27/09/2019 by Pascoe Partners Accountants
Sport and business. There are many parallels between them.
Recently I was glued to my TV, watching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal go head-to-head at Wimbledon. At a crucial point in the match the broadcaster, as they usually do, cut to the players’ supporters box to comment on the backstory of the players’ coaching staff.
What struck me is that here we have two of the best tennis players of the modern era and yet both still feel the need to have a coach. It might be fair to think that these two players:
And yet champions always have coaches. They know that when they’re immersed in training and playing the game, they don’t always have the perspective to step back and see where improvements can be made.
Good coaches give players an edge over their competition. When there is a lot a stake, any psychological advantage or tip to keep the player focused can make all the difference.
Cleary Federer and Nadal see the benefit in having a coach in their corner.
What about you, in your business?
If the top performers in any sport have a coach, it makes sense for any business owner to have one too. Someone you can confide in, bounce ideas off, and rely on for honest ‘tough love’ when you need it. Someone who can give you perspective when you can’t see the forest for the trees.
But business coaches have been a mixed bag, at best.
Business coaches were all the rage at one point but most of them were a bit flaky — they had no real business experience or acumen and many were not even financially literate.
As a result, it didn’t take long for business coaches to get a bad reputation.
To effectively advise a business owner, you need to have experienced the challenges and pain of running a business yourself. Without that a coach cannot have real empathy with business owners and without that, a business coach can’t give effective, pragmatic advice.
One other weakness I noticed with many business coaches is that they were great at marketing themselves and picking up new clients all around the country or even the world, but because they didn’t live in the business community of their clients, they weren’t in touch with local business conditions and importance nuances.
So where do Accountants fit in? Should Accountants act as business coaches to their clients?
It could be argued that the typical Accountant’s lack of proactive advice to their small business clients about how they can improve and grow their business—rather than just reporting on last quarter and last year, and focusing solely on tax and compliance matters—prompted business owners to go looking for advice elsewhere.
And the business coaching industry was born.
As a whole, I think it’s fair to say Accountants have failed to explain to their clients the value they can add in business development. Because of this, Accountants are often seen as a ‘grudge purchase’; an expense to the business rather than an investment in helping to grow a business’ profits and value.
Traditionally, many Accountants have been reluctant to take on the role of business coach or proactive business consultant because they were buried in their clients’ tax and compliance work—they just didn’t have enough time to focus on giving future-focused advice.
But times have changed for the Accounting profession.
The advent of ‘cloud computing’ technology such as Xero can automate and streamline a lot of the data entry and bookkeeping end of things and has become an enabler to Accountants by freeing up capacity—and brain space!
At last, Accountants are perfectly placed to perform the business advisory role that they have trained and studied for. Sure, Accountants have always been seen as a ‘trusted adviser’ to their clients, but now modern Accountants are evolving to also become a facilitator to help their business clients to grow their businesses.
Progressive Accountants are applying their personal skills and tapping into their networks to assist small business owners in new and exciting ways.
In today’s business world borders are evaporating. This means small business owners want assistance with technology, marketing, legal, human resources and finances, in addition to tax and compliance.
Your business Accountant should have a network of associates she or he can call upon to help you solve your various business problems.
The next time you speak to your Accountant, ask if they can assist in these other areas of your business. If they can’t, then get in touch with us…
…and pose that very same question.