Everything you need to know about how business coaching for accountants can help you grow your practice.
What is business coaching for an accountancy firm owner?
A specialist coach for accountants will help you get your accountancy firm to where you want it to be.
Now a good accountant’s coach will help you get there faster than if you were on your own.
Business coaching for accountants differs to life-coaching, because your coach is focusing on helping you achieve your business goals. However, a good business coach will also be able to help you change your mindset, habits, behaviours and beliefs (the traditional expertise of a life coach) in order to achieve your business goals.
I have been given the confidence to take action and believe more in what I do. Being part of the Club gives me a sounding board for my ideas and a group of like-minded accountants to turn to so that I do not feel alone any longer.
The Accountants’ Growth Club (AGC) is a growing membership of accountants who want to grow their firm, in a way that works for them.
The Club is not one-size-fits-all programme that you’ll be manoeuvered through. We offer the power of a like-minded community, virtual masterclasses, tailored and best practice resources for you to use in your practice, and of course, coaching for accountants.
Our members are predominantly in the UK but have also come from Australia and the USA.
Our community isn't just on Facebook. (Although we have a lively and helpful private Facebook group.) We run daily 'drop-in' calls, or as we call them Daily Power-Up Calls, for our members to chat, banter and get help on pressing questions or challenges they may face. In fact, some of our members see our Daily Power-Up Calls as a life line. After all, it can be really lonely growing a small accountancy firm.
Of course, we can’t guarantee it, but our high profile and active members often benefit from receiving referrals from other members of the club.
We are particularly good at helping our members defeat Gary-The-Time-Grabber. You know, the people or things who are always wanting a piece of you; the needy client, the underperforming team member, the malfunctioning IT system…
In the early days of running an accounting practice growth is literally about winning new business. And some of our members join The Accountants' Growth Club to help them win the right type of client. In fact, that’s exactly why we introduced our 12-week New Business Accelerator program for members.
But you’ll find out that growth is so much more than winning new business. It’s about getting your practice systemised, profitable and also resourced correctly. As your firm grows your role and identity will change. If you are going to successfully grow, you’ll need to slay Gary-The-Time-Grabber to get back control of your time.
No, of course not. There is no law or rule that says to successfully grow your accountancy firm means you need to hire an accountant’s coach. And if you’ve got the ability and bravery to do it all by yourself, then well done to you!
Our founder, Heather Townsend, lives and breathes growth. You could say she is a true expert in growing small professional service businesses. But, even she found that the emotional burden of growing her business in the horrible stage of growth (£150k to £500k turnover) was too much to do on her own. She found it incredibly tough removing herself from being chargeable and growing a team from 3 to 8 people. So, she used a business coach to help her negate the small voices of doubt in her head, and push her through the really rough times. Whilst Heather may not have used a specialist coach for accountants, she still used a coach to help her stay motivated, accountable and get things done.
Remember that helping other people grow their business or keep their business profitable is child’s play compared to growing your own business. And don’t let your pride get in the way of asking for help when you need it.
You may like to read what Paul Donno, founder of 1accounts and member of the club, had to say about hiring a business coach, and whether it is worth it or not. In this blog post he talks about how working with a range of accountant’s coaches have helped him with his practice over the years.
Most coaches, and indeed all of our Growth Specialists, are taught to be subject agnostic when coaching. Which means we are always working on our members’ agenda in a call and not to our own standard script and agenda.
In fact, a good coach should be able to have valuable and insightful conversations, that prompt action, whoever their client is. And nearly every single coach will help you articulate what you want and keep you accountable to a plan to help you get there.
Where an accountant’s coach really earns their money is that they will know what works and what doesn’t work for accountancy firms.
After all, where coaching often falls down is when people, especially accountants, don’t know what they don’t know. If you have hit a roadblock or are in a difficult patch with your accounting firm, it may be harder for a non-specialist business coach, such as an ACTIONcoach, to help you identify the root cause of the problem and then quickly put in place the right remedy.
This means if you decide to work with a specialist coach for accountants, such as, a Growth Specialist from The Accountants' Growth Club you should expect quicker results.
Most coaches, e.g. life, career, leadership, executive or business coaches, will have their own models, frameworks and ways of doing things. These models, if the coach doesn’t do a lot of coaching for accountants, will not be optimised for accountancy practice owners. This means you could waste time focusing on the wrong things for your accountancy firm. (And do you have the time to waste right now?)
The members of The Accountants' Growth Club benefit from over 300 individual resources designed to help them grow a profitable and sustainable accountancy firm.
What can a specialist coach for accountants do to help you grow your accountancy practice?
This is not the complete list, but our accountant’s coaches will help you:
- Increase your fees
- Ditch the clients who are losing you money or sleep
- Increase your confidence and clarity about what you need to do to grow your practice
- Stop working at weekends and late into the evenings
- Put in processes and systems so you have peace of mind that everything is working the way it should
- Improve the efficiency of your practice by helping you implement new software and processes. Or just improve your usage of what you have got at the moment
- Recruit new team members
- Improve the performance of your website and marketing
- Win new clients
- Win more business from existing clients
- Decrease the peaks and troughs of your firm’s workload
- Fall back in love with your practice again
- Work more on the business than in it
- Reduce the amount of time you need to spend in the business
- Increase the capital value of your business
- Dust yourself off when you’ve had a setback
- Celebrate your success
- Buy or sell a book of business
- Build a modern, digital cloud based business
- Win more non-compliance type work
- Increase the profitability of your business
What we won’t do is grow your business for you.
You will still need to work hard and be open-minded about what needs to be done with your accounting firm. The biggest reason why our members leave is because they have been unable to prioritise working ON their business rather than in it. At the end of the day if you do what you have always done, you will get the same results. But our growth specialists will help you break the cycle and change the status quo.
Let’s be honest the majority of accountant’s coaches are really mentors rather than coaches. This isn’t a bad thing, by the way. But it is important to know the difference between a mentor and a coach.
A mentor is someone who will help you based on their experiences. They may or may not be a good coach. You also have no guarantee that a mentor will be good at helping you decide on what you need to do with your own practice. Nor that their experiences are helpful for you. Whereas a coach will help increase your personal awareness and prompt you to take action.
For example, one of our members paid for a specialist coach for accountants to help her with her pricing. (Before she joined the club!) And this ‘coach’ was really a mentor. He kindly shared the pricing his firm used on GoProposal and how this was coded into the software. But he didn’t tell her what their pricing was based on. Neither did he help her think through how her pricing needed to differ. So, whilst our member was able to quickly use his pricing, she was never confident in what she was personally charging her clients. A couple of focused coaching sessions later with her Growth Specialist and she is now confident about the prices she is charging via GoProposal.
Our Growth Specialists are all qualified coaches. And if you look at the wall behind Ashley’s desk you will see all his coaching qualifications. He’s very proud of his neuroscience and coaching diploma! However, unlike the purist coaches, our Growth Specialists will offer their opinion on what action you may like to take. Our specialist coaches for accountants, i.e. our team of Growth Specialists, have literally seen the best and worst of accounting practices. So we will from time to time use the benefit of our knowledge and experience to help you shortcut your journey to grow your firm. So, you could say our Growth Specialists are a mixture of a coach and a mentor.
We are lucky enough in the club to have many members, particularly our Advisory Board Members, who have been there and got the t-shirt. During member only sessions, such as the members’ mornings, our Advisory Board members and other experienced firm owners will openly share their experiences. If you are fortunate enough to spend time with Paul Miller, founder of Cornish Accounting Solutions, and one of the club’s advisory board member, he will almost definitely share with you some of the mistakes he has made over the years. And some of these mistakes are real car crashes...
It’s not part of our values to pour scorn on other accountant’s coaches. That’s not what we are about. And in fact, if you are prepared to work hard and be open-minded we believe that you have the potential to get good results with our peers.
Where we are different is we offer a vibrant community of like-minded and helpful accountancy firm owners to support you daily. We live and breathe growth in all its facets. That means, unlike our peers who are often focused on ‘just one thing’ like pricing or winning new work, or a broad brush ‘helping you build a practice which works for you’ type thing, you’ll know that when you join the Club you will be amongst like-minded accountancy firm owners who are all focused on growing their practice.
When you join the club you will have the opportunity to partake in:
- Daily Power-Up Calls, where you can speak and hang out with other members of the community. Our community does far more than just reside in a private Facebook group.
- Virtual and physical networking with members at our virtual and physical members’ mornings and days, plus our regular workshops, and book club.
- Virtual masterclasses and workshops to help educate you and your team. Our education sessions are led by true experts. Rather than someone repeating another organisation's expertise.
- Focused programmes, such as our 12-week New Business Accelerator for members keen to quickly add in new business
- Virtual masterminds with other accountants on our members’ days and mornings
- 1 to 1 and group coaching sessions
Unlike the accountant’s coaches who also run their own accountancy firm our day job IS the Accountants' Growth Club. So we will be supporting you through the whole of the year and we won't get distracted by a large piece of client work.
Yes, click here to download your complimentary copy of The Accountants Millionaires’ Club book. It’s literally the only blueprint you need to grow your practice. As a member of the club you will be supported to implement these tools and processes in your practice.
We can’t comment on what other coaches do, or even what other specialist coaches for accountants do. But what we can do is tell you how you will work with your Growth Specialist when you join The Accountants' Growth Club.
After a free 15-minute consultation with a Growth Specialist, the first step in the process is to complete a free Growth Accelerator Call. In this call, your Growth Specialist will help you identify 3 priorities to fix, and 3 things you can do immediately to unblock and accelerate the growth of your accounting practice. After this call you have a choice. You can choose to take the results of this call and work by yourself. Or you can join the community of The Accountants' Growth Club and work with your Growth Specialist to grow your accountancy firm.
After you join the club, on your first call with your Growth Specialist, one of our team of specialist coaches for accountants, you will put together your Growth Plan.
Then depending on your membership level, you and Growth Specialist will work together to help you implement your Growth Plan. Every 3-6 months you and your Growth Specialist will review your progress and recreate your Growth Plan.
Your Growth Specialist will do so much more than just help you put together and implement your Growth Plan. They will suggest specific tactics and actions that they know work well for similar accountancy firms to you.
The great thing about being a member of he Accountants' Growth Club is you are no longer alone. Yes, at last, you will get structured accountability to implement your Growth Plan. This means you will finally feel like your time is your own. When you work with one of our Growth Specialists, you will feel supported with a trusted advisor, who truly understands your world, to keep you on track.
The simple answer to this is, it depends. First off, you should like and trust them. Your coaching relationship is not going to work if you don’t have a good chemistry with your chosen business coach.
This is why we offer all potential members of The Accountants' Growth Club both a free 15-minute consultation, and then a longer, free Growth Accelerator Call before we ask them to join…
Then you need to look for a coach who has taken the time to gain some coaching qualifications. All our Growth Specialists have undertaken professional coaching qualifications.
Just as in the accountancy world, there are some great business coaches who are ‘qualified by experience’. But most of these coaches are typically advisors or mentors rather than coaches. In other words, they can give you the benefit of their experience. They can do an analysis of what is going on in your accountancy firm. But they may not have the ability like our Growth Specialists, and other qualified coaches to get you to take ownership for what you need to change in order to achieve the goals you have set for yourself and your business.
You will read on the internet that the best coach for accountants who want to grow their firm is another accountant who has already done this. At the Accountants' Growth Club, we respectfully beg to differ (And that’s us being very polite!) And let’s be honest, the coaches who tell you this, are often accountants who have run an accountancy practice. In our opinion, the risk you take by deciding you can only work with an accountant as a coach who has grown their own practice is:
- You make the same mistakes as them
- What they did may not suit you or the way your firm works
- If they implemented something badly in their practice, they may dissuade you from following the same course of action. Even if this is exactly the right thing for you to do.
- They may have been great at growing their own accountancy practice, but may be a lousy coach.
Do they have the time for you? Particularly if their practice gets busy? Are they really committed to the coaching relationship? Or will they always prioritise their practice’s clients and staff if required?
It’s not our intention or part of our values to pour scorn on other specialist coaches for accountants. We believe that the results our Growth Specialists help our members achieve does all the talking. The benefit our Growth Specialists have is they have literally seen the best and worst of many small accounting practices. This means they can easily spot where you have problems in your firm, without being burdened by their previous baggage/history of what worked or didn’t work in their own firm.
Our Growth Specialists met James Twitter, Founder of Accounting 4 Everything when he was an account manager for Digita.
Fast forward nearly 2 years, and James finally joined the club. To spare James's blushes, we’ll share with you James's own words about joining the club.
The resources within the club have been a lifesaver and saved me months of work.
Before we started with the club we had big ideas and a lot of work to do to properly get the business fully into the cloud and properly systemised. I knew what I needed to do, and the resources in the club helped me to structure things and do stuff properly. I know the club's resources have saved myself not just weeks but months of work. In fact, outside experts have praised us on the quality of how we do certain things. We couldn't have done this without the resources from the club. For example, using the RAC/process helped us identify where we needed to support staff to complete all their responsibilities to the standard required.
It's not just the flowcharts, checklists, plans or recordings from the club's resources which have helped our firm.
We've sent members of our firm to the free workshops for members of the club. They have been invaluable to help us bring team u1Gmbers along the journey that the firm is currently on.
My bank balance and happiness with my practice would now be SO much healthier if I had taken action 12 months ago.
I've known Heather for 6 years, and nearly managed to sign up to work with her and her team at several points over those 6 years. All it took was our Growth Accelerator call and suddenly I had the motivation and accountability to make things happen in my practice.
Prompted by our discussion on the Growth Accelerator Call, within 24 hours, I had identified and ;implemented enough cost savings to be able to fund the entire cost of Grow membership.
Some of our members take pleasure in forwarding all the approaches from coaches they get on LinkedIn to us. They really do know how to press our insecurity buttons! Look, we know that you are often being bombarded by people like us keen to get you to sign up to their coaching or lead generation programme. In fact one of our new members, after he had posted that he had joined the club, told us that literally 3 of our ‘peers’ had within 48 hours contacted him on LinkedIn to see whether he wanted to talk to them as well. We will spare our peers blushes by not naming names.
We digress! This is what happens if you have a 15-min chat with one of our Growth Specialists. You'll tell them about your practice. What you are struggling with, and they will give you some helpful advice. If you think that the club will be able to help you, then they will then book a 60-minute Growth Accelerator Call. It's on the Growth Accelerator Call that you and your Growth Specialist will really get into the guts of your practice.
Only after you have completed a Growth Accelerator Call will you and your Growth Specialist talk about you joining the Accountants Millionaires' Club.
It really is that simple. All of our Growth Specialists have been handpicked and trained to be great and helpful people to chat to. They are all a pretty positive bunch too. They are also NOT hard sales people. You won ‘t find them ringing you constantly after the 15 min chat to join the club. That's not who we are as a club. And also why so many of our members have been with us for 18+ months. We only want people to join when they are ready. Well that, and the value they have got from us over the years.
Very simply when you know you want to grow your firm. Not all of our members want to grow a £1m+ practice. But they are all committed to growing their practice.
Remember don’t be like James. It’s too easy to always believe you will join when you are ready or you’ve got to a certain point. Ask any of our members who procrastinated before joining and they will all tell you that they wished they had joined sooner.
We’ve never actually met some of our members in person. Although Ashley is keen to travel over to the USA at some point to meet our US based members. A good coach will be able to get the same quality of results with you whether you speak to them over the phone, zoom or meet in person.
Probably the best way to answer this question is to let you know that many of our members cover the costs of their 1st 12 months within 1-2 months of joining.
But probably the best way of answering this question is to watch this short video of Naveed Mughal, founder of Accurox, talking about his journey with the club. By the way, in the 2+ years he has been a member, he has now grown his practice by over 400%.
If you are reading this page, chances are that you are thinking about hiring a specialist coach for accountants. And there is also a good chance you are also looking at other accountant’s coaches. And we are OK with that. We are all mature adults. In fact, we will often recommend that potential members who are not a good fit for the Accountants Millionaires’ Club go and speak to someone on this list.
Mark is a personal friend of Heather's, and they are both currently in the same mastermind group. Mark is a true professional when it comes to speaking to groups of accountants. (He is a fellow of The Professional Speaking Association of UK and Ireland.) Mark is great when you are looking for that senior partner your firm doesn’t have. You know, that person who will listen but also advise you based on 30 years of experience in the profession. Mark offers both 1:2:1 mentoring and running mastermind groups for accountants.
Della is another personal friend of Heather's, and the author of ‘The Numbers’ Business’. She has grown and sold her own successful cloud based accountancy practice. In fact, she was one of the first advocates of the cloud. Della is also in the process of growing another accounting business. Della offers both 1:2:1 mentoring and online training programmes for accountants who want to grow their practice. Della is also a great professional speaker and member of the Professional Speaking Association UK and Ireland.
Simon is the founder of Greenstones, an award-winning and (what used to be) highly disruptive accountancy firm. Over the last decade the rest of the market may have started to catch up with Simon’s way of thinking. But in our view, he and his firm are still the real deal. Simon offers both 1:2:1 coaching and a very successful and long-running accountants mastermind.
Will is the founder of Farnell Clarke, a multi-award winning firm, and also author of The Digital Firm. In our view he is one of the true experts in digitising your firm and growing a cloud based practice. You can work with Will on a 1:2:1 basis or join his mentoring groups.
Reza is one of the new breed of coaches for accountants. He’s grown a very successful tax-focused practice. On top of running his accountancy practice, he now offers 1:2:1 and group mentoring as well as a virtual mastermind programme.
Mark, like Reza, is one of the new breed of Accountants’ coaches. After a successful career in industry, he set up a small accounting firm in Kent. As well as the day job of running his practice, he now offers coaching and a mastermind group for accountants.
AVN has been helping accountants grow their practice for the last 20 years. The business is now headed up by Shane Lukas, who was the person who created their very popular software programmes.