Times Square, an International Award for Accelerators, and Becoming a Maverick

“What do you think about your accountant?” I asked my tablemate at the Stevie Awards dinner on November 8, 2013.

My tablemate was a gentleman from Georgia who was attending the dinner with his wife who was a finalist for a Stevie Award in the Women Executive category.  She had a huge business with hundreds of locations all over the U.S.

He answered quickly. “We like our financial planner, but we don’t like our accountant at all.  He doesn’t return our calls.  He’s not responsive, and he doesn’t follow through.”

Ouch.  It’s hard to hear responses like this gentleman’s, but unfortunately, it’s not uncommon.

Where There Are Problems, There Are Opportunities

One of the top client complaints in the accounting industry is that accountants do not communicate with their clients often enough.  Since I entered the profession, this has been a complaint, and I suspect it will be a complaint on the last day I work.

Why don’t we get it?  I believe it’s because we don’t realize the differences in communication styles between the clients and ourselves.  It’s not that we have to change our personalities to serve our clients, but we do have to compensate in a way that works for both of us.

Being a Maverick

One of the three categories I was a finalist in was for “Maverick of the Year.”  It’s true; we are breaking new ground in the accounting industry with some of the programs we’ve offered.  We co-hosted one of the first-ever virtual conferences (see www.accountingvcon.com) in accounting.  We offer one of the few yearlong bundled group training and coaching programs in the industry, and it is the only one of its kind led by a woman in the entire accounting industry.  And no one is as interested in helping the smallest of CPA firms and bookkeepers succeed like we are.

But it’s my Accelerator clients who are really the mavericks.    They have not only solved the long-standing communication issue that accountants often get criticized for, but they have gone much farther in their practices to the degree of delighting their clients and being generously rewarded for it.

Accelerators are breaking new ground when it comes to their accounting business models.  They don’t have WIP.  They don’t have a big fat A/R balance.  They could care less about realization and utilization; there are more important measures of profitability.  They have cost-effective, cutting edge-technology tools.  But what really sets them apart is they’re transforming what’s available to small businesses so that more entrepreneurs get the accounting and financial advisory relationship they truly deserve.  And my tablemate would be very happy to hear that they even return clients’ calls on time.

So congratulations go to all my clients.  You are the true mavericks, and I humbly share this award with all of you.