A few years ago I published research suggesting that, apart from the medical profession, there is probably no other group making a bigger difference to the lives of so many people as accountants and bookkeepers. Certainly not to their businesses.
And Covid-19 has made that finding even more self-evidently true.
So now is a good time to remind ourselves of why we are so inspirational. To stand tall and proud as a profession. And to keep on using our skills with numbers to change lives.
Although the original research was published under the title The World’s Most Inspiring Accountants, what it found applies to us all. Accountants and bookkeepers of all types and sizes, in all parts of the world, can and do make a profound difference.
Profound economic impact
Although the 62 client case studies in the book barely scratched the surface, they nevertheless ALL showed economic success:
- 19 businesses saved from extinction
- 4 new businesses launched – one of which grew to over $5 million in 24 months
- 562 jobs created or saved
- Sales increases of 33%, 169% and, in one case, $2.8 million
- Profit increases of 142%, 273% and, in at least one case, over $1 million
- Turn of losses as big as $150,000 into profits as high as $900,000
- Transformed cashflow – in one case turning $450,000 of borrowing into $950,000 positive cash balances
- Better customers acquired and better prices charged
- Investment capacity Increased - one business invested $300,000 in new equipment to improve productivity
- Ability to raise cash - on company raised $2.2 million to fund a management buyout and future expansion
- A client lifted from “special measures” and back into mainstream banking, and
- Employees given a pay-rise for the first time in five years
Profound personal impact
The case study clients also benefited profoundly at a personal level. For example, their accountants helped them by:
- Improving work-life balance – in one case an entrepreneur’s workload was slashed from 80 to just 10 hours a week
- Helping several clients own their dream homes – including one overlooking the sea on a beautiful Greek island
- Preventing several other clients from losing their homes
- Restoring family harmony – and preventing business disagreements tearing a family apart
- Helping an exiting entrepreneur to pass on his business in a way that secured his own financial future, and created exciting new opportunities for the management team
- Restoring the self-esteem of a son who thought he was going to lose the business his father had worked so hard to build
- Obtaining an extra $375,000 insurance payout for an Alzheimer’s sufferer
- Making it possible for a young business owner and his wife to adopt a child
- Generating the funds to pay for expensive medical treatment
- Preventing financial blackmail ruining a client’s business and life
- Dealing with a client’s end of life financial issues, so that he and his wife could make the most of their last few precious days together
- Keeping a business going while its founder coped with life-threatening cancer
- Transforming the lives and prospects of junior team members, by helping them to “step up” in their careers
- Turning their clients’ business and personal dreams into reality
- Giving them a new sense of purpose and worth
- And in several cases, also turning them into millionaires
Profound social impact
The 62 case study firms were also responsible for:
- $1.375 million of cash raised for worthy causes
- 225,000 hours of help provided on a pro bono basis
- At least two charities founded by firms of accountants – one of which has already saved 550 young girls in Cambodia from sex trafficking
- $420,000 of grant funding raised to prevent a much needed community facility closing, and
- The lives of 9,653,329 people in need being made a little bit better by accountants using b1g1.com to connect with, and “micro-give” to, causes that resonate with them
And it’s all so easy
Re-reading all of that brings the hairs up on the back of my neck, and makes me even more proud than ever to be part of this great profession.
It also makes me really proud to tell you that the rest of this serialization will show you exactly how your firm can have the same kind of impact. And reveal how you can use the research findings to transform the reputation, client base and results of your firm.
*This is the first article in an updated abridged serialization of Steve Pipe’s ground-breaking book "The World’s Most Inspiring Accountants."