Are accountants really “Trusted Business Advisers?”

The term “trusted business adviser” is often used to describe the pinnacle of the accountant–client relationship. Everyone seems to want to be a trusted business adviser. The key element of this exalted title is trust.

However, like most pedestals or sort after titles, through their overuse the term quickly becomes cheapened. It seems these days that anyone with a business card, website and is wearing a suit becomes a trusted business adviser. This, fortunately, is not the case. Becoming a real trusted business adviser takes commitment, passion, patience and lots of hard work.

One definition of trust is the strong belief or confidence in the honesty, integrity and reliability of another person. Such a belief cannot be fostered in a quick coffee meeting or drinks at the cricket. Trust is built through a series of interactions that show you are honest and consistent, and have the best interests of the client in mind. Trust is something that is easy to lose but difficult to earn. Here are some characteristics of a trusted business adviser:

  • They invest time and effort in initiating and building a relationship
  • Often they give out to the client before receiving anything in return.
  • The focus of their activity is not fees.
  • They consistently look for ways to help the client.
  • They are patient and long-term in their thinking.
  • They are flexible in the ways they do business to suit the client, not simply themselves.

If you were to were to use the above six points as a gauge for your professional activities with your clients how would you rate? Are YOU a trusted business adviser?

Keep smiling and bye for now,

James E

Don’t look up at the mountain

Hey everyone. Sorry about not posting on Wednesday. I have lots of balls in the air at the moment with clients & various projects and simply ran out of time. Again my apologies.

In the last post (on Monday) I was sharing my thoughts regarding a presentation I recently given by Nick Farr-Jones the great ex-captain of the Australian Rugby team.

I ended the post with the words “The story that Nick shared that day, wasn’t about God but it was about the power & energy that comes from focus. The story involves a mountain & a man named Edmund. Nick had the privilege to have a question answered by this great man first hand.”

A few years back Nick was attending a Rugby Test match in New Zealand and just happened to meet Sir Edmund Hillary. He and Sir Edmund were invited to the match by the same corporate sponsor and shared seats in the same box at the game. After the usual introductions and small talk, Nick asked Sir Edmund if he would mind him asking a question about climbing Mount Everest. Sir Edmund, whom must have been asked tens of thousands of times about his expedition, graciously replied, “Of course not young man”.

Nick paused and then asked the first man who had ever conquered Everest the simple question, “Sir Edmund, when you were climbing the mountain did you ever look up at the peak and get discouraged or fearful”

“Honestly Nick”, Sir Edmund replied, “I never looked up at the mountain. All I did was to focus on the next step – concentrating on taking one step after the other. If I did look up at the summit I would most certainly have been discouraged and scared of the enormous obstacle waiting for me!”

It may be a long bow to draw but often in business we look up at the obstacles in front of us be they difficult clients who aren’t paying, challenges with the ATO, IRS or other government departments, demanding staff or rising costs of operating business and get discouraged, fearful or even depressed.

Accountants working in public practice can certainly fall into the trap of worrying about the myriad of things coming up rather than focusing on doing the things that are most important today.

Hope the above helps not just in your accounting practice but in your wider life 🙂

See you next time.

All my best,

James E