For growing businesses, there is only one direction for successful companies – and that’s forward.
It’s why start-ups often succeed at first; they are focused on their future, on their destination. It’s also why so many companies stall after a few years, losing their momentum, focusing on the past (“Business was really good a few years ago”) more than the future.
That’s why all companies, especially owner-manager businesses, need help to maintain a forward direction and focus.
So the question is this:
How many accountants really help their clients grow their businesses?
To be fair, that works for many companies and many firms of accountants. It’s horses for courses, but the fact is that clients tend to hold AHs in comparatively low esteem. They want to minimise costs so AHs get paid less. What’s worse, the AH service is commoditised – “anybody can do that” think the clients, so will go to a cheaper competitor. Not only do AHs, therefore, earn less, their clients churn more rapidly and they have to spend more time and money winning replacement clients.
It’s all about the lifetime value of clients: the ideal is long-staying, high-spending clients, and the nightmare is low-paying, short-staying clients.
Accountant entrepreneurs (AEs)
They earn more and keep their clients longer so the average lifetime value of their clients is considerably more than the AHs. They also get new business opportunities and tend to be retained even when companies really take off.
So are some people born AHs and others AEs? Absolutely not. It is a matter of attitude, of a little training, some practice, and the enthusiasm born out of successful attempts to change the way you approach clients.