Are you an agile accountant?

May 12th, 2021 by Katie Roberts 5 minutes read

The word “agile”— almost like some kind of balloon — gets bopped around in business circles quite a bit nowadays. We know you’ve heard it. The trendy term speaks somewhat cooly, almost flippantly to the ability to respond quickly and easily to change, need and demand.

But right now, especially in the accounting industry, being agile matters. In fact, it ties directly to professional success. But how?

Well, as Bill Gates once said: “Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react and reinvent.” And without a doubt, agility is foundational to entrepreneurial achievement, particularly when it comes to your industry. So the question is, are you an agile accountant or bookkeeper?

At Practice Ignition (PI), we’ve noted that agile accountants and bookkeepers definitely tend to be more entrepreneurial-minded — visionary, passionate, open to change, and willing to take risks. Also, they’re proactive. Adapting and offering dynamic, relevant solutions to meet client and marketplace needs, these professionals — specifically cloud-based accountants and bookkeepers — run circles around competitors who’ve remained stuck or stagnant, doing business as it’s always been done (AKA: traditionally).

For instance, our cloud-based accountants follow a client-centric business model that ensures customers can get their needs met “virtually” wherever they are, whenever they want. The very fact that the technology, products and services stem from the cloud means the experience customers have is agile in and of itself. What’s more, not limited by geography or a clock, it’s always accessible, offered in real-time, and allows for immediate responsiveness. People love this because this solution delivers flexibility and convenience, which leads to freedom. Freedom to do what, you may ask?

Freedom to do other, more vital or exciting things! Like work on bigger, cooler and potentially more impactful stuff like building scalable, proven marketing strategies to do more for their current client base versus whittling away the hours on hit-or-miss client prospecting. Or, maybe skilling up on the best tech tools today, those that further boost agility, meet goals faster, and deliver greater results.

What being agile says about you

There’s no question that if you’re an agile, cloud-based accounting firm or bookkeeper, you’re making a statement to clients, partners and even your community about your value. So what message exactly are you sending? What’s the value you’re communicating?

It’s this: As an agile accountant, you’re putting your customers’ needs first — not your own. When customers know that you’re adapting and responding 24/7 to meet their needs, that’s immensely valuable. In their minds, they know you can be trusted.

But that’s not all! Being an agile accountant also sends a plethora of additional messages to your customers and others, including your employees, business partners, industry colleagues, and even the actual community in which you live. Messages like…

I’m a proactive entrepreneur/business leader/manager.

I’m a go-to resource for the latest, greatest advancements and news in my industry.

I’m an out-of-the-box thinker — a solutionist!

I’m a progressive employer (if you have staff).

I’m a business that contributes, bettering people’s lives, even the world.

I’m an accountant that embraces change.

I’m a resource for helping customers grow in their business, niche, industry, etc.

Keep your ‘agile’ advantage

Remember, agility is an asset for not just cloud-based businesses but arguably for most every business out there today. But that doesn’t mean every business is doing it. In fact, talk to any “agile” business leader or entrepreneur, they’ll tell you that keeping your edge as an agile accountant can challenge you. It requires grit, focus and discipline. You’ve gotta stay focused on your goal to remain agile, while consistently pursuing strategies, tactics and resources (including the right staff members) that align with your core goal and support it.

This doesn’t just mean building a solid plan to keep that agility intact. It’s also about building a contingency plan for when agility gets tested — circumstances in which you may resist necessary change, get too cozy in your comfort zone, or face a sudden business crisis or emergency.

Also, keep in mind, part of keeping your agile advantage is making sure people know about it. Your marketing tactics should share and reinforce the value of being an agile accountant or bookkeeper. As well, develop a communication style that builds in language and phrases that reflect “agility.” Make sure when they leave your website or see your email messaging, they know your unique value-add, the benefit of doing business with you.

Got staff? Don’t forget that they need to understand the benefits of your agile business, too. If they don’t fully get why it matters, you’ll struggle with getting them to execute strategies that support this goal. And you’ll even struggle with attracting and retaining the very employees you need to keep your business actively agile. They’ll go elsewhere…to another firm that really gets it. Ouch.

Avoid that pitfall by making “agility” part of your firm’s cultural DNA. It’s not just your business that must be agile but so, too, must the people reflect that value-driven characteristic in various ways: being open to change, flexible, proactive, solution-oriented, driven, fast-paced, enthusiastic and optimistic. When you’ve found and trained the right people, reinforce great performance that directly drives agility and success. Track it. Measure it. Celebrate it!

Become the agile accountant

There are tons of business resources that sell clients on O&M solutions that work. Yet often these solutions only work for a set period of time, for a specific set of circumstances, or within a framework that’s too rigid. And that’s the very problem PI addresses for its clients. By being in and of itself an agile company, one that adapts constantly with the demands of its customers and the marketplace, PI researches and connects you with the best in relevant accounting tech tools, services and products, so that your agility can achieve A+ status.

The bottom line? If we fail to do our job in being agile, you can’t do yours. And as a client-centric organization, one that puts you at the center of our business model, we just won’t let that happen. For us, it’s all about helping you keep your agility intact so you can be the agile accountant or bookkeeper and run circles around your competitors.

Want to build agility and claim your competitive edge? Get in touch.

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