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What if Einstein was an accountant?

Come on – admit it. Einstein the accountant? – that would be one interesting situation. What if Einstein was an accountant rather than a physicist? Would the accounting profession be different than it is today? In my humble opinion the profession would be different for one very important reason. Einstein was smart enough to realise a very simple truth. This truth is so profound that if you really think about it it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately given the tendency of human nature to adopt the path of least resistance coupled with the centuries old tradition of the profession doing things a certain way we have a situation where things don’t change that much. What worked last year or even 5, 10 years ago seems to be  just fine for a lot of accounting firms & practitioners out there. This is not a good or healthy situation.

Einstein is one of the most quoted figures in history. From life & hope to God & education – Einstein brought his genius  to many, many topics. One of my favourite Einstein quotes is one I use in practically all my training and speaking work.  In this quote our good friend Albert defined what he thought insanity was. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

It drives me crazy when I meet individual practitioners and whole firms that seem to keep on doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Many in the profession are complaining about commodisation of many services, downward pressure on fees, demanding clients, higher staff turnover among junior & middle ranks, a flat growth market and the threat of offshoring of many processes. Fine – all this is true and will not stop. However, these forces should be seen as motivation to change the way you serve clients and run your firm and embrace new ways of working and growing. I know you have heard this all before, but at the risk of you clicking out right now – let me leave you with one just thought. Would your firm operate better if your clients paid you by direct debit for an agreed fixed fee each month or quarter? Be honest – would it? Well believe it or not there are firms out there doing that and releasing many hundreds of hours each year spent in chasing up unpaid bills, writing off bad debts and emotional energy doing things the “normal” way. That is – doing the work, sending out an invoice and waiting to be paid.

Thanks for your time & attention.

See you next time.

James E.