The new business model for the modern accountant

strategy Jan 16, 2017

Powerful new business model for the modern accountant

As Cloud accounting continues to reduce the time spent on bookkeeping and year-end, I’m sure you’ve already realised that as modern accounting professionals we need to find new ways of adding value to what we do.

One great way is to run an online mentoring group. Basically, once a month you get a group of around ten of your best current or prospective clients together online for 60 to 90 minutes, and teach them how to improve their businesses.

If you prefer to watch rather than read you can watch the video here.

Increase leverage – and revenue

Although the benefits are multiple, perhaps the biggest is leverage. As accountants and bookkeepers, historically we’ve worked with clients on a one-to-one basis, which is limited by how much time we have. But online mentoring groups allow us to work with lots of people at once, generating much greater revenue in the process.

Imagine, for example, that you charge ten clients $200 for 90 minutes a month. That's $2000 for 90 minutes of work – which I suspect is a lot higher than your current rate. So the main benefit is it's hugely profitable. (Especially as you should be able to build significantly more than one group – I certainly have!)

Free market research

It’s also a great way to collect stories, which is one of the most powerful marketing tools going. Once you share stories of how you've helped clients improve their results, then other people will want to work with you too. So, as members of your group start to tell you about the difference you’re making to their business, keep a record of what they say to use in your marketing.

And it doesn’t end there! Clients talking about what they’d like help with is also great market research. So if, for example, a business owner mentions they’re struggling with cash flow management, you can create a formal package solution to meet this because you already know the demand’s there.

Similarly, the group offers a great opportunity for cross-selling. Imagine one of your clients says, “I'm finding it difficult to manage cash.” First you might suggest they have a regular cash flow forecast and then, when they ask what this is, you can explain it to them. At that point, as long as you’ve been clear on the benefits, he or she should decide they need one. And other people in the group will, too.
Share your passion …

The most common question I get asked at this point is: “But what can I talk about?” And my answer’s always the same: “Talk about subjects that you’re passionate about.” Things that you’ve done in your own business are a great place to start – after all, if you're a business owner, you’ve already got huge amounts of knowledge and experience to share.

Some accounting professionals I've taught are now running sessions built around key numbers. Every month, they focus on a different KPI and how to measure it. Others teach the best way to grow a business, or how to improve pricing.

And have some fun!

But, most importantly, don’t forget the final benefit: It's fun! I've been doing it for years now and I love it. It’s the best way I know to make a big difference to lots of people’s lives at the same time.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts on – or experiences of – running or taking part in a mentoring group, so please do add them in the comments box below.

Every month I provide free online training helping accounting professionals get results from value pricing. If you want to get access to that free training click here to register your place on the list of people I invite.

Wishing you every success on your pricing journey.

Mark Wickersham
Chartered Accountant, public speaker and #1 best-selling author of
Effective Pricing for Accountants


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