Why not increase compliance fees, reduce the time it takes to do compliance work and free up the time of your firm’s best people?

To me it sounds like a good recipe for increased profits, increased client care and increased capital value too.

What’s not to like?

Well it requires doing different things.

It requires change.

To help you get your team supporting (and even encouraging) the changes needed around MTD and cloud accounting, here are two lessons learned from working with accounting firms from around the UK and a few further afield.

1) Change insight one: Because change involves accountants and support team members changing what they do and how they do it, it can cause discombobulation with your people.

Plus, because installing new behavioural habits requires new thinking and new doing, it therefore results in mistakes. People don’t like mistakes. Change can be a bumpy ride for everyone. Change is often resisted.

And yet, someone smart once said something like:

“People don’t dislike change, they just dislike being changed”

What this says to me is:

  • When someone wants to learn to drive, they’ll suffer challenging driving lessons, a failed test and still keep going
  • When someone wants to move house or get a new job, they’ll do whatever it takes to make these things happen
  • When someone wants to get married or have children, they’ll go through the new thinking, new learning and the odd mistake too

It follows that when people want to change what they do at work, in your accountancy firm, they will buy into your change plans.

When they don’t want to change they will resist, undermine and even scupper your change plans.

So, help your people understand the reasons for change. Share with them what’s wrong with staying the same. And what happens when they welcome and adopt the changes.

But don’t just tell them...

2) Change insight two goes like this:

“Tell me and I’ll forget”

“Show me and I’ll remember”

“Involve me and I’ll understand”

A salutary lesson in the early days of working with accountants still stands strong in 2019. I’d invested lots of time telling a group of accountants how to start and finish a client meeting. On my next return visit they’d done nothing to improve their client meeting process and so the clients experience of the firm had stayed static. The firm’s results continued to flatline.

When we then actively discussed, with some conflict and debate, why it pays to finish a meeting strong, and then got them to choose the right words and the right processes to suit them and their firm, guess what? They were fully involved and understood better why it was worthwhile and how to do it. Some of them started using the new process for finishing a client meeting strong and they saw an uplift in client satisfaction and the cross sales of additional services too (in a year, cross sales added 10% in additional fees with no extra costs across the firm).

3) Change insight three: Adopting technology (cloud accounting, mobile computing, machine learning) and making the most of the opportunity that MTD presents to your firm and your clients requires more than ‘telling’.

In short – encourage debate, conflict, questions around the change you want.

Then get your people involved in constructing what you do and how you do it, you’ll then build ownership as well as the will and skill to overcome the hurdles and discombobulation change almost always creates.

Action 1: One way to facilitate a discussion on change is by getting as many of your team as you can  attending events like QBConnect in London on February 25th and 26th and Accountex in May.

Action 2: To help build your change management skills now check out this Business Breakthrough report – you’ll read it in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea or coffee. It has some great stories about how to make change happen in the most challenging of settings – look out for the story about Jerry Sternin who changed deep-set beliefs and behaviours to stop child malnutrition in Vietnam (despite Government opposition and almost no funding).   ​​

​Click here to download the report now.

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