The four key trends influencing how clients of professional firms buy their services
Four key trends emerged strongly in Meridian West’s Business Buyers’ Barometer:
1. Culture and purpose
Having a clearly defined organisational culture, purpose and values is increasingly important to buyers of professional services. 72% of buyers say they actively look for clearly-defined information to help them evaluate whether there is an obvious cultural fit with a prospective advisor, and a well-articulated organisational purpose beyond the pursuit of profit.
2. Price certainty
Price certainty remains a crucial buying factor, with the movement towards fixed and capped fees gaining increased momentum over the last decade. More than two-thirds (68%) now say they prefer to seek a fixed price when instructing external advisors.
Trust is a hard to win commodity that can be quickly lost. For example, with numerous negative press stories concerning the effectiveness of audits at prominent UK businesses, the reputation of accountants, in particular, has taken a dip over the last couple of years. 53% say their levels of trust have fallen in advisors over recent years.
4. Internal capabilities
In recent years internal business functions such as finance, legal, risk and HR/people have become more influential in shaping enterprise-level strategy. Leaders of these business function have also been steadily building their internal capabilities and bench strength. This means that senior buyers are now more savvy about exactly where they will seek external advice, and where they will fulfil requirements in-house. 52% say they are reluctant to outsource work if it can be completed in-house.
Meridian West’s Business Buyers Barometer is an annual syndicated study of 800 buyers of accountancy, legal and consulting services within the UK.