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What clients really want from their Accountant # 4

We asked 428 business owners if they were interested in you having direct access to their data in real time and then send you alerts and advice if something untoward is happening. As you can see 21% are not interested at all yet 79% said they were interested in this, said it was worth exploring or suggested that is what you should be doing in the first place!

Survey - real time data

With real time data consolidated into one location using tools like PANALITIX ( you can interpret the numbers, be alerted to what is going on and then advise your clients accordingly.

With all of this data at your fingertips, what are you going to do with it? I think you have a duty of care and obligation to advise the clients how to improve the numbers. If you are living by the mantra of ‘all clients are buying all services that help them achieve their goals’ then it’s not selling new services. It’s servicing your clients properly.

Here is a list of 14 services that you could offer:

  1. Cash flow forecasting and analysis
  2. Profit improvement program
  3. Monitoring & accountability program
  4. Debt re-structuring
  5. Capital raising
  6. Interest reduction service
  7. Waste audit
  8. Revenue improvement strategies
  9. Creditor analysis & negotiation
  10. Product profitability analysis
  11. Debtor management service
  12. Tax planning & tax minimization
  13. Business Planning
  14. Inventory management system

All are valuable services that will make a significant impact to your client’s financial future. By ‘staying close to the numbers’ you have a better chance of the client buying the service. With good systemization of the services you can have Accountants of all levels deliver the service – not just the Partners.

You will need to learn some sales skills on how to have your clients buy them. You will also need some new tools (get rid of the spreadsheets, please) so you can systemize the services.

Now here’s the big one. We all know that cashflow (lack thereof) is the main reason businesses fail. The number one issue in businesses around the world right now is cashflow management.

We all know it and the Accounting profession is uniquely placed to help improve it.

Your clients want it as well. Well, not all clients want it. In our survey 29% said they did not. However, 71% said that if the service was reasonably priced and they could see value in it then they would be interested in exploring the idea.

Survey - cashflow

It’s a no brainer. I ask Accountants what’s the most valuable service they can offer to their business clients. No surprises. It is cashflow monitoring and forecasting. So if it’s the most valuable then how many of your business clients have a live, working, accurate and real time cashflow forecast? Very few is always the answer. Yet this is the most valuable thing you can do. Here’s what we (the business community) want when it comes to cashflow. We want to know how much free cash we have each month to spend on whatever we want to spend it on. We want to know how we are tracking and what we can do to improve it. Your clients are not financial analysts like you. You can help us in this area.

The service you provide is a cashflow forecasting and monitoring service. In your definition you call it a ‘3 way rolling cashflow.’ It covers the cash flow forecast, the profit & loss and the balance sheet. If your client is borrowing money from a bank then the bank wants it. Even if your client is not borrowing money then it is a good thing to have. The problem with ‘hard drive’ based systems (or heaven forbid spreadsheets) is that once they are created they are out of date. By using old technology you cannot monitor the cashflow unless it is manually entered.

With cloud accounting and ‘add on’ partners like PANALITIX you can do this automatically. You can prepare the forecast based on historical data plus some planning. You can ‘normalize’ the numbers month to month with the client. You can consolidate the data as it is transacted at the client’s end and because the accounting data is linked to the ‘bank feeds,’ the cashflow, the forecast and the balance sheet is kept up to date every single day. Now that’s Real Time Accounting!

If the bank needs an update then you can provide it quickly. If your client wants it then you can provide it quickly. If you have got your client on a monitoring service then you can be immensely valuable.

Becoming the Real Time Accountant is more than a goal, a wish, a hope or a mindset shift. It’s about changing your behavior, your systems, your technology and your services. It’s about making a difference.

RIP the Redundant Data Accountant. Rise…the Real Time Accountant.

PS. A full report on what 428 business owners want from their Accountant can be downloaded for free by clicking here.

BHAG’s and SMAG’s

Most accounting firms set no goals or at best they set small goals. If they do set any goals they set SMAG’s – Small Minded Adequate Goals.

If you go back to my success formula (doing what you want, when you want, with whom you want, in a manner you want) then a SMAG may be appropriate for your style. At least it’s a goal – albeit a goal that doesn’t full your potential.

In my opinion (and this entire book is based on my opinion – plus a lot of research) we’re only here once so let’s do something purposeful. Let’s do something grand. Let’s do something that lives beyond us.

Let’s set some BHAG’s – Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

From the seminal work of Jim Collins in his landmark book ‘Good to Great’ the term BHAG was first used.  A BHAG can inspire you, your team and your clients. The great USA President, John F Kennedy, had an awesome BHAG that inspired the nation and many parts of the world.

“By the end of this decade we will put a man on the moon and bring him back safely”.

Now that’s a BHAG. Now apparently it did happen. Either way it got people excited and hundreds of millions of people watched in excitement in July 1969 as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon and then returned safely to this planet.

What then followed was NASA, space exploration, new research, new industries and now (at the time of writing) there are at least 3 wealthy Entrepreneurs building and testing space craft to take the regular public to sub orbital space. I am one of those ‘Future Astronauts’ where at some time in the future I will be flying on Virgin Galactic into space. My wife bought me my ticket in 2009 for my 40th birthday. Pretty cool gift and pretty cool wife!

BHAG’s for an Accounting firm come in many shapes and sizes. The BHAG could be revenue related “$10M in Revenue in 10 years”. It could be team member related “100 of the best, brightest and most creative Accountants on the planet”. Or it could be client related “All of our 500 clients are financially retired.”

Whatever the BHAG is it needs to be bold, it needs to inspiring and it needs be easily communicated. It needs to get you excited and it needs to get the team excited.

Before the BHAG is your purpose and your mission. Why is it you do what you do? What’s your purpose for being? Why do you go to work every day? Why do you care so much about your clients? As bestselling author and TED star, Simon Sinek, would say “people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.”

Some examples you may want to R&D….rip off and duplicate.

Purpose: Making a massive difference to clients financial performance

Mission: Help all of our clients to financially retire

BHAG: By 2020, 100% of our current clients are financially retired


Purpose: Helping all clients achieve all of their goals

Mission: Provide every service to every client that helps them achieve their goals

BHAG: $10M in revenue from 400 Awesome clients

I particularly like client focused purpose, mission and BHAG’s. And the reason for that is you can promote it to the clients. You can use it in your marketing. Let’s say you’re talking to a new prospective client. The conversation might go something like this:

“At our firm we help our clients achieve all of their goals. We make sure that every single client is only buying what they need from us to help them achieve their goals. We’re only looking for 400 awesome clients who want our help to achieve their goals. Tell me Bob, what are you looking for in an Accounting firm”?

Unless Bob is a complete ‘nuff nuff’ (technical term for not a very good client) then he’s probably going to answer with “An Accounting firm that helps me achieve my goals”. Sale made. Rinse & repeat.

Get creative with this. Start with what you (the owner) wants then involve your team. Some of your team members have some super ideas. Ask them individually why they became Accountants. Ask them what ‘juices’ them up. Ask them what they want from their careers. Ask them what they would do if they were running the firm. Get to a consensus. Then do a reality check and see where you are today with your Purpose, Mission & BHAG. After that it’s action time. If you want a different result (BHAG) then you have to make some different decisions and then Action those decisions. Decision + Action = Result.

For my business advisory software company ( we are very clear what our purpose, mission and BHAG are. They help us make decisions and help us keep on track.

Purpose: Positively influencing lives through Accountants

Mission: Make Accountants real time

BHAG:  10,000 ‘Real Time’ Accounting firms using PANALITIX every day

What is your purpose, mission and BHAG? When you’re done send it to me, I’d love to see what you come up with.

Cloud #Accounting is not a Product

I am well into my seminar tour of 14 cities right now. It’s called ‘Capitalising on the Cloud’ and it is getting rave reviews.  5 cities so far with 9 to go. We have record numbers attending and right up front I ask a question who is a Partner of the firm and who is a Team Member.

We are getting a dis-proportionate amount of team members versus partners. That means Partners of the firm are sending other people rather than themselves. I started asking the team members what the strategy is with cloud. The answers are typically ‘I am here as the product champion for cloud’.

Many Partners are treating this as a product discussion not a strategy discussion. It’s a strategy discussion not a product that needs implementing!

Cloud technology affects every area of the Accounting firm. Like:

  1. Your labour force. With 30-40% efficiencies do you need as many people and are they the right people in the future.
  2. Your firms systems. Cloud practice management changes the dynamics of how you work  internally.
  3. Your client locations. You can have clients anywhere in the world.
  4. Your labour location. With internet based systems your labour force can be anywhere.
  5. Your services. With data that is real time, accessed anywhere from any device it means you can offer much much more value added services.
  6. Your value. By being a ‘real time’ accountant with real time information you are offering a tremendous amount of value.

The last point is the big one. Offering value 9 months after the fact has no value to the client. It’s redundant data and useless.

Get on the front foot and embrace the cloud as a strategy – not a product. My seminar is all about the strategy and the how to. If you are already registered looking forward to seeing you. Make sure the partners are attending. You can still register for the remaining 9 events.  Go to for more information.

Product Development Symposium – small group

Since 1994 Colin Dunn & myself have been involved in creating, marketing, selling and delivering information based products & services. Total combined revenue has so far been a staggering $170,525,000. Of that, $110,500,000 was as employees and $60,025,000 has been in our own businesses.

That’s $60M of revenue we have generated through our own companies. Pity it was not all profit!

Over 2 jam packed days we (and the team behind us) are going ‘reveal all’ to a maximum of 24 people. Our entire process will be unveiled. How we dream up the products, how they are created, how they are marketed and how they are delivered in a leveraged and cost effective way. It’s on Hamilton Island, QLD on December 5&6 2013.

Every professional has information that can be packaged and sold. The only difference between you and us is that they have been doing it for longer and we know (just about) every trick in the book on how to do it.

So far we have created, marketed and delivered information products / services in the following formats.

  • Training Programs
  • Speeches
  • Packaged Consulting – over the phone & face to face
  • Packaged Coaching – one on one and group
  • Software
  • Workshops
  • Conferences
  • Seminars
  • Franchises
  • Webinars
  • Online recordings
  • Manuals & Reports
  • Boxed training product (DVD, CD, Audio, Manuals)
  • Online subscriptions

This Symposium is not about creating articles or free giveaways. This is about creating new revenue streams. As an example, in February this year, we created a new online subscription service (literally out of thin air) that currently does (annualised) $1.5M pa. It is marketed around the world and there are subscribers in 5 countries so far. The way it is going this product alone should be a $20M annual business within 5 or so years.

Only 24 people are invited to join the presentations and discussion @ the Symposium. The ultimate goal is for each person to walk away with a plan and the know how on building and delivering a new product range (tangible and intangible products) and revenue streams. And getting them to market fast.

What kind of products?

As a result of attending some products you may wish to consider creating, delivering and promoting are:

  • Webinars / Seminar / Workshops / Events
  • Planning Sessions – either face to face or remote/online business planning
  • Product for a particular Niche market
  • Physical DVD and manuals on a topic
  • Software
  • Leveraged Training / Consulting / Coaching

If you don’t have an idea at the start, you’ll definitely have many by the end of the symposium. The structure that we will show you on creating, promoting and delivering products will be able to be transferred to any future products or services you want to develop. You could even advise your clients about is as well.

As you may know we loathe charging for time – in any format. This is not about getting a higher ‘average hourly rate’ or adding ‘headcount’ to grow your business. It’s about taking what you know and turning it into leveragable, repeatable and saleable products.


The 24 attendees will each pay $5,500 (incl GST) + travel / accommodation so it is not for everyone. We only want serious players (who want to learn and earn big time) to attend. That way the conversations will be solid / engaging / enriching / uplifting / succinct / high level and definitely no BS!


We have 8 sessions planned. Each for 90 minutes. Each session will be (approx.) a 45 minute presentation then 45 minutes of discussion / questions etc.

During the Symposium we will be covering;

  1. What products can be created
  2. What works and what does not work (plenty in the ‘does not work’ category)
  3. Your new product list – names, formats and components (this will be an ongoing WIP)
  4. Resources required to create and deliver new products
  5. How to consistently come up with new product ideas –  thinking, mind mapping, your IP, research
  6. Project Managing all the detailed steps – what to do so you don’t have to
  7. Selling information products – using ‘what if’ selling
  8. How to package your products – physically or online
  9. Filming, recording & scripting – tips and tricks
  10. Webinars – Step by Step formula that gets sales
  11. How to price your new products
  12. The people who will create the product – including time and money investment required
  13. Technology – the systems, programs and subscriptions you need to produce, market and deliver your new product
  14. Marketing – big focus on digital marketing. Creating landing pages, generating traffic. What software to use. Marketing Programs, social media, online advertising.

And a heap of discussion amongst the lucky 24 attendees who are in attendance.

Finer Details: 

Event: How to create and market packaged (& leveraged) information products & services

Where & When:  Hamilton Island, December 5 & 6 2013

  • Wednesday 4th December, Golf (optional in the afternoon). Social drinks in the evening – Venue TBA
  • Thursday 5th December, Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Start 8.30 am, Finish 4.30 pm, Dinner 7.00pm
  • Friday 6th December, Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Start 8.30 am, Finish 4.30 pm, Drinks 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Accommodation & Other halves

Accommodation is at your own organisation and expense. My team are staying at the Reef View Hotel and we are at the Beach Club. Some attendees are bringing their family for the weekend following the symposium and are welcome to join us for the final drinks on the Friday afternoon. Dinner on the Thursday night however is only open to the attendees as it will provide an opportunity to continue the discussions from Day 1 in a closed environment.

Who can attend?

This event is for leading “information sellers” (Accountants/Coaches/Consultants/Lawyers) who want to create an asset with their intellectual property. We only want leaders who want to take things to the next level.

Post Symposium Support

You will have access to all the presenters (myself, Colin & our team) for a period of 2 months after the symposium for extra advice on your products; it’s creation, marketing or delivery. This will enable you to fine tune all aspects and receive valuable feedback before launching to the market.

Registration process

Tell me who is attending and we’ll send you an invoice. The invoice will be due within 48 hours of receiving it otherwise your place will be forfeited. Send an email to

Waiting list

We have had a lot of interest in this symposium so we expect it will sell out fast. After that a waiting list will be started. If you decide not to attend you can sell your space to someone on the waiting list.

Your Accounting team offshore

There is a growing trend around the world of what is called offshoring. This is where you set up a permanent team (in another country) who work directly for you. The cost savings for office related jobs are extraordinary. As an example you can hire a fully trained (say 6 years) CPA for around $12 per hour ($2,000 per month). And that cost includes the desk, the chair, the office space, the phone, the internet access and every other ‘on cost’ you can imagine.

Yes, $24k per year get’s you a ‘fully loaded’ Accountant ready to work. And it’s not just the Accountants. You can hire any role you can imagine (that is non-customer facing) for a 1/3 to a 1/10 of the cost of hiring locally. So admin, marketing, processing, book-keeping, HR etc. You can hire a ‘virtual assistant’ for $5-$10 per hour. This is an excellent salary BTW.

In the Philippines alone there are 800,000 people working in the offshoring industry. The government estimates that this will rise to 1.3M in the next 3 years. They can’t build the office towers fast enough!

The way that is is mainly done is you go through what’s called a “BPO” – a Business Processing Outsourcing business. The BPO arranges the office, supplies the equipment, supervises the people, hires the people and then you lease the person from them on a permanent basis. There is even an association for BPO’s – check it out.

The hot spots tend to be Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and India. My experience is in India (43 people working for me last year to build some software on a project basis – currently we have 3 people in India) and the Philippines where I have a permanent team who are ‘mirroring’ Australian jobs and a contract team for telemarketing.

The global workforce is changing. Cloud computing makes the data lite and more transportable and qualified labour reduces the cost of business. According to my friend Scott Jones (author of the excellent book – The Third Wave and founder of Easy Offshore) that approximately 1M Australian office jobs alone will be moved off shore by the end of this decade.

This is not only a great opportunity but a serious problem at the same time. I would not want to be in the office tower business in a capital city – there will be a lot of vacant space. This subject raises many questions about the future of the employee, client data

I personally believe the Accounting firm of the future will have a local team that is client facing and the rest is done elsewhere. What are you going to do about this growing trend? If you are remotely interested do what a bunch of my clients are doing and hoping on a plane and check it out in person. A friend of mine runs ‘globalsourcing’ tours (not for profit – around $500) which I have been on. Check it out.

Disruption is the new normal. This trend will certainly disrupt the Accounting profession. To give you an idea what someone is capable of check out the video below.