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Three actions accountants should take this summer

Jul 16, 2018
Instead of sitting back and seeing where the summer goes, Susan HayesCulleton recommends taking proactive steps to ensure a successful second half of the year.

If summer days at the office are a bit slow, accountants usually more than compensate for them during the last quarter rush, putting in extra time to meet tax deadlines and help clients with their end-of-year accounts. That's why the summer is the ideal time to reflect and have a deep look at what happened in the first half of the year to make the second half more successful.

Go back through your diary and identify the unexpected events

What has worked well so far this year? Were there any systems that saved time, money or energy? Did any random event yield unexpected benefits? If anything unexpected happened, why was it unexpected?

On the other hand, what didn't work so well? Any difficult periods this year? Anything you realise you should stop doing?

As you go through the year's events, take action to anchor the good behaviours and get rid of the less helpful ones. It will be a mix of big, once-and-for-all changes, and incremental improvements that sustain your momentum.

Have a client yearly review

Which clients do you want to take extremely good care of, and why? Which clients would be a better fit with a colleague or friend in the business? These two questions will give you a better idea of which customers you should actively seek to reach out to during the summer months.

Take a step back to figure out which clients are responsible for a disproportionately big part of your income, especially relative to the amount of time we spend on them. It's only too common to take good, easy clients for granted so take the time to express your gratitude. Take extremely good care of those special client. Send them a hamper. Write a personalized card. Invite them to the Galway Races. Show them you value them, not just at Christmas (when everybody else does), but all year round.
The summer is also an ideal opportunity to get in touch with clients and suggest small improvements, tips, or give quick advice. This can generate additional business, and it can also be just the nudge your client needs to make their end-of-year accounts (and your work) slightly more serene. Write a quick email to let them know about what you noticed, have they thought of doing X, are they aware of Y solution, or Z regulation that affects them. This is very helpful to them as your expertise is precious, and they will be grateful for it.

Observe trends

Looking out for trends is such a key part of business. Sometimes we simply don't have the time to look up from the work. However, it's important to leverage quieter periods to take a bird's eye view of your business and your industry. 

Perhaps virtual reality software, next generation data analytics, the sharing economy and the Internet of Things don't affect your business, but these trends might be the bread and butter of your clients. Go to a conference, read some thought leadership or listen to a podcast about these themes to bring yourself up to date and challenge your thinking.

Susan HayesCulleton is Managing Director of the Hayes Culleton Group and Global Irish BECKSearch.