The role of the accountant is changing. As more and more technology becomes available, a lot of what might have been considered traditional accounting work is now being automated.
As a result, many accountants are taking on roles as business partners. Some will relish the opportunity. For others it might be more of a challenge.
What we, as accountants need to recognise that the professional exams provide us with great accounting and some business knowledge.
On the other hand they don’t necessarily develop the skills and attributes that are essential to being an effective business partner.
At the same time all is not lost.
In this article I want to share with you 10 ways you can be more effective as a business partner.
10 Ways You Can Be A More Effective Business Partner
Get clear on the purpose of your role
I suspect you could reel off a whole load of activities that you do.
But what about the overall purpose of your role?
The activities are what you do. The purpose is the reason why you do it.
Take the time to step back and think about this.
Do an audit of your time
In professional services firms time is charged to client projects.
Chances are as an employee of the business who provides a service as a business, you don’t.
Becoming aware of where your time is going is a key starting point on making sure that you are busy doing the right things.
Do a client survey
You are there as a business partner to meet the needs of your clients.
When was the list time you did some sort of survey to discover their needs and look at how you can serve them better?
It’s a great exercise to do both formally and informally.It’s a great exercise to do both formally and informally.
Do a skills audit
You have a lot of skills. You might have all the skills you need to be a really effective business partner.
Like everyone you might well have skills gaps.
Get clarity on your skills gaps and put in place a plan to address.
Do an attributes audit
In many respects it’s not a lack of skills but a lack of self confidence that gets in the way of being an effective business partner.
Is your mindset and self doubt hindering your effectiveness?
If so remember to cut yourself some slack. The collective contributions is what makes a difference.
You really don’t need to be an expert in every area to contribute.
Learn about your client challenges
It’s easy to assume that you know them already. That in itself is a dangerous assumption.
Spending time observing can make a huge difference.
Look for opportunities
The possibilities here are massive. Equally you have got to think differently.
You have to look beyond the boundaries of your organisation and see what you can learn from other organisations.
Get better at communicating
Most think about speaking and writing. The accountants who are great at partnering in my experience are great at asking questions and really listening.
When you ask questions and really listen you get great insights.
Offer options rather than solutions
There are many ways to achieve a specific outcome or result. You have ideas.
Your internal clients have ideas too.
Rather than being prescriptive see your ideas as going into a big pot along with others ideas to find the best solution.
You might want to change your role or your focus overnight.
In reality it never works like that.
Be patient and keep moving forward at whatever pace your internal clients are happy to move at.
That’s my 10. Which one would be of greatest value to you right now.
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