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Product Development for Accountants

Last December we ran a trial 2 day event for Product Development. Specifically how Accountants can create products (that require minimal labour for delivery) out of what they already know. Turning intellectual property into intellectual capital. It was supposed to be a one off event. The delegates loved it so much (many saying it was the best event that they had been to) that we are doing it again. The facilitators (including me) have got some form in this space. We have created sold and delivered >$170M in IP products. We are revealing all in a small workshop environment. Complete transparency on how to go from idea to production to monetisation in very fast time. You get training and support by a crack team who do this every day. You can find out all the details of the event here. Dates are September 15/16, 18/19 or October 16/17. Here is a sample of the ones who have already been.

Motive for Action

There are many forces outside of your control that are affecting the profession. You can’t stop them so you might as well embrace them. There is no time stamp (like Y2K all those years ago) when you need to be ready for the changes. They’re just happening around you.

You are only going to change if you’re motivated to change. If you break the word ‘motivation’ down and modify it slightly you get ‘motive-action’. What is your motive for action?

I believe in 5 things with the Accounting profession:

  1. I believe that Accountants are the natural and trusted financial advisers.
  2. I believe that Accountants that add value do not earn enough for how smart they are.
  3. I believe that Accountants can make a massive difference to their clients’ financial condition.
  4. I believe that ‘cloud’ technology is not a fad and it will fundamentally change the way you operate.
  5. I believe that clients want a Real Time Accountant not a Redundant Data Accountant.

Maybe there is something in my 5 beliefs that inspires you to make some changes. Maybe in my 5 you can find your motive for action.

Becoming the real time Accountant

The vast majority of Accountants I meet are offering ‘Redundant Data’ services. Clients don’t want services that are late. They want ‘Real Time’ services that are on time, relevant and pre-emptive.

Where is the value offering advice that is late? Picture the scene. You are doing your clients annual Accounting and you spot some anomalies or issues in the previous year. You finish off the work and then write a letter to the client explaining what they should do to fix it!

What they should do! Seriously, it’s typically too late.

I know you have a duty of care to tell the client the issue – and you did that. Well done. But it’s still late.

With today’s accounting technology (on the internet) you can know what is going on all the time. You don’t need to know all the detail just enough to spot issues and opportunities. Your clients are not Accountants and you have an uncanny knack of seeing financial data and making it make sense to them.

You can even have the data consolidated into single ‘dashboards’ so you can get a summary of all your clients affairs on one page. Then the technology can alert you to the good and the bad issues only. With this sort of technology you can pre-empt issues and advise the clients accordingly. Now that’s adding value.

It’s all about becoming a Real Time Accountant not a Redundant Data Accountant. It’s all about being Proactive and not reactive. Real Time Accountants’ behave differently and they are much much more client focused.  It’s your choice to become a Real Time Accountant or remain a Redundant Data Accountant. The future of the profession is Real Time!

The nominations are in

I just judged 49 entries in each of 7 categories for excellence in Accounting firms. The nominations were exceptional. Some arrived with balloons, there were videos, pages of text, facts & figures and awesome case studies. The 7 categories are

  1. Most innovative accounting firm
  2. Service excellence
  3. Best client results
  4. Best place to work
  5. Community contribution
  6. Rising star
  7. The Accounting firm of the year!

Very tough judging. There are 2 other judges to score as well. All will be revealed in front of 500 people @ our annual conference in Bali from July 13-17. Can’t wait.

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.