Most Accounting firms do not plan to be a major success from the outset. It seems business just happens and over the years you end up with a collection of…

  1. Clients who are mis-match to who you really love working with
  2. Systems that are done differently by each person in the firm
  3. Pricing mechanisms that are all over the place
  4. Services that are at best a grudge purchase – aka compliance services
  5. No rules – on how you work with clients – they seem to control things
  6. People who are plodders and not high achievers
  7. Income streams that are not conducive with what you need to live a fulfilling lifestyle.

The good news you can change this – or if you are starting out you can change this from the outset. If you are prepared to treat your business like a how you progress on a set of monkey bars (clue LET GO) then you will have a big chance of success. As my friend Michael Sheargold says “A breakthrough often happens after a breakwith”.

Maybe you need to let go of some old habits, methods, people, clients, systems to be a big success. When you re-design your future think of these critical parts:

  1. What rules do you want your clients to play by – remembering it is your business not theirs
  2. What client types / classification do you want to serve?
  3. What geographical locations do you want to serve?
  4. What services do you want to deliver?
  5. What service delivery model do you want to follow?
  6. What pricing formula do you want to use?

It’s your business life and your risk that you are taking. You decide.

Monkey Bars Small

Accountants hold the status (without even trying) of ‘trusted advisor’. By virtue of training and a certificate on the wall we trust you. We trust you to be impartial, accurate, non judgmental, and non biased. We put our family and business affairs in the guidance of you and we are very loyal to you. We trust that you are giving us the right advice.

So if we trust you to guide us then it is my hope that you are more ‘sorted’ than we (your clients) are. Otherwise how could we trust your advice? If you are advising businesses and individuals on what they should be doing then I sure as well hope that you are doing them as well – and doing them better than us!

Some questions to ask yourself (Accountants) as you advise your clients:

  • Are all of your partners wealthy?
  • Do you have all of your financials up to date?
  • Are your wills, estate planning and insurances up to date?
  • Do you have any outstanding issues with the taxation department?
  • Do you have a budget and a cashflow plan?
  • Do you have a marketing plan that works?
  • Do you have a client nurturing program?
  • Do you have a sales program?
  • Are your stock levels (WIP) under control?
  • Are your accounts receivable levels (debtors) under control?
  • Is your team working well together?
  • Do you have great facilities and superb logistical (workflow) management?
  • Are your profit levels above the highest quartile in your industry?

You see, the trusted advisory business should be running a better business than those that they advise. Not bigger, not more profitable. But better!

You want to advise us on wide range of issues and opportunities. Who is advising you? If you are advising others then isn’t hypocritical not to be advised and coached yourself?

To be able to coach a client and give proper advice you (and your firm) needs to be coached as well. Our groundbreaking coachingclub program will help you get sorted, get your firm on the right track, provide the tools and training to your people and it will also show you how to take value added (advice based) services to your clients.

We’re here to guide you to your success. Make an enquiry today.

In Australia the Accounting profession is about to start a new financial year. You need to come ‘out of the blocks’ early and get off to a great start with your compliance work.

This means being organised with pricing upfront, administration people taking admin away from Accountants, checklists and scheduling all work in for the year ahead.

A trap for young players is bringing all of your work forward for the year. You need to use your deadlines to your advantage and spread the work out. You need to take the ‘lumpiness’ out of the revenue by being organised.

You really only have 1 major deadline in Australia – May 15. Oh, it’s actually June 6! use the deadlines. If the client work is not urgent then spread it out. You need capacity all through the year so you can handle additional ‘value added’ work as you sell it.

Have a good end of year Aussie firms. Make next year count.

If you are an Accountant and you are keen to make a difference to the financial performance of your firm and you want to make this happen for your firm NOW, then you need to visit us in Brisbane next week.

You see next week we are running a coachingclub experience day. We have a choice of dates in June for the 14th or the 16th, both in Brisbane – come up and enjoy our warmer weather! It will be led by myself, my business partner Colin Dunn and our senior coach, Owen Howells.

The agenda for the day is:

09:00am start to 16:30pm finish – so you can fly in and fly out.

  • Understanding your business objectives
  • How to sort out internal issues – workflow, WIP, etc.
  • How to get capacity
  • Insights and strategies that you can implement to achieve your goals
  • What is possible in your firm – planning your revenue and profit
  • How to grow your firm – the key things (foundations) you need to get right before growing
  • How to implement ‘upfront’ pricing from July 1 onwards
  • How to implement ‘client service coordinator’ strategy and make it work
  • How to sell value added services to clients – based on value based fees
  • The inner workings of coachingclub – why it works and how it works
  • Meet your support team and your coach
  • The resources of coachingclub – tools behind the concepts
  • Ask fellow coachingclub members a question – we will have a panel of existing firms there in the afternoon – and you can ask them any question you want

There will be a small number of firms attending that day (in our office at our purpose built coaching facility) so you can see how we run a coachingclub meeting at the same time.

There will also be a lot of content in this day and there will be a lot of information on how we help you implement. We would normally charge $3k – $5k per firm to attend however, if you are serious about being part of our community and you commit to bringing all partners, we will waive the fee. We only do these days if all partners are attending – otherwise the partners that don’t attend will not be on the same page as you and cannot contribute to your firm goals for the year.

We have limited spaces left on both days so please contact Lexi on 07 3607 6614 or lexi.mcdermid@nixonadvantage.com to secure your place. I look forward to working with you and your firm to help implement your growth strategies.

Last week I led a coachingclub group of Accountants (8 firms in the room who act as a non-exec board of directors to each other with a coach/chair) and I sensed that they were uneasy about 5 key strategies I was suggesting they implement:

  1. Price every job – not matter how big or small – up front and in writing
  2. Increase all prices immediately
  3. Asking clients for a deposit (as a minimum) or the full amount before commencing work
  4. Visit every client proactively and promote additional value added services
  5. Asking some clients to leave the firm who are not suited to the new vision/direction

When I put these on the board I could see more than uneasiness – it was F.E.A.R. So I dug a bit and found out they were scared of the following: My comments are in brackets….

1. “What if I get the price wrong?” (You will – all the time. The price is always wrong while ever they say yes. With practice and courage you’ll get better)

2. “What if they say ‘no’ to my new prices?” (Guess what? Some will – get over it. You have been too cheap for too long. You are not a charity or a community service and you do not sell commodities. You are worth more. Once you believe it you’ll put your prices up)

3. “We have never done that before” (And that’s one of the major reasons your cash-flow is up the gazooba (technical term) – what other people think of you is none of your business. Give it a try – you’ll be pleasantly surprised)

4. “What will they think?” (So let me get this straight. You are under-servicing your clients and many are willing to buy additional services from you – and you are wondering what they think of you …. give me a break. At worst these visits are a good customer service call)

5. “But they have been clients for the last 10 years”. (yes they have and for all those years you have been writing the job off and putting up with the clients BS. Life is too short to put up with clients who do not fit your ideal client profile)

F.E.A.R

False

Evidence

Appearing

Real

C’mon. It’s time to toughen up. It’s not your clients business. It’s your business. You’re taking the risk with your butt on the line – it’s you who should be setting the rules.

Thee who makes the rules, wins the game.

One of the most important business building strategies that every Accountant (or any professional service firm for that matter) needs to understand is LEVERAGE. Specifically leveraging in 5 key areas:

  1. People. You can leverage your people by making sure the ratio of “people per partner” is high. The more people you have per partner (say at least 20) then then the more profit you make per partner. There are way too many partners in the Accounting profession. Many are there for retention reasons not good business reasons.
  2. Price. You will get zero leverage on the model of “time X rate in arrears”. The ONLY model for price is to price in advance with as much value articulation and courage that you can muster.
  3. Process. You can leverage your time and literally ‘find time’ by pricing up front, then working out how to take labour out of jobs. The objective is to reduce the labour input on each task. Most Accountants over engineer projects because they are looking for perfection all the time – not success.
  4. Promotion. You can leverage your promotion by getting more people in the seminar room, asking all of your clients for a referral and increasing the size of your marketing database. Every firm who does marketing needs a database of at least 10,000 names.
  5. Product. Are you leveraging what you know? I would imagine most firms ‘re-invent’ the wheel all the time instead of systemising your services into product. If you systemise your services into a repeatable process then you can have other people deliver the product.

It’s all about the leverage. If you get all 5 working together you will create extraordinary profits. Profit before partner salaries should be running more than 50% all year round – without the partners doing all of the client work!

5 Ps of Profit

I am humbled by these responses from some of the most admired people in the global Accounting profession. You can review and buy a copy of my book here.

“This book is full of enormously useful, practical and profitable ideas and insights. It will take courage to follow all of its advice – especially the brilliantly challenging section on how to reward partners – but if you do you will have a much better practice and a much better life.”
Steve Pipe FCA – AVN Founder and Head of Research and author of The UK’s best accountancy practices

“This is a powerful and profoundly important book. Rob Nixon brings 17 years of making a difference in the profession into a laser-like focus. It burns away the myths and unlocks the real secrets of creating a practice that does great things brilliantly.”

Paul Dunn, Author of The Firm of the Future (previously Chairman Results Accountants’ Systems and creator of the Accountants Boot Camp)

“Accounting Practices Certainly Don’t Add Up! – In his excellent book, Rob Nixon captures the essence of what is wrong with the traditional accounting firm model. But, unlike many who moan that things aren’t right, Rob is different – he provides the reader with a wealth of ideas and inspiration to help them redesign and rework their business model. I wish this book was around when I was in public accounting, but for that to have happened Rob would have to be MUCH older!

To all in public accounting – BUY THIS BOOK! Read it, absorb the concepts and ideas and then get to work ON your business rather than IN it, and reap the rewards.”
Steve McIntyre-Smith – Leading consultant to the Canadian Accounting Profession.

Hello Rob,

Sincere thanks to you and your fabulous marketing team at Nixon Advantage for extending Entica with an invitation to witness the Launch of the Proactive Accountants Network program.

We at Entica are extremely proud of the new relationship we have with Nixon, and felt further privileged to join the PAN ‘family’ in witnessing your dynamic Webinar earlier this week.

We enjoyed the experience thoroughly, and found it equally informative, entertaining and relevant.

As members of a professional service delivery business, we too often hunger for opportunities to; build networks with like-minded colleagues, discover strategies for creating greater efficiency/profit/cash flow, capitalise on other companies experience and to be ‘led’ to reflect on the value in our own enterprise.

So we offer a hearty Congratulations to you Rob – the PAN program is clearly already a success, but would appear to be poised to draw out more of the very best Accountancy enterprises from across the country; to share, grow and profit collectively.

Entica is excited to be onboard the Nixon ‘member benefit’ express……..and look forward to the opportunity to creatively collaborate with some of these innovative, successful and dynamic Accountancy firms in Australia. So bring them on……

We wish you and Nixon all the best with the PAN program, and with the many exciting activities you have planned across the Nixon Advantage schedule for 2011/12.

Yours sincerely, Peter

Peter Lynch
Managing Director
Entica

230 harcourt street
post office box 696
new farm, qld, 4005

http://www.entica.com.au

For my 40th birthday my wife bought me a trip into Space on Virgin Galactic. Pretty cool present. I am no. 293 in the world to fly and no. 13 in Australia to sign up for it.

Here is a sneak preview from a test flight yesterday.

SO HOW CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TYPE 1 & TYPE 2 ACCOUNTANT?

I had the pleasure of interviewing 1,077 business people on behalf of 129 Accounting firms. The meetings were all about what the clients (you) wanted from their Accountant. The clients overwhelmingly said they wanted their Accountant to be more proactive with them. They said they did not know what additional services their Accountant delivered and they wanted higher (and more frequent) levels of communication. Maybe you are the same?

I had a good hard look at the research and and worked out what the 1,077 business owners where telling me. They told me there key frustrations when dealing with Type 1 (Reactive) Accountants and they also told me what they wanted from Type 2 (Proactive) Accountants. 

SEE HOW YOUR CURRENT ACCOUNTANT STACKS UP WITH THIS LIST OF 20 WISHES FROM 1,077 BUSINESS OWNERS.

1) You (business owner) call them when you have an issue VS They (Accountant) call you and ‘check in’ on how you are going – at no charge!

2) You visit them only when you have to VS They visit you at no charge

3) You only see or hear from them when something bad has happened VS You hear from them frequently about all sorts of issues, ideas and new opportunities

4) They do not have a regular communication program – it’s almost a surprise when they contact you VS They have a structured communication program (that does not cost you anything)

5) They charge you for nearly every phone call, email and quick meeting – in 6 minute ‘units’ of time VS They do not charge you for these small matters because they know that it annoys you

6) They do not understand your business or situation and take little interest in you VS They do understand your business or your situation and are very interested in your welfare

7) They give you a bill after the work is done – often a big surprise VS They price the project before starting and advise how much it will be and what is involved

8 You receive surprise bills that you do not understand from the tax department VS They have advised well in advance of the forthcoming tax bill and it is no surprise to you

9) They never ask their clients what they think about their service levels VS They ask for your opinion on how they can deliver a higher quality service

10) They talk more than you do in meetings – always offering solutions before the real issue is uncovered VS They listen more than you do in meetings and always ask probing questions to get to the heart of the issue – then offer the solution

11) They tell you what to do VS They tell you what to do and how to do it

12) They do not advise you what to send in each year and in what format VS They send you checklists and work with you to get all the information needed in one go

13) They only offer you what you legally have to buy – compliance services that add minimal value VS They offer a range of business improvement and wealth / asset services that are suited to your goals

14) They let you send in your work whenever you are ready VS They advise you when you need to send in your work so it can be done in a timely manner

15) They do not ask when you need information or jobs completed – they just assume VS They have an agreed deadline with you when the information / project will be completed

16) They ‘pre-judge’ what services you need VS They ask questions to determine what you need

17) You do not have a very good relationship with them VS They make an effort to enhance the relationship with you

18) You have no idea what value they add VS They articulate the value that they add

19) They do not explain your work to you – often they just send / mail it to you with no explanation VS They sit with you and step you through what it all means, where the money went and help you interpret your situation

20) They virtually say ‘good luck, you’re on your own’ VS They really help you step-by-step to achieve your financial goals

NOW YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH THE LIST YOU NOW HAVE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

1. How does your current Accountant measure up?
2. What is missing from your current Accounting relationship?
3. What sort of relationship do you want?

If you like your current Accountant (and you see potential in them) then speak to them about improving their service levels and service offering to you. And perhaps give them the benefit of the doubt to start with – many Accountants have problems keeping up with what the government requires them to do with you.

If you would like your current Accountant to improve, they are ways they can do that. One of the most powerful ways is to refer them directly to the Proactive Accountants Network. They will see precisely how to help you more proactively with coaching, training and new tools.

If, on serious reflection (perhaps based on some of the things you’ve looked at here) you would prefer to sever your relationship with your current Accountant then make an enquiry to one of the accredited ‘proactive’ Accountants. Each firm listed has passed stringent tests to prove they are proactive.

It’s your business and your future. The selection of the right Accountant will make the world of difference to your financial future.