From XU Magazine, 
Issue 21

Why And How To Become A Vital Accountant

As the accounting landscape changes, it is important that accountants and practice owners change with it. Marketing expert Amanda C. Watts explains why you can’t simply be a technician that relies on referrals to grow anymore, you need to become VITAL to survive and thrive…
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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Becoming a Vital Accountant is something that is going to take you away from working “in” your accounting firm, and have you working “on” it.

You will need to put some thought into your reputation, your brand and your marketing. But when you do, the rewards will flow towards you.

When you are a VITAL accountant opportunities will show up and friction will be removed from your firm. You will attract better clients, great staff and business partnerships.

It takes time, effort and may incur an investment of money but if you commit to becoming VITAL you will achieve 5 things:

  1. You will be recognised for your VALUE
  2. You will make an IMPACT on the world
  3. You will build relationships of TRUST
  4. You will adopt an AGILE approach to innovation
  5. You will develop LUCRATIVE businesses

If you want to eradicate the pricing objection and attract A Grade clients and staff then there is no situation where being VITAL isn’t an option.

In this article I am going to share with you some essential ideas that you will need to commit to working on as you become a Vital Accountant/Firm.

1) Be recognised for your VALUE

It is not enough that you tell people you are “unlike traditional accountants” and therefore more valuable. You need to show people. You will be perceived as valuable when other people say you are.

Part of positioning yourself as valuable involves being featured in the traditional media (newspapers, magazines, radio and TV) as well as speaking at your own events and as a guest on other peoples stages. A great example of a valuable accountant is our client Alastair Barlow from flinder. He has won numerous awards including Accounting Excellence Awards for New Firm 2019 & Innovative Firm 2019 and most recently British Accountancy Awards Independant London firm of the year 2019. It is clear that he is bringing excellent value to the accounting profession and because of this he is attracting outstanding staff and clients.

2) Make an IMPACT on the world

When I ask an accountant “who do you help and how do you help them?” the majority of the time the answer is everyone and with everything. Unfortunately this does mean that as a firm it is harder to impact change in the world, or to an industry sector/person.

The easiest way to make an impact is to find a particular audience, with a particular problem that you can reach in droves - Amanda C. Watts

Carl Reader is a great example of an accountant changing the world. He runs D&T Financial Advisors and through his firm he impacts the Franchising, Retail and Tuition sectors. With each of these niche sectors he provides a specific service that changes the life of the people/businesses he works with. The only reason his firm is able to have such an impact is because his systems and understanding of these sectors maximise results for his clients.

3) Build relationships of TRUST

Trust is built by being consistent. Your online content, your brand image and what other people are saying about you all builds trust.

Organic content marketing in the form of blogs, videos, podcasts and social media postings are all perfect ways to share your insights and knowledge. Content marketing can prove you are the right accountant/firm for your clients and potential staff members. It is known that 70% of the buyer’s journey is completed before even reaching out to a potential vendor. Which means that you must create content and build partnerships with people better and more prolifically than your competitors.

Our client Daniel Crowther (Practice Pioneer of the year 2019) is prolific across LinkedIn –  sharing his insights, award winnings, and his partnerships with Xero and ACCA. If you were to visit his social media profiles as a potential client or staff member you would grow to trust his advice. If you visit his website his blog is updated weekly. It is easy to see that he is THE  Accountant.

4) Adopt an AGILE approach to innovation

Agility is about being able to move quickly and easily. Agile innovation is about adapting and thriving on a relentless and ongoing basis. Innovation is no longer a choice but a necessity to stay ahead of the competition. Three things you will need to be focusing on, on a daily basis are:

  • A campaign approach to your business strategies.  (Focus on 90 day sprints as opposed to 5-10 year goals).
  • The right mindset to break the mould, try new things and step way outside traditional comfort zones.
  • A hunger for personal and business  development. Working on your mindset and health plus business, marketing, operations and sales.

5) Develop LUCRATIVE Businesses

According to Forbes accounting is the number one most profitable industry. I truly believe this is because an accounting firm can provide such invaluable insights into a businesses strengths and weaknesses. Without an accountant translating your cash in/cash out how is a business meant to know which opportunities and pitfalls lie ahead? An accountant will develop lucrative businesses for their clients and, when they have unpacked their intellectual property, have priced services with added value factored in, and know how to sell, they will create a lucrative business for themselves too.

Your job as a new or established accountant/firm is to keep your eye on the prize. Positioning yourself as a VITAL accountant will make you more money, give you more meaning and set you up for more freedom.

If you don’t become a VITAL accountant you will spend too much time selling on price, attracting mediocre staff and missing out on opportunities.

Why leave it there?

To discover more about Amanda C. Watts and how she helps new and established accounting firms to grow

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