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Do you want to improve the relationship between your directors...get them all on the same page?

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Do you want to create a successful succession solution?

Do you want to balance work and family hours?

Do you want to attract and retain great colleagues?

Do you want to run a successful strategic planning retreat?

Do you want to create a senior management team?

Do they need financial management training?

Do you need and independent director on your advisory board?

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Blog

May 19

Some insights for Accountants who want to offer Business Advisory Services

Posted by Andrew Geddes at Friday, May 19, 2017

So you want to offer Business Advisory services?

The accounting profession is being bombarded with advice about moving into “high margin” Business Advisory work.

Most of the people telling us this are trying to sell us software or business coaching advisory IP.

To assess this opportunity, let’s firstly ask what our customers need and want?

Individuals need help with minimising tax, creating wealth, and managing risk to their income streams and assets (protecting their families).

So traditional proactive compliance services (accounting and tax) plus financial services (wealth creation and protection via legal structure and insurances) deliver what individuals need/want.

SME’s need help with the above and the following…

                *improving profit and cash flow in their business

                *improving the value and saleability of their business

                *planning and managing their succession

To assist clients in these three things needs specialist knowledge and skills that comes from study and experience.

Not all accountants have this knowledge and experience.

However, specialists can be engaged  and  “project managed”  by accountants who have learned how to do so.

Functional areas like digital marketing and sales, stock control and logistics management, and information and communications technology come to mind.

The FMRC/Geddes approach has always been to formally Needs Review our clients using our one page questionnaire… then design the service offering for this client that will meet their goals and achieve their desired outcomes; scope the job for value delivered and production cost; then price it with the client.

Usually firm partners and senior advisors are involved in delivering these services. Less experienced team members can do some of the preparatory work and then sit in on meetings and learn. Being a “minute secretary” for a Business Advisory project is a great way to be involved.

Experience suggests doing a couple of Needs Review discussions initially then delivering on these projects. Momentum can then be built over time depending on your communication skills and the receptivity of your client base. Having a set of four BA service offerings described in language the SME clients understand helps tailor written proposals following Needs Review discussions. Eg.

Possible Business Advisory Service Offerings…

1. Your External Chief Financial Officer

Managing cash flow and profits is a challenge for most business people. 

We can help you…                                              

                *get your bookkeeping happening efficiently and easily via the cloud

                *support and train your accounting team

                *set cash flow and revenue budgets to monitor with you regularly

                *set actions to improve cash flow and profits

*build relationships with your funders and re-finance with the bank when needed

We become part of your management team and meet with you regularly (monthly or quarterly) to plan actions and monitor implementation.  It can be done for a fixed monthly fee once we have scoped the job and assessed the amount of work needed.

2. Your Strategic Advisory Board

What three things do you need to do better in your business in the next quarter?

We can help you…                                            

                *set your annual strategic business plan with detailed actions to be implemented

                *design financial and action reporting to assess progress regularly (weekly and monthly)

*be accountable to an advisory board (with external independent specialists if needed) 

Setting two or three quarterly improvement imperatives and managing them as projects can really make a difference to your business success.  And having a formal board to assist you ensures implementation and accountability!!!

3. Getting ready to sell your business

Making a business saleable involves improving lots of little things and making you (the owner) dispensable so it runs without you.

We can help you…

                *understand the value of your business now

                *identify actions to improve your business’ value over time

                *identify what to delegate and how to teach others to do it well

                *get a better sale price

                *plan how to invest the proceeds and minimise any taxes

This is a special project and needs to be run well. We will make sure this happens.

4. Planning and managing your business succession

Your retirement can be staged over a long time if necessary. You don’t have to sell your business if you don’t want to. You can involve family members or senior employees if you wish as well.

We can help you…                

*build a senior management team (SMT) so you can start handing over responsibilities in a careful way

*grow new leaders in your business

*delegate successfully

*work towards your retirement in a planned way

*create an employee share participation scheme if you wish

Succession has many options. You can sell to a big corporate, to a competitor, to employees, to family members or simply put in professional managers and retain ownership. We can help you explore each option and select the one that is right for you.

We will work closely with you to help you set your goals and desired project outcomes.

We will scope the work and provide you with a fixed monthly fee where possible.

Then we will work with you to ensure all planned actions are implemented in a timely way.

Some firms have created a vast list of services in technical accounting language and simply listed this on their website. And asked clients to tick a box!!! This has not worked very well !!!!

The four Geddes Business Advisory service offerings are a natural progression from being an experienced compliance advisor.  You can subcontract specialised marketing and sales projects, ICT improvements or stock and logistics system developments. Sticking to your experience set and delivering actions with clients will build credibility and confidence. 

Making your  Business Advisory service offering project a success involves working through a series of steps…

1. Creating the service offering and resourcing the people to deliver (apps, skills, time)

2. Creating the Needs Review process (clients to be visited and conversation structure plan developed from your Needs Review questionnaire before each interview)

3. Website questions for the home page clicking to service descriptions (see above)

4. Website testimonials from clients

5. eNews articles/blogs on projects regularly as they are delivered

Creation of a Senior Management Team (SMT) to plan, implement and deliver the services to clients will often ensure its success.  Senior advisors will have to delegate existing duties to create capacity to be involved in the design and delivery of the new services.  Regular sales meetings reviewing Needs Reviews conducted, service offerings designed to achieve client goals and desired outcomes, proposals delivered and job scoping (timings, value delivered, production cost and prices) will build your team’s experience in this new offering.

It is not as easy as the spruikers make it out to be.

Remember, “Prior preparation and planning prevents p*** poor performance!!!!”.

Good luck.

Andrew Geddes

May 07

Will your business survive disruption?

Posted by Andrew Geddes at Sunday, May 07, 2017

March/April eNews…

“Discover the 3 major Business Disruption solutions that keep SME owners ahead of their competitors!”

We have just returned from running our March SME Leaders’ Forum in Niseko, Japan.

The two topics most discussed were digital disruption and whether we had a Big Exciting Audacious Goal (BEAG) to really inspire our teams.

Obviously a BEAG needs to incorporate the effects of business disruption or it won’t be achieved! The business will be gone before reaching it’s BEAG!

Disruption is very obvious in some sectors (eg…taxis and Uber) but less obvious in other sectors (eg...recruitment).

However, we all agreed the rate of change was escalating in all our sectors and that meant we needed to create a climate inside our companies that encouraged innovation or we might not survive.

Daily stand-up reviews with front line team members on “What delighted customers  yesterday?”  and “What created angst for customers?” fed into weekly Senior Management Team (SMT) operations meetings was regarded as the best way to create a sense of urgency in our companies for innovation.

The critical factor was “What action did the SMT take?” and “How long before things changed for the front line team members?”.

The creation of a faster pulsing business in terms of both communication and actions brings a willingness to try new things as long as management don’t jump on things that don’t work!!!

Research published by global advisory firm PwC suggests Amazon has invested heavily in logistics so it can get product into consumer’s hands in the markets it operates in within a few hours of order placement.

If you try to compete on price or convenience with this offering, you may not last long.

However, if you can differentiate your offering, you may survive.

Take Portugese fashion firm Farfetch which works in nine languages to link 481 traders in 42 countries with buyers across 190 countries. Based in Portugal’s north-west coastal city of Porto, with offices in nine countries, a global staff of close to 1500 and $US800 million in gross sales in 2016, Farfetch is a private company with a market valuation of more than $1 billion.

It is the number one full-price online destination for luxury shopping in terms of traffic, according to several web analysts.

Obviously they set a Big Exciting Audacious Goal to inspire and motivate their team members. 

There is no doubt that digital and technological change is affecting all stakeholders of every business in the world right now.

Ask yourselves the following big questions each quarter in your strategy review sessions…

“How do our customers want to communicate with us and do business with us?”

For example, Oroton announced it would not renew the contract of Australian actor Rose Byrne as the face of the company, preferring “younger influencers” to represent the brand.

Influencers are young media users like Indy Clinton, 19 years old with 97,000 Instagram followers, who charges companies $50 to post on Instagram.

Brands and companies particularly in the fashion and lifestyle sectors are teaming up with sociol media stars across all platforms to spruik their goods, favouring them over sponsorship deals with celebrities.

This is just another example of disruption sweeping across a sector.

Accounting firms and their clients are moving to cloud based accounting so the accountants can have access to business data and apply various analytical apps to provide timely relevant reporting on business activities and so the annual compliance production process is more efficient. They are then adding specialist advisory service offerings like help with computing and website design and social marketing  to complement this more timely reporting approach.

Join us at our free webinar Tuesday May 16th 12 noon AEST to discover the 3 major Business Disruption tools that keep business owners and their Senior Management Teams ahead of their competitors.

Feb 07

How do you create a business that can cope with change?

Posted by Andrew Geddes at Tuesday, February 07, 2017

How do you create a business that can cope with all the current changes going on?

The internet and consumer usage is driving changes in all industry sectors as new ways of meeting customer demand are created and service delivery is evaluated and comments posted daily!!!

Employees want different working conditions and engagement and meaning in their work.

Older business owners want a succession solution.

Competition keeps evolving new ways of delighting customers.

Governments keep changing their rules and red tape.

Nothing is constant…change is the new norm.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done in your business the way you’ve always done it, someone will invent a quicker, easier approach and steal your customers.

So you need to change your internal culture to one focused on innovation.

Have a daily 15 minute stand up huddle with your customer facing team members.

Ask them “What delighted a customer this week? How can we do more of that? What help do you need from me?”.

Ask them “What annoyed a customer this week? Why? How do we avoid that next time? What help do you need from me?”.

Then drive these insights into your weekly Senior Management Team operations meetings and constantly change your processes, services and products. Change your marketing communications?

Both the messages about the outcomes your customers like and the methods of communicating this.

This daily download with front line staff and creation of solutions with your SMT will drive innovation in your business.

Change will become exciting and not feared by your team members.

Then set a Big Exciting Audacious Goal with your SMT like dominating your market and creating the best product and service delivery in your industry sector within 5 years.

Clearly define and articulate your focus and purpose in terms of customer outcomes they want.

Set clearly understood core values that govern acceptable behaviour in your business.

Identify the three things your SMT have to nail this quarter (new digital eNews about customer outcomes they value; new point of sale stock management system; new added value service promise).

The set daily huddles with front line staff, weekly operation improvement meetings with your SMT, and monthly board review of implementation of the three things we must nail this quarter and make sure you drive these habits and communications consistently.

Then you’ll lead your business to new and better ways of pleasing your customers.

Watch our free seminar next Monday at 12 noon Brisbane time “What’s your plan for 2017?”.

Click here to register.

And bring your SMT to our next day workshop in Auckland on February 21st “Leadership for profitable business”.

Click here for a programme and to register.

Fond regards.

Andrew Geddes

6th February, 2017

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