13 episodes

Your hosts Penny Breslin and Damien Greathead have more than 30 years of combined experience in the accounting industry. This podcast is to share their experiences of working in, and consulting to accounting and bookkeeping firms of all sizes, helping them grow.

Nothing discussed will be rocket science, instead they'll be discussing 'how' firms have successfully, and not so successfully, pursued growth. Penny and Damien will be sharing their insights on how firms can be successful by focusing on their people (clients included), their technology, and their processes and systems.

Ultimately how successful an accounting business will be depends largely on how the owners manage change, which alongside taxes appears to be the only constant.

We do want to acknowledge David Maister's great read Strategy and the Fat Smoker: Doing what's obvious but not easy as the inspiration for our title. Buy it on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3dhcUFC

Subscribe today for an upbeat and practical conversation about what's working and what's not in accounting businesses around the world.

Strategy and the Virtual Controller Penny Breslin & Damien Greathead

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Your hosts Penny Breslin and Damien Greathead have more than 30 years of combined experience in the accounting industry. This podcast is to share their experiences of working in, and consulting to accounting and bookkeeping firms of all sizes, helping them grow.

Nothing discussed will be rocket science, instead they'll be discussing 'how' firms have successfully, and not so successfully, pursued growth. Penny and Damien will be sharing their insights on how firms can be successful by focusing on their people (clients included), their technology, and their processes and systems.

Ultimately how successful an accounting business will be depends largely on how the owners manage change, which alongside taxes appears to be the only constant.

We do want to acknowledge David Maister's great read Strategy and the Fat Smoker: Doing what's obvious but not easy as the inspiration for our title. Buy it on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3dhcUFC

Subscribe today for an upbeat and practical conversation about what's working and what's not in accounting businesses around the world.

    Building the BOS(S) team

    Building the BOS(S) team

    One of the biggest mistakes we see in accounting firms is the team members not working on the appropriate tasks. Most often it's the partners doing the technician's work such as data entry, but it's also the technician's (and the partners) doing the administrative work. This means your team members aren't working on those tasks where they bring the most value.
    Another challenge we have seen in the industry is the lack of a quality supervisory and managerial level in a lot of firms. That's not to say the managers aren't great accountants, it's that supervisor and manager skills are different to an accountant's typical skillset and few firms take the time to develop these skills in their team members.
    We chat about how Penny structures her team to deliver her back office support (BOS) services. Simplistically we break the work into 3 categories, the preparation, the supervision, and the client relationship - although you could (and should) add a fourth administrative category. Once you've done that ask the question in what category are you spending most of of your time - go on, have a look at the time sheets! And now work out how to fix it - with technology, with people, or with outsourcing.
    If you'd like help working through this or any other aspects of your business transformation, drop us a line via LinkedIn.
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 41 min
    Square Pegs and Round Holes

    Square Pegs and Round Holes

    No surprises but clients are a critical part of your business. But too often firm owners try to adapt their business plan to their clients instead of the other way round. We've both seen too many firms attempts at change being derailed by (Pain in the Ass) clients. It's important to recognise that you can't be everything to everyone, so focus on the clients you enjoy - they listen to you, they like new ideas, they're willing to try new things and most importantly they value your input. These are the clients that are going to set you up for success in the future.
    So what do you do with the folks that don't fit into this segment? Some consultants will tell you to fire the bottom 20% of clients, others will suggest sell that bunch of clients. And we're not here to tell you what to do, but at the very least you need to recognise that not all clients will suit your business, and rather than try to force square pegs into round holes, make sure you service them appropriately. The time you spend trying to get the laggard clients onto new services, new technology and new pricing is time not spent on those clients that want these services, technology and are willing to pay for it.
    Spend some time on your client selection criteria. If you're struggling to define your ideal client, get your team involved. Being on the front lines, they'll definitely have insights into the characteristics of your best clients.
    And please get in touch if we can help you with your client selection criteria or anything else discussed in this episode.
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 36 min
    Avoiding an Attack of the Clones

    Avoiding an Attack of the Clones

    No, we're not talking Star Wars in this episode. Instead we're talking about a common trap many practitioners fall into when they're thinking about their next hire. Too often the default next hire is another technician, another accountant or another bookkeeper. In other words trying to clone yourself. If that's the case, you're likely thinking about this wrong. Instead of hiring another you, what about hiring someone to take on more of the administrative and client service functions - take those duties off your plate, and off your accounting team's plate. Allow them focus on what they do best. Your accountants shouldn't be chasing clients for information, they shouldn't be answering app questions, that's the job of your next hire.
    Apparently there's a https://www.goingconcern.com/accounting-talent-shortage-and-cpa-exam-expectations/ (shortage of accountants), and this article suggests changing the exam requirements. We think the changes need to happen in the small and medium sized public accounting offices around the country. Think about their workspace, the technology they use and the tasks and responsibilities you assign them. We see plenty of 'young' accountants in public accounting, but the firms they work in (or maybe started themselves) are vastly different to the traditional firm.
    As you grow your firm, don't try to clone yourself, and don't try to do it the same as last year. Think about the functions and hire for those functions - don't try to spread these tasks across your specialist technicians. They'll get jack of it quickly and leave your firm, and probably public accounting.
    If you have questions about anything discussed in this episode, please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn.
    Be sure to check out the book that gave us the inspiration for this podcast: Strategy and the Fat Smoker. https://amzn.to/3dhcUFC (Buy it on Amazon).
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 36 min
    Defining advisory - A deeper dive

    Defining advisory - A deeper dive

    Today we dig deeper into defining "Advisory Services". Building on Penny's four quadrants from https://www.satvc.co/episode/attempt-1-at-defining-advisory (episode 6) we discuss the AICPA definition outlined in https://proconnect.intuit.com/taxprocenter/practice-management/what-are-advisory-services-and-what-do-they-mean-for-your-practice/ (this article). Ultimately it comes down to defining the deliverable so that the clients understands the benefits of that deliverable. Rather than hiding behind 'reporting' it's important to make it tangible for the client. Likewise technology is not the differentiator, or where the value is, instead it's facilitator. Ultimately it's about helping your clients better understand the numbers of their business. So jump in and get going, your clients will love you for it.
    If you have questions about anything discussed in this episode, please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn.
    Be sure to check out the book that gave us the inspiration for this podcast: Strategy and the Fat Smoker. https://amzn.to/3dhcUFC (Buy it on Amazon).
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 36 min
    Overcoming sabotage

    Overcoming sabotage

    Without a clear vision, and your constant leadership your team can sometimes get led astray buy other team members with their own agenda. As the the business owner you can't delegate this leadership responsibility. If it's not constant and consistent, someone will fill this void for you.
    Penny shared an email she received this week from a client with an internal saboteur. Unfortunately the owner lost a couple of longstanding employees because of them, and now faced potentially losing clients if they were to fire that employee. The business owner got themselves into this pickle because they had allowed the employees (or rather employee) to take control of the business. Unfortunately this scenario is all too common in accounting firms and so we spend the rest of the episode discussing strategies on how to overcome these employee-led firms. Be ready for some collateral damage in terms of other staff members or clients leaving if you don't take responsibility for leading your business.
    If you have questions about anything discussed in this episode, please do get in touch with us via LinkedIn.
    Be sure to check out the book that gave us the inspiration for this podcast: Strategy and the Fat Smoker. https://amzn.to/3dhcUFC (Buy it on Amazon).
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 40 min
    We have guests 🎉 And technical difficulties 😕

    We have guests 🎉 And technical difficulties 😕

    We have our first guests! We also have our first major technical difficulties.
    We’re delighted to be joined on the show by Brian Lang and Mike Chawner, two CPAs out of Austin Texas who are former colleagues and former business partners. They share with us their journey from starting their firm together through to later dissolving the partnership and going their separate ways.
    As Brian and Mike will attest both have learned a lot, have been able to gain clarity on what it is that they want out of their business and importantly, have remained friends and continue to refer business to each other when they know it’s a good fit.
    We did have technical difficulties and lost one of the feeds half way through (unbeknown to us at the time) so we’ll need to get the guys back on to finish where they left off. Despite this, there are some great insight from the Brian and Mike that we didn’t want you to miss out.
    You’ll also hear from Jovie the Jack Russell who is not doing well with a bunch of deliveries during the episode.
    If you'd like outside help on this process or have questions about anything discussed in this episode, please do get in touch.
    Penny Breslin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/penny-breslin-0228b81/ (LinkedIn) | @PennyB57
    Damien Greathead - https://www.linkedin.com/in/damiengreathead/ (LinkedIn) | @Damien_GH

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

SBurkenstein ,

Amazing for the new generation of Controllers

I am loving this podcast. It’s my life. I was hired by CPA offices to be an in-house bookkeeper after years of an outsourcing relationship. After 3 months it became so obvious bookkeeping did not really describe the job. It was Controller. I’m all about client relationships while embracing modernization of processes. I can’t wait for more episodes! This career field has so much potential.

Jedda88 ,

Good insights to help me grow

Really useful tips and insights from Damien and Penny on how to run an accounting firm. As they say themselves, not rocket science, but good reminders to help me stay focused on what’s important to my business.

dbaccount ,

Accounting Automation

Helpful guidance for seamless automation

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