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Accountants Conference: Twilight of the giants

23rd Jun 2011
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Four of the greatest contributors to the global accountancy profession appeared on stage together this morning, speaking at the National Accountants Conference 2011.

The giants of the profession delivered keynote presentations aimed at helping accountants achieve the goal of improving their practice.

Paul Dunn

Paul Dunn got things off to a flying start by asking the audience to think about the “WOW” factor, underpinned by “WHY”, then followed by “WOOW” - explaining that when we get these three things right, everything else connects.

The “wizard of WOW” referenced Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why”, highlighting the point that people don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do what you do and what you believe in.

“It’s all about belief, all about why and it’s all about purpose”, said Dunn. “When the sense of purpose is big enough, people will do amazing things. When your sense of purpose is big enough, your business will transform”

His lively delivery continued with reference to “Generation G”, a new timeless generation that is embedded in the power of giving and gratitude.

With John Lennon’s “Imagine” booming through the PA, Dunn asked what if giving became a habit, made you feel great – even effortless?”

His “Buy 1 Give 1” message about having a greater purpose was a poignant moment, where Dunn encouraged us to think about transforming, connecting and changing lives.

Dunn explained it’s about adding speed, purpose and changing lives: “it transforms your practice, your community and our world.”

Mark Lloydbottom

Next up was Mark Lloydbottom who questioned what changes lie ahead for the Baby Boomers who are now in an interesting, if not challenging financial situation.

Lloydbottom challenged the audience to ask the big questions, for example, “what are your long-term goals and retirement plans?”

Baby Boomers may well be asset rich, but how does that wealth cascade down the generations to keep the accountancy profession developing and innovating? “I don’t believe the accounting service is on the way out”, added Lloydbottom.

He also questioned what retiring firm owners might be expecting, with the cost of an exiting partner now standing at £500,000. He then explained that we are not always able to rely on goodwill and therefore we have to do other things to generate income.

Lloydbottom said: “What you do today impacts tomorrow, what you don’t do has an impact”, highlighting that to stand still and not change is to allow others to get ahead.

Steve Pipe

Steve Pipe was next to the stage to unveil his latest piece of major research, his new book, entitled “The UK’s best accountancy practices”.

Gifting the book to every member of the audience, he added one condition: “you all have to read it and act on it”.

Pipe explained that the practices he references in the book all have one thing in common – they have better intent, they stop moaning and take control of their own destiny. Essentially, it’s deliberate.

He then went through a number of interesting examples, including the firm Landers, who insisted on BoardView being compulsory for all new clients.

He noted the mentality: “This is how we do business, if you want to work with us, this is how it will be”

Pipe also explained how these are things we can all do, concluding “the people in these firms or on this stage are not extraordinary, but they are people doing extraordinary things”.

David Maister

Then onto the keynote speaker that we had all been waiting for - delivering probably his last ever speech on this side of the Atlantic: David Maister.

Maister’s eccentric delivery engaged the entire audience, picking up from where Lloydbottom left off – “What’s it going to be like when your 65? They come round quicker than you think” he explained, “and after 30 to 40 years of being generous and grand, suddenly you don’t act so grand.”

He added “When you come to sell your firm, is there any value left there if you leave?” He explained that other than selling your business that you’ve built up, the only other option is to be so disciplined that you save 30% of your income over 30 years.

Maister then moved onto his next point that throughout his education, no one ever told him how to deal with people. “Everything you want, someone has to give you – but how do you get another person to give you what you want?”.

He explained that this starts with being interested in them and that most of us have to learn and develop our social skills.

Maister said: “Over 30 years, rather than the last five, I wish someone had taught me more about what works in winning trust and engaging with people, essentially how to be a better friend.”

He then stressed the importance of setting new goals and coaching people, “The most important thing you can do is getting everyone excited and focused.” He added: “If you have children, you’ve succeeded in doing this if they have finished secondary school without being arrested”.

Maister then spoke about a visit to the dentist where his dentist relished the fact that there was going to be “a lot of disruptive work that’s going to cause pain”.

He explained that clients want our services, adding that “we are a noble profession, but we are dentists”.

His last analogy was on dieting and the futility of being heroic about all the changes you’re going to set yourself, “because you’ll probably lack the courage to see everything through”.

Maister added: “It’s not the goal that makes the difference, more it’s about sticking to a programme of change” and doing it because it’s a matter of principle.

He finally encouraged the audience to ask someone close the question: “Do I operate according to the principles that I believe in?”

With the speeches out the way, it was left to Steve Pipe to round things off and present the awards for the best practices from a list of 42 that were all involved in his new book.

The runners up were:

  • GreenStones
  • Woods Squared

The joint winners were:

  • ClearVision
  • Stark Main

Dunn and Maister were also duly recognised for their contributions to the global accountancy profession.

Replies (4)

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Steve pipe
By Steve Pipe
25th Jun 2011 11:50

42,515 underprivileged people's lives were also made a little be

Not only was it a great conference, but the lives of 42,515 undeprivileged people across the world were made a little bit better thanks to the kindness of the wonderful delegates at it, as you will see here...

Isn't that a joyful thing?!




Thanks (0)
By Mal
26th Jun 2011 20:56

Conference 2011

Very enjoyable event, key message picked up: Its all about the "Wow" and also ensuring that we do lots of little "remarkable" things!

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Steve pipe
By Steve Pipe
27th Jun 2011 12:01

Free copy of book launched at Conference

As a thank you to Accountingweb and its readers for its support over the years, there are details in my blog here of how you can get a free preview PDF version of my new book “The UK's best accountancy practices”

which was launched at the National Accountants Conference and which Mark Spofforth, Vice President of The ICAEW, describes as "Brilliant" for the way it lifts the lid on what the most successful firms do to generate extraordinary results for their clients and themselves




Thanks (0)
By jaybee661
28th Jun 2011 08:23

... a true honour...

I am so honoured to be mentioned in Steve's new book, it's hard to put into words really how grateful I am to Steve and AVN for transforming my practice.

I have to say the conference was inspiring - some great speakers (including Steve, who could motivate me just by reading the phone book out loud!) and some fantastic people to chat to as well.

I can't wait for next year!

Thanks (0)