Want different results? Consider a mentor to guide you in the right direction
The beginning of a new year is a common time for people to reconsider their approach to their business. For accountants, it’s no different. Whenever I meet an accountant, I ask about their business model and what they are looking to achieve in the next three years. It’s rare that I am provided with a concise response that inspires me with confidence that the accountant has a solid plan and knows how to implement it.
In our view, there are eight core areas that must be ticking along nicely for your accounting business to thrive. They are:
- Cash management – ensuring your WIP and debtors are under control. As a guide, you should be aiming for no more than 40 days in lock up (WIP and debtors combined). This is so far away from the current situation for many that they scoff at the figure in disbelief but with a focused plan, some guidance and accountability it can be done surprisingly quickly
- Pricing – the way accountants bill is the number one frustration for clients. To better serve your clients AND to incentivise your team to be super efficient, you need to price every job upfront and drive the time on the job down. That way, you’ll maximise job turnaround, job profitability, client service and create capacity to better help your clients with new, more important services
- Workflow management – you, not your clients, should control your workflow. You need a solid, step-by-step approach to managing workflow, with the right people in your firm doing the right things. Your workflow management process should systematically include steps to help you identify and recommend additional services to clients. It should include daily accountability and a whole of team focus on maximising closed jobs and minimising open jobs
- People development – to thrive, you need the A Team. You need a championship team, not a team of champions. The owners of the business need the skills to successfully inspire and lead the team to overachieve the business’s goals
- Client development – every accounting firm needs a client development strategy. Few have one. Existing clients are too often neglected. This is extraordinarily dangerous in this era of cloud accounting, where clients have the ability to be much more transient. Your clients need your help and guidance more than ever, but what’s your plan for understanding what their needs are, then addressing those needs with a consummate client development plan?
- Sales – accountants typically hate selling. There are some exceptions, so I don’t want to generalise, but it’s not perceived as a strong suit. But with training and systems and processes that enable you to sell by the numbers, it’s less frightening than you think
- Marketing – this is the real problem area for accounting firms wishing to grow. Too much time is spent on branding and nowhere near enough on lead generation. A modern firm needs a solid marketing plan for both existing and new clients, with leveraged, technology driven tools to support the plan
- Delivery of business advisory services – what is your suite of business advisory services that can be delivered with panache, without being reliant on the partners? A suite of services that stays close to the numbers and adds serious value to clients.
Over the past 8 years, we have coached over 600 accounting firms in how to implement all eight of these areas in their firm with consistent success. My business partner, Rob Nixon and I, have now decided to take the program to the next level. We are now offering a mentor program so that you can learn from the best of the best. We have hand picked just six super high performers to continue our work in the profession in Australia. All six have achieved outstanding success and are now ready to give back to the profession by mentoring other firms and answering questions around how exactly they got the results they did.
The beauty of a mentor is working with someone who has been there, done that. A mentor can provide guidance, offer advice, answer questions in detail based on recent, relevant experience and give you an edge that only a high performer in your field can offer. It’s a unique opportunity and one I wholeheartedly recommend you embrace.
Whether or not our mentor program is something of interest to you, let me give you the key questions to ask yourself for implementing and getting results in your firm. If you want to change something, use this approach:
- Ask yourself, which dimension of the business is this project aimed at? (For example, increasing the number of clients, increasing average transaction value, improving margins etc) – hint, if it impacts none of your key numbers, why are you doing it?
- Specifically WHY do you feel this project is important?
- Who is going to be accountable for the delivery of the project?
- By when will it be implemented?
- What goals will be achieved by implementing this project?
- How will you measure progress and outcomes in respect of this project?
Of course, you will get better AND faster results with a mentor to guide you, as the missing link here is the detail that makes the strategy really hum. And that detail can only be provided by someone who has done it before you. With that in mind, why not take advantage of our free initial consultation [https://panalitix.com/mentor/] to see whether the mentor program is right for you? You’ll get value out of that consultation even if you decide not to proceed because you’ll leave with a 20-step implementation plan to achieve your firm’s goals, so it really is a no risk option for you. I hope you’ll resolve to do something different in 2015 and take a good look at the opportunity ahead of you.