We accountants devote ourselves to our clients’ needs and businesses. When was the last time you took a look at the business performance of your own accounting firm?
We’ve all heard the phrase “put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others”. This is especially true in the accounting industry since at the end of the day, accounting firms are also businesses. How do you improve your accounting business while ensuring your clients remain your top priority? This is a tough question; one answer may be working with a business coach.
According to the Institute of Coaching, 70% of people who receive business coaching benefit from improved work performance and 86% of companies report their investment in coaching paid off. Financial security, work-life balance, personal and professional improvement, the benefits are truly endless – but many accountants don’t know where to start.
Start by treating your accounting firm more like a business.
When you look at your accounting firm from a business strategy point of view, you begin to see it from an entirely new angle, according to Sia Kal, managing partner of FY USA LLC. “For some, they may realize it’s in the best interests of both themselves AND their clients to discontinue an inefficient relationship. For others, this might uncover a need to systematize every last thing to free up time. Some firms may even consider outsourcing low-value activities so they can focus exclusively on things like tax or succession planning.”
With this new perspective, you will likely uncover hidden opportunities for improvement. This is where a business coach can help. FY USA generally divides these opportunities in four categories:
This includes things such as communication protocols, procedures, roles and responsibilities, technology. You might not realize how much productivity is lost when people are pulled away from their duties to deal with other tasks outside their job description (aka scope creep).
Most accountants have never even considered applying strategic analysis tools such as 80/20 Analysis, SWOT, etc. When was the last time you defined who your target market really is? If you’re a startup, you’ll take any client you can get. Once you’re established, maybe it’s time to be more picky.
Now you know who your target market is, what services can you deliver to your clients better than the competition? Is it worthwhile to upgrade your skill set or search for strategic alliances that complement your skills?
Feel like you’ve beaten the first three to death? It’s time to search for new revenue streams. Diversity is the name of the game here. This is where you must get creative. A business coach might be able to help make this quest a little easier.
Good business coaches strive to make the industry a better place through empowering their clients.
Good coaches want to make the industry a better place! Work with someone who is focused on improving the industry as a whole by empowering individuals within it. When you and your coach are both equally as devoted to improvement, the result is a recipe for success. It means your relationship will most likely be driven by measurable outcomes rather than hype.
For example, FY USA follows a strict guide of six core values that are tied closely to ethics. FY also has developed a business improvement process specifically for accounting firms with measurable outcomes as a central focus.
Our managing partner in New York City, Sia Kal talks about FY USA: