A question all accounting partners should ask themselves

Had an interesting experience the other day. I was presenting to a group of partners & principals about the importance of understanding the mindset of their clients and prospective clients. The presentation went well with lots of good interaction and wars stories shared.

After the seminar I was chatting with one of the attendees and he shared the following frustration with me.

James – 95% of what you shared today was spot on. It was good, solid and compelling stuff. The problem that I have, as the head of my firm, is that we hear what is said today, agree that we have to change the way we do things, get all excited and then go back to our office and fall into the familiar cycle of doing what we do the same old way and not changing. What do I have to do to break this cycle?

You might be reading this and thinking the same thing.

I put a few questions to this head of firm about the personality make up of his partners & staff and their attitude to trying new things and their willingness to step outside their comfort zone. As I expected he told me that there is a real mix – some have the “right attitude” and some are willing to leave their comfort zone. I would like to think that the some that the managing partner was referring to equated to more than half of his partners and staff.

At this point I usually ask the following question, “What proportion of your partners would respond well to the following challenge?”

The challenge: Come 1 July next year – all of your client relationships will be given to other partners within the firm. You will have a blank sheet to start building a client list from scratch.

In the above situation of the managing partner he answered that 2 of his 8 partners would be up to that challenge – himself and one other. So 25%. Hmmm – is that sufficient? I honestly don’t know.

The ironic thing about it is, from a client perspective they want the accounting profession to be more proactive. The above challenge is not a bad start!

See you next post.

James E