Here in New Zealand, we’ve ticked over into a new financial year. Accountants and bookkeepers look at this time as the start of a fresh chapter, a chance to re-charge the batteries and shake off the stress of ‘tax season’. A little bit like an official New Year, it’s a time to also make some resolutions and promise yourself that you’ll be better, smarter and stronger from now on.
And then… reality bites. Suddenly a month or three have passed and you’re caught up in the same old compliance drudge.
Stop. Breath. Start again.
Make this year – the Accounting year 2017/18 – the one in which you finally #ban_excuses and make the changes you need to for a better, smarter, stronger year. So what do I mean?
I spent 20 years working in or founding accounting firms, and we have over 1,000 firms that we partner with at Spotlight Reporting. What I noticed is that most accounting firms have many barriers to the kind of reality they want to experience. Barriers are often just excuses, to be honest, and can generally be overcome with the right mentality.
Excuse # 1 – I’m too busy
At last count, Winston Churchill only had 24 hours in the day and helped inspire the world to overcome fascism. Mahatma Gandhi turned the tide against the Raj and for Indian independence. They only had the allotted time we all have. It’s how you use it people!
Drop the distractions, sack the clients who irritate, automate, improve processes, delegate, and generally sort out your very precious time management. Please.
Excuse # 2 – My clients don’t want advisory
So, your clients uniquely don’t want an accountant that gives them useful advice, helps them grow their business, frees up precious family time, plans for the future, proactively minimises taxes whilst maximising cashflow…?! Hmm, sure.
If your clients aren’t yet embracing your advisory services, look at (a) how you are marketing these services, (b) how you are selling these services and (c) peers that are doing this better. Get professional help, recognise that you need to persevere and that you might even need to upskill yourself and your team. There are also some tools that you can use to improve your selling process and relationship building with your clients.
Excuse # 3 – What, I have to spend money!?
Yes, dear friends, doing the kind of work you want to do to the best of your ability will require an investment in new tools, training, marketing and potentially even payroll. You need to invest with a long-term view and expect to earn a return on investment through careful selection of best of breed software, staff with more than technical skills and the training and education that transforms their ability to work with clients, not sit in the back room crunching out tax returns.
In summary, I hope that in this new year of promise you’ll own your own time like a boss, sell and market high value advisory services better than your competition, and invest in making sure that you execute well. I wish you luck and hope that you #ban_excuses at your practice!