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How to Grow an Accounting Firm by Using These 3 Steps

female tax professional learning new skills

If you want to learn how to be an amazing accountant, you have to start with yourself (doing your own books) before you can help anyone else.”

– Andrew Argue, CPA

How to Grow an Accounting Firm: Start By Knowing What Accountants Do

Accountants are in the business of helping people better track, manage, grow and understand their wealth. Ultimately, this is the role of an accountant whether for business or personal finances. However, accountants do not always track, manage, and understand their own wealth. This results in many strange and warped issues that prevent accountants from becoming the best financial version of themselves.

Why Many Accountants Don’t Do Their Own Accounting

Too often, accountants believe that the services they provide are no more than a commodity. They do not see the value in what they are providing and neither do their clients. Obviously, this makes it hard to sell if you think that what you are doing has no value—it makes you feel like a fraud.

Let’s be honest…if it’s so valuable, why are you not doing it yourself? Accountants who have this problem (not being able to see the value in what they offer) universally do not do their own accounting! In fact, not doing your own accounting is the biggest sign that you are merely a bean counter and not a professional accountant.

Learn How to Grow an Accounting Firm By Modeling Successful Accountants

Even basic bookkeeping provides massive utility if it is not currently being done, such as tracking, reviewing, and monitoring expenses while using the data to improve your financial results. Looking at every single transaction has an extremely powerful effect on your mind, and it allows you to optimize all your behavior around those financial results.

Once you begin to track your expenses and budget, it begins to have an impact on all of your daily spending. The same holds true for business owners. Business owners have to make a lot of decisions around their business every day, if not more so surrounding finances and money. If they are not looking at even the most basic accounting, they are essentially running their business blind, and they are definitely losing money as a result.

optimize your life and business around net worth growth

Your entire life and business should optimize around net worth growth, not sales or income. Why? Because it does not matter how much you make, it only matters how much you keep!

3 Steps to Growing an Accounting Firm

In order to get your financial house in order, you need to increase your own value and create your own beliefs around money. You need to take yourself through the process so you can emotionally feel how challenging it is for your clients. Whether you are looking to become an accountant as a career, or you’re already an accountant but want to improve your craft, here are 3 steps to begin taking on your own finances:

Step 1: Set a Goal of Where You Want to Be at 65

The first step of getting your financial house in order is to set a goal of where you want to be financially at 65 years old. Even though you may not retire at 65, by that age, you should have the choice of whether or not you want to work regardless of your finances.

Step 2: Collect All of Your Accounts

Once you have a goal of where you want to be financially at 65 years old, compile all of your assets, liabilities, and any other financial accounts you may have.

  • Bank accounts
  • Assets
  • Investment accounts
  • House valuation
  • Credit cards
  • Student loans, etc. 

Step 3: Create a Personal Net Worth Statement and a Personal Income Statement

Once you gather all of your personal financial information, compile your personal income statement and personal net worth statement. At this point, your entire life and business should optimize around net worth growth.

Sales and income do not matter as much as what you keep. One of the most interesting things about this is that almost no one in America thinks this way. Almost everyone is focused on income, credit card debt, student loans, and mortgages, but all that matters at the end of the day is whether your net worth increases.

Ask yourself continually, “Is my net worth increasing?” If the answer is no, then you need to get busy making changes to your life and business until the answer becomes yes.

An Incongruent Trap Many Accountants Fall Into

As a person who provides, or plans to provide accounting services, you must make sure you do not fall into the major incongruent trap that most accountants do. Once you begin tracking and improving your own personal finances, you will fully understand and appreciate the value that you can provide to your clients.

You will be able to clearly feel what it is you are selling them, and will never feel like a fraud selling services that you do not even use. As you compile your personal income statement and statement of net worth and monitor them regularly, you will be able to reach your personal net worth targets along with providing the same value to your clients and their businesses.

This is the main thing that separates regular accountants (bean counters) from great accountants: do you actually do your own accounting? If not, there’s no way you can even remotely be a great accountant. 

Professional Accountants Versus Amateurs 

Let’s explore deeper the difference between a Killer Accountant and a Traditional Bean Counter. The vast majority of accountants do not truly understand what the numbers they are staring at all day actually mean. Out in the real world…there are financial transactions occurring, such as sales transactions and expense transactions. All these things are being built together to create the company’s financials. If you just check the box, and not truly take the time to understand the numbers, you’ll miss the chance to truly help your clients and provide real value.

You’ll also miss opportunities to be able to upsell things that will actually lead to higher profitability and sales. You’ll miss incentives for employees to produce more revenue. You’ll skip strategic goals (long and short term). This is why you actually have to understand the fundamental business, not just be paid to peck the keyboard.

So, the difference between a bean counter and a great accountant is that great accountants understand what the numbers actually mean! This translates into understanding how your client’s business works, and doing something to help them. If you are just preparing reports, you are a commodity and a cost.  

Millions of returns are done every year with people paying tens of thousands more than necessary to the IRS. Any tax preparer can report the numbers of a business and file for them, but can you take those numbers and give them strategies to save money on their filing? 

That’s what separates the bean counters who struggle to pay their monthly bills versus the professional accountants who are growing their net worth and building successful accounting firms! 

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