Need to Reinvent Your Accounting Firm? Do as Uber Do…

Posted on 17th August 2017 in Advisory

Written by Freya Hughes

Uber has a certain reputation we’re all aware of, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years. In recent months, however, Arianna Huffington has become Uber’s ‘rehabilitator-in-chief’. For a company riddled with allegations of sexism, Huffington’s takeover allows many of sigh with relief. So as we wave goodbye to Travis Kalanick as CEO, and take a ride to the new brand of Uber, let’s see how you can implement changes to reinvent your accounting practice and make it a change for the better.

While, according to Bloomberg, Uber’s sub-committee board will still include Kalanick, others in charge of the regeneration are titans of industry. Reputation is everything. We learnt from a recent tell-all, internal practice was at rock bottom. Diversifying the leaders in the company is how Uber are coping, but how will you reinvent your firm without hiring new bodies?

1. Update your menu

Be crystal clear in your intentions. The first step of reinventing your firm is to make a plan and introduce your team to it. We’d suggest a meeting of the entire staff and allow your employees to throw out suggestions and ideas. Collaborating on ideas always ends in better results, so be an open book and hear people out. There are, of course, some bad ideas but listening to them will probably start a conversation, and help you end up in the right place. Plus your staff will feel comfortable speaking up, and that’s a great thing.

Advisory is a bit like the Uber of accounting. Don’t panic, not in all aspects! Advisory services have a fantastic reputation – and for good reason. With old school taxis, you had to sit by the window looking out for a cab to pull up, while these days you can track your car, and see your driver’s profile and reg. Advisory gives your clients a lot more help, and strategising your clients’ moves gives them an insight into their business comparable to a GPS – it’ll guide them past obstacles in real-time.

Clients want to pay you for your knowledge and guidance, not for you to do their administrative tasks. Helping a client to look backwards means you can’t really help them grow their business. However, if you help them fix their gaze to the horizon, you’ll find they’re far more receptive to you. Helping them work out how to achieve their goals will rejuvenate their lust for success and benefit your firm too. Business owners talk, and accounting is something all of them need to get right. This will get your reputation out there organically.

2. Raise the stakes

Investing time and money is always a gamble. However, if you invest it in getting your entire team up to a certain standard, the investment will pay off in revenue in no time. Assuming your staff are all qualified accountants, push them up a level with FUTRLI Certification.

Until now, education, enablement and market-leading software have existed independently from each other. If you’re sold on advisory, but don’t know how to get going with it, our team of CPAs, CIMAs, developers, advisors and our community have come together to produce this course. When you take an integrated approach to working you remove friction, so you can with a lot more efficiently. Obtaining this qualification will ready you for rolling out advisory services. The course takes you from the basics of what will be expected from you, right through to implementing the services to your firm and for your clients.

Read how to progress from accountant to certified advisor

3. Nail your branding

White labelling FUTRLI will present it as your own. Investopedia defines white labelling: “A white label product is manufactured by one company and packaged and sold by other companies under various brand names”. We’re here to be your technology partner, as your focus must be on training up advisors. You’ve not spent years training to become a software reseller, so leave us to power the tech and focus on using it to help your clients.

You need to have coherent and modern branding across all of your outlets. Uber’s logo and branding style are instantly recognisable, and that’s given them a professional edge over many older taxi firms. Their logo isn’t intrusive but is threaded through their entire online presence. A simple and slick design makes their website user-friendly, and so it needs to be. Any customer of any business will ultimately give up if the app or website isn’t beautifully obvious in its controls.

Brand recognition is such a powerful way of marketing your firm, and you must make sure that your design is clear, stands out, and represents you and your firm.

So now you’ve nailed your online visuals, but if clients turn up to a shabby office and are greeted by scruffy staff, they’ll wonder if they’ve made the right decision signing up with you. Make sure your team are dressed smartly and spend a little on the upkeep of your office. The chances are your clients have done this, at least to an extent, so match expectations. Or even better, beat expectations!

4. Nurture your USP(s)

Spreading yourself too thin is the perfect way of letting the quality of your services slide. We know you want to please each and every client and attract new ones, but if you can’t match their needs, then your firm will really feel it. Your staff will feel overworked and stressed, and your firm’s reputation will flag.

Uber’s unique business model of trackable drivers at low cost has its moral complexities, but the convenience of it all makes them stand out. Everyone needs a quick ride at some point, but not everyone can afford full fare every time. They’ve picked their USP and run with it, and the result is dominating the road transport industry across over 80 countries.

Pick out a handful (perhaps four to six) of services that are your strongest and most popular. Work on them until they’re perfected. It’s like the old saying ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ – you cannot master a skill (or in this case service) if you’re busy trying to learn every aspect of advisory in one go. If you think about how businesses like Uber work, you’ll notice they’re master of what they do. The traditional format of taxi companies didn’t stand a chance when Uber all but reinvented the wheel. Do as industry leaders do, and focus on what makes you special, and absolutely nail it!

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