I’m sat in my local early-morning café – the staff are busy being busy.

It’s not uncommon for Accountants to be accused of the same!

Unlike Whitbread, who have done very well out of coffee – they just sold Costa Coffee for £3.9 billion to Coca Cola. In 1995 Whitbread bought Costa for just £19 million from the founders – a value gain of £168 million a year for every one of the 23 years Whitbread owned Costa. Pretty tidy.

Two questions for you:

  • At its core, what’s the purpose of every café?
  • And what’s the purpose of your accounting firm?

For the café it’s about serving food and drinks to customers in a way that tempts them back again and again. Something Costa have done brilliantly.

On the other hand, my local café has just spent the last 35 minutes ordering stock, cleaning and laying out their counter and chatting with colleagues, without any hint they are interested in my need for a cup of green tea! They’re all being very busy but missing the point and purpose of their business, are they not? Serve your customer – FIRST.

So, what’s the purpose of an accounting firm? Or rather, what’s the purpose of your accounting firm?

Let’s run with “serve your customer first”.

How do your team think this is done best by your accountancy firm?

Wouldn’t it be worth posing this question to them?

I would suggest this is a great team exercise for all your people (not just your accountants) to see what they think. And post August holidays is a great time to do this in preparation for the Autumn busy-ness you’re about to experience.

To make this exercise a little more fun why not ask your team “What do we have to do to disappoint, upset or truly hack-off our clients?”

Look at the polar opposite of these answers and you and your team will have clearly described how you excel, impress and encourage clients to use you again, recommend you more and probably buy more from you too.

Reminding your team about the importance of ‘serving your clients’ just before Autumn gets really busy, and before the frantic time of December and January, makes a lot of sense. This should help you maintain the loyalty of your existing clients and help you win others too through recommendations.

Whitbread worked this out it seems.

You can too.

Anyway, I’m off to Costa now!!!

Wishing you a successful Autumn.


PS For more on the costa deal go here...