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Help your clients check you out!

Recently I was meeting with the CEO of a well-known architectural firm in Sydney. This particular CEO really knows his stuff – he is on the ball, has a good head for the big picture & detail and when he needs the right advice from external professionals he seeks out only the very best he can afford. He is one of those client-types who take people on face value, but at the same time will check and validate an advisers skill set, experience and reputation within his own network which usually consists of friends, colleagues, other business owners and sometimes clients of the adviser he is wanting to bring on.

Most CEOs, CFOs and business owners are not like the CEO I met above either because they’re time poor or have other reasons for not doing what they need to do.  A lot of them take the default position and think we can’t go wrong if we hire a “Big Four firm” when they need external accounting help. However, that might not be the right fit for the need at hand.

All accountants from both the big end of end and the small end need to make it simple and straightforward for their clients and prospective clients to “check them out” How does one do this? Simple. Invite your prospective client and a current client to a conveniently located cafe, introduce them to each other, buy them each a coffee & cake and then leave. If you are a half decent accountant that has done the right thing by their client(s) the words your client shares with your prospect will be far more valuable and authentic than anything you can possibly say!

Keep well and see you next post.

James E

Much ado about fees (part 3 of 3)

Last post we left the story at the critical point when John the CEO was understandably underwhelmed by the senior consultant’s revolutionary advice of a “to do list”.

The senior consultant replied, “Well, it’s not just a to-do list, John.  It’s more about the relationship that you have with your executives around that list.  It’s really important that you do it on a weekly basis and for the things that they don’t get done, they put it on the list for the folloing week, and so on.”

So John said, “Okay, I’ll try it.”  And John asked, “Well …what do I owe you?”

Now, given that this guy was only really speaking to John for about thirty or so minutes (not even an hour)  the senior consultant said, “Give it a go for three months, okay?  You do it for three months and you send me a cheque with what you think it’s worth.”

The three months came and went and this consultant checked the mail one day and he got a check fromJjohn.  What do you think he was paid for a 30 minute chat?  $500, $1,000? The CEO sent him a check for $200,000!  The moral of this story is that this guy had asked the CEO to pay him on the basis of the worth or put another way the value.  The simple advice had indeed revolutionised his executive team and it was worth $200,000 to him.  The $200,000 wasn’t reflective of the time or even the advice that the consultant had provided this chap.  What it was, was a recognition and an indicator of value that was generated by that advice, especially when the advice was exceuted.

It’s an extreme example, but a great example of changing one’s mindset around fees.  It’s not so much about the time you put in or even the advice you give.  It’s more about the value and the contribution that has been generated by that advice or by that piece of work. Don’t forget that. Your help is often more valuable than you think!

Until next time,

James E