“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender…” – Winston Churchill

Accountants Are Facing A Silent War!

After years of study and professional training, an accountant should be respected like a doctor and paid like a highly qualified professional.

This is seldom the case.

As an advocate for accountants I have studied the reasons why this is so.

• Why are you treated like a commodity at times?
• Why do you feel you have to justify your fees?
• Why do clients want to pick your service apart to reduce your fees and therefore reduce the your ability to help them?
• Why do you work so hard and get so little credit?
• Why do your clients often trust their bookkeepers advice more than they trust yours?

Something here has gone terribly awry.
There are two silent wars accountants are facing.

War #1
The war against ignorance.
This battlefield is in the minds of our clients.
We can look at this war in two ways.

1. Blame the client
2. Blame ourselves

Once accountants accept responsibility for the education process you take power back. Your weapon is education. You may not be able to educate the world but you can make sure that every person who meets with you is educated about the accountant and his or her role in their business.

 

War #2
A post on LinkedIn recently asked…
“Would you recommend my kids take up a career in accountant?”

I was shocked at the responses.

There were two sides. Those who had given up on accounting as a means for earning a decent income and would not recommend accounting as a career.
And secondly those who felt accounting was about doing something you loved and that was more important than money. The only thing that they both agreed on was that the choice was either money OR accountant.

I was staggered. These Brits had given up. Both sides had lost the war. They were prepared to raise the white flag without a fight.
The Brits are the people who said…

“WE SHALL GO ON TO THE END. WE SHALL FIGHT IN FRANCE, WE SHALL FIGHT ON THE SEAS AND OCEANS, WE SHALL FIGHT WITH GROWING CONFIDENCE AND GROWING STRENGTH IN THE AIR, WE SHALL DEFEND OUR ISLAND, WHATEVER THE COST MAY BE.
WE SHALL FIGHT ON THE BEACHES, WE SHALL FIGHT ON THE LANDING GROUNDS, WE SHALL FIGHT IN THE FIELDS AND IN THE STREETS, WE SHALL FIGHT IN THE HILLS; WE SHALL NEVER SURRENDER…”

Tony Robbins taught me a valuable lesson. He said if you want a better result then ask yourself a better question.

Maybe a better question is:

HOW CAN I DO WHAT I LOVE AND BE VERY WELL PAID FOR DOING IT?

That forces your mind to search for new answers. That is the question that finds new ways to overcome the enemy.

This right attitude within accountants is weapon #1.

On A Mission
When I first started working with accountants I thought you lot were a well-paid bunch of smart people. Well, I was half right… you are smart.

But you are not great marketers and therefore underpaid, which is ironic because you are pretty good communicators.

Maybe you get lost in the detail. Maybe you are too smart and don’t realise how ignorant your clients really are about how you can help them. Maybe you don’t want to appear too simple-minded by stating the obvious.

You assume your clients understand the value in what you are doing. We (the general public) do not. All the stats prove that. You need to teach us about the value in a way so simple that we can marvel at your innovation and pragmatism.

I think accountants get a raw deal. But this isn’t your fault. You’ve been sold a lie. You’ve been told that people recognise the value of good advice.

Business schools have sent you into the workforce unprepared to run a business of your own.
Your professional organisations are more concerned with their own interests than your struggles – you, who fight on the front lines.
Business coaches set up shop and push accountants out of the picture (and make a killing doing it).
Software suppliers have turned accounting into a commodity where most people think if they have XERO or MYOB they don’t need an accountant.

What happened to “I need to run that by my accountant’?

No, my friends. It is a sad day.

Accountants have been marginalised. The noose is set and the trap has been sprung.

The good news? It isn’t too late. Some accountants are fighting back.

You must help yourself too.

• You need to stop doing work for free
• You need to stop cutting your fees to win clients not worth winning.
• You need to value yourself first so others can follow.

Lawyers and doctors do not do this and neither should accountants. We need to raise the bar for the accounting community.

The Battle Plan

The great American orator Patrick Henry said it well:
“United we stand, Divided we fall”

My colleagues and I are taking a stand. But we can’t do it alone.

Here is our plan of attack:

Step number 1 is to believe in the value you bring to your clients. This battle is won in your own heart and your own mind. Are you willing to stand up for what you are worth?

Step number 2 is to communicate that value to your clients in a way that they can understand.
It’s that simple, really. But it needs to start with ALL of us.
Accountants deserve better – you are both the problem and the solution.
We are taking a strong stance and we’re not backing down.
You can love me or hate me but I believe in accountants.

I believe if you are prepared to fight you can do what you love AND be paid like the professional you are.

But I can’t win this battle alone.

Will you join us?

You owe it to yourself by creating a career that is fun and profitable. You owe it to the world by strengthening the general business community. And you owe it to your children and future generations to live up to your full potential.
In the words of Winston Churchill,

“Never give in. Never give in.”

Richard Petrie – War Tactician and Accountants Advocate