Are you comparing apples when gathering information or are you getting distracted by a banana or pineapple when looking to make decisions on #yourjourneyahead ?
We’re all looking for positive news at this time. When it comes to finding a world we would like see more of, New Zealand is all too often elevated to the top of the list as an example of why can’t we be like them.
Undeniably decisions have been made that have helped the NZ story, but their situation is far different to that of say the UK. With a population around the same size as that found in the Birmingham Metro area, a land mass twice that of England and it’s location in the South Pacific far different to the travel crossroads/hub of somewhere like the UK, one might suggest that there journey has been an easier one to take than ours.
Key for individuals and leaders alike, is to look to reduce the noise around us. We need to focus on what we can control and influence and then own the decisions we make as we look to remain relevant to those we lead, influence or serve.
The ever changing demand on the delivery of relevant accounting services
Leadership within the accounting profession are continually being told that they have to change to remain relevant, and that the days of those firms that focus on providing traditional services are over.
The reality is that there is a lot of misunderstanding about this transition of offering which most commentators and consultants see as a small step for mankind, but for the majority of the firms the experience is more of a giant leap for the profession.
The accounting profession has seen much change in 2020, the majority of which was enforced rather than strategic, but the general opinion is that as a profession it has done better than most.
As 2020 comes to end, firms are reviewing what they will look like in 2021 and beyond on many levels, not least how they will work (i.e. in the office, at home or a hybrid model) but also how they can best support their clients.
‘Now is the time to be innovative and creative in the way accounting firms look to deliver true value’
Now is the time to be innovative and creative in the way accounting firms look to deliver true value to both their teams and clients alike, as both are questioning the true value and relationship they receive.
My fear for the profession is that it is going to lurch from what is a fairly bland and undifferentiated position of the provider of compliance services to a maybe less bland but similarly undifferentiated world of provider of advisory services.
From the results of two recent independent surveys on potential advisory offerings and needs, it is interesting to see that there does not seem to be total alignment in terms of what the profession believes are the top priorities of the market and what the pains and/or needs of market (i.e. what CFO’s who are reaching out to the profession for support) actually are.
For many, these are challenging times but there are real opportunities out there for those that have a true close relationship with their clients and are really listening to, understanding and then delivering relevant support offerings.
Leadership within the accounting profession need to take ownership of #yourjourneyahead, and the primary focus needs to be a shift from being seen as historians and the keeper/purveyor of past data and transitioning to being seen as futurists.
This transition does not mean throwing away what has got them to where they are today, rather the need to be open to listen and learn from others on what their relevance might be tomorrow.
‘leadership within accounting firms need to stop thinking like accountants when building their firm’s strategy’
When planning #yourjourneyahead, leadership within accounting firms need to stop thinking like accountants when building their firm’s strategy to be more market relevant. When you consider how other sectors build strategy, they reach out to their accountants and other external advisors to gain insight, support and guidance – so why do the majority of accounting firms not follow this example?
As already mentioned, 2021 and beyond offer real opportunities for those with the right mindset. Accounting firm leaders need to take ownership and reach out to others (outside of your firm) to help understand and live their story of #yourjourneyahead in delivering greater client relevance and value.
Being a leader can be one of the most lonely roles there is. Identifying and maintaining firm wide relevance in meeting the needs of both clients and the talent within your firm is a far from easy juggling act to achieve – made harder if you’re also having to maintain your own book of client business.
Your Fractional Partner will be your ‘off the radar’ independent confidant and success partner to share your journey ahead with and support you by:
being a fresh and agnostic sounding board
sharing thought leadership & best practices from around the world
identifying new opportunities
designing and implementing specific actions that drive success
opening the minds of those around you to alternative ways of work
connecting you with the best/most aligned people & resources in the market
Your Fractional Partner is not about pigeonholing your needs or selling you a particular business model, process or solution. It’s all about your story, your journey ahead and how Your Fractional Partner can support your specific needs and exceed your aspired growth and success goals.
Considering a clearly defined strategy as a starting point, many accounting and law firms are quick to promote and talk about their purpose, values and vision (story) but rarely truly live to these ideals. All to often leadership teams look to these critical foundations to success as a DIY/tick box exercise.
By failing to get the purpose, vision and story right, they fail (among other things) to ignite and sustain passion within their people and in turn do not have empowered teams. Accounting and law firms tend to focus too much on technology and process because these are within the comfort zone of the technical mindset/competencies of most firm leaders.
Get it right on purpose, values and having a relevant story, your firm will be agile (by creating firm wide engagement and trust towards change) and this will also lead to increasing your reputation and visibility within your market(s) as a firm of choice.
The last 6 months have been transformational for us all, what with #Covid19 and more recently #BlackLivesMatter. Both have hugely negative sides and more unknowns than knowns, which society is still very much in the early tentative steps of understanding and dealing with. The big question must be where were the leaders, whether within government, business, or within the community/society before the outbreak in China and events in the US?
In a world which seems to be made more of followers than true leaders, how will the journey ahead look?
Governments seem to be stuck in a ‘sound bite political arena’ as they seek short-term relevance and electability within their term(s).
All too many within business and society are quick to react to the here and now. We all need to take a step back and ask whether more could/should have been done before they/we were forced to react. Hindsight is always a marvelous thing, but as we consider what the world used to look like we realise that the signs were there. True leaders were making their mark in those days.
Challenging times for all, but there is a real opportunity to make things better within the workplace and wider society, so it’s time to take ownership of #yourjourneyahead
Does your business really get what the new way of work will be? I recently saw the following guidance regarding potential interview questions that could be used at this time:
1. What have you learned about yourself during the pandemic? 2. Can you do the job while working from home? 3. Are you willing to eventually work from an office? 4. How have you been spending your time?
If I was the interviewee and was asked these 4 questions, when (hopefully) asked whether I had any questions by the interviewers I would simply say ‘why do you think I should want to work for a business like yours that clearly has no idea of the new working world?’
‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning’. Wise words by Winston Churchill and as the business world looks to move forward post the imposed lockdowns around the world, Boards and Executive Teams need to influence and lead their businesses to the new way of work. A recent McKinsey & Company article highlighted the need for Boards to coach and advise its management teams and to:
· Take time to recognize how the people who depend on the business feel · Have aspirations about the post Covid-19 world but build the resilience to make them a reality · Strengthen capabilities to engage and work with regulators, governments and other stakeholders · Watch out for non Covid-19 risks and make sure to carve out time to dedicate to the familiar risks of the business that have not gone away
While many challenges remain, opportunities are available for those businesses that have the right culture, strategy and leadership teams and an agility to meet the ever changing needs of the market. Relevance has to be at the core of #yourjouneyahead
‘The old way of retail has been dying for years and Covid-19 pushed it off a cliff. But a more resilient retail industry is shaping up right in front of our eyes. The future of retail is already here, it’s just hiding in plain sight’ Tien Tzuo
The word ‘retail’ could be substituted by most if not all other sectors (e.g. professional services, property, hospitality etc…).
As a business owners/leaders, what are you doing to navigate #yourjourneyahead to give your business and clients 20:20 vision?