You may recall that, about nine months ago, CommBank Accounting Market Pulse reported that they had conducted a survey of 45 accounting firms.
The result that really stood out was the comment that “the only limitation they face is the worsening talent shortage”.
Many firms may not agree that it’s “the only limitation they face,” but most accountants are still listing talent retention as one of the most important issues they need to get on top of.
Why is this so?
The answer isn’t always simple. You have to ask yourself, “is the firm offering services that are interesting and challenging enough? Do these services differentiate the firm from its competitors or does the product menu only include taxation-based services?”
The services that you offer is one of the key differentiators in the marketplace. This is noticed not only by potential clients but also by potential team members.
Six months ago, we featured comments by Andrew Geddes, one of the Founders of the Financial Management Research Centre (FMRC) at the University of New England. For 10 years, Andrew was also Chair of the Top 200 ASX company, Green Cross Ltd, so he’s really been there and done that.
Andrew believes accounting firms needed to vary the work being allocated to younger accountants, not just relegate them to taxation work all of the time.
Andrew Geddes also suggested that partners should take younger accountants with them when they make client visits. This way, the younger accountant can observe the reaction between the partner of the firm and the clients as they discuss a wide range of business issues. He suggested that younger accountants should then be allocated the task of preparing the minutes of the meeting and the action plan. By immersing them meaningfully in the client relationship process, they will start to gain a hands-on understanding of how businesses operate.
Accounting firms need to determine their vision and direction and establish the purpose and values of the firm.
Incidentally, these types of key observations are also required for your clients. What is their vision? Have you worked their vision into your planning of how you will service that client?
If you were the full-time CFO of your client’s firm, you would have a very clear working understanding of the firm’s vision, wouldn’t you? If you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be working there for long.
It is this commitment to supplying services that clients want. You’ll find that many are prepared to pay well for those services, especially when they experience the benefits. It is also that type of work that younger accountants think about when they are trying to work out if an accounting firm is going to satisfy their needs for talent development and allow them to acquire worthwhile knowledge and skills.
Another key comment that Andrew Geddes made is to focus on things that have to be ‘nailed’ in the next three months, then set about implementing whatever strategies are necessary to achieve those objectives. Shouldn’t this type of approach be also adopted within accounting firms, to ensure that there is a strong working knowledge behind the services that the client is looking for?
The BOSS Factor Library for Accountants (of which ESS BIZTOOLS is a distributor) has 100 interesting articles available. These articles cover a wide range of business activities. They have been developed for accounting teams to familiarise themselves with commercial concepts that their members might not have come across at this stage in their careers. The detailed information in these articles will help improve the quality of commercial advice that team members offer to the firm’s clients.
Understanding the marketing of services, leadership, and meeting processes, that are key components of commercial activities, is a very important foundation for the modern accountant to acquire. For more details on The BOSS Factor Library for Accountants, click here.
ESS BIZTOOLS offers a range of product packages that supply articles, videos, webinars and podcasts on a variety of commercial matters. Many of your SME clients, who are committed to scaling up and adding value, will need this type of advice at various times in their careers. If your team has been encouraged to study the material within ESS BIZTOOLS and The BOSS Factor Library for Accountants, they will be in a far better position to service your client’s requirements than their mates from university who are not working in an enlightened firm.
The ESS BIZTOOLS product packages include:
- Internal control review
- Personal Property Securities Register
- Weekly reporting systems
- Business plans
- Cash flow forecasts
- Projected balance sheets
- Corporate governance
- The innovation journey – including research and development and capital raising,
You might be interested to listen to the Business Advisory Services Podcast “Assisting SMEs on the Innovation Journey” in which Peter Towers, Managing Director of ESS BIZTOOLS, talks to a small business person who has developed a prototype of a new invention. Click here to listen.
These types of services are now becoming ‘the face of modern accounting firms in Australia’.
If you do not offer these types of services to your clients with the appropriate product packages to assist in the delivery of those services, you are setting yourself up for a fall by the wayside, as tax compliance work becomes less profitable.
Backup materials such as The BOSS Factor Library for Accountants and regular team training sessions allow many firms to deliver services for which their SME clients are now seeking. At the same time, they need to be creating an environment to attract and retain talent.
Perhaps you need to pull the circuit breaker on your activities so that remedial action can be taken. Now is a good time to do that!
We invite you to visit www.essbiztools.com.au, where you can review the product packages within ESS BIZTOOLS and ESS BIZGRANTS, then view the list of contents in The BOSS Factor Library for Accountants and download some sample articles.
You are invited to register for a no-obligation Zoom meeting with our Managing Director, Peter Towers, at www.essbiztools.com.au, to talk about where your firm is heading and the best way to get there. Click here to book your session. If you would like to talk by phone, please give us a ring on 1800 232 882 to reserve a convenient time for the discussion.
The next edition of the CommBank Accounting Market Pulse Report is expected in three months’ time.
Wouldn’t it be great if your firm was able to report that you had implemented strategies to introduce products for clients that will assist with “talent attraction and retention” and have produced happy clients because they are receiving “real accounting services”?
Services You Offer Affect Your Talent
Upcoming Complimentary Webinars
Upskilling Your Team – Thursday, 13 April 2023 at 12.00pm AEST
Implementing 1 inch wide / 1 mile deep Knowledge – Thursday, 20 April 2023 at 12.00pm AEST
52 Week Business Enhancement System – Thursday, 27 April 2023 at 12.00pm AEST
Peter Towers – Managing Director, ESS BIZTOOLS Pty Ltd