Spend a couple of minutes reading the BBC article below and you’ll be putting ‘Avoiding the Competency Trap’ as a priority agenda item for your next board meeting. After all, why would you risk becoming an IBM or Xerox when you could just as easily become an Apple or Microsoft?
In the world of accounting the competency trap continues to be ‘compliance’ vs ‘advisory’. Every accounting firm thinks they are ready or have already made the jump, but competent compliance accountants are not necessarily competent advisors.
From our observations of talking to hundreds of accounting firm clients, the talk and action are often poles apart, but embracing the direction of travel is key. Your staff need skills and knowledge in both compliance skills (accounting and tax) and advisory (analysis and insight) if you’re going to take those client conversations to a different level.
We see firms talking advisory but not necessarily either training their staff or testing new applicants to ensure they have these advisory skills. Some you can learn on the job, using your hard-won clients as guinea pigs, but with an expectation of all staff that they are there to add value, and have the skills to do it, is innovation for most firms.
If you would rather see your firm follow the path taken by Apple & Microsoft than that of IBM & Xerox, then getting a clear understanding of where your accounting team are right now in terms of advisory competence is an essential first step, because if you don’t know where you are, how do you know where to begin?