.

We’ll use practical examples and case studies to guide your team through the process of asking the right questions about the numbers in front of them.

We’ll explain how these insights into the clients’ world can be used to create leads and drive new business in your firm.

This is an 8 part self-paced program delivered through HTST’s eLearning Online Portal.

Each program module will run for around 20 minutes and will incorporate an online presentation including PowerPoint notes and workbook questions. It is expected that the total time allocated to each module should be between 30 and 60 minutes. Program modules can be viewed in structured or unstructured order.


  1. The big picture of SME business for accountants
  2. What business owners are interested in and why
  3. Principles of financial analysis for businesses
  4. Management reporting and control
  5. Industry benchmarking and analysis
  6. Looking beyond the numbers for accountants
  7. The business health check and next steps
  8. Business client engagement and conversion

All content is specifically relevant to team leaders and managers in the accounting firm environment.


This self-paced program is eligible for 16 CPD hours


Here is the course outline:

1. The Big Picture of SME Business for Accountants

Are you really seeing the big picture of business The life cycle of SME business and what this means for you

2. What business owners are interested in and why

Keys to effectively engage and motivate business owners Core principles of business strategy and growth

3. Principles of financial analysis for businesses

Identify the value of business financial statements In 15 minutes, what should you be looking at?

4. Management reporting and control

Keys to effective management reporting to business clients 12 key financial ratios to assist with analysis

5. Industry benchmarking and analysis

Effective use of internal and external benchmarking tools What should the analyst look for in key industries

6. Looking beyond the numbers for accountants

Keys to identifying and understanding patterns and trends Looking beyond the numbers to understand underlying causes

7. The Business Health Check and Next Steps

Assessing business performance - a simple internal health check What accounting firms can do to assist business owners

8. Business Client Engagement and Conversion

How to engage the client in discussing their issues and needs Put in place an internal lead development process for revenue