A dozen fallacies accountants should not accept at face value

Oct 22, 2019 | Accountants, Business Strategy

Not all accountants believe all of these fallacies. And some have been part of our psyche for so long we think they must be true. Others are repeated by salespeople and consultants who want you to believe stuff so that you’ll buy what they’re selling. But a salesman’s assertions are not proof.
Here are the 12 fallacies you should not accept at face value:
1 – “Accountants are all the same”. Not true. Every accountant is unique (just like all the others!). Some of the compliance work that accountants do is the same. The accounts and tax returns you produce may be the same, but your background, experiences, knowledge, values, clients and style combine to make you quite different to every other accountant.
2 – “There’s a going rate for what I do”. Rarely. In my fee comparison master classes I show how different accountants in London charge very different fees for what you might think are much the same services.
3 – “CPD simply means keeping up to date technically”.  CPD means much more than this. Continuing Professional Development. This covers all the skills and experiences you need to develop your professional capabilities. Thus this goes way beyond remaining technically competent and up to date.
4 – “We have to do what the client wants”. Only if you agree it’s what they need. And only if they do what you want – in terms of getting you the data you need in sufficient time to do what they want.
5 – “The client is always right”. – Nonsense. This assumption may be necessary in a retail environment but it makes no sense when a client is looking to you for advice and is reliant on your expertise and experience to tell them when they are mistaken or unreasonable.
6 – “If our website avoids identifying myself or my colleagues, we’ll attract better clients”. It’s hard to comprehend why anyone would think this makes sense. The converse is typically true. When prospects can see who YOU are, they are more likely to get in  touch than if you hide behind your firm’s name.
7 – “Twitter will raise my profile and help me win new clients”. – Not true for most accountants. If you really want this to be true you need focus on actively seeking out connections in your local area and/or a specific niche; otherwise you’ll be disappointed here.
8 – “Linkedin is just for job seekers and recruiters”.  – Outdated and wrong. Over 35 million people in the UK are registered on Linkedin. They’re not all looking for jobs or recruits.  Linkedin is an online business networking site. Thousands of accountants use Linkedin to target business owners, referrers, influencers and introducers.
9 – “Accountants need to have their own app”. – Rubbish. It’s typically a nice-to-have, not a necessity.
10 – “Accountants need to blog”. – Also not true. It’s just one of many activities that might boost your marketing reach and raise your profile. But first you need to clarify your objectives, your target market and your message. There are better ways to invest your money than to pay someone else to blog for you.
11 – “Clients will always supply tax return information at the last minute”. – Only if you let them. Accountants who are more assertive and active in persuading clients to supply data earlier, get it earlier.
12 – “Compliance work is dying”. – There’s barely any evidence of this to date. More likely, the fees you can charge new clients for compliance only services will fall over the next few years. And over the next 5-10 years the compliance service model will evolve.
I often debunk these fallacies in my talks and mentoring sessions.


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