3 Investments to Make Right Now
by Sandra Wiley, President
What’s one thing you always do the day before leaving on a road trip? For me, it’s always filling up the gas tank. When it’s time to hit the road, I want to be able to get in the car and go without worrying about stopping for gas.
Think of this time in our history as the day before vacation. We might not know how long the pandemic will last or where the economy is headed. But we do know we will come out of this. Businesses will recover. People will go back to work. What are you doing right now to make it easier for your firm to get in the car and go when the time is right?
Invest in training
Right now, many accounting firm leaders are unsure about priorities when it comes to investing in the firm’s future. Maybe you’ve had to re-examine your budget, but I encourage you to continue to invest in training and upskilling yourself and your people.
For years, every accountant has heard that they need to learn to be more consultative. But it’s challenging to find the time when your hours are filled with client demands and deadlines.
After July 15th, make a commitment to investing in training that will allow you to become a different kind of advisor and consultant for your clients. There are a ton of free webinars right now, and they can provide helpful content. However, I want you to really make an investment in changing the trajectory of your career.
You can’t expect to continue doing what you’ve always done and naturally evolve into a consultant. You need to know how to ask the right questions and listen to your clients’ answers in a different way. You need confidence that you can find the right answers. You need to have a process for discovering new service offerings that weren’t even on your radar before.
Right now, clients need great advisors who can think ahead to their next opportunity or challenge. Take this opportunity to become the person they turn to.
With compliance and transactional work, the pricing model has traditionally been “effort determines value.” That formula simply doesn’t work for other service offerings. If you try charging clients by the hour for consulting and advisory services, you’ll wind up seriously undercharging clients for the most valuable services you provide, even as clients demand lower fees for tax and audit work.
Rather than giving away your knowledge, think of transactional and compliance work as necessary add-ons to your consulting and advisory services. Bundle client accounting services and tax preparation with higher-level work and create subscription levels that allow clients to decide which level of service they want.
It might seem like a complicated endeavor, but the effort is worth it. Allowing clients to “subscribe” to your knowledge will deepen their engagement and loyalty and drive your firm to a successful future.
Dig deeper in your niche
The goal of a consultant isn’t to solve random problems for any client that walks through the door but to solve a specific type of problem in a particular group of people. This allows you to earn significantly more than you can as a generalist.
Your firm may offer tax and audit services to a wide range of businesses and individuals, but when you really develop a niche, you can speak your client’s language and know what’s keeping them up at night. That’s the kind of in-depth knowledge that positions you as the “go-to” professional for clients in that sector.
Maybe you already have a niche or at least an industry or service line that is already profitable. Work on developing it by having some exploratory conversations with clients. Ask them about the future of their profession, what they’re worried about, and what they want more of from you. These questions can help you identify services they require so you can begin offering them.
Uncertainty is never fun, but in times like these, the most resilient people embrace the new normal, look for new opportunities and reposition themselves accordingly. With that mindset, this could wind up becoming one of the best times of your career.
Do you want to feel confident delivering consulting services?
The Boomer Certified Consultant Training delivers three and a half days of intense, small group training that gives you a clear path to becoming a consultant. If you’re interested in learning more about this unique 3.5-day training program, email us at email@example.com to schedule a call today!
Sandra Wiley, President of Boomer Consulting, Inc., is a leader in the accounting profession with a passion for helping firms grow, adapt and thrive. She is regularly recognized by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her expertise in leadership, management, collaboration, culture building, talent and training.