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Different hats in practice management

Putting on the ol' marketing hat...Now, here's a silly little article whose subject is so obvious that I venture to bet that you, just like me, have known and forgotten it many times.

It concerns the different jobs each of us has in life.

I know I'm continuously addressing you as "the Accounting professional..." but despite that, we both know you are many things in addition to being an Accountant.

You are possibly a parent and/or a spouse. You're a representative of your gender as well as your age group. You belong to many groups based on your opinions, views, hobbies and so on. Perhaps you play golf. Possibly you support a certain team in one or more sports.

There are many versions of you, all depending on which role you're being at the time.

And whenever you're being one of those roles, you wear the hat of that existence. As a parent, you do what parents do, think like parents think and look upon the world from the viewpoint of a parent.

When you go to your office, you put on one of your many professional hats. When you do accounts, you're being an Accountant, for instance.

And — obvious as this is — when you're being an Accountant, you think like one and do things that Accountants do and see the world around you just the way an Accounting professional views things coming his or her way.

Whatever you do in life, the task at hand will govern your actions, objectives and thinking. In the specific role you choose at a given moment, performing those tasks particular to that "version of you," you're also waring the corresponding HAT that goes with that role.

Each of these "hats" is basically the viewpoint and experiences of that specific role, containing the skills, goals and tasks of that post or position.

For instance, waring the hat of an Accountant you don't evaluate accounts using the hat of a football afficionado or a golfer. That would obviously lead you astray. Golfers aren't much good at Accounting, right?

But have you noticed how easy it is to HOLD ONTO A HAT when you move onto another post within your organisation?

It's a universal problem, you know. Everyone will confuse his MAIN hat with those other tasks whose successful performance may well require a very DIFFERENT viewpoint (hat).

And that can be very, very costly.

 

Differentiating between your hats is vitally important

As a practising Accounting professional, you're much more than "just" an Accountant. You have MANY HATS — posts, tasks, separate areas of responsibilities — such as...

-the business owner
-the managing director
-the marketing in-charge
-the sales in-charge
-the producer of services already sold to clients
-the client-communications in-charge

... and so on. Of these, the only hat that really allows to BE AN ACCOUNTANT is the "producer of services already sold to clients."

Obviously, that's a massive part of the whole... but without the other parts, there won't be much to do even for the "Accountant."

When holding your "Accounting hat," you must CONFORM to existing rules, regulations, practices and procedures. Obviously, this is a vital part of the task. The mere IDEA of "creative accounting" is a HUGE NO-NO in Accounting.

Now, the problem with having to be a "conformist" in your major role within the practising can easily lead the same conformity to be applied to OTHER HATS as well.

The element of creativity that's forbidden in Accounting procedures is a MUST in most of your OTHER hats, whose performance will greatly influence the amount of accounting work you're to have.

The same applies to taking risks: An Accountant should always avoid risks... and, because he is dealing with set procedures and existing figures, he CAN avoid risk for the most part. Accounting could be called an exact science in that it is based on mathematics which CAN be predicted.

But if you carry this "no-risk policy" with you when taking on the hat of the marketing professional in charge of obtaining new clients for the firm, then you won't EVER get a single thing done effectively!

Marketing is an inexact science and it cannot be forecasted with certainty. There are simply too many variables and we're essentially dealing (and creating) THE FUTURE.

And there's no way to tell how something will work out in the future unless you possess a crystal ball. You can only arrive at RELATIVE certainty about such things.

Here's another example. As an Accountant, you HAVE to be extremely conservative about any changes or alterations to accounting procedures. This is usually needed when a client suggests all manners of "exotic write offs" and such.

The more experience you amass, the stronger you resist anything that's not within widely accepted accounting procedures.

But if you forget that hat on when you sit at your MARKETING desk, you're going to demand "wide acceptability" from every marketing solution even to consider it... and, as a result, will only use the oldest, most worn-out marketing ideas which won't work because EVERYONE in the industry has exhausted these techniques.

See. As a marketing professional, you must seek for what's NOT EVEN KNOWN to the majority of your colleagues.

As an Accountant, colleagues are allies and you turn to them for advice in matters concerning taxation, rulings and so on.

As a marketing professional, they're your competitors and you better NOT reveal your plans nor ask for advice in matters concerning "how to take away some clients from them!"

That's how they'll see it and it cannot but affect the way they'll advise you. And who's to say they KNOW — possibly they're just assuming, replying with the deep certainty of the "Accounting Hat" (the area they know so well) although they're not at all professionals in MARKETING.

See how the hats of Accounting and Marketing don't really go together and how many of the viewpoints are practically opposites?

The trick is to "change hats" when you move from Accounting to Marketing.

If you leave on your Accounting Hat, marketing is not going to happen... and if it does, it's not going to produce the results you want.

In fact, thinking about marketing while waring the Accountant's hat, the "right" decision will be to FORGET marketing completely.

See, NOT to market means that you SAVE MONEY since "it's practically impossible to guarantee results."

For the "Accountant" it is the RIGHT decision.

Of course, for the Marketing Professional of your firm (for your role as the Marketer), it's the WRONG decision.

For him (you holding this hat) it is clear that a RELATIVE certainty is all one can achieve and that, to GET somewhere, one MUST invest time and money into marketing... nothing ventured, nothing gained, in other words.

You can see how holding onto the Accounting Hat while "thinking marketing" would actually predestine you for a failure!

 

Defining your different hats

To get a better picture — and save lots of money and aggravation — it's best to DEFINE each of your main posts as for the viewpoint, objectives and tasks concerning that role EXCLUSIVELY.

Only your hat as the overall Managing Director would really take into consideration OTHER hats.

The hat of the Marketing In-Charge of your firm would probably contain goals such as...

- to ensure your Accounting firm and its good work is widely known and well thought of
- to make your firm recognised as the leading one in the area with each new client
- present a positively different image about your firm in order to arouse interest in short-term and long-term toward the firm and its excellent services
- to expand in a healthy, profitable way year to year...

...and so on.

 

The purpose of this marketing post would be defined something along these lines:

- find and implement workable ideas and systems for client acquisition
- ensure the firm's services meet with what the target audience wants and needs
- start and maintain a continuous flow of potential clients
- create / acquire and install proven methods of handling contacts so that a high percentage of potential clients sign up on your services
- create / acquire a referral system and other systems for client-get-client projects
- ensure clients are satisfied and willing to participate in referral programmes and trained to obtain new referrals efficiently...

...and things like that.

 

The sought-after END RESULTS for this marketing post would probably be something like this:

- marketing and advertising OUTFLOW (letters, calls, etc. going out) occurring weekly
- new target persons (business owners) contacted weekly
- decision-makers made interested in hearing more about your services
- potential clients found
- meetings with potential clients so services can be presented and sales closed
- new clients acquired monthly
- clients activated and trained to bring referrals
- new referrals from these...

...and so on.

Sketchy as these above examples are, they do give you the idea on how to THINK with you Marketing Hat on... and you can also see why you cannot do your marketing while wearing the Accounting Hat.

In fact, if you write up these points for the Accounting Hat and then compare it to the Marketing Hat, I think you'll notice how the two have little (or nothing) in common.

Therefore, it's not a bad idea to figure out your Marketing Hat and then put a short version of it on the wall so you can quickly review it every time you take on marketing tasks. That'll help you to get into the right frame of mind for marketing.

You could also use one or more of our theme seminars which specialise in making the various practice management hats clearer and easier to wear.

But simply writing it all up will clarify many things.

 

Better still, why not acquire the fullest Marketing Hat Pack available for Accounting firms?

If you really want to put yourself in the marketing state of mind while also acquiring tested tools to get results, why not get the fullest and most practical "Marketing Hat writeup" ever created for Accountants in public practice?

Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course contains a tested and proven method to obtain new clients, complete with ready-to-use tools and instructions as well as idea-awakening articles on Accountancy marketing.

It will train you to hold the Marketing Hat naturally and give you the tools to use so that your time is invested in actions that directly bring new clients!

Click here to read the presentation of Modern Accountancy Marketing Course. This course gives you this packaged Accounting service along with proven tools to market, present and sell it to an ever-increasing clientele in your area!

And hold onto your hats!

Best wishes,

Harry Kafka
HDK Consultants U.S.A. Inc.
PMB 211, 411 Cleveland Str.
Clearwater, FL 33755, U.S.A.
Phone (727) 474 1206
Calls from outside USA: +1 727 474 1206
CONTACT FORM


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-Accounting Firm Prospecting System Evaluation Points-

Does it have correct Approach in Prospecting for Accounting clients?

Does the prospecting system have a planned and tested route
from contact to sign-on to follow?

Does the prospecting system have ENOUGH of what it takes
to really GET results?

Does the prospecting system include a systematised method
with TOOLS that require no training to use?

Does the prospecting system allow for constant marketing outflow
& sales activity of practical nature?

Does the marketing system include a way to monitor results
and troubleshoot problems?

Does the marketing system put you in control and give full
independence to obtain new Accounting clients wherever you want?

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