It's nearly 20 years since I was headhunted by a 12 partner of accountants in North London, who wanted to recruit their first tax partner. I explained to the headhunter why I wasn't interested. In the event I agreed to meet with the managing partner who tried to persuade me to reconsider.
There are three types of accountancy practice in the UK. Those who don't want many new clients, those who rely on random referrals and those who take responsibility for generating leads. I have long accepted the existence of the first group who tend to have established practices, are working at or close
I like the 3 As - Acronyms, Acrostics and Alliteration. Here's a shorter than usual blog post to help you structure conversations with clients as we start to come out of lockdown: As with all your conversations with clients in recent months you obviously want to help them to sustain, rebuild and recover their
Almost every accountant I know will admit to having at least one client they wish they didn't have to deal with any more. Go on. Try it for yourself. If you knew there would be no repercussions and no financial loss, which of your clients would you prefer never to have to
With over 700 blog posts here I have revisited many topics and may well have repeated myself at times over the years. Today however I am revisiting a post that I shared just 2 months ago close to the start of the lockdown. At the time I had already seen a number
Long ago I realised that "Hope is not a strategy". Even if it worked in the past it would be foolish to assume that we can simply 'hope' our way out of the current situation. That goes for me as regards my business activities, for you and your own practice and also
A number of accountants are asking similar questions: "How much work do I need to do for free during the virus crisis?" "Is it ok to charge clients for giving them advice at this difficult time?" "I want to help those clients that need advice, but I don't want my practice to
I think this is a question with which many of us will need to grapple in the near future. The alternative is to be selfish or to put others above ourselves for longer than our own businesses can sustain. By demonstrating your support in times of distress your relationships will no doubt be
Thinking of expanding your service offerings? It doesn't matter whether you want to start providing 'advisory' services, tax advice or any other services. The same rules apply. And if you fail to take these into account you will struggle to make a success of your new 'offering'. If you are going to
Depending upon how pedantic you are, we are at the start of a new decade (the taxing twenties?). In any event, when you consider your plans for the immediate future, it's worth considering how different things will be by 2030. Given the pace of change all around us, we can reasonably expect
With all the annual fuss about new year's resolutions, why does no one suggest checking backwards? It's all very well making promises about what you want to do differently, but how strong is your resolve? I've never been one for doing the same as everyone else, so I've rarely made new year
Recently I was asked this question: "Can a traditional accountant also be a modern accountant?" The person asking me this was what we might think of as an 'old-school' traditional accountant. But they liked to also think of themselves as modern. I think they had seen an article that suggested that traditional
Whilst I pose this question about competitive forces in the context of accountants, you might also find the concept helpful when talking with clients. Michael Porter first published his five forces model in a 1979 article published in the Harvard Business Review. In the context of an accountancy firm looking to the future,
Accountants have a distinct advantage over most other service professionals. Your clients need your help on an ongoing basis, at least once a year and often more frequently than this. When we discuss the lifetime value of clients at meetings of The Inner Circle for Accountants we have to consider how long
A journalist asked me this question last month. “What will accountants be doing differently in 2019?” Before replying I gathered my thoughts which I now share below. For reasons which will become obvious I didn’t say all this when I spoke with the journalist! As usual there’s an implicit assumption in the
As the New Year starts I invite you to identify your top business achievements in 2018 and a few specific achievements you would most like to pursue in 2019. It's all too easy to dwell on stuff that's not gone as we would have liked. For example, if you still have dozens of clients' personal
When I ask accountants what they would like to be different in their practice, one theme is more common than any others. They frequently express the desire to have better quality clients, to increase their average fees and to be doing more interesting work. One sole practitioner accountant expressed this quite succinctly.
During my talks about the future for accountants I sometimes share a famous quote from Bill Gates. Before repeating it here, let me just offer some context. There has long been a tendency to over-hype new ideas and initiatives. Some accountants jump on the bandwagon early which is great. I don’t do
I know that my own career success owes more to the development of non-technical skills than it does to my knowledge and application of accounting and tax law. How do we gain our technical skills? No one is born a great auditor, tax adviser or accountant. We learn by working alongside experienced
This is another piece in the series of what to do when clients want help with something that goes beyond your level of knowledge and experience. Imagine you've had a business client for some time. The owner trusts you and appreciates your advice. They tell you that they have received an offer
When we go to see a local GP we expect them to fulfil 3 primary roles. We need them to diagnose our problems, to prescribe solutions and to care for us. There is a direct parallel with the role of accountants. There is also a similar prospect of patients/clients adopting AI solutions to address
A while back I attempted to relate my advice for accountants to my hobby - magic (conjuring). I had a fanciful idea I would build a talk around the idea. I never did. But the analogies still work if you want to increase your profits. As I often point out, you need
Most smaller practitioners are focused on offering a compliance focused service to clients. Lots of people are saying you must start offering advisory services; and plenty of accountants think they already do this to a degree. In my talks I often reference 5 types of non-compliance service and how it will take
When you are approached by a prospective new client it is tempting to simply give them what they say they want. Most often this will be a fee quote to help them with their annual compliance obligations. As this area of work becomes more commoditised so you need to distinguish yourself from other accountants.
Why are so many consultants telling accountants that they need to start providing advisory services to clients? You've been doing this for years haven't you? Or else your clients don't want, don't need or can't afford to pay for such services. Hmm. Have you really been doing this for years? I know many firms'