Learning from the leading generation
Millennial accountant Georgia Duffee speaks with the accountant who inspired her to have an interest in the profession and this is what she learned.
When I set up Benedetto Accounts & Tax and started working alone, my whiteboard became my team and my co-partner. It helped me elaborate on points, delve deeper into plans, organise and manage my workload and visualise the roadmap for the next quarter.
I still consult and update my whiteboard weekly, despite now using practice management software, sales and work funnels and business development systems to ensure we are performing as planned. In addition to my whiteboard, I also bounced ideas off the members of my local AAT branch. I volunteered at my local branch’s committee for three years and I joined the committee at the same time as setting up alone.
The reason why I joined the committee was so I could regularly interact, discuss and learn from other accountants, lecturers and fellow members in practice. Knowledge is an invaluable resource and without my whiteboard, or AAT branch peers I would have felt very isolated and alone in the game.
When I left the AAT branch I wanted to continue my industry-specific networking, but with established, local and inspiring accountants who may be nearing retirement after a successful journey in business, and this is where it started.
Top of that list was one accountant who inspired me to have an interest in accountancy a long time ago. For years I have peered into his inconspicuous office just off the broadway in the bustling heart of Leigh-on-Sea.
The office’s vertical blinds have always been drawn and through the front door you can see an abundance of files and filing cabinets, an adding machine on a desk and the accountant is sitting and crunching away at the paperwork in front of him - always in the same seat.
The number of times I have wanted to pop in and ask how he got to be a success in the profession, but I hadn’t.
After one meeting with like-minded female entrepreneur accountant Laura Moss, she told me to call up my idol and ask them their tips.
So when I next went past and peered in, I stopped dead in the street. Laura’s words went through my mind, as I got out my smartphone and Googled the firm. However, there was no website, no email address available and no social media too. But there was a Yell business listing advertising the landline of a highly rated firm who had built a great reputation spanning over 30 years.
I gave the number a call and explained my position in the entrepreneurial accountant journey, expressing my long withstanding intrigue in his firm and its success.
To my ebullience, the director was very pleased to welcome my suggestion of a meeting to discuss the ‘hows’ to his success so I could learn the tips of someone who has happily made it. His tips to me were:
- Be clear with your client: Speak in basic English without complex accounting terminology which will confuse them and prevent them from opening up about thoughts on their finances, goals or business issues
- Be consistent with your work: Set the expectations and goals of your working relationship together. This will enable your client to follow your terms, fit in your client base well - and provide a quality service across the board
- Build relationships with your clients: His portfolio was built through word of mouth referrals over many years. If your client knows you outside of the office, they will feel your solid support and you will become someone they truly trust - a lifelong connection.
- Relax after hours: Keep everything at your office, so when you leave you can switch off completely and move onto your personal life and well-deserved lifestyle.
So where are you on your accountancy journey? Would you want to mentor or network with a personal icon to you in this industry? Contact them today, and ask them for a meeting. Collaboration over competition is a key to success.