Following on from his previous article about business advisory services, Steven Briginshaw has found from discussions with accountants and his own experiences that there are three obstacles stopping you from becoming a great business adviser.
The accounting world is changing for the better and pressure is being put on you, and every other accountant, to deliver more and more value to your clients.
Gone are the 70’s and 80’s heydays where firms could charge what they wanted for a set of historic accounts. Prices are being squeezed as compliance work becomes a commodity; through technology and client expectation.
It’s now, and quite rightly so, all about helping business owners build and grow their dream business and make an impact doing it.
Even Richard Branson stated when the 17 UN sustainable development goals were launched in 2015 that “business can be a force for good, and support the creation of a thriving economy for people and the planet”.
The interesting thing is as an accountant are you are in the right place at the right time to not only impact your clients’ business and life but your own too. The question is: are you the right person?
You’ve got to walk the talk
Would you take fitness advice from an unhealthy and obese personal trainer?
How can you advise someone on something if you haven’t done it yourself? Giving advice should come from your experience of implementing that in your own firm, not from theory or because someone else says it can be done.
Walking your talk gives you more credibility with your clients and you will know, not just hope, that your clients will get their desired results in the desired time.
It also gives you an inner power, which leads nicely to the next obstacle.
Having the confidence to advise
As an accountant you’re in the perfect place to give business advice. After all numbers are the language of business and numbers are your thing.
But if you’ve not given advice before (and if you’re not following your own advice in your firm) it can be scary. You may not know what to do, where to start or what to say.
All because numbers are easy for you doesn’t mean they are easy for a non-accountant business owner. You have a gift and the ability to really help business owners build their ideal business and make an impact.
Take the plunge (first in your own firm) and do what comes naturally to you by explaining what the numbers are saying and improving your clients’ business. The more you do it, and the more experience you gain, so too will your confidence.
Having the time
Like most people you probably have too much to do and too little time. You most likely don’t have time to even think about the numbers in your business let alone offer additional services to your clients.
You have too many clients to serve and your team has a backlog of work to catch up on.
As crazy as it sounds, this is the ideal time for you to become your own finance director. Life can’t carry on like this so you need to start asking questions about your business model, who you serve and how you do it.
Schedule time with yourself to first interpret the numbers in your own firm, complete detailed analysis on your numbers and finally implement different ideas, strategies and tactics to improve your business. This has to be a priority for you.
As you go through your own business advisory journey, share what you are learning and implementing with your clients. You only need to be one step ahead to help make a difference in their business.
So are you going to continue to do the same thing, of under-serving your clients, with your firm eventually going out of business? Are you going to sell up and exit now, with an “it’s was a great ride, but that’s me done” view because you see the writing on the wall and you don’t want to change? Or are you going to step up to deliver what your clients really want? Are you ready to become a business adviser?
About Steven Briginshaw
Steven Briginshaw FCA is an entrepreneur, speaker and business mentor.
He is the author of the International Bestselling Book The Profits Principles™ - The practical guide to building an extraordinary business around doing what you love.
Steven’s mission is to help revolutionise accountancy and business education to give existing and future entrepreneurs what they need to help solve meaningful problems & build purpose led impact-making businesses.
He sold his accountancy firm in 2015 and has worked with small businesses since 2000.