10 Productivity Tips for CPA and Accounting Firms {Anatomy of a Happy Office}

Building a business is tough.  Building a business without focus, processes and the right audience makes it even tougher.

The following are some ideas that are meant to help you fill your pipeline with prospects and eventually clients. If you need assistance with any of these items, reach out to me at trent@grinkmeyerleonard.com.

  1. Start by having a well-defined image of the ideal client you are seeking.  Sit down and think who you LIKE to work with.  Think about what types of clients are most profitable but mostly think about what types of clients you have been the most benefit to in the past.
  2. Be strategic with networking activities so that you invest your time in groups where you are likely to meet quality prospects who fit your ideal client profile.
  3. Commit to being present at targeted events in the business community with enough consistency to develop a strong reputation and gain traction with prospects.  Just joining the organization is not enough.  You have to show up and be involved.
  4. Be precise with centers of influence (COI) as to the type of clients you can serve best and describe the businesses you can work with most effectively.
  5. Get comfortable asking for referrals.  Sometimes the word “referral” just seems off-putting.  If you think this is the case, ask for an “introduction” instead.
  6. When introducing yourself and the firm, make the distinction about what differentiates you. Make it crystal-clear how the firm adds value for clients beyond the services you deliver.  You have one chance to make a first impression.   Make it a good one.   Practice your introduction in the mirror.
  7. When connecting with prospects, do your best to get to know decision makers and influencers in the company.
  8. When you are at a fact-finding meeting with a prospect, always be prepared. Conduct research about the organization; develop a list of important and relevant questions before you walk through the door.  Do not go to any prospect meeting without doing at least 2 hours of homework about the prospect, their business, their history, other companies you have worked with and make a detailed plan.
  9. The first and most important thing you can do in a meeting with a prospect is listen to their needs.   If you prepare a written agenda, schedule time to listen.   Once you have heard what really matters most, read between the lines before you respond.  This will be what sets you apart from the other accountants this prospect will interview.  If you can identify your prospect’s pain points and offer a plan to alleviate that “pain”, you are invaluable.
  10. When you leave the meeting, agree on the next steps; write down everything you are going to research or provide to the prospect at the next meeting – do not leave without scheduling a date (accepted by all) to reconnect.

Focus and Accountability – The two key ingredients for successful business development for any CPA or accounting business.

Infographic of this post.

– Trent A. Grinkmeyer, AIF®, CRPC® / Financial Consultant

All through November, all of the advisors at our office are doing a series of articles, tips and tools and geared toward the “Anatomy of a Happy Office”.  Follow all of our blogs to read it all.
Northside of Average by Valerie Leonard
TAG-Living Loud by Trent Grinkmeyer
Motivated Monday by Caleb Bagwell
401kBizResource by Jamie Kertis

5 Tips for Building a Great Business Team {Anatomy of a Happy Office}

Team LI

We have all seen teams in college sports and professional sports that were unbeatable. They have an incredible synergy that makes them seem invincible. And then typically 12 months later they are the worst teams in the world. Building a high-performance business team is not the easiest thing to do. But when you get it right, you become unbeatable.

The following are five keys to an unbelievable team:

5) SPECIALIZE No one person is great at everything. When a team is exceptional, each individual team member typically has a specialty. One person’s weakness can then balanced by someone who is a specialist in that lacking area. You see this in college and professional sports. Peyton Manning doesn’t play running back nor does he play defense. He’s a specialist. He plays quarterback for a highly-tuned team. When he is put in a position to run, you can tell he’s really not good at. So rarely does he run.  Determine the positions on the team and then fill them with specialists. Everyone doesn’t have to be good at everything. But everything needs a person who is good at it.shutterstock_290401040

4) SELFLESSNESS All for one and one for all. We’ve all seen it in a sports game when somebody gets a big head and the team quits winning. Recently, a friend was telling me about a band he was in. They gained great success and even had Top 40 Hits. But as often happens, the lead singer got a huge ego and the band semi-dismantled. You haven’t really heard a hit from them since. If everybody on the team isn’t focused on the company’s end goal, then it just won’t happen.   Success for the stake of the team, not for the individual. Egos needs to be tossed aside. That goes for everyone. When everyone feels vested in the business’ success, people will rise to the occasion to ensure that success.

3) TRUST It is essential that each team member trusts one another. The need to believe that their teammates will put in 110% and can deliver on what is expected of them. I’ve often seen it on teams where they don’t trust their teammates and things just don’t happen. Knowing what can be delivered and trusting that that individual can perform and will give that effort can motivate others to do much more than they would have on their own.

2) COMMUNICATION Like any good marriage, if the spouses do not communicate their goals, aspirations, frustrations and other miscellaneous feelings, the relationship will not work. I’ve seen this within our team years ago when communication between team members broke down. It festered and turned into a 10,000 pound weight. Luckily, leadership stepped in to open the door for communication and set policy on how to communicate frustrations, desires and goals. In the end, we grew from it. Setting a standard for communication is key.

1) LEADERSHIP This is always the number one factor in whether a team will succeed. You see it in professional sports, collegiate sports, corporations, marriages. If there is no leader, there is no one to set the standard and to follow. The team will fail in the absence of a strong leader. . It is also imperative that the leader develops additional leaders within management. You would be surprised how leadership training can inspire the shy to become great leaders within the team. Often times, people just don’t know how to be a leader. Just like riding a bicycle, a few kids may hop on and ride without ever being taught but the wide majority need to be taught how to ride. And also like riding a bicycle, you never forget how to do it once you learn. You may get “rusty” at it but once you learn, you know. Training is necessary in lots of areas of management and leadership. It is not a 90 minute seminar and you know it all. If you find you are the leader at your company and there are weak areas in your leadership abilities, seek out training.   Learn so your team can do more.   You owe it to them and yourself.   Great companies typically have strong leaders.

I would like to hear your additions to my list of what creates a great team. Send me an email at trent@grinkmeyerleonard.com . Share what you think to make a great team.

anatomy smallAll through November, all of the advisors at our office are doing a series of articles, tips and tools and geared toward the “Anatomy of a Happy Office”.  Follow all of our blogs to read it all.
Northside of Average by Valerie Leonard
Motivated Monday by Caleb Bagwell
401kBizResource by Jamie Kertis