Last Thursday and Friday I attended the National Business Growth Summit in Sydney, hosted by the Growth Faculty and MC’d by our good friend, Verne Harnish. On the Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to gather some impromptu feedback from business owners as part of a group exercise assigned by Rick Kash, one of several international speakers at the event. Rick is Vice Chair of Nielsen and was very impressive with his ideas for isolating and marketing to distinct profit pools in your business.
The exercise in which I took part happened by chance to be a case study in an accounting firm, one of the groups in the room. Eight of us were to work together to identify distinct customer segments, their potential needs and how the firm could differentiate. I chose to withhold my status as a coach and consultant to accountants, preferring to let other business owners speak to see what they came up with. Most fascinating were the following comments:
- Before an accountant can advise a business owner on how they can better run their business, they had better get themselves organized first and run their own firm like a business
- It would be really neat if the accountant could help us actually UNDERSTAND the numbers, rather than just reporting on what happened
- If they could benchmark us, either against others in our industry or even amongst their best performing clients, that would be very valuable
- They work with lots of businesses – surely they could pick the eyes out of what works well in their best performing clients and share those strategies with us?
- Unless they embrace technological changes (and especially, the cloud) they are going to become increasingly less relevant – we need real time information.
I was heartened by these impromptu comments as they validated our thought processes as we continue to work with accountants to give them the skills and resources they need to make a real difference with their clients. Take a look at our PANalytics web page to see the direction in which we are moving. We are excited about the future of the accounting profession but accountants need to step up and listen to what clients are saying and thinking. The five points above are a good place to start, but why not go and ask your own clients what they think? It will help you shape your own future so that you can best help them.