The first mobile phone I had was the size of a brick. That was in the mid 1990s. Within a few years I had a Nokia 5110. It was much smaller and compact. It was the first phone I owned that could send and receive text messages but it only had a numeric keypad. If you wanted to text ‘Hi’,  you had to press the number 4, twice to get an H an then 3 more times to get an I.  It was an analogue phone. It was slow.

I started using a smartphone shortly after the first iphone was launched in 2007.  I’ve downloaded over 100 apps onto my current smartphone.  I use it to make travel arrangements, check the weather, maps, track my weight and daily steps, draft my blog posts and talks, pay bills, capture receipts, take photos, video, listen to music and podcasts, send texts and so much more.

My smartphone has evolved and is now a mini computer that I can also use to make and receive phone calls but that’s no longer it’s primary role.  Even though it is  still called a smartPHONE.

I’ll bet you have one too.

One of the best things about a smartphone for me is that the apps continually refresh themselves. Or rather the companies that provide the apps regularly update them and send those updates through to our phones. They are always up to date. And the apps are in a near constant state of improvement.

What about you?

I’m not referring to your smartphone.

I’m talking about you.

How up to date are you? How many of your personal skill apps are in a near constant state of improvement?

Have you ever taken stock of which apps drive you and enable you to do your job, to service your clients, to win new business, to manage your team and so on?

Please don’t tell me you rely on instinct and that you are continually reprogramming yourself with the latest available updates, insights and guidance on how to do things better than you’ve done them before.  Only the truly arrogant can do this alone.

I have known many accountants over the years who focus all of the attention on only one set of ‘apps’.

To the extent that they think of what they need to do to look after their clients, all of their attention is on keeping their technical knowledge up to date. That’s it. Other apps that would help them win new work, better promote their services, secure more referrals and enhance their approach to pricing are ignored. As are all those that would help the accountant enhance their business advisory, business management, leadership and communication skills. And then there are all the digital analytics and other new skill ‘apps’ that many accountants will need to  gain and retain clients in the, not so distinct, future.

I appreciate that many clients are not (yet) aware that they could engage an accountant who has many new, exciting and useful apps. At the moment these clients are still happy working with analogue accountants rather than with smartphone accountants. What are you going to do when your clients realise they could have a smartphone accountant rather than an analogue one?

Don’t leave it too late to develop your key business skill apps (metaphorically speaking). When the time comes you need to be able to update them quickly and easily. You can’t simply download them into an analogue phone.