by L. Gary Boomer, Visionary & Strategist
Several years ago, I read the book Change the Culture, Change the Game by Roger Connors and Tom Smith. This excellent book is still relevant today, as it explains how a company’s results are tied directly to its culture and provides strategies for changing a company’s culture to get the results leaders want.
Now, the game is changing again. Many firm leaders we’ve worked with focused on culture to improve the results they were getting from traditional compliance services. But the game now is advisory and consulting. You and your firm need to cultivate a whole new mindset to play a new game. That’s why we created the Boomer Certified Consultant Training – to give accounting professionals a clear path to make the transition from compliance to consulting.
Today, I’m sharing the mindset shifts that you need to make to play the new game. This is not an “or” proposition. By playing the new game you increase the value of compliance services. Your firm can play both games.
People with a fixed mindset believe that everyone is born with a set of abilities and talents. They don’t work on expanding their toolkit because they believe their talents are innate, and they fear failure. To be successful at consulting, you need a growth mindset. People with a growth mindset believe they can develop talents and abilities through effort and practice. They’re open to new ideas and see failure as a learning opportunity.
If you recognize a bit of yourself in the fixed mindset description, the good news is it’s possible to develop a growth mindset and become more open to innovation and growth.
Collaboration is key
Consulting is a team sport. In compliance work, you can become an expert in your area and rarely seek out the expertise of others. In consulting, you need to take a holistic view of your clients’ businesses and challenges.
In a consulting engagement, you might be called upon to help a client improve financial results, but doing so will require bringing in experts on technology, talent, leadership, and process. As much as you understand your client’s business and industry, you can’t know everything – nor does anyone expect you to. But you must be able to call upon your team or network of subject-matter experts to find answers to your clients’ problems.
If you’re used to working as a rugged individualist, it’s time to start practicing being a team player.
Consultants move and inspire people with their innovative ideas and their ability to turn ideas into reality. Clients want to work with consultants who understand their industry and know how to apply broader market trends.
People with the mindset of a consultant read, listen, write and share content in their niche to position themselves as thought leaders. Thinking of yourself as a “brand” may be a new concept for accounting professionals, but your brand is how your current and potential clients see you, and it determines their opinion of you and your firm. People trust experts and choose to do business with experts. Start sharing your knowledge and experience within your niche.
Critical thinking and problem solving
Accountants are already adept at thinking critically and solving client problems – that’s nothing new. But as a consultant, you need to be able to think on your feet, assess problems and find solutions to your client’s issues quickly.
Again, you don’t have to have the answer for everything, but you need a team and tools you can call upon.
Better client conversations
One of the most critical steps to successfully selling a consulting engagement is how you approach the conversation with your client. Most accountants don’t consider themselves to be salespeople, and they approach these conversations with apprehension, nervousness or even dread.
In consulting, you need to be focused on exploring your clients’ needs and figuring out how you can create value. The first objective is to build a relationship; the second is to show clients how you can solve their problems. This provides leadership and direction. Finally, value is created through new capabilities.
It’s rare for a client to approach you with a clear understanding of their problems and how you can help. Instead, you need to become adept at asking the right questions and earning their trust.
Having the mindset for consulting isn’t always innate, but it’s something you can cultivate over time by working on developing the above skills.
Do you want the tools and accountability to start from where you are now and get where you want to be?
The Boomer Certified Consultant Training program helps equip accounting professionals with the mindset and skills to become true trusted business advisors to clients. If you’re interested in learning more about this unique 3.5-day training program, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org schedule a call today!
L. Gary Boomer, Visionary & Strategist of Boomer Consulting, Inc., is recognized in the accounting profession as the leading authority on technology and firm management. He consults and speaks around the globe on several topics including strategic and technology planning; mindset, skillsets and toolsets for the future; change management and developing a training and learning culture. He also acts as a planning facilitator and coach to some of the accounting profession's top firms.