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Accounting Firm Advisor Reveals Truth About Accounting Firm Owners

I spoke with one of my clients last night. I’m an accounting firm advisor, and I think one of the biggest things people misunderstand about what we do is that I really am not going to help you. I mean, if somebody comes into my world and they think that there’s some magic thing that’s going to happen, one thing that we’re going to change…everything’s going to be different. I came upon Andrew Argue and my life was one way and then he changed it. It doesn’t really work that way. I kind of think of it like, imagine that somebody loses 300 pounds. If they go through the process of losing 300 pounds, I can promise you right now it wasn’t a trainer.

It was not the trainer. When you go through the process of needing to change something as intense as losing 300 pounds, we’re basically redesigning our entire business. You have to make the decision for yourself. If you just kind of want it, you’re like, “I kind of want this,  if I can find the right trainer, if it could be comfortable, if it could be easy, if it could be”…it’s not going to be any of those things. You have to click it into your head that you’ve decided that you want to do this no matter what pain comes your way. So, I was telling my client, there’s nothing I’m going to be able to do to help you if you haven’t decided that you’re going to do it yourself, because it’s not going to be easy, there’s going to be setbacks until you’ve decided that you’re willing to swim through a pool of knives to get what you want. 

It’s always going to be a little bit harder and you’re going to go in looking at every little thing, this process is a little bit hard. This person I hired and then they quit. So, now I have to… it doesn’t matter. You know, when you hire somebody new, this woman, she hired somebody to come on as the accounting manager. Then she said, two people quit. I’m like, “yeah, when you hire a new manager of a department, a lot of people leave. You’re going to have these setbacks”. So when somebody comes to me and I can tell they’ve already decided they’re going to succeed,

they actually end up doing the best. If somebody comes in to work with me and they say, “I’m going to take this business to another level. I’m going to change the game. Whether or not this works with Andrew, whether or not this works I’m already going here. It’s just, they’re going to be able to help me do it faster.” 

As an accounting firm advisor, I try to be as transparent with people as possible when they come in and they work with us, show them everything, show them exactly what it’s like. I’ll show them exactly the process that we use with our clients, show them examples. We go through hours and hours of presentations to get people comfortable. Then I basically will always say, “based on everything you’ve seen, If you think you can come into this environment and you can monetize your investment, you can make an ROI yourself, then you should join. But, if based on everything you see, and you’re not sure, I don’t know. I don’t think I can…Great. Don’t, because until somebody, somebody comes in and knows, they’re not going to be able to make their return.”

When you join a program like this, and I love the analogy of the personal trainer as well, because it’s a coaching relationship. It’s a relationship where that person’s got to come to the table and the coach, the trainer has got to come to the table. Both people have to show up. Both people have to put the work in. It can’t be one person. So, when you come into an environment like ours, where we’re looking to grow a business, where we’re looking to face all the fears that are associated with that, we’re looking to do all the crazy things. I had a client yesterday who had $50,000 of accounts receivable.

These are things that you don’t want to do. These are things that you’re avoiding. So, when you made the decision, “I don’t care about the pain. I don’t care about the cost. It doesn’t matter because I’m going to keep pushing. I’m going to keep going.” Then at that point in time, when you’ve clicked in your head, you’re probably the best person to work with us. If you haven’t got there and you’re expecting me to help you, I won’t do it. I won’t be able to do it. It’s not going to happen. It’s not the way that it works. The more rules that you put up, well, if this process works, if they could do this, and if they add a little bit of a different business, I can promise you right now, our business isn’t perfect.

As an accounting firm advisor, I can promise you right now, we make mistakes. The same would be true of your business, right? I spoke to a client last night. I had a client leave. Now that client was paying her $3,000 a month for bank reconciliations, sub-account management, and accounts payable. That client is leaving, it’s $36,000 a year. Does that mean that she’s a bad provider now? It’s just there’s different things going on in that business, and the business is actually too small to really be able to afford that much on an ongoing basis. That client ends up leaving. So, these things are going to happen, whether it’s because it’s not a good fit for the client, whether it’s because somebody at your firm made a mistake, whether you hired a new team member and they didn’t work out.

So, you’re going to have all sorts of problems. When you look to work with another business, be it ours, or if your clients come into work with you, you should tell them the same thing… go through, give them a full presentation on what it’s like to work with you as the CFO, show them exactly the reports that they’ll get. Talk about the transformation, exactly what you’ll do. And then say, “Look, if based on everything we’ve talked about today, you don’t think you can increase the revenue on the business, having these meetings and looking at the reports with you, you don’t think you can go back and demand better pricing from the vendors, you don’t think you can increase gross profit margin….” 

They don’t think they can finally fire that cousin, that they want to reduce operating expenses, to get the business to be more profitable. If they don’t think that they can do that, then they probably shouldn’t sign up with you as a CFO. So, you’ve got to have the same kind of conversation with your clients, where when they come into work with you, they know that they’re responsible for their financial results. They’re using you as a vehicle for that transformation. They are not expecting you to deliver everything under the sun. Expectations are so important.  It’s a difficult thing too, because you might be able to explain it yourself as the business owner. If you have somebody else on your team that’s talking with a potential client, they may not be as clear with the expectations as you, but I’m very crystal clear. I always tell people, if you don’t think you can monetize your investment, working with us, you shouldn’t even sign up.

There’s no point. If you think you can, if you think this is what you need, if you think you need to add tax planning, if you think you need to add CFO services, if you think you need to add wealth management, if you think you need to, if you like the way that we acquire clients, if you like the way we help people convert with decks to actually show the pricing and the packaging of the value… if you like the way we do retention, if you like the way we do expansion, if you like those things and you believe that that’s the way you want to grow the business, then it won’t cost you anything. It’s an investment with an ROI. So, if you’ve been thinking about working with us, I want to shoot this video and kind of just explain my mentality.

Whenever someone comes in to work with us like, “Well, if I’ve worked with Andrew, are they going to get me this?” Or they’re going to get me that, what are you going to get yourself? If you come into this environment, if you think you can make a return with our tools, then you’re the absolute best person to work with us. I put a link to an application below and my team and I will basically walk through a full presentation of exactly how it is to work with us. It’s 350 slides, walks through every little piece. You can see it. And then if you’re not comfortable, don’t do it. Don’t take the next step. But if you think it’s what you need, we’d love to work with you. And I will see you on the other side.

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