Business Advisory

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    How will you know if you are utilizing technology well enough?

How will you know if you are utilizing technology well enough?

There has been an explosive invasion of technology into every area of professional engagement in our times. But that does not mean that a small business owner or the key decision maker of a firm is harnessing the power of technology well enough. So how can you do a quick assessment on how well you are utilizing technology that you already have?
Here is a simple test. Write down the most important questions that you need answers to, on a regular basis. How easily or quickly does your existing technology environment provide you the answers?
For an example here are 3 questions put down by a client of ours – a practice in Australia. The technology environment involved was Xero as well as Xero Practice Manager (Workflowmax)

How do my clients compare between each other with regard to the overall effort my team and I put on their account Vs. the actual time we bill them for?
How much time overruns is my firm experiencing across client accounts when compared  to initial estimates?
Can I look at a consolidated performance summary for each of my staff to see how I can better incentivize them?

Now, the questions can be different for each business and the experience and wisdom of the leaders of the firm will determine the best questions in each case. The important thing for you is to write these questions down and investigate how well they are being answered by the systems you already have in place.
In case you are interested to look at the reports that were generated for the above example, please Click Here.
Of course, our client has journeyed on to fine tune these reports and [...]

The Tyranny of the Mechanics and the Protection of the Core

An important question that you need to ask periodically with intentionality is – What are the core components in your business that require your time and what are the ‘mechanics’ or the ‘rinse and repeat’ type repeatable tasks that can be out tasked.
You need to actually write down these under two lists. This is a strategic exercise that will have multiple benefits. You need to resolve to focus your time on the identified core. Thanks to the advances in digital technology, a good portion of the mechanics can be handled by technology. But many business owners are discovering that having the technology on hand is simply not enough. Appropriate set up of technology with clear alignment to the business model and its workflows  is a vital success factor. Ongoing administration and management of technology is also very important to ensure that it serves your business well.
If you have technology and it’s administration sorted out, you will have the privilege of insightful reports that will help you spot deviations and their causes early and apply correction.  Spending all your time to get set up your technology ecosystem  in this manner is not proper use of your time. You must out task these mechanics to experts. Examining insightful reports and strategizing the growth of your business however, is core. That is where your time needs to be put.
Clear distinction between tasks under these two categories – core vs mechanics, also helps you look at the best options that are becoming available today in the digital, collaborative economy.
Distributed teams constructed on the social glue of trust enabled on digital platforms is revolutionizing the older paradigm of offshore outsourcing. Demonstrated competencies, proven reliability and [...]

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    New Competency Demands for the Accounting Profession – Part 2

New Competency Demands for the Accounting Profession – Part 2

Last week we examined the definition of  Workflow, Automated workflow and the various workflow categories. This week, let us look at how you can get this implemented into your practice.
We have put together an Infographic that gives you five steps for Successful Automated Workflow Implementation. Using these five steps, you will be able to take better control of your practice workflow and realize efficiencies on cost and effort. But, are you worried about finding time to do all this yourself?
Remember, it is best to engage experts to implement such things as your automated workflow journey while you focus on what you do best. Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that! As certified workflow advisors, we can sure help you. 

What’s the big deal about Business Advisory anyway?

Are you one of those practice owners who are struggling to take off with your business advisory offering?
While bookkeeping and compliance work has been your bread and butter since, well, forever… Cloud accounting and software upgrades have reduced the errors in data considerably. Features such as automatic coding and bank feeds are making errors close to extinct – which of course is a good thing. Also practice owners are able to have a view of their client data at real time and they are able to make changes to it on the fly compared to having to wait to see their clients and because of that there are potentially fewer billable hours throughout the year. It’s not good just dipping your legs in the water, because becoming  a business advisory practice takes commitment and you need to take the plunge.
18% of the Practice owners said that they have a Lack of Commitment. Are you also just dipping your legs in the water? Find out by responding to the checklist and see where you stand with your Business Advisory Strategy. One of the Main Reasons you should consider succeeding with Business advisory services is less billable hours.

Three Success Keys to start implementing Business Advisory:
1. Finding out and solve Workflow Issues: Make sure service delivery is smooth and on time.
2. Overcoming the Capacity problem: Practice Owners simply do not have the time and resources. Nearly 13% of practice owners said that the lack of capacity is the main reason for not succeeding.
3. Commitment: Committing to the plan you created and sticking to it to make it all happen.
Also if you would like to discuss some of your headaches and [...]

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    Practice Transformation From 20th Century Accounting to 21st Century Advisory

Practice Transformation From 20th Century Accounting to 21st Century Advisory

As technology continues to disrupt the accounting industry, in order to stay ahead of the game, you need value added offerings to the client over and above the regular compliance work. Compliance jobs are becoming more and more commoditized and automated. Xero Tax and Xero Workpapers are the best examples for near automated workflows which considerably reduces the time and effort involved. So boosting value to your clients in the form of consulting and advisory services cannot be ignored any more. You need to  move your status from a number cruncher to a trusted advisor, while also increasing the revenue in the practice. Let’s look at what is happening around.

A look at the numbers and why advisory services is a must:
Now you might think that it’s easier said than done. Here are some revealing numbers that will  shed some light on the state of business advisory services in the accounting industry as well as the health of the practice in the country. A 2015 survey held by Business fitness, titled the ‘The Good, the Bad & the Ugly’ of the Australian Accounting Profession revealed the following information:
“As a whole, business advisory services fell to 12.1% of revenue. The two revenue groups reversing this trend were at either ends of the spectrum: the small Practices earning fees of less than $500k and the larger Practices generating $10m+ in revenue. Survey after survey reveals that SMEs want these advisory services from their accountants but the real question stemming from the 2015 Good Bad Ugly is “Do they want to pay for them?”. The other relevant question is “Do accountants have the expertise and skills to be able to provide these services?”.
It also revealed [...]

3 Steps to Kick off your Business Advisory Services

Are you one of those Practice Owners who is struggling to take off with your business advisory offering?
One of the main reasons you should consider succeeding with Business advisory services is the ‘digital disruption’ of your industry. The game has changed and we know that both continuity as well as growth depends on the relevance of the service offering. Bookkeeping and compliance work has been your bread and butter since, well, forever…
But cloud accounting and software upgrades have commoditized it considerably. Automation of coding and bank feeds are minimizing data entry and saving time – which of course is a good thing! Also practice owners are able to have a view of their client data real time and they are able to make changes to it on the fly compared to having to wait to see their clients. It’s not enough just dipping your legs in the water, because becoming a business advisory practice takes commitment and you need to take the plunge. 18 % of the Practice owners surveyed are not able to move ahead with Business Advisory because of a Lack of Commitment. Are you also only dipping your legs in the water? Find out by responding to the checklist here.

Three steps to start implementing Business Advisory Services:
1. Getting professional help to optimize your Workflow: You need a robust job and task management system as well as a well designed staff allocation system to be in firm control as well as free yourself up for more time on the client’s business.

2. Overcoming the Capacity problem: Nearly 13% of practice owners said that the lack of capacity is the main reason for not succeeding. If you get your workflow management [...]

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    Influencing Behaviors in the Finance and Accounting Practice

Influencing Behaviors in the Finance and Accounting Practice

Today, it is well known that Business Objectives are best achieved if you have a method or system to influence the behavior of  talent in your organization. I was interested in applying this science to the Finance and Accounts department. The first task was therefore to list down all the relevant behaviors of  talent in this domain. Here is how I eventually structured it:

1. Behaviors in the functionality or domain area:
I was able to list down around 19 behaviors under this section.These behaviors demonstrate proficiency in accounting and bookkeeping across three levels:
Level 1: Transaction processing – Behaviors connected with entering data into various applications in conformance with the various transactional processes.
Level 2: Accounting and Financial management enabling business decision making.
Level 3: Expert  level behaviors mostly focused on planning and analysis, tax advisory, business ratios and financial productivity.

2. Behaviors that demonstrate familiarity with technology, tools and methods:
  After reviewing our experience of serving clients in the US and Australia on different technology platforms, I identified 12 behaviors that could be instrumental in driving greater performance towards organizational objectives.

3. Behaviors that demonstrate leadership ability:
Here I referred a Global Leadership Inventory that was developed as part of a research project (sponsored by Accenture) involving 200 specially selected high-potential leaders from 120 companies around the world.  72 leadership behaviors were listed under this from which I picked up 31.
So I have in total 62 behaviors that I will be working on in the coming months for influencing the performance of Finance and Accounting services we offer.  I do expect that this list will get revised and improved over time and am very receptive to advice from those that have already walked [...]