Directions in Accounting... (Notes from Doug Sleeter for Advisors)

Doug Sleeter recently spoke to a room full of accountants looking to advance their business.  Both Doug Sleeter and Edi Osborne often echo the same themes in their presentations as Corelytics does and this year's conference was no different.  So it's worth repeating. 

Doug's theme this year? RETHINK, RETOOL, and REALIZE success.

Advisors, what is the value that you're adding to clients?  Evolution might be a necessary step.  Take a look at these statistics about the probability that computerization will lead to job losses within the next two decades: 

  • Accountants are 94% are likely to lose jobs to automation within 20 years.  (SOURCE: "The Future of Employment: How to Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization" by C. Frey and M Osborne (2013)
  • In comparison, here are some other high-risk categories:  real estate agents 86%; word processors, 81%; commercial pilots, 55%

  So if your revenue comes from preparing annual tax returns, you might find you are obsolete (vs. pressing the tax return button from QuickBooks). Payroll submissions show a similar fate.

Based on a recent study, here's how SMBs select an accountant: 

  • Expertise
  • Responsiveness
  • Proactive strategic advice
  • Reputation
  • Referral from someone you can trust
  • Personal relationship
  • Latest and most efficient technologies
  • Low fees
  • Large firm/staff

 Conversely, here is why SMBs LEAVE their CPA:

  • Did not give proactive advice, only reactive
  • Poor responsiveness
  • Referral to a new firm
  • Lack of expertise
  • Fees were too high

 *SMBs also want CPAs to hellp with technology but think their CPA doesn't want to help so make sure you let your clients know that you are willing/able.

In the end, to defend your valuable position as advisor to your clients, you will likely see an evolution of value and a necessity to help your clients arrive at this new position with you.  

With this as a backdrop, do you SERVE or LEAD your clients? 

Learn more from Doug Sleeter.

Also, see some of Edi Osborne's advice on advancing your practice.