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The Evolution of the Modern Day Accountant

As an industry, we are going through a change in response to compliance automation, tax simplification and an increasing demand from clients for more proactive services.  So what does this mean for our clients at Business Edge Accountants? It means we are more focused on delivering business development services by getting up close and personal with our business clients to deliver more value to them and their businesses.

The evolution in business development services is needed in three areas:

  1. A shift from reactive to proactive service.
  2. Less advising and more coaching.
  3. Coaching skill development.

ONE: Proactive vs. Reactive.

So how are we delivering on this? We are looking to create opportunities for our clients to engage with us on multiple levels.  Run educational events, offer complimentary meetings, write blogs, keep our website fresh and engage with you as often as we can. The more one-to-many interactions we create, the greater our reach to our local business owners and clients which will result in a greater impact on our business community.

TWO: Less Advising, More Coaching.

Traditionally, we accountants have had clients come to us to be told what to do – how much tax or GST to pay, and how they can structure their business to pay less tax.  After all, that’s how we were trained, and this is what clients have come to expect.  But in the proactive accounting world, we want to deliver so much more!

We want to help our clients to understand how to make more money, free up their time and reduce their stress levels.  Of course, we have no magic bullets.  We look to understand the context behind the problems and challenges that our clients are experiencing.  Then, together, we must drill beneath the symptoms to find the root causes. Our approach to business development is a simple one, we need to ask our clients better questions.  Stop advising and start coaching.

THREE: Coaching Skill Development.

Accountants, we now know we need to be more proactive and how to do this.  We also know we need to stop advising and start coaching.  We have developed these coaching skills that are an essential part of our modern service. We take it on as our duty to our clients to upskill in this area so we deliver the value business owners are seeking from their trusted accountant.

Here are eight coaching fundamentals we deliver on:

  1. Get clear on the goal.  What is it you are really wanting to achieve in your business?
  2. Understand the current situation.  We never judge the person or situation. We seek first to understand.
  3. Ask better questions.  We stop and ask one question at a time and allow time for responses.
  4. Listen.  This means sometimes we need to be silent.
  5. Don’t jump to conclusions.  We seek to get the full context of the situation.
  6. Paraphrase.  We do this to ensure we have interpreted you correctly.
  7. Identify options and evaluate.  We support you in working to identify alternative courses of action and support you in implementing the right strategy for your business.
  8. Agree on accountability and consequences of inaction.  By working together we lock in actions and seek agreement on what will happen if the actions are not completed.

We have become great advisors through our studies and we are now in the best position to be your coach as we have evolved.  We are investing in you to develop your business knowledge. We are the modern day accountant providing proactive services to our business owners.

‘It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, it’s the most adaptable to change.’

– Charles Darwin

About the author

Celeste Peirce, an adaptation on an original by Mark Jenkins