Accountants are funny in the way that they hire people. They would much rather hire more accountants and let the accountants do the administration work rather then hiring professional administrators to do the administration work. After interviewing about 5,500 accountants over the past 5 years I have determined that an accountant spends on average 1.5hours per day on ‘administration tasks associated with the accounting job’.

Amazing – 1.5 hours per person per day. If you have 10 accountants at an average hourly rate of $200 that works out to be $675,000 of potential capacity. 10 x 1.5 x 5 days per week x 45 weeks for the year. You could hire 2 full time administrators at a cost of $100,000 to do that work. Spend $100k to free up (new capacity) $675K – go figure!

And it gets worse. I meet partners of firms who are doing more admin work then they need to. Some are doing the ‘practice administration’, some have the euphemistic title of ‘marketing partner’ and some attempt to look after the firms IT. Give me a break. I have never met a partner of an accounting firm who is an expert in these areas.

If a partner of a firm is mucking around doing 2 hours of ‘practice administration’ versus meeting a client for 2 hours and finding some new business – then they are wasting their time. A 2 hour meeting can generate (in a lot of cases) $5K or more of new business. A full time business administration on the firm can be hired for $50 – $75 per hour. New business generation at $2,500 per hour or administration work @ $50 per hour. Go figure.

Cutcher & Neale in Newcastle was at the very first coachingclub meeting on February 28 2006. They are still in coachingclub and have never missed a dinner, a meeting or a conference. Compared to today we didn’t know what we were doing back then. They joined with a healthy degree of HOPE.

It worked.

When they started I always remember David Carpenter (Managing Partner) saying to me “we’re going paperless, cleaning out our old files and we will free up an entire floor of space. We intend on adding 20 or so more people”

They never did it. In fact their team size today of 80 is about that same size as it was 4 1/2 years ago. In the same time period their revenue has so far increased by 70%. They started at about $7M in revenue and have infrastructure in place to grow 4 times that.

David was very kind to write me a note yesterday. They are very committed to success, they contribute to the community in many ways, they are a wonderful team and they have changed the way they do business forever. Even for a large firm they ditched charge rates ($1 per hour) last September.

>>>>

“We have been working with Rob Nixon since February 2006 at which time our business had a turnover of approximately $7m. During this time we have completely restructured the way over business operates from a services and resourcing perspective. We are now fully operating in a less paper environment with excellent management reporting systems. We have fully identified all the service offerings we have and are working with the value pricing model. Having thrown away charge rates our staff are committed to achieving the best results they can for both the client and ourselves. We are now training our people on selling these services to both new and existing clients.

Working in the coaching club environment has enabled me to interact with wonderful accountants and we have learnt many invaluable lessons from them on a day to day practical level. We have shared many internal tools that have improved efficiency within the business.

The business is now in a very organised position. With a concise business plan in place and action plans specifically focused on achieving these goals we will see our business grow to 4 times its original size but with a vastly improved efficiency.

The coaching environment has been crucial in changing our mindsets and focussing our attention on implementing those strategies that truly allow us to deliver an unparalleled client experience.

We would not have taken our business to this level without the support of Rob and his team”.

David Carpenter, Managing Parnter, Cutcher & Neale, Newcastle, NSW

There has been much chatter on my private forum regarding existing clients and nurturing them. I.e: visiting them with improved customer service. Find out what they need and then deliver it. Many firms have met with a few and had some success yet no firm has met with all of them.

When you do this let’s remember a few things here:

1. Clients WILL say no. When you pitch ideas to them not all will accept. If you have done the best job possible, if you have the clients best interests at heart and you have given them some ideas with the greatest of sincerity and care – and then they say no. Not your problem. Get over it and move on.

2. My definition of a ‘good client relationship’ is when clients call you before they do things related to your speciality – finance, planning, tax etc. If they call you before they do whatever then you have a chance to advise them otherwise – or reassure them. How many clients do you have of that nature? Small percentage I would guess.

3. If you do not build a good relationship with your clients then someone else will

4. As I said to my 10 year old daughter before she had to give a speech to assembly….. remember these 3 rules with speaking..

1) You have the microphone and as such you are the most powerful person in the room

2) You always give 3 speeches – the one you intend on giving, the one you actually give and the one you give to yourself later

3) The audience doesn’t know what you are going to say so whatever you say is correct.

You have the power here – the trusted relationship. You already have the microphone!

Every year I organise a father & sons camping trip. Real camping with tents and no power. Mind you someone did describe our style as ‘glamping’ to me the other day (glamour camping) due to the fact that we have a camping wine rack, cheese & wine tasting, awesome coffee and the best food. We may rough it in a tent but we do not rough it in the food & beverage department.

This year marks year no. 8 in a row. It’s one of the highlights of the year for both dads and the boys. Special bonding time and a whole lotta fun. We fish, we laugh, we swim, we climb giant sandhills, we play beach sports, we tell stories, we toast marshmallows on an open fire and generally have a very wholesome time. Every year we have a ‘gadget of the year’ award. I thought I was sure fire winner this year with my new camping ute and boat (we caught decent fish for the first time) however I was outdone by a pair of $50 fluorescent lights. Lighting is always a problem – not any more.

We are creatures of habit and go the same spot every year. Yellow patch on the northern end of beautiful Moreton Island – a short ferry ride + 1hr 4WD drive from Brisbane. This year we had 8 dads and 14 boys – although the photo only shows 7 (one left early) – and every year it fluctuates between 6 – 12 dads. Very special time. Enjoy the photos!

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