Being a proactive accountant
It’s your job as an accountant to give clients advice about how to make their business better. Being truly ‘proactive’ may require a shift in mindset. It’s similar to what you would expect an internal CFO to do.
The trouble is you’re already super busy doing the compliance work – it makes sense because this has been the profession’s role in the past. Times have moved on. What you need is to stop doing tax returns and annual compliance work. If you can, hire someone to do the reviews and desk work for you. Sure keep an eye on this, but you don’t actually need to do it. Then, leave your desk armed with a tablet and a smartphone and get in front of your clients.
Giving sensible business improvement advice is natural for an accountant, given the right circumstances. Have you ever been at a BBQ and someone asks you a business question and you just instinctively know the answer and the advice just flows? That’s gold and it’s what your clients want.
How do you actually do it?
- Prepare management reports either monthly or quarterly for clients. Identify a few things they could do better, write them in the executive summary of the management report. Simple.
- Set up advisory boards with your clients – these run like a normal board meetings.
- Come up with ways to improve cashflow, profit and capital.
- Run one on one or group strategy development sessions. Do this with six clients, each paying say $250 each for a four-hour session. You want a basic business plan as a net result. This will lead to regular management reports and the advisory board meetings as above.
- Two or three times a week have breakfast with clients. No charge in fact you pay for breakfast. Just ask them how everything is going.
- Every week do several, 30 minute coffee meetings with different clients. Again just ask how everything is going. Introduce them to management reports.
The face-to-face interaction with clients should be part of the regular services you offer. Besides, being a virtual CFO and focusing less on compliance is much more fun.
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