I love my accountant. He’s a great guy.
I’ve used him on and off for more than 20 years. He’s one of my favorite people.
However, he’s not part of my small circle of advisers helping me with the growth of my business.
Like most accountants, he is great at looking in the rearview mirror. He’s great at telling us what happened.
He’s not especially good at telling us what’s going to happen. He looks backward, not forward.
It took me a while to figure that out. I assumed that he would be good at looking in both directions.
Accountants act like they know a great deal about running a business. They’ll tell you how they can help, and they’re more than happy to counsel you on how to move forward.
Unfortunately, however, that isn’t really their thing. I talk to successful business owners all the time, and CPAs aren’t a significant part of their team. Most successful businesses use their accounting firms for preparing reports (history), dealing with taxes (history), and handling audits (history). They rarely employ the accountants to build plans for growth.
Growth is about risk. Risk isn’t generally something the average accountant seeks out and enjoys.
Given that we lawyers have a propensity to avoid risk, the last thing we need is another risk avoider on the team. We need advisers willing to take bold action and come up with new ideas. We’ve got the risk avoidance covered.
If you’re looking for advice, here’s where to turn:
- Look to other successful entrepreneurs.
- Talk to lawyers running highly profitable practices.
- Join a group of business owners and cross-pollinate ideas.
- Look for winners and get them to commit to helping you in exchange for your willingness to give back to them.
You want advisers who have their heads in the future. You want those who are seeing what’s going to happen, not what already happened. You want people who understand where the marketing is going, not where it has been.
I love my CPA; he’s the best. He’s excellent at what we ask him to do. We’re just careful to ask him to do the right things.