Constantly, as accountants, we need to communicate important messages to non-accountants and, in doing so, we risk coming across as detached number-crunchers, resulting in our message not really connecting.
No matter what our technical ability, if we do not have this power to connect, we don't get the chance to add the value we know we can!
I experienced this last week at the breakfast networking group that I attend every Thursday morning.
I have been going for around 3 months, with a 60 second talk every week to explain what I do (develop spreadsheets to help businesses streamline their admin). I had so far had a few pieces of business come from it, but not a great deal.
This week, I had a 10-minute slot and chose, rather than wax lyrical about what I do, to demonstrate what I had done the previous week for one of the other members. This was a relatively simple spreadsheet to record customer and sales information, with various reports from the data.
I demonstrated how the business owner could now record each piece of information once and use that same information to (at the click of a mouse) produce his invoices and sales reports, and track the success of his marketing efforts, as well as manage his callbacks.
I could almost hear the pennies dropping around the room.
I picked up three new opportunities straight away, and pretty much everyone (including a visitor who had never been before) said how every business they know would benefit from what I had shown.
The lesson I took from this is that we have to put ourselves in the other person's shoes and (and I think this is the key) demonstrate what the result means to them. Without them seeing this, anything we say will fall on deaf ears.
About Glen Feechan
Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in management reporting, Microsoft Excel and business process improvement.
Also runs a spreadsheet development business at http://www.needaspreadsheet.com.
Provides consulting on the above specialisms as well as providing cost savings to clients at no cost.
Editor and chief contributor to Not Just Numbers Ezine - The ezine for those who know it's not just about the numbers.
Cost Saving for SMEs, Overhead reduction, Excel, Management Reporting, Process Improvement, PISO.