As an Accountant you work closely with your clients to ensure their financial outcomes are compliant and optimal. You are expert in your field and exceptionally good at what you do. It’s also likely you can be a bit of a “control freak.” Great operators are. You don’t become best of breed by relying on others to make things happen. That would be a disaster as anyone with experience would know.
One of your major issues has always been that deep down, you know NO ONE cares about your clients as much as you do. They simply never will. And sometimes, this can stop you from exploring additional services that you know your clients need, but you don’t dare touch with a “ten-foot pole.” You know you could increase your revenues and the value of your business by engaging with mortgage brokers and financial advisors, but you also know the risk / reward can be out of kilter somewhat as well. This may even inhibit you from looking at outsourcing or offshoring some of your compliance work as well. I have even experienced this myself and have made more mistakes on this than I like to remember. But, like all mistakes we need to take the lessons out of them.
Over the last 15 years I have worked almost exclusively with Accountants to bring mortgage services to their business. Be it building an in-house mortgage broker division with an employed / contracted broker, via a referral partnership or the accountant wishing to write the loans themselves. There has been a common theme in each of these that have been successful – an unconditional commitment from all parties to do their absolute very best to ensure the success of the program and each individual client transaction that takes place. (A mouthful I know)
Simply put the hardest part about these relationships is finding the right person / team to partner with. Once you have found the right fit, the rest of the process is quite simple.
So, with this in mind, I’d like to share my knowledge on how we identify and select our mortgage brokers that we allow to work with our accountant partners. (Yes, allow. This isn’t for everyone that’s for sure)
These are the very key points that drive our decision to work with someone. It has proven to be successful over time and
“Fire in the belly V’s experience”
Whenever I begin the process of interviewing new candidates for our broker partnerships, I focus primarily on the candidates drive and passion for building a robust and sustainable business. I will take this over experience any day of the week. Primarily because my experience has taught me that those who have the drive, passion, tenacity, and guts to push through any obstacles will always win over anyone else. Regardless of their experience. The most important factor in this for me is a never say die attitude and a will to win.
Hint: Everyone will tell you they want to be a huge success. But VERY few will put the effort into making it happen. Try and get someone to do a business plan and see what they come back with. You’ll generally get an understanding of their will and drive to impress you.
“Upskilling is easy”
Mostly true. Lending is not a complex industry, it just has a lot of moving parts, that perpetually change. With good software and a great team around them any broker can get most loans over the line. However, the hardest part is actually understanding complex financials. Believe it or not, this is where most brokers fail, and fail dismally. Fortunately, there are educational hubs that focus on these areas, so our brokers have a “go to” for additional training and upskilling. And there will be times where the broker has to train and explain these structures to lenders as well. So, education on this area is critical. Lucky for us, a lot of our brokers are ex-accountants. And yes, it makes a HUGE difference. To be able to competently explain complex financial to inexperienced lenders is a great advantage.
Hint: throw some financials at them and have them come back to you with their understanding of the business, its profitability and how they would present it to a lender.
“Policies and procedures”
Not the lending type, but the policies and procedures brokers follow when they are working with accounting partners. And mostly it’s the “little things” that make the big difference. Such as:
- Keeping you and your client updated
- Doing what they say they will
- Working with urgency
Just these 3 little policies can make all the difference in your experience working with an outside partner.
As for procedures, I like my brokers to never rest on their laurels and ensure every referrer and client experience is better than the last. As it should always be right? But again, this involves commitment and a plan.
Hint: Insist anyone you work with strives to give you 5-star service at all times.
“Humility and confidence”
Yes. Humility. The quality of having a modest or low views of one’s importance. “They need the humility to accept that the other personas way may be better.” I find those that are humble and well balanced with a good measure of confidence are generally reliable and will always ask for help when needed. It’s never their way or the highway…they work to a win/win/win resolution and understand what needs to get done must get done.
Hint: You’ll know!
Lastly – “Control Freaks”
Yes, just like you, you want them to be control freaks. Those who don’t trust anyone to do anything properly or on time. To take responsibility for getting things done right the first time and making sure everyone else is in line as well.
Hint: Ask them how they feel about outsourcing their clients work and the level of trust they need to be comfortable in doing so.
Well, I hope this helps and can in some way make things a little more comfortable in working with outsourced and offshoring businesses.
As always if you’d like more information on this topic or to discuss any of the content feel free to contact me at any time.
Steve Lake | Director of Partnerships | National Lending Group | email@example.com
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