Today’s accountants are more entrepreneurial minded than ever before. They’re not simply accountants, but not because being an accountant is simple. Yet the internet landscape has shifted the market and each of our places in it.
We compete against every other accountant on the web based upon specialization, quality, price, customization. You name it. It’s the accountants job to pick their differentiators and execute accordingly. Clients no longer trickle in because we’re the only accountant in town.
Where does this leave us? It leaves us as marketers, as business owners, as managers, as change agents, as service providers, as IT specialists, as accountants, as entrepreneurs. Every accountant or CPA who decided to hang a shingle is an entrepreneur, make no mistake about it. Yet the overarching landscape has changed so drastically in the last 5-10 years, that entrepreneur looks incredibly different. Which can be said of any industry or business.
The question becomes, what types of qualities are found in the modern, successful accountant? Frankly it’s a blend of many things.
Agents for change. Today’s entrepreneurial accountant sees change coming and isn’t afraid. In fact, he or she probably embraces the change. Regulatory change, business change, technological change, market change. If you’ve had a huge book of business for many years, perhaps change isn’t priority. But if you’re looking to drive growth in the right ways for your firm, you can’t afford to sit back and wait.
Balance old with new. Knowledge is power, there’s no doubt about that. But as we talked about before, times are changing. Take lessons learned from our past, but now do it better, faster, and with more value.
Get Social. Social media isn’t going anywhere. If you’re competing in areas outside your hometown, you need a social (and web) presence. Don’t spend the majority of your time on Twitter, but recognize these are things that some business owner’s value. Not to mention it’s an incredible (and free) way to spread the message on you and your firm to people across the world.
Push the limits. Entrepreneurs fight, lose, fight again, lose some more, and don’t give up. Taking this approach to your firm is the best way to reach your goals. Only you know what’s right for you and your business, but having the persistence to get you there is the key ingredient.
Be a teacher. Accountants have operated in a vacuum for a very long time. They took inputs from their clients and delivered outputs in return. Job finished. This doesn’t cut it anymore. Clients want to be taught about their financials, their regulatory constraints, and even their own business. We’re entering a world for advisors, not just commodity based accountants. So get out there and spread your knowledge.