The good news is that not only can accountants and bookkeepers make a profound difference in the lives of their clients and in the world but that they DO make a profound difference. And the great news is that when you make that kind of difference, you are able to win high-quality new clients, charge much higher fees and enjoy much higher profits.
As we saw in the original series of 4 articles (you can start with part 1 here), the evidence is crystal clear: we really can make a profound difference.
So, in this bonus extra article, we will drill down in more detail into the five keys to enjoying all of those benefits.
Key 1 – Tell the right story to yourself
I have lost track of the number of times I have heard people apologising for being accountants. There is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, we should be extraordinarily proud of the contribution we make to our clients, their businesses, their families, the economy and society.
So let's stop apologising. And let's start believing in ourselves.
Key 2 – Tell the right story to your team
Every single person in your team needs to believe too. So you also need to tell the right story to them.
The story of the difference you are already making - and how you want the business to focus on providing high-impact services that make more of a difference by, for example, improving profits, cash flow, business value, personal wealth, or environmental impact.
The story of why you want to deliver those high-impact services: because it is the right thing to do, will make life better for you and others, and will make the world a better place.
And the story of how you are investing in the necessary tools, software, training, knowledge, skills and support needed to communicate and deliver those high-impact services.
Crucially, of course, those stories need to be 100% true.
You must really want to make a difference. And you really must be committed to doing what it takes to make it a reality.
Key 3 – Collect more of the right stories
To make all of this credible, you need to back it up with evidence - evidence of the difference you have made to your clients’ businesses, results and lives.
Use ‘in their own words’ accounts of the impact you have had and how it made them feel.
Bring it to life with numbers and images where possible.
And combined together in compelling written and/or video case studies.
So you need to start systematically measuring your impact, systematically asking clients to articulate what it means for them, and systematically getting permission to share these stories (even if only anonymously).
Key 4 – Tell your story to the world
Once you have done all of the above, you will be able to unleash the most powerful marketing content known to man: true and credible case-study stories about the difference you are making.
Put those case-study stories on your website. Blog about them. Share them on social media. Include them in your sales literature and proposals. Mention them at networking events. Showcase them on your meeting room walls. And fold them into your speeches.
Put them at the centre of your brand and your branding.
And use them to grow your reputation, your client base and your team.
Key 5 – Use your story to drive higher prices
Once you are making this kind of difference, you will be able to charge higher prices that properly reflect the value you are providing.
But higher prices will not happen by accident. You will have to drive them.
And this brings us full circle to Key 1 above. Believe in yourself. And let that self-belief give you the courage to have bolder pricing conversations.
When you do those 5 things, yours really will be an extraordinary story of success.
This is a bonus fifth article in an updated abridged serialisation of Steve Pipe’s ground-breaking book ‘The world’s most inspiring accountants’