Thursday, 11 October 2018
Monday, 24 September 2018
The Bulletproof Engagement Letter
I have seen some terrible Engagement Letters prepared by accountants, and to my horror, I've even seen many accounting firms not using Engagement Letters at all! So let’s clear this up straight away:
“If you are providing professional accounting services to the public, you MUST communicate to your client the terms of the engagement. It is an ethical and professional requirement. You will lose your membership and practising certificate if you breach this requirement.”
So here’s the boring legal stuff: If you are in public practice (sole practitioners included) and you don’t believe you need to prepare a document to communicate to your client the terms of engagement, then I refer you to APS305 – Terms of Engagement. This document clearly states that if you are providing professional accounting services to the public, then it is mandatory that you follow APS305, in that you must provide some form of written document outlining your Terms of Engagement to your clients. I am still surprised today the number of accounting firms, especially sole practitioners, and even multi-partner firms, who do not think they need to prepare some form of written communication, AND get their clients’ to sign off on it before they start any work.
BUT here’s the problem – You can’t be bothered because it is a legal, boring and onerous task that you would rather not do. Maybe it’s up there with things you want to avoid like going to confession or visiting the dentist.
So let me make it easy for you.
So here’s the good “What’s in it for me?” stuff: In my 20 years in public practice, my “Bulletproof” Engagement Letter has made me money and saved me money. A lot of money! You need to switch your mindset and think that by having a solid, well worded, plain English, often reviewed and regularly revised Engagement Letter as a critical tool in your arsenal, you are protecting your hard earned accounting fees and your business.
The Engagement Letter, in my opinion has only two purposes and they are very selfish purposes that all accountants must embrace:
1. To make you Money
2. To save you Money
You’re in business aren’t you? So the above 2 points are vital aren’t they? Good, if they aren’t then you shouldn’t be in business.
So, if you want to know more, then get my FREE TIP SHEET that will give you the specific wording and paragraphs to use so you too can create a Bulletproof Engagement Letter.
Tuesday, 28 August 2018
Welcome aboard Fusion Financial Group! Tim and Paul have a great firm and a great team of people. They are (and I am too) really excited about the future and the huge organic growth we are going to create in the next 2-3 years without a single $ spent on marketing. That's what you want and that's what I teach.
I've just finished running my 1-Day Intensive Workshop "How to Build a Value-Based Accounting Firm" with this great accounting firm in Ipswich. One outcome (of many) was their first project that will create at least $150,000 worth of new accounting fees straight away with ZERO spent on marketing etc. This is the picture of the whiteboard from the afternoon session of my workshop and there, slap bang in the middle is the "conservative" amount that I wrote that is just what this one project will generate in fees for them. We have a good 2-3 years worth of organic growth to delve into and this is just the beginning.
Imagine what I could do for your accounting firm? The investment is minimal. The long term organic growth is huge. I love doing this stuff for accountants.
Sunday, 26 August 2018
“Just wanted to thank you for the intensive day yesterday. There are not many workshops you attend of which the very next day you can roll out changes that have an immediate impact on your cash flow! When you light up the eyes of a 28 year CPA and 25 year CA to do things differently speaks enough for itself. I am looking for to the 90 day plan and the start of the new service proposition being delivered to all clients.”
Scott Bradford – FCO Accountants and QSA Wealth & Wellbeing Management
Sunday, 12 August 2018
I just finished running my 1-Day Intensive Workshop "How to Build a Value-Based Accounting Firm" with a great accounting firm on the Gold Coast. One outcome (of many) was their first project that will create at least $405,000 worth of new accounting fees straight away from existing clients with ZERO spent on marketing etc. This is the picture of the whiteboard from the afternoon session of my workshop and there, slap bang in the middle is the "conservative" amount in red that I wrote that this project will generate in fees for them.
Imagine what I could do for your accounting firm?
It's my favourite session of the day and it's called "Fees from Thin Air." It's amazing when I see the eyes light-up of the partners in the room when I show them how literally they can create fees from thin air.
- You have write-offs of 10% to 20%, or even more and having at least 20% write-ups on every job appeals to you.
- You feel that your Work-In-Progress and debtors is too high and you spend a fair chunk of your day (or someone on your staff does) on the phone either arguing with clients justifying your fees, writing off WIP, carrying it forward hoping to recover it in the future or chasing clients to pay you.
- Having thousands of dollars in new fees with minimal work to generate them is something that you want.
- Some of your clients are telling you that you are too expensive and some even say that they can get their work done cheaper somewhere else and therefore they pressure you to reduce your fees.
- Some clients don’t see the value in what they pay to you and you hear the statement: “My fees should be reducing every year. Surely your staff know my work by now and should be doing it faster each year?”
- You currently waste time and money trying to get new clients, spending thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns that deliver poor results, social media posts that no-one reads or finds interesting, search-engine optimisation that makes the SEO company money not you.
- Cash flow at times is a struggle for your firm and being paid 100% upfront by all your clients would make your life so much better.
- Clients don’t value what you do and you have to constantly battle with them to prove your worth.
- You truly love the business you’re creating and are passionate about seeing it succeed–in other words, you’re in this for the long haul. BUT you want someone to lend you a helping hand who has been there and has done this and who can show you an easier way to grow your firm.
Sunday, 29 July 2018
Friday, 20 July 2018
"We specialize in a range of services designed to assist our clients to meet their taxation and compliance obligations, whilst assisting them to achieve their business and personal goals. We have highly skilled and experienced staff who are committed to helping our valued clients grow their wealth whilst providing a holistic tax and accounting experience."
For God's sake will accountants STOP putting such boring, trite dribble on their websites and on their marketing brochures. IT IS PUTTING POTENTIAL CLIENT'S TO SLEEP! And it also sounds like every other dribble I see on nearly every accountants website. They ALL look the same.
As you guessed from my tone, it makes me mad when I see so many examples like the one I just pulled off an accountants website this morning. It hardly gets me excited when I read it and it makes me want to tear my hair out.
If you want to build a Value-Based Accounting Firm then please, please stop writing such dribble like this. Write this instead:
"We just saved our client Chris $113,000 in tax that his other accountant couldn't. Now he's taking his family to Disneyland for the holidays.
Imagine what we could do for you..."
Now here's a few tips for you:
- Make sure you do have a real life example testimonial from a client. A good-news story. Change the names if you have to but get their permission to use it.
- Make sure you quantify it. Don't just have Chris your client saying how good your firm is. As if no accounting firm already says this on their website? Good at what? What did you actually do that improved Chris's life? Be specific, invoke an emotional response.
- Put it front and center on your website. Big and bold and make it the first thing a potential client sees. Don't bury it halfway down the page or behind another tab.
- Make it the basis of all your marketing, front and center. People will remember it like, "Yeah, I've heard of those accountants. They helped one of their clients take the family to Disneyland." I don't know about you but I'd like to be known as the accountant who did that rather than "Yeah, we do tax returns, GST, accounting, blah, blah, blah."
- Believe or not, people don't care that you have the best, most highly skilled staff. It's a given. Even if you don't, are you really going to say you don't? People want to know what tangible results you have achieved and what you can do for them. I have run rings around "the best, most highly-skilled staff" who couldn't see a better outcome for the client if they fell over it.
- Everyone has a range of services, the best staff, dedication, works hard, values their clients (well maybe not everyone) does tax and accounting work, helps their clients. So say something else otherwise you will look like everyone else.
- Stop using words like "compliance" and "obligation". It all sound very "big stick" and unemotional like you work for the Taxation Office. I want to feel excited and emotionally moved not frightened when I read your message.
So please, please take some of these suggestions on board. If you aren't getting enough website inquiry then maybe look at what you have written on your website and marketing material and wonder why it looks like every other accountant's marketing: the same!
End of my rant.