This is the second in a series of blogs about the dynamic future that lies ahead for Accountants. One that, in the face of technical change, involves becoming increasingly competitive as an Accountant and performing a role that is central to the plans for growth within the businesses that you serve.
This is the rapid and unstoppable growth in Cloud based finance systems. Although they help an Accountant to serve their respective businesses more efficiently and effectively, they are already leaving them with less work to do.
This will, of course, create free time with which to offer other services. But this is a double edged sword if it leads to a large number of people having to compete hard for work within the few areas left unaffected.
However, if Accountants are willing to step beyond the confines of their more traditional services and diversify into new areas, a wealth of opportunity awaits. The areas that matter relate to needs that, for a whole host of reasons, are simply not being fulfilled adequately at present.
They are to do with information, in particular that required to give businesses the competitive edge needed to grow.
In this blog we look at the first step for the Accountant who wants to diversify towards a new set of services, ones that will help them to take a seat dead centre within their business’ plans for growth.
Your perception comes first
It involves changing your perception of your role as an Accountant, and then engaging the business in a new conversation about the role that you can play as intelligence specialist, guide and mentor.
It’s helpful to first put your identity as an Accountant to one side for a moment, and then focus upon what you, as a person, really represent for your business or client. You must use your own words, but expressions relating to ‘trust’, ‘integrity’, ‘advice’, ‘understanding’, ‘reassurance’, and ‘security’ might not look out of place within the list.
The next task is to list the skills that you bring to bear. They will be broad, encompassing both the technical and those required to build and maintain strong and enduring relationships founded upon trust, clarity, openness and integrity.
The final task within this first step, while still forgetting for a moment that you are an Accountant, is to work with the people within the businesses you serve to identify their ambitions for the business. With each one cited, identify the most pressing issues standing in the way of progress – as well as the skills and attributes needed of the person capable of finding a way forward.
Then ask yourself, ‘what is stopping me from being that person?’.
I’m very good at what I do and there’s nothing stopping me
Many of the issues are likely to involve the need for information e.g. about the best way to make gains in price, quality of service, or customer retention. Or the opportunities to make better use of resources.
There will be technical processes required for this sort of work. However, they are easily mastered.
More importantly for you, and for the businesses that you serve, this exercise will demonstrate that the skills and attributes needed to find the way forward are the very same ones that you already exercise, as an Accountant, every single day. In other words, you are already an ideal candidate for the job. And there is nothing to stop you from doing a fabulous job.
Once you are convinced of this you are more than equipped for the next step. This involves convincing people in the business that there is a vital role for you to play. But the moment that you describe this as equipping the business with the right information for better decisions, little convincing will be needed.
The cloud is great, but feet need to be kept on the ground
So, those focusing solely upon mastering the cloud based Finance systems will do well. They will deliver highly efficiency accounting services at a low cost. What is there not to like?
However, to make a real difference to business prosperity, it helps to come down from the Cloud and work with a much a wider portfolio of information sources, most of which are to be found firmly on the ground.
We have launched a service aimed at equipping Business Advisors with everything they need for this role. It includes use of an expanding on-line knowledge base, access to easy to master business intelligence technology, and help and support in developing information. Please see below for more information.
We are working in partnership with: Keen Shay Keen MK Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors in Milton Keynes in the UK who are piloting the service, as well as member organisations within The Biztech Technology Forum also based in Milton Keynes. And we have big amibitions. To change the face of accountancy so that you become the data smart, digitally savvy Business Advisors who can use data to help solve the problems standing in the way of your clients’ ambitions.
Within the next blog we will be looking at the the technical processes involved in developing Business Intelligence. Yes there is some technology to master, but you will be surprised at how much you already know.