Five Resolutions for the Accounting Industry for 2013

If you were making resolutions for the accounting industry, what would you suggest?  Here are five for your consideration:

1.   Recognize how valuable your skills are 

I’ve worked with a lot of accountants who do not realize how valuable their skills are in the marketplace.  Most people can’t do what we do with numbers.  We need to shake any self-limiting beliefs we have in this area because it limits our ability to serve more clients.

We rock at our technical skills, but the reason many of us have trouble communicating our value is because we could use some help on our writing and speaking skills.  Improving those skills just a little bit (or hiring others to do them for us when possible) will also help us make a better impact.

2.   Help educate others 

Financial literacy is needed everywhere.  The world needs help at both the basic and advanced levels.  One shocking example is how little press the largest financial scandal in the world, the Libor scandal, got last year.  I personally don’t understand why there wasn’t an incredible uproar unless no one understood what happened.  (Maybe one of you can explain this media gaffe to me).

3. Be curious

Often, I hear of clients driving the change in our profession, and accountants being “dragged” along.  I think we can be more proactive here!

I love finding out what clients really want; it helps me change my products to better serve the marketplace.  I think if this was done more often in accounting, the industry would be better off, as would our clients.  One easy way to do this is to send a client survey.

4.    Do your part to improve the economy

You have a very unique perspective that others don’t have.  You see dozens of financial statements across a large number of companies.  Many of you can easily spot a company in trouble; the question is, how many of you feel like you are in a good enough position with the client to help them with it and make a difference in their lives?

Sometimes they don’t listen, I know.  But they don’t listen because they are either afraid or they need more education, both of which we can help them with.  I don’t know the answer to this completely, but what I do know is we have the solution and they don’t.

If we want to make an impact on the economy, we have to find a way to be heard so we can share our wisdom.   No one else has the perspective we do.

5. Recognize how exciting the times are 

2013 may be the year that several key innovations gain the momentum they need to move into the mainstream.  One of these is cloud accounting which reduces the need for servers within the firm and minimizes the role of the desktop.  Another trend is the proliferation of tools to reduce data entry and other time-consuming compliance tasks.

One ongoing trend is the need for firms of all sizes to better embrace marketing to deal with either their competition or the ‘best-kept secret’ dilemma small firms and solos face.  A subset of marketing is pricing.  New efficiencies with technology plus changes in technology pricing will drive the need for new pricing models, although I think it will be a very long time before the billable hour is dead.  In both areas of marketing and pricing, our profession is light-years behind most other industries in this area of knowledge and skills; however, the early adopters are rocking here.

Globalization is another trend.  My tiny business has clients in about 10 countries now, a few of which I will never visit.

Together, these changes make it very exciting (and complex) to be in accounting right now.  The opportunities are everywhere.  I hope 2013 is your breakout year.