I guess it’s the fact that Christmas is once again just around the corner that made my mind turn to the difference between needs and wants.
I’m about a hundred years old (well, I feel like it on some days) and, wait for it….things have really changed since I was a boy. Back in the day, Christmas was about the basics. You got presents just like most people but children got children’s presents, teenagers got teenager’s presents, mums and dads got mum and dad presents and so on. And the other thing was you got what you needed, not necessarily what you wanted.
But that has all changed. Children now get the latest iPhone X, a drone that can carry them to school, and VIP glamping tickets for Glastonbury with Jonny Depp driving them to and from the pyramid stage on an electric golf buggy.
All true, but is there any relevance to business (given that I’m supposed to writing a vaguely business orientated text)? Yes, and here it is.
Back in the day, an accountant was seen as the rather stiff professional who ran a fairly tight ship and, on your behalf, prepared your accounts, submitted your figures to the relevant authorities and generally kept as much distance as possible between you and HM Inspector of Taxes. His purpose was to review your books and submit accounts etc in order to meet your compliance needs. Well, to be frank not much has changed for some people. And plenty of accountants would think you have gone stark staring mad if you asked them to do any more than that. But the fact of the matter is that it has changed.
We can thank our new best friend Technology for the quantum change it has made to the Accounting profession that, as a consequence, is starting to push compliance well into the ’need’ box. Just like an MOT. You don’t necessarily want it, but you do need it. No one starts the year with ’submit my accounts on time’ as a major goal worth striving through rain and shine to achieve.
But there is a strong overwhelming movement towards wanting advice. You see, technology, like Xero, can bring your figures fully up to date through masses of automation. That means your accounts are not only prepared in less time, but they are also accurate and right there in the palm of your hand. with this new information people are wanting to know what it all means.
Wanting something, like advice, puts a completely different value on it compared to a need. Need has less value because the outcome rarely makes the boat go faster. But let’s face it, the World has never been more competitive. Everyone is chasing harder and harder to find that next dollar – and that is on top of doing the day job.
I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with the word consultant, to me, it conjures up the image of (in the business world) a whole host of people who didn’t quite make it. But nonetheless, business consultancy is what a lot of people now want. And I see that being the case for a number of reasons;
Marketing, Operations, Finance
Most people do what they do because they are passionate about it, it’s what they know and understand and when they do it they are happiest. Dentists are great at dentistry, chiropractors good at chiropractic, candlestick makers great at making candles. But rarely do people have all the additional skills to a) market their business and b) understand what it means financially. Therefore, bringing those skills to the party (through some form of consultancy) massively helps most businesses.
The subject of many a text, people – well, let’s qualify that, good people are in short supply. So predict that the outsourcing of stuff will be a far more efficient way to do business. As highlighted above, as competition gets ever stiffer you have to concentrate on what you do best. Sub out the stuff you have not got time to do. And in our industry, we see this across a whole range of services from payroll, bookkeeping, VAT, through to monthly management figures, consultancy, and strategic direction.
Information is power
So, with the automation of a great deal of the bookkeeping, through software like Xero, and the provision of accurate timely figures, people are starting to feel the power of their businesses and wanting to harness that in the most effective way. Hence the phenomenal growth in business consultancy this last year helping clients not only maintain their competitive edge but to understand and grow better businesses.
We are putting a really fun twist on our business consultancy programme in 2019 – Business Wild – call up and find out what it could mean for you. I can’t think of one person who wouldn’t love it.