As I work with more and more Practitioners from around Australia, who enrolled in our ‘Business Advisor ‘Fast Track‘ Programs‘, there is one trait I see that is common among them all.
And it’s not like it’s a bad thing, it’s just a ‘common trait’.
Unfortunately this ‘trait’ gets in the way of them developing strong relationships (not dependence) with their clients that will result in a win/win outcome if they could overcome it.
In fact, this trait is what most clients come to expect in their Accountant, but unfortunately when it comes to ‘Business Advisory’ work it is having a negative impact.
So it becomes a ‘two edged sword’. Both sides can help and just as equally, hinder the development of new business in the form of ‘Business Advisory Services’.
But there is a ‘safe path’ to follow and keep the client happy under both circumstances.
The BIG Mistake
That BIG Mistake I mentioned most Accountants make without realising it is simply ‘paying too much attention to the numbers‘.
Let’s face it, if we didn’t our work and promise to our clients would become a disaster!
- Balance Sheets have to ‘balance’
- Allowable deductions have to be ‘allowable’, and
- Tax payable has to be the ‘tax payable’
No ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ or ‘maybe’s’
These are the facts and that’s the language we know and understand. That’s who we are, we’re Accountants and that’s what Accountants do. Right? Maybe!
When it comes to ‘Business Advisory’ work, things become a little more ‘grey’ and not so much ‘black or white’ like well, the numbers in a set of Financial Statements.
The BIG Picture
In fact, we should take it a little further and that is, less emphasis on the details and more on the BIG picture.
So when it comes time to talk about ‘business’ with your client try and steer away from GP% and Av. Debtors Days etc. and talk in more broad terms like ‘Profit’ or ‘Cash Flow’.
Or better still, ask a question like ‘how’s business at the moment’?
And don’t accept an answer like ‘good’ or ‘not bad’ ask for specifics. ‘What is good exactly, getting lots of new customers or don’t seem to be suffering from as much absenteeism over the past 6 months’.
My experience is that most Practitioners want to talk about the things I mentioned before i.e. GP% or NPAT, or ROCE etc. Why? That’s because this is what we know and understand. That’s who we are, we’re Accountants silly!
Start Talking Business – not numbers
Well let me challenge you here. The moment you started talking with your client about their business you ceased being the ‘Accountant’ and became the ‘Business Advisor’ and this brings about (or should) a whole new dynamic.
Your client is a ‘business person’ (politically correct terminology here) and that’s who you must become if you’re going to have any hope of them opening up and talking about (revealing) what’s going on at the ‘coal face’ not what a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper are saying.
So, to become successful in developing stronger and more open relationship with your clients you have to (must) put your ‘Accountants’ hat aside and talk with them on a plane they’re comfortable with.
We help Practitioners do this by providing them with useful tools that ‘open up the conversation’ with clients. Tools like the ‘Entrepreneurial Cycle®‘ diagram and the ‘Power Wheel®‘ profit drivers diagram.
People ‘think’ in pictures not numbers, an important point to remember!