A Proactive Accountant. It’s what every Accountant is told they should be. But what does it mean?
To me it brings up an image of an Accountant sitting back in their chair and pondering their clients and what they might need; haphazardly opening client Xero files in order to hopefully find something useful to say.
That doesn’t sound like a particularly great use of time. And I'm not sure that clients will necessary be happy to pay you to do that. Further, I doubt how many accountants really have time for that. You get busy enough doing deadline driven work and soft ‘value add’ time like that is the first casualty – despite what your marketing says.
For me proactivity doesn’t happen by accident. You must make time for it. The best thing you can do to be a proactive accountant that is valuable is to make sure you aren't a reactive accountant first. I've listed 3 ways I use to make sure I'm not stuck in the reactive zone:
- I think about how often my clients need me to be involved in their business – and make regular time for them. I try to lock that in with calendar appointments and reminders.
- I keep a clean inbox – if I have more than 10 emails, I feel I’m getting behind and not being responsive enough. If I ever got a week behind in my emails I'm definitely stuck in the reactive zone.
- I make sure my team and systems are top notch so that I'm not fighting unnecessary fires. I can’t help clients move forward if I'm permanently behind on my own day to day.
So, while I aim to be a ‘proactive accountant’ to clients, the first thing I do is make sure I'm not being a 'reactive accountant.' I do this with careful planning and running a tight ship. Clients feel supported, and I know things don’t slip through the cracks because I got too busy to be ‘proactive.’