They Should All Be ‘A Class’ Clients

Red and black letter A with upward arrow swoosh in centerPlus 10 sample criteria.

By Rob Nixon

Every client you have should be an "A" class client.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Your Clients on Your Terms | Mindset Is Everything | The Entrepreneurial Accountant: An Oxymoron? | How to Structure Your Firm for Success | Why Average Project Value Matters | The Bizarre Habits of Accountants
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You have all sorts of clients. Some have great potential, they are open to new ideas, they pay your bills on time, are pleasant to your team and are generally great to deal with – they might be your A’s. Others have no potential, they are closed-minded, they moan and groan about everything and are a general pain in the rear – they might be classed as a "D" class clients.
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Your Clients on Your Terms

Two businesswomen shaking handsWho should dictate how to run things? And are your accountants doing too much admin work?

By Rob Nixon

It’s interesting how accounting practices evolve with their clients. It seems that over the years, the clients have just turned up (via referral mainly) and you have accepted all who walk through your door – almost like your firm is a community service or a charity.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Mindset Is Everything | Accountants Are the Last Trusted Advisors | Why Average Project Value Matters | The Bizarre Habits of Accountants | Sales Is Like Workflow Management | Marketing Objectives Determine Marketing Amount | Turn Your Knowledge Into Products | How to Create 4 New Billable Hours per Day | Is Your Business By Design or Default? | The World Is Flat | The Profession Disrupted: Compliance Commoditized
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As time passes, the clients stay with you and many of them are not that enjoyable to deal with. Many of your current clients do not fit your direction and they supply information in a format and timeframe that suits them. It’s not your clients’ business, it’s your business!
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Mindset Is Everything

Businesswoman with crossed arms smiling, skyline in background5 ways Sir Richard Branson has nailed success.

By Rob Nixon

If you want to run a thriving accounting business you need to need to change the way you think.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Accountants Are the Last Trusted Advisors | How Much Should Partners Make? | Be a History Maker | Experience Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does | Why ‘Steady as She Goes’ Isn’t Enough | Boost Efficiency and Your Bottom Line | Marketing Must Generate Leads | Be an 'Object of Interest'
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How you think and what you think about is crucial to your success. I meet many accountants who have low self-esteem.
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Accountants Are the Last of the Trusted Advisors

Businessman talking with mature coupleHow to quantify your level of trust.

By Rob Nixon

I believe accountants are the last natural trusted advisors.

MORE ON STRATEGY: How Much Should Partners Make? | The Entrepreneurial Accountant: An Oxymoron? | Growth Is All About the Clients | Change Is On the Horizon | Order Takers and History Writers | The Bizarre Habits of Accountants | 12 Traits of a Better You | 8 Ways to Become Super-Efficient | Sales Is Like Workflow Management
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Think about it…

  • In the 1970s the insurance people lost their position of trust when they started selling "whole life" policies and other "products" – trusted advisor status revoked.

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How Much Should Partners Make?

Scale with coins on one side, alarm clock on the otherDo they deliver or develop?

By Rob Nixon

How much should a partner of a multipartner accounting firm be paid? Should it be equal pay because you have equal shareholding?

MORE ON STRATEGY: The Entrepreneurial Accountant: An Oxymoron? | How to Structure Your Firm for Success | Why Average Project Value Matters | Do Your Clients Want More? | The Bizarre Habits of Accountants | 12 Traits of a Better You
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If it is going to be equal pay then each person must pass the checklist of the ideal partner. It’s my opinion that most should not be paid equally.
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The Accountant as Entrepreneur: An Oxymoron?

Thoughtful businesswoman studies documents in officePLUS: 21 characteristics of an ideal partner.

By Rob Nixon

Entrepreneur: “One who takes the initiative to create a product or establish a business for profit. Generally, whoever undertakes on his/her own account an enterprise in which others are employed and risks are taken.”

MORE ON STRATEGY: How to Structure Your Firm for Success | Be a History Maker | Experience Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does | Why ‘Steady as She Goes’ Isn’t Enough | The Final Critical Traits: How Do Your Tires Look? | How to Calculate a Value Price | Boost Efficiency and Your Bottom Line | 4 Sales Systems and Some Secret Sauce
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See Hitendra Patil's definitive definitive guide to "The Enrteprenurial Accountant" here

Are partners of accounting firms entrepreneurs? This is an interesting question. According to the definition they own a business (although most did not start the business they own), they employ people, they take risks and they provide products and services – hopefully for a healthy profit.
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How to Structure Your Firm for Success

Diagram of silo partnership modelYour new org chart has 5 key areas.

By Rob Nixon

The new growth equation means you need different skill sets. You will need a different structure to create, market, sell and deliver the new services to new and existing services. And you will definitely need different people involved.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Be a History Maker | Growth Is All About the Clients | Change Is On the Horizon | Order Takers and History Writers | Why Old Pricing Models Are Unethical | 8 Ways to Improve Firm Profits | 17 Killer Questions for Prospects
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The traditional "partnership" model is one of a silo model. Often it has been described as "accountants sharing rent."
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Be a History Maker

Illustration of man pushing "SERVICES" buttonThe Awesome 8 beyond compliance.

By Rob Nixon

The old model suggests that most of the work that accountants do is history writing.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Growth Is All About the Clients | Why Average Project Value Matters | Do Your Clients Want More? | The Bizarre Habits of Accountants | 12 Traits of a Better You | 8 Ways to Become Super-Efficient | Sales Is Like Workflow Management | How to Dominate the Internet | Marketing Objectives Determine Marketing Amount
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Writing up the past and presenting it is a timeframe that it is not relevant anymore. Clients want additional help and if you take the view that by being proactive and really helping your clients, you can become a history maker.
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Growth Is All About the Clients

Large group of people gathered into an upward arrow shape3 questions to ask.

By Rob Nixon

The old (traditional) growth model is all internally focused. Nowhere in it is the client mentioned.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Why Average Project Value Matters | Experience Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does | Why ‘Steady as She Goes’ Isn’t Enough | The Final Critical Traits: How Do Your Tires Look? | How to Calculate a Value Price | Boost Efficiency and Your Bottom Line | 4 Sales Systems and Some Secret Sauce
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The new growth equation is all about the clients. It’s about marketing to get additional clients from firms that are not giving legendary service (like hopefully you do). It’s about serving them well to keep them delighted, loyal and referring more. It’s about offering all services to them and it’s about you receiving fair compensation for the value that you create for the client.
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Why Average Project Value Matters

Woman smiling across desk at clientsPlus 11 ways to increase it.

By Rob Nixon

The average project value is not the average fee per client. The average project value is where you average all of your invoices over the year.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Experience Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does | Change Is On the Horizon | Order Takers and History Writers | 4 More Critical Traits: Be Your Best You | Why Old Pricing Models Are Unethical | 8 Ways to Improve Firm Profits | 17 Killer Questions for Prospects | Growing Your Client Database | Niche Markets Are Your Best Buyers | 8 Questions for Product Creation
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If you have three invoices for the one project then that is one invoice only. You might call a project a "job" or "task" for the client. For example, annual compliance is one project. A budget/cash flow forecast is a project. A restructure is a project. A company due diligence is a project.
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Experience Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

Young businesswoman talking to her client and using tabletHow to increase lead generation, conversion and retention.

By Rob Nixon

Most accounting practices have a zero-based lead generation (or new inquiries) strategy, which means they do nothing. New clients just "appear," typically via referral.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Change Is On the Horizon | Do Your Clients Want More? | The Bizarre Habits of Accountants | 12 Traits of a Better You | How to Calculate a Value Price | Boost Efficiency and Your Bottom Line | 4 Sales Systems and Some Secret Sauce | Marketing Objectives Determine Marketing Amount | Rewards Go Far Beyond Money | What It Means to Be a Real-Time Accountant
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Nothing wrong with getting referrals from existing clients. In fact they are the best quality leads you can get – free and credible.
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