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Accountants creating products – 20 new ones!

When creating new products or services we recommend that you have 8 categories. We call it the Awesome 8! It’s what your clients are interested in – over and above compliance services.

Awesome 8

 

If you stay close to the numbers and follow the Awesome 8 then here are 20 new products / services you could create:

  1.  Revenue growth program
  2. Cash flow analysis, forecasting & monitoring program
  3. Profit improvement program
  4. Debt re-structuring program
  5. Receivables management service
  6. Inventory management service
  7. Bookkeeping (serviced from lower cost countries)
  8. Virtual Management Accounting
  9. Cloud conversions
  10. Sort out the numbers program
  11. Monitoring & Accountability program
  12. Webinar / Seminar / Workshops / events
  13. Planning sessions – face2face, group or remote
  14. Boxed product (DVD, etc.) for a niche market
  15. Books / Manuals / Podcasts / Video subscriptions
  16. Software or online learning – subscription based
  17. Challenges – 100 day / 6 week, etc.
  18. Leveraged training or consulting
  19. Group coaching
  20. Cashflow in a Crisis program

At the end of the day every client should be buying every product they need that helps them achieve their goals!

It’s a connected world

Right now I am sitting in a jungle camp site in Thailand (I kid you not) with 3G on my phone and 6Meg wireless running through the camp. Already this morning I have looked at my emails through Gmail, I checked out Facebook for 5 minutes, I checked my bank accounts, I accepted 11 new LinkedIN connection requests, I had a look on our online community to see of the client chatter and I looked at the daily report on the key metrics of my business.  About 10 minutes of total ‘checking what is going on in my world’ time.

The daily report is automatically generated through our CRM program (www.salesforce.com) and we customise the main report every quarter in line with our quarterly theme. I can see the critical results of what we are focusing on right now. Event numbers, campaign results, client numbers, revenue & profit etc.

With everything on the ‘cloud’ you truly can run a business from anywhere in the world. I can see what it happening as it happens and respond accordingly. I don’t have to wait for the next meeting to jump on something I can see as a trend right now. I don’t have to wait for a lengthy report to tell me what an automated report can tell me.

I have team members in Brisbane, Darwin, Manila, Delhi and Vancouver. I have clients who use our software in 8 countries. How could you manage that with old technology systems on a hard drive or server? Well you can but it is very expensive and very slow.

It’s business real time. It’s a connected world. It’s exciting. It’s now time for a coffee then Elephant rides and Tiger cuddling later in the day. Stay tuned.

Jungle

Product Development for Accountants

Accountants haven’t really needed to invent new products in the past. They did what the government told them to do and occasionally they did some special projects for clients – business advisory type projects. Everything was on a ‘do and charge’ basis.

That’s all changing. The profession is evolving into a technology driven, leveraged IP model where firms are looking at new ways to systemise and leverage their IP base. The objective is to look at what you know and then innovate new ways of delivering that. The delivery could be in a number of wide and varied formats such as:

  • Group coaching
  • Group training
  • Manual / Report
  • Video / DVD in a box
  • Webinar
  • Seminar
  • Training program
  • Software program
  • Online subscription

It is the same IP but packaged in different ways. The hardest part (judging by the 46 Accountants we had in workshop last week talking about this) is coming up with what you actually know. Once you document your IP base then it’s a case of packaging it up and marketing it to your target audience. So what do you know? What does your firm know how to do? Here is my list….

What we know

 

Be Proactive with new services

Most Accountants I meet believe that there are opportunities for additional business in their current client base. However, they don’t seem that active in discovering the opportunities nor promoting the services. I think it is a BIG dis-service to the client if you do not promote new ideas and new services.

We recommend that you ‘stay close to the numbers’ with your service offerings. That way you can leverage the delivery of the services to other team members. By all means offer high level consulting however typically that means that very experienced (read expensive) people need to deliver them.

One of the reasons Accountants do not offer additional services is because they are unsure what the client will say and they doubt if they have the knowledge base to deliver the solution.

You have to differentiate between coaching and consulting. Consulting is where the provider comes up with the answers, coaching is where the client is guided and the answers are coached out of the client.

Financial coaching is the way to go. We recommend that your service categories fall in 8 areas. We call it the Awesome 8! It’s what your clients are interested in – over and above compliance services.

Awesome 8

If you follow the Awesome 8 then here are a dozen new services you could create:

  1.  Revenue enhancement – product & service
  2. Cash flow analysis, forecasting & monitoring –product & service
  3. Profit improvement program – product & service
  4. Debt re-structuring
  5. Receivables management service
  6. Inventory management service
  7. Book keeping (serviced from lower cost countries)
  8. Virtual Management Accounting
  9. Cloud conversions
  10. Sort out the numbers program
  11. Planning session
  12. Monitoring & Accountability program

At the end of the day every client should be buying every product they need that helps them achieve their goals!

That should be your goal.

Disruption in the Accounting profession – Part 3

Disruptive area # 3 – Clients are using the internet for your advice

It seems we use the internet everything we need to know!

Addresses/ companies / people / products/ concerts / store opening times / weather / golf handicap / cycling routes / friends whereabouts (or what they are eating – yuk) and the BIG one…‘how to do’ everything. The internet seems to be our first port of call for anything we want to know or find information on.

Whatever happened to the Yellow Pages, asking people personally, the Encyclopedia Britannica or a Catalogue? All (or nearly) GONE!

Social behaviour is indicating we need(?) to be connected to our device. And the device rules supreme. A few weeks back I was at an airport lounge and my travelling companions had a ‘device bag’ full of connected gadgets.

The world is connected and it is getting more connected every day. Currently we go to our device (pick up a phone or tablet) and tap in the requested search. We can also talk to our device (the annoying Siri in the iPhone as a good example) and she/he can help us. Or talk to our car and another annoying voice (but very proper diction) will give us directions to your destination.

Does this give us an enhanced human experience? Probably not. But it sure is efficient.

Mobile technology is booming. It’s what consumers want. They want information at their fingertips. Tap tap tap and hey presto – I have the answer and now I am an expert.

And that is an issue for anyone in the advice business. AKA Accountants!

Let’s say I wanted to learn about borrowing money through my pension scheme to buy a property. I could ‘Google’ that and find the answer in a few seconds. What if I wanted to work out how to improve the profit of my Winemaking business? I could go to a LinkedIN group and discuss that and get an answer. What if I needed a payroll or tax question answered? I can search it and go directly to the government portal and get the answer.

Uncle/Aunty Google has all the answers it seems.

Enter IBM.

The IBM super computer ‘Watson’ is an extraordinary piece of engineering. It can beat humans (really smart ones) at Chess and Jeopardy (proven) and ‘some say’ he/she is so smart he knows what the President of any country will say next! OK…I made the last bit up.

You get the idea. Watson is a supersmart supercomputer.

IBM have announced this year (2014) to >$1BN investment to develop Watson into a usable resource. There are >2,000 people in the Watson team and their job is to enable Watson into the world. One of the cool ideas is to create ‘Watson for business.’ Think of it as ‘Siri’ (iPhone fame) for business. You have a business question, talk to the device and it gives you the answer. BOOM. Great for the user – not so great for you.

You see, Watson is a sponge like a human. It can absorb / disseminate / translate / organize/ conceptualize any information and then send it back in a usable format. Pretty much all of the worlds ‘texts’ (as in manuals, books and all forms of content) are accessible on the internet. But the internet is a bit of a mess. There is a lot of content to absorb and disseminate. Watson can do sort it out and give it back to you in a usable format.

I got interested in Watson a few months back by the following line in a newsletter I received…

“This is the start of the end of professional services as we currently know it”

WOW. WOW and more WOW!

Does that mean the super computer can replace the Adviser? For repetitive and systematic information absolutely YES. And there will be ‘an app for that’ very soon.

 

I don’t mean to scare you but I do. This is real and it is happening right now and the Accounting profession is in the firing line for massive disruption. Without notice and appropriate action these 3 ‘disrupters’ have the capacity to wipe out a (BIG) chunk of revenue / profit / business value in the profession….QUICKLY.