One Practice's Journey From Scorekeeper to Prognosticator
No one likes client turnover. It takes time to learn someone’s business and it takes time to find new clients. Want to avoid this hassle? Switch your role from being a scorekeeper to being a trusted prognosticator. What do I mean by this, you ask? Read on!
For those looking to make this switch, Jeff Borschowa, founder of Dream Practice, a Firm of the Future, shares his insight into making the transition. Being a prognosticator is someone who gives their clients insight and guidance into where their business is going, says Borschowa.
“As a scorekeeper, it’s a very passive engagement. You’re looking at and commenting on what happened, but knowing you can’t make any changes,” says Borschowa. “With owning the prognosticator role, you can say bridge is out ahead, you should do something.”
This role hasn’t been embraced by the profession since some accountants may be wary of offering those insights, but it’s a way for accountants to add value to their services, he adds. The first step in the right direction is to make sure the books are up-to-date, not on a monthly or weekly basis, but on daily basis. This is where QuickBooks® Online is a powerful tool in your arsenal because it offers you this information, all at the push of a button.
“You can’t look to the future if you’re always catching up,” says Borschowa. “The thing about accounting is that typically businesses are stable and we can determine trends. The sooner we determine those trends, the more likely we are to be valuable and helpful to our clients.”
One thing to watch out for in using the cloud is that some accountants see it as a tool to keep clients at arms-length rather than as a tool to build relationships. “If we have real-time data, we can easily tie that to a budget for the business and help them look forward and make decisions,” he says. “Because we’re so comfortable with the data, we can say current economic conditions are favourable for growth, here’s how you take advantage or here’s how you bunker down and survive tough times.”
Your clients will thank you when you take some of the panic and surprise out of the business and help them avoid any last-minute money woes. Not only is this model better for your clients’ business, but it’s good for your business too. With this new model, Borschowa can charge a premium price with little client turnover. He also finds his clients are much more forgiving when mistakes are made. “Being a scorekeeper, a mistake usually means we lose the client,” he says. “By being forward looking, the client is infinitely more forgiving because we’re fixing it when there’s time for it to be fixed.”
For Borschowa, many of his clients don’t make decisions without him, and to him, the prognosticator role is fun. “I get bored with the tax returns because I can’t change anything,” he says. “Now, I’m helping them look at their ratios in the current year and I know I can impact their bottom line very quickly and easily. I’m appreciated, I’m paid ridiculously well and I love what I’m doing. To me, that’s what the work life should be, you should enjoy it.”