Three questions to help accountants discover their value proposition
Accountants are the skilled professionals business owners depend on in time of need. They prepare annual returns and ensure tax compliance for companies and individuals. They evaluate financial operations to determine best practices, flag issues and help strategise to find solutions for a company to run more efficiently.
With so much value to add to a business, it comes as no surprise that accountants play a critical role in improving business and the workplace throughout the year, not only at financial year-end. And they can add enormous value to a business by helping it grow and thrive.
Here are three questions to understand the real worth of an accountant:
The five Ws and H method
The who, what, where, why, when and how method is fundamental to any information gathering and problem solving. To know who they are, you need to discover what your customer wants, where they are working, why they need you and how best to serve their needs.
Adopting a service mentality requires a different set of skills to deliver an accounting product: It means understanding who you are dealing with, what they’re about and what their business challenges are. Ask, listen and learn to understand their pain points and come up with solutions. Accountants need to get to know their clients and speak to them in a language that they understand – with empathy and an appreciation of their unique circumstances.
How can I make life easier for myself and my clients?
Automation and artificial intelligence have become fundamental to our personal and professional lives for a reason: They make life easier and give us options we could once only dream of. So, embrace the technology, brush up on your skills and take courses to stay ahead of the game.
Technology is critical not only because it gives us tools to work more efficiently, but it also creates opportunities to diversify services. By understanding how to use technology, we gain a competitive advantage and stay relevant since most of our clients are accelerating technology use in their own businesses. It’s expected that we will be able to integrate with our clients’ systems when we deliver accounting or payroll services.
How can I leverage technology to differentiate myself from the competition?
Accountants are expected to utilise new technologies that streamline and improve processes to make better decisions. To do so, it’s imperative that they cultivate a digital mindset and become proficient with the technologies that intersect with accounting, including automated, recurring invoicing; business intelligence tools; cloud-based, paperless accounting; automated debtor’s management; APIs; and remote client interfacing improve systems, workflows, and competitiveness.
If finance leaders up their game to deliver what customers or the business want, they must re-evaluate and refashion the way they work so they are viewed as indispensable business partners of the future, not the bean counters of old.
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