Frequently Asked Questions

The programme and content within the Accountants Coaching Toolkit could work for any accountant with an SME client base. However, we’ve mainly accounting firms in mind who themselves are owner managed. Accountants who run their own accounting firms, either on their own or with fellow partners/directors, and who want to move their client conversations and fees beyond the compliance services.

Yes absolutely. In fact, we suggest that you do. Introducing it to a few of your well-chosen clients first, and building from there, has several benefits. It’s less intrusive, you can build your confidence and bed down the process before offering it to a broader number of clients.

Don’t be too concerned about fees at the start. What you are looking to do is to change the nature of the conversations that the client expects, from the compliance ones they probably expect, to ones more focused on their business. Our programme shows how to build fees from this, but you have to start by adding real value through changing their mindset first. The fees will come later once the client has experienced the benefits and the value you’ll be adding in their lives.

The best way to view coaching is as a niche sector within advisory. Coaching is based around the client relationship and the conversations between accountant and client. It isn’t product based but the conversations may well lead to the accounting firm then selling wider advisory services to the client.

A lot of accountants (us included) have tried to engage clients with value added services in the past, such as strategic planning, regular management meetings, quarterly reviews and so on, but with only limited success. Often, it has been hard to get clients to sign up for a paid service or those that have tend to dwindle over time. Don’t worry, it’s not just you! The assumption made is that either the accounting firm can’t do it or clients don’t want it. Neither is correct. More commonly, the failure has been down to the lack of a process to both engage and deliver, an over-complication of the conversations and delivery, a failure to involve the accounting firm’s team and a lack of clarity between the accountant and client as to what the true goals and benefits are. Addressing these known failing is fundamental to our approach.

Yes, but probably not what you think. People think that coaching is about providing solutions but it isn’t. The role of a coach is to help a business owner get the best out of themselves. Therefore, the main skills you need are to genuinely care about your clients, know what questions to ask (we give you these) and listen properly to the answers. Nobody knows your client’s business better than them. What they need is you to shine a light in the right areas; challenge their thinking; help focus their actions; hold them accountable; bring a different perspective on their world; be a friend and supporter of their business….and bring your financial management expertise to the table.

Absolutely! In designing our programme and community we have assumed that this is the starting point for most firms. Let’s put it another way: Are they interested in your clients, would they like to help and are they personable? They are the only basic requirements. Of course they lack confidence and probably time (and there is a fair chance that so do you) but we address these throughout the programme and in our support. We all started somewhere!

Fear at the beginning of anything is only natural, and we’re well aware that one of the biggest fears of many accountants when it comes to strategy conversations with clients is… “but what if the clients expects me to solve their issues, to have all the answers?”. I’ve been coaching and mentoring SME owners for over 20 years and I can hand-on-heart say that I’ve almost never had a client genuinely expect me to solve their problems for them. This methodology is about engaging clients in the bigger conversations, with you, leading them with the right questions, the questions that generally nobody else is asking them. Taking their mindset to a more pro-active and confident place. There is no need to be fearful. You already know the clients and there is already trust between you. Not only that, you’ll be choosing the most suitable clients:

  • The ones who are good to work with and easy to talk to
  • The ones who are respectful to you
  • The ones you like

Not to all of them, no, but it’s relevant to more than you probably would think. For clients who are straight tax cases or have lifestyle businesses that are more of a job that suits them than a commercial enterprise that they are actively looking to manage and grow, then these are quite settled with just your compliance services. For all your other clients though, the majority in a ‘typical’ accounting firm, they need their businesses to improve and grow in order to meet their goals and ambitions and this is where coaching sits. We show you how to help clients see their business, not just as a challenge in its own right, but as a means to delivering on the personal goals for them and their family. When they understand this link, they see the true value of your advice.

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