Why Diversity of Thought is Important in an Accounting Firm

Your accounting business stagnates when everyone thinks the same way. Adding new perspectives expands your value in a variety of ways, some expected and others unexpected. Diversity is a concept that extends beyond race and ethnicity. Your firm grows as a resource to your clients when you decide to step out of the box.

Historically, accounting is a business steeped in tradition and conservatism. But, hiring people who think and act just like you limits your potential. You will enrich your business once you remove the traditional demographics that define who you hire and who you serve.

Complacency is a disease. It tethers you to the “we’ve always done it that way” mindset.

Accounting continues to evolve. What was accepted ten years ago is now outdated. Fresh perspectives help to broaden the scope of your business. You’ll not only discover new ways of approaching problems, but you’ll also attract clients that your old practice couldn’t serve.

Accounting Today addressed thought diversity in accounting. They stressed the importance of developing a wider range of perspectives in professional firms.

“The industry must engage those who will challenge the constraints of the prevailing perspectives of their firms – and be open to new thought processes and opinions. The ability of a firm to change with the times and cultivate innovation could depend on it.”

Your Status Quo Holds You Back

Best practices encourage firms to embrace diversity, specifically regarding background and perspective. Consider how thought diversity – a different perspective – could solve your firm’s biggest problems.

Differing perspectives keep your agency relevant. As you expand to a broader range of cultures and backgrounds, you’ll attract a higher level of quality talent who embrace your purpose, mission and vision.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, then change isn’t part of your business construct. Think of what happened to Kodak and Borders Books. They ignored the signs of change and lost their market share. Too little was done too late in the game. This can happen to your business, too, if you fail to adapt and innovate.

Challenge the Status Quo

Diverse thinking is called cognitive diversity. A client recently noticed how two of her team members differed in their approach to a client’s business challenge. One employee was logical and systemized in her approach. She gathered facts, researched options and then reviewed everything before deciding on a best course of action. Her other employee had a hunch, developed her idea and tested it out.

Both approaches – the logical, progressive one and the intuitive one – have merit. When different thinking modes collaborate, the solution for your business and your client expands.

To implement thought diversity in your accounting business, develop a plan to attract a wider range of people.

  1. Shake up your ideas for hiring. Intentionally seek people with different points of view. Invite people who are collaborative and are not afraid to express their ideas. Their contribution may lead to new streams of revenue that are aligned with your current services.
  2. Stop seeking consensus. Encourage a task-focused climate. At Business Success Solution, we teach our business clients to develop a culture that fosters creativity and productivity. This creates a company that values new ideas.
  3. Reward outside the box. As you manage your business, reward team members who offer new perspectives. Acknowledge fresh ideas.

A collaborative environment strengthens an ownership mentality within your agency.

Your team members take initiative. They approach you with ideas instead of waiting for you to give them permission to follow through. Over time, your role shifts from manager to leader.

Here’s Why Cognitive Diversity Matters

As you incorporate diverse thinking into your accounting business, you’ll reap the benefits.

  1. Cognitive diversity is profitable. Your business becomes known as a resource for multiple solutions. Clients are more likely to reach out when faced with a business challenge.
  2. Fresh perspectives contribute to innovation. The “old ways” are more comfortable. However, they are not necessarily effective. Become open minded to fresh ideas and solutions.
  3. Teams solve problems faster. Diverse teams resolve challenges at a quicker rate than homogenous teams.
  4. Create a culture that seeks new answers. Breakthroughs occur as you challenge the status quo. The benefits of change are greater than you could ever imagine.
  5. Anticipate client needs. When your team embraces cognitive diversity, your business anticipates client needs. The team constantly challenges the status quo. They constantly seek ways to improve your service and the client experience.

As a Firm of the Future accounting practice, you become a model for your clients. Cognitive diversity leads to forward thinking. Your clients believe you will partner with them to become more profitable.

Embrace Change

Cognitive diversity positions your firm as a business resource. You’ll attract new ideal clients who highly value your problem-solving approach. It’s been exciting to watch firms shift from compliance accounting to business resource. It’s a highly rewarding business model that will increase your profits.

Cognitive diversity separates your business from traditional accounting firms. However, changing the way you’ve always done things can seem intimidating. At Business Success Solution, we know profitable growth will occur. But, you’ve got to be willing to let go of the old way.

Ready to accelerate your accounting business? The first step is to strategize your cognitive diversity plan.