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Value add services - delivered on demand or basic duty of care?

An accounting firm relayed this scene to me this week.  One of the firm’s partners, Dan, was at a rugby game with a few of his clients.  They’d had a few beers and the banter was flowing. Out of the blue one of Dan’s clients (his name is also Dan, which is confusing, but this is a true story, so I’m sticking to the facts.  Let’s call the accountant Dan One and the client Dan Two) said ‘my cashflow is ******* killing me.  I’m worried and I’m not sleeping.’ Th...

May 28, 2018

8 questions for effective new client screening

Truth be told, D clients are like parasites.  They can be painful, demand attention, drain your energy, query your bills and if they refer you work - breed more parasites.  Most significantly, they’ll damage your brand, morale and culture. Unlike the parasite and host relationship, accountants should partner with like-minded new clients, forming a stable, happy, mutually beneficial, and long-term relationship. To avoid future heartbreak, ask questions to establish suitabili...

April 19, 2018

The evolution of the accountant

The accounting industry is going through massive change in response to compliance automation, tax simplification and an increasing demand from clients for more proactive services.  Contrary to popular opinion (or fake news), I am not of the view that we are talking about a revolution here - the modern accountant will not become redundant; they simply need to evolve into better coaches.   Here are my top three areas where this evolution is needed: A shift from reactive to proactive...

March 12, 2018

Where have all the 'Young Guns' gone?

Recently I ran a ‘Succession Insights Poll’ in New Zealand, with 441 accounting firms participating. The most thought provoking question raised during the post-poll webinar was ‘What happened to all the Young Guns coming through; where are they and why do they not want a career in this industry?’...

January 16, 2018

Let's get to the Core of the problem

I’m a firm believer that everyone comes to work to do a great job - initially anyway.  So why do businesses have poor performers?  Likewise, why do team members find it difficult to deal with conflict in the workplace; that difficult client or demanding boss? To get answers to these questions we need to look beneath the surface.  Go beyond actions and behaviour and look to the drivers of performance: Core Values....

November 14, 2017

Can I outsource leadership?

One of the best solutions to TLT is to delegate more, either to existing team members or to people external to the business (outsourcing). It's as simple as looking at the number of hats you are wearing to see if you can delegate any of them....

June 13, 2017

Managing poor performance

I firmly believe that when anyone starts a new role they come to work with the intention of doing a great job. They're keen to make an impression, to make a difference, and to enjoy themselves. After all life is too short, right? If the average person spends 40,000 hours of their life working, they'd better do something they like....

May 24, 2017

The power of drawing

My old excuse (below the line thinking) was that I'm an accountant and therefore I can't draw. Too bad if you're a visual learner, you'll just have to listen to what I say or read my words. Worse still, I'll subject you to death by PowerPoint. Does this sound familiar? Those of you who've worked with me will know, as bad as my awkward left-handed writing and drawing is, I am constantly scribbling onto a flipchart or whiteboard. I do this because I know how much more powerful it is for you, as t...

May 17, 2017

Would the real modern firm please stand up

There is no such thing as the modern accounting firm, any more than there is the modern store or the modern plumbing company. Real time reporting, less paper and no server are all outcomes of technology shift; they don't of themselves create the modern firm. They're now a given. What does create the true modern firm is a business model that is focused on creating value for clients and will outlast compliance simplification and automation in a pared down tax world. But many roads lead to ...

May 11, 2017

How to develop your Story Book

Business Story Books tell a compelling, authentic and fluid story. Both content and form are important in delivering an informative and inspiring story that promotes brand awareness....

March 1, 2017

Client events streamlined

1. They provide literally a room full of opportunities to help your clients achieve their goals. 2. If executed poorly you'll suffer from brand damage, wasted resources and shattered team confidence. ...

February 3, 2017

New Year's resolutions to improve your business and leadership

A resolution is defined as: 'A firm decision to do or not do something.' When we set attainable resolutions we gain clarity of our desired direction both personally and professionally. They say it takes 21 times to change or create a habit and by actively speaking change we can help to achieve it. It's not rocket science but we have to act now if we want change. ...

January 11, 2017

Be, Do, Have.

Our success in life can be summed up using these three words in their correct order. The ordering of these three words will heavily influence the outcomes that we achieve. Compare these two sentences: ...

October 20, 2016

How to write your 'About Us'

Your website is an important marketing channel to create awareness and generate leads. Use this platform to tell your business's story and engage your audience. It's your opportunity to convey personality and culture, to demonstrate why people will enjoy working with you and to build trust. Site visitors are generally less interested in how you do what you do - the technical aspects of accounting (they assume you have this covered). What they really want to know is how you'll help them achiev...

September 11, 2016

Bringing your business 'A' game

Success in sport is all about playing your 'A' game. Being the best you can be through preparation and training, during the game and even after with modesty and humility in success and graciousness in defeat. If everyone on the team plays their 'A' game the results are impressive. So how do we bring our 'A' game to the workplace? Let's liken our business operations to the game of cricket. Play your 'A' game and you're likely to win; play an 'O' game you'll be 'Out' pretty quick....

August 18, 2016

Stop haemorrhaging value

It's common knowledge that our perception of the value or quality of a product or service diminishes as the price goes down. Conversely, the higher the price, the higher the perception of value or quality....

July 8, 2016

How to sell without product pushing

Product pushing is trying to sell a number of different products or services to clients irrespective of their needs. We've all experienced the stereotypical insurance salesperson who is only interested in getting the sale. As the client in this situation we want to run for the hills or blow up the phone. Accountants fear the product pusher label, but we have a unique perspective of our clients' needs, and provided we only sell based on this, we will always be problem-solving....

June 17, 2016

The most powerful behaviour model ever

Our behaviour responses are so beautifully captured in the acronym 'OARBED' - the OAR (Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility) representing above the line behaviour while BED (Blame, Excuse, Deny) is below the line. This concept is easily demonstrated through the child's mind. For example, perhaps your children have been playing a little too quietly and on investigation you discover an entire jar of marmalade has been spread on the white walls of your children's bedroom. You immediate...

June 2, 2016

Are you playing checkers or chess?

Are you adding value to your clients or are you spending too much time playing checkers? Let me explain how the game is played in so many Accounting firms. The game starts with the client diligently (sometimes!) completing their Xero coding (or cashbook) and submitting it to their accountant. The first thing the person preparing the annual accounts does is check the work that the client has done. Once a draft set of accounts is complete, it is then passed to a more senior team member for che...

May 11, 2016

'Stop listening to reply - listen to understand’

Holding a good conversation is an underrated, but required, skill in our industry. This separates good advisors from excellent coaches. It's easy for accountants to fall into an advisory rut, cutting to the chase, always giving the answer - delivering advice based on experience and knowledge. While this will always be a necessary part of our role, if we don't vary our approach we can miss vital opportunities to help and add further value. After all, clients are individuals with unique situation...

April 22, 2016

Robots preparing tax returns?

Last Wednesday, the Herald published this article on the future automation of jobs, listing the top 10 jobs to disappear (tax preparers coming in at number 8). The news piece was based on an NZ Institute of Economic Research study commissioned by CAANZ and will meet with both warranted scepticism and a healthy regard for future opportunity. There is no doubt that a perfect storm is gathering to reduce the transactional side of accounting. Algorithms that drive predictive coding, a growing DIY...

April 1, 2016 Posts 1-21 of 21 | Page
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