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Edi Osborne At QuickBooks Connect
Edi Osborne, Mentor Plus, will be leading 2 classes at QuickBooks Connect: Transitioning To A Client-Centric Practice and From Hindsight to Insight: A Road Map To Higher Value For You and Your Clients
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Edi Osborne, Mentor Plus
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“From Hindsight to Insight” and “Transitioning to a Client-Centric Practice,” Two Sessions with Edi Osborne
Accounting professionals want to be seen as valuable to their clients, but some fear that new technology like QuickBooks Online (QBO) is a threat to their job security. I recently listened to a web seminar called “Partnering for Success: Intuit’s ProAdvisor Program and QuickBooks Connect,” with Joe Woodard (the host), Jim McGinnis (Vice President and Leader of Intuit’s Accountant & Advisor Group) and Luis Sanchez (Intuit employee and Group Manager of the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program team) when one of the audience members commented:
“It sounds like QBO is going to take my job away from me. As most of my work is the data entry part of it. So why should I push this?”
In response, they received the answer, “QBO is designed to make your job easier. It’s also going to help you do other things that are more beneficial to your firm and your clients.” This is an encouraging answer, but for the accounting professional concerned about their job security the next question is ‘What are those other things?’ What the respondent was talking about is for accounting professionals to begin performing advisory work with their clients.
Advisory work can be learned and added to the traditional services you already perform and will benefit you by:
- protecting you from being vulnerable to new technology (advisory skills cannot be replaced by technology)
- protecting you from being vulnerable to your competition (if you only perform traditional services you’re at risk to losing customers to other accounting firms that provide advisory services)
- giving you the opportunity to do more for your clients than you could before, which will make you more valuable to them
To help you learn about a type of advisory work you can use with your clients and to help you get started right away, Edi Osborne will be presenting two sessions: “From Hindsight to Insight: A Road Map to Higher Value for You and Your Client” and “Transitioning to a Client-Centric Practice.”
Edi Osborne is the CEO of Mentor Plus where she works as a small business advocate and helps small businesses grow, strategize, and develop systems of measurement to improve the quality of information for decision makers. She is also the author of Firm Forward (a book that speaks to the challenges accounting firms are facing in the post-recession, business environment where client expectations are driving sweeping changes in the profession) and a speaker and trainer who believes that accounting professionals with the right mindset, skill set, and tool set can profoundly impact the overall success of their clients.
Edi has been a go-getter from the start. She said, “I’m just like a lot of ProAdvisors out there who have a natural talent and gift for working with small businesses, but the one thing I’ve had going for me over the years is that I’m intensely curious about a lot of things. When I find there’s somebody that has some knowledge that I want I’m not at all shy about going up and picking their brain or even paying for an hour of their time. So I’ve never taken no for an answer and I’ve never given up until I’ve found an answer.”
At the beginning of her career, when she was running her own small business, Edi recognized that she needed to learn more to run her business effectively and joined a mentor protégée program to gain the skills that she needed. There she went through a very high mentoring relationship with marketing legend and guru Jay Abraham, became a co-trainer with him (taking care of his clients in the US while he was in Australia), and over the course of four years gained enough experience and knowledge to use with her own clients and practice. She was then able to apply what she learned to help her husband double the size of his accounting practice in a short amount of time, which intrigued a lot of his clients and lead her to do two things:
- speak to small businesses and build a consulting practice on small business performance measurement and management consulting
- speak to various accounting groups about how to work with their clients and improve performance
To which she added, “And it was a good way for me because I found that there was a beautiful marriage in doing small business consulting, but also having the financial skills of an accountant. Marrying those two is pretty much what I’ve been about for the last 20 years. Teaching accountants how to take those financial skills—their measurement skills and accounting skills—and apply those skills to all areas of business performance. That’s what I’ll also be teaching attendees in these two sessions. ”
The first session “From Hindsight to Insight: A Road Map to Higher Value for You and Your Clients” will be a bigger picture of what an advisor practice could look like and a microview of how to get your clients to make better quality decisions for their businesses by having better quality information.
From Hindsight to Insight: A Road Map to Higher Value for You and Your Clients
To help your clients make better quality decisions, Edi will provide accounting professionals who want to start doing advisory work with the level five service model to help them understand how to get from providing traditional services (level 1) to providing high-quality advisory services (level 5).
The Level Five service model is a proven advisory approach for helping small businesses improve performance and has generated over 100 million dollars in revenues for accountants and advisors all over the world who’ve adopted it. The Level Five service model has 5 levels (as shown in the graphic attached to this article):
- level 1: traditional services
- level 2: financial fluency and what-ifing (still looking at the past, but gaining insight about what we could have done better)
- level 3: planning (getting a context for all of the information that we want to look at in the company)
- level 4: identifying the day to day activities that are going to have the greatest impact on the goals that the organization want to achieve
- level 5: constant review of what you’re measuring and what else you should be measuring in order to put new measuring processes in place and review the ones in practice for any necessary changes
Attendees who go to this session will learn:
- what the Level Five service model looks like
- how it is a highly valued sustainable process for delivering services to clients outside of the traditional bookkeeping, accounting, and tax services
- how to move up from level 1 to level 5
The second session “Transitioning to a Client-Centric Practice” will look more specifically at what advisory services accounting professionals can start doing with the skills they already have and will be about how to develop key performance indicators to populate a business dashboard.
Transitioning to a Client-Centric Practice
To give an idea of how accounting professionals can transition to advisory work, Edi explained:
“Accountants are really good at setting up tests for audit purposes (they can identify how to test 100 invoices to verify that the processes are being followed or if there are problems or gaps). So what you do is apply that same skill set to testing lots of different strategies. For example, ‘how do people get products from point A to point B?’ Well, there’s a process and there’s a way to test that process to measure the effectiveness of it. That science of measurement is what I’m going to teach. What are our core processes? Which ones are working for your client and which ones are not working for your client? You design strategies to fix the ones that aren’t working, but measure the effectiveness of those strategies and build all the feedback into dashboards so that everybody understands not only what’s expected of them but also how they’re performing in that set of expectations.”
Therefore, the main learning objectives for this second session are to:
- learn what are important measures from your client’s perspective
- learn how to zero in and develop the measures that are going to be the most important
To achieve these objectives attendees will also learn:
- the methodology for developing measures for a business dashboard
- how to develop a business dashboard
Attendees will also benefit by attending this session because they’ll be given the diagnostic, financial-fluency, and measurement tools to help them get started.
If you’re looking for a good way to start advisory work, then attending Edi’s sessions will help make the process easier and give you the tools you need to get started sooner.