“No one cares about how much you know until they know how much you care.”
It’s never about you.
As CPAs, we all know this intuitively but we can suffer from selective amnesia when we’re pitching our services to clients and prospective clients. We’re logical, practical and our training is largely focused on ensuring the world is equally balanced between debits and credits. There aren’t any crebits.
Those admirable qualities are essential for services that require adherence to and compliance with rules and regulations. Financial reporting, tax preparation and accounting services are relatively inflexible when it comes to creativity and new ways of thinking. Unless you’re Enron or Bernie Madoff’s accountant…
Advisory is applied creative problem solving. There are no step-by-step instructions that work every time, in every situation, as though you were following the 108 page IRS rules for completing the 2019 Form 1040 or 1040-SR, excluding the rules to complete supporting schedules.
Starting a “consulting” practice seems easy. There are virtually no barriers to entry. Many people start consulting “businesses” while they are in transition between W-2 employment. Hourly rates are typically higher than compliance work, deliverables are often nebulous and vague, and the risk is minimal (from the consultant’s view) as failures can be blamed on “poor execution” by the client. And these are leading reasons consulting has such a bad reputation.
And how does any of that benefit the client? It doesn’t. And that’s a problem. They are primary reasons consulting (and consultants) have such a bad reputation. That’s why we think of the practice of using our tools as advisory work, not consulting work. Advising clients helps them grow their business and in turn grow your business.
Growth CPR was founded to change that, or at least make a dent. How? To provide Main Street CPA firms the roadmap for building/growing their advisory practice and equip them with the critical tools and frameworks necessary for the journey.
The journey starts with three things:
Knowing your client’s business
Showing them that you understand their business from their perspective
Growing your capabilities by learning how to use new tools and frameworks
Knowing your client’s/prospective client’s business seems obvious but is largely ignored. Knowing the numbers isn’t knowing the business. News flash – compliance services are considered a necessary evil by the client, not a value added service.
How does the CEO/owner/CFO view their business? How should they be viewing their business? What trends in the global/national/local market will impact them positively/negatively? What about the political environment? Changes in technology? What keeps them up at night?
Demonstrate your command of the business revenue and cost drivers. What are the key performance metrics – financial, operational and human capital? How are they trending? What is their competition doing? How are the macro and micro economics impacting their revenue and margins? What are their unique selling points? What is the culture of the business?
Expand the tools you have at your disposal and enhance your ability to discover nuance and subtlety in the unique circumstances of your client’s business and environment. As the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer, all problems look like a nail. Learn new tools and frameworks and continuously grow your capabilities.
Each of these topics will be explored and expanded upon in future blogs. Growth CPR is here to help Main Street CPA firms grow and be successful. We’ll continue to provide you free valuable and actionable material that is better than a lot of paid stuff. You’ve already decided to build your firm, wouldn’t you want to give yourself every advantage?
No one cares how much you know until you show how much you care. We’re showing you that we care.
Come join us. Let’s grow!