What are your competitors thinking to be ahead in the game after tax season? Technology? Cloud? Marketing? Social media? Automation? Well, those are methods of “how to” implement their new initiatives to outcompete you. More important is to understand the “WHY” behind those initiatives. In recent few months, we interacted with several CPAs and Accountants. Here is their most powerful After Tax Season (ATS) Competition Beating Plan….
Transforming from Most Trusted Advisor to Most Consulted Strategist
Pay close attention. There is a well thought out, powerful potential game-plan in this “transformation approach” after tax season.
Many CPAs and Accountants are striving to be the Most Trusted Advisors of their clients. But, we sensed that “game-changer” CPAs are taking steps to become “Most Consulted Strategists”.
Clients feel that “Advisors” tell them to “take it or leave it, at your own risk or reward”. They have a mindset of “just hearing out” what the advisor has to tell. Clients do not have a commitment to actually implementing it. Which means they are on the fence, just like people who do a web search for free knowledge. Clients engage advisors only when needed i.e. rarely; not regularly. These are subconscious perceptions of people when they think of advisors.
But, CPAs who want to be the “Most Consulted Strategists” have specific strategies to more regularly engage clients . And they are targeting a specific outcome. More regular engagements will increase their revenue per client. Here’s how.
Nullify Stealth Competitors:
By becoming “Most Consulted Strategists”, CPAs are nullifying the non-accounting stealth competitors. The non-accounting advisor is a CPA’s stealth competitor. Such advisor takes away a client’s time and attention. It could be the banker, the business coach, the technology provider, the consultant and so on. The Strategist CPAs ask their clients who else do they rely upon. And for what types of challenges and how much time they spend with such advisors. Besides accounting and taxes, CPAs have the knowledge on various aspects of business. Clients may not be currently consulting CPAs for such things. CPAs also have a strong network and access to knowledge to solve clients’ many business challenges.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI): Number of types of questions clients ask their CPA. E.g. financing, tax planning, banking, technology recommendations, referrals to other service providers, etc.
Quantity and Quality of Client Interactions:
Game-changer CPAs are looking to increase the time they spend in client interactions. To create more time, CPAs are implementing technologies that increase operational productivity and efficiency. They reduce their IT work by using integrated and automated technologies on the cloud. The focus is clear. Do more of what the specialized knowledge empowers CPAs. And do less of what others without this knowledge can do. Higher frequency of “outcome-driven” client interactions is the new revenue growth enabler. And they also have tactics in place to avoid giving away “free consulting”.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI): Number of times per month clients interact with their CPA. The duration of each “consultation”.
Strategist – not Advisor:
Dictionary helps us recognize the most important difference between an Advisor and a Strategist.
to give an opinion or suggestion to someone about what should be done
a person who gives advice, typically someone who is expert in a particular field.
recommendation regarding a decision
a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time
a person who is skilled in making plans for achieving a goal
Harvard Business Review brought out two important characteristics that make a superior strategist:
The ability to understand the significance of events without being influenced by current opinion, changing attitudes, or his own prejudices.
The ability to make decisions quickly and to take the indicated action without being deterred by a perceived danger.
AdvisorsStrategistsAdvisors are inherently transactional, hence involved only in incidences or for short term.Strategists are more involved – wide and deep; and work with clients on a longer term basis.Advisors think about client defined goals.Strategists help clients define goals.Advisors give suggestions, opinions or recommendations; not plans.Strategists work with clients to co-create plans and help implement them.Advisors do not involve in decision-making.Strategists are involved in decision-making.Advisors do not own the outcomes of the decisions taken by their clients.Strategists own, partially, the outcomes of the plans and decisions.The risk (of following the advise) is entirely of the client.The strategist and the client share the risk.Hence advisors at best get some fee; not the reward associated with the risk.The client and the strategist also share the rewards.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI): Outcome-dependent variable income. Number of action plans created and jointly implemented. Client’s business growth on agreed, measurable parameters. Length of “engagement period”.
Be The Most Consulted Strategist
In “Rethinking the role of the strategist”, McKinsey’s analysis of 13 facets of the chief strategist role yielded five clusters, or archetypes, based on a strategist’s signature strengths. It is a great read for your transformation from being an advisor to being a strategist.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?” …. poet Mary Oliver.
What she asked, essentially, is “what is your strategy for your life”.
And from that question arises another key question you’d want to answer. If you are a CPA who wants to take your practice to future success, answer the following question i.e.
“What is your strategy for transforming your practice?”
Contact Pransform Today to learn how YOU can transform into the Most Consulted Strategist.