Small Business – Is The Accounting Profession Ripping Them Off?

My 16 year-old daughter said, “Gee Dad! You look just like an accountant”

And she wasn’t being complimentary.

Accountants are perceived to be boring, stodgy and conservative.

Over the years we’ve been the butt of many jokes. I’ve heard them all.

Why did the accountant cross the road? Because he looked up the file and that’s what they did last year! Ha Ha!

What do accountants use as a contraceptive? Their personality! Ha Ha!”

Why do accountants become accountants? They don’t have the charisma to be undertakers! Ha Ha!

What do they call an accountant at the bottom of the sea? A bloody good start! Ha Ha!

I think I am the exception.

That’s why I’ve begun to call myself a business strategist and counselor. “You’re still an accountant,” says teenage daughter.

I am still an accountant and I’m still as passionate about it as the day I started. Because accountants have an impact on people’s lives. The advice we give changes people’s businesses which in turn changes their lives. I’m excited in my role of accountant.

Accounting is not stodgy. Accounting is exciting. Accounting is cool! My ambition is to become the “cool dude of accounting”. (do they still say “dude”, do they still say “cool”. Remember that song: When I say, “cool, man, cool, I don’t mean cool, man, cool, I mean you leave me cold, Jack”)

We were throwing some ideas around with some of our clients as we do from time to time, looking for that unique benefit that our firm gives to our clients. That unique something that distinguishes us from other accounting practices.

One said, “You have helped me to improve my business. Not only am I making more profits and have more to spend, but I also have more time to spend away from the business. The more time I spend at home with my family the happier my life is. And the happier I am the happier my wife and children seem to be.

When my wife is happy all sorts of good things happen – even our sex life improves. That’s it! You can advertise that using Kelvyn Peters CPA and Associates improves your sex life”

I don’t think so!

Sorry, we haven’t accepted his idea. You’re completely on your own in that department, but we can help you improve your business and consequently your life. And your goal might not be extra profit but extra time for living! We know we can because we are doing it for others.

We repeat ourselves so often because the truth is the truth and there is only a limited number of ways to tell it. You’ve heard this before. If you are spending every waking moment in a hassle about your business, there must be a better way. There is!

Accountants have been ripping off their clients for years

In 1973 I attended a workshop for accountants at the Finance Management Research Center then headed by Dr Keith Cleland. The workshop was intended to drag participants into the 20th century.

“Accountants have been ripping off their clients for years”, he told us. The 25 participants were shocked. These represented vibrant accounting firms from all around Australia, both large firms and small. They were at the cutting edge of the industry. Otherwise they would not have been at this kind of workshop.

To a person they resented that comment and one fellow wanted to punch him on the nose. (It wasn’t me, but I would have held his coat).

By the week’s end we discovered how we were charging high fees for things that our clients couldn’t understand, couldn’t use and didn’t need. At the same time we were neglecting the information that they did need to increase their profits and safeguard their businesses.

20 Years Later what’s Changed?

I attended a week long seminar hosted by CPA Australia in 1993 which was to train us in “client based accounting”.
Dr Cleland presented the initial module. He did not openly criticize accountants this time, after all, it was the CPA’s hosting it, but he gave almost the same speech (same jokes, too) as he had 20 years before.

“These things aren’t taught in Universities”, he said, “so the accounting profession has mostly ignored them. They have let small business down but things are changing”.

Know-it-all, Kelvyn Peters had to jump to his feet and say that the doctor had said exactly the same thing 20 years ago. Where were the signs of change? Universities were still not teaching accountants how to help their clients.

“This seminar with CPA Australia and the suggestion they might make client based accounting a speciality is a good sign”, he replied.

10 Years Later…

Nothing has changed. Our hopes have withered on the vine and small business must look elsewhere for help.

Recently I was called in to assist an ailing restaurant. We were happy to work with their existing accountant. We’d rather do the fun stuff and let the accountant do the boring tax returns and compliance work.

In this case the client insisted we take over the whole of the accounting function.

The accountant was most unhappy. “They are difficult clients”, he said, “I have kept the fee lower than it should be and I have done extra to help them”.

Indeed, he had! The financial statements were beautiful to behold with colored graphs and key ratios compared against industry average. (most accountants still don’t do that.

I had advised that both wages costs and cost of foodstuffs were too high. Our focus was to form tactics to reduce them.

“But I had already told them that”, said the Accountant, “what do they need you for?’

I told him that the client knew the kitchen wages were too high and what he wanted was for someone to show them how to reduce the wages in the kitchen.

“I can’t do that”, he said, “I’m an accountant”. I would have to camp down there in the restaurant to see what’s going on. And they wouldn’t pay the fee”.

Yes they would. They were going to pay me.

Most accountants see their role as being the provider of financial statements, cash-flow projections and tax returns, and there’s the rub.

Each of these is a tool not an end in itself. It’s like giving the client a hammer and saw and telling him to go build a house. He needs more than the tools, he needs to be shown how to use them.

Of course the client will complain about fees whatever the level if all he receives are not useful to him.

Accountants generally are flat out preparing financial statements and tax returns. Meeting dead-lines. They haven’t the time to ‘smell the roses’. Anything that doesn’t help meet a dead-line has to wait until later. Often its too late.

I may still look like an accountant, even the cool dude of accounting, but there is nothing I like more than talking with a business owner about his business. There’s nothing a business owner likes more than discussing his business and planning to make more money. It’s great fun and he loves to pay me for it.

Mostly, small business owners know what their problems are. And mostly they know the way to solve them.
It’s just that they need a little help to implement the changes necessary. Quite often their business only needs a bit of fine-tuning and at you’ll find Kelvyn Peters and Associates. They’ll give you the help you need.

Top Affiliate Marketing Opportunity Secrets

You may have heard of this top affiliate marketing opportunity tool before and not given it a second thought. You may even have tried it out and been bitterly disappointed. Or you may never have looked at it seriously as a marketing tool before.

Whatever category you fall into, you really need to sit up and pay attention to this or this great top affiliate marketing opportunity could pass you by. Because like all great truths it is so simple and so obvious that it is easy to dismiss.

The special marketing tool that continues to earn me so much money and what I am convinced is by far the most powerful online marketing tool today is promotional articles. Actually the truth is that I discovered many special ways to use this tool that made all the difference.

Why is this tool so powerful?

There are several reasons;

a) The vast majority of people who come online are looking for information to solve their problems. This information is usually in the form of articles.

b) Search engines decide how they rank sites, based on their content (articles).

c) Articles posted on the net last forever and if properly structured can continue to give you clients for many years. I recently got a client from an article I wrote almost 3 years ago.

d) Contrary to what many people think, a single article can get you hundreds of thousands of hits daily for many years. You just have to know how to make this happen.

e) Most people think that articles can only get you traffic directly. Actually different articles can do a number of different things including;

- Get you hundreds and even thousands of one way links pointing at your site/blog.

- Get you traffic directly from search engines through the use of the right keyword phrases.

- Get you traffic directly from leading article directories when you post some of your articles there.

f) If you can do your own writing (which most people can do, although they don’t know it), it is all FREE. Yes, hundreds of thousands of hits to your site can easily be achieved by this single top affiliate marketing opportunity tool and it can all be free.

Business-To-Business Marketing: Copywriting Secrets That Increase Sales

If you want to increase your marketing results
and get more qualified leads, you will need to
improve the effectiveness of the copywriting on your website, print ads, emails and direct mail.

This is vital because copywriting is your “salesperson in cyberspace, in print and in the mail” … and great salesmanship produces great sales … average salesmanship gets only average or worse results.

Here are the copywriting tips that will improve your marketing results. These are proven based on our copywriting work for over 450 businesses since 1978.

This is a list of what your prospect is thinking as he reads your marketing copy. It’s important to make sure everything is addressed on this list. If you do this, your marketing results will improve dramatically.

1. You better have done your research to know what benefits I want most from your type of product or service.

If you don’t, I won’t even notice you, and if I do, I won’t even give you a hearing.

2. What do you do? How will it help me?
I need to know “what’s in it for me” instantly or I’m gone.

3. Why should I believe you?

4. I already have a supplier for that – why should I listen to you?

5. Make it easy for me to read, understand, navigate, and “scan” your marketing material.

6. I want a specialized expert in your field for my situation or my needs or my type of business.

7. Don’t bore me! I’m sick of corporate talk, business buzz terms and mumbo-jumbo. Almost all business marketing
is very dull and boring and I won’t read it.

8. I want ALL the details and specs, including product information, product applications, CAD drawings and plans, costs and shipping. A study finds a very large percentage of buyers say these details are not readily available.

9. I want to read copywriting from a real live person talking to me person to person, and not from some emotionless corporation.

10. I won’t admit it on the record, but I make purchases based on my emotions. Sure I need logic and features for verification, but if you can touch my emotions, I’m much more likely to buy from you.

11. I badly want more from my life than just work. I’m very interested in saving time, work and stress.

12. Make it easy for me! You list many different things I can do and I’m confused. What one thing should I do now and why?

13. Don’t overload your website or brochure with fluff – stick only to relevant
and helpful information I need. I’m tired of all the irrelevant “filler” information on the web and I won’t read through it anymore.

14. Compare your product or service against your competitors for me if it is really as good as you say it is. Be honest, as I’ll see through any favoritism.

15. Be specific; generalities go right into my garbage.

16. What’s your guarantee?

17. How can I test your product, service or company first,
in a low or no cost way, before I make a large commitment?

18. Help me justify the investment to my boss on an ROI basis.

These copywriting secrets applied properly are a main reason one website, direct mail piece or ad can pull 2 to 3 times the response as another for the same product or service. This is why the most successful marketers hire the best outside freelance copywriters they can afford.

The Direct TV Versus Dish Network Dilemma

Eenie meenie, miney mo – to which satellite TV service shall I go? Choosing between Direct TV (it is really called Directv) and the Dish Network is like deciding which political party is more corrupt than the other. It is all a matter of your perception of the programming and preference. Is one really better than the other? Not really. They even have similar marketing promotions like a free satellite TV system when you purchase their satellite TV receiver or buy a certain programming package.

If you go by the number of customers alone, Directv would the outstanding choice. However, that is not necessarily true. They just have a lot more money to spend on advertising. How about price? Should you go by price alone to decide on a satellite dish network or a Direct satellite TV? The answer is no. Each of these satellite TV providers offers something a little different, which could make or break the choice, depending on preference. There is that pesky ‘preference’ thing again!

First of all, let us look at what they both have in common. Both companies present similar deals like free installation or a free satellite TV system. When it comes to movie and local television programming, the pricing is practically the same. Both the Dish Network and Direct TV offer DVR or digital video recording. With your Direct satellite TV however, you could upgrade to the Directv Tivo option for a nominal fee.

The differentiation is in the programming offered to subscribers. If you are aiming for a more international flavor, then the Dish Network would be your best bet. They have networks available in foreign markets that are broadcast in a variety of languages. So if you have transplanted yourself in the United States from somewhere else, chances are you might be able to catch the news and other shows from your homeland. Direct TV does have some foreign programming, mostly on the movie channels, but not the scope that the Dish Network offers.

Now, Directv subscribers have a plethora of options when it comes to American sports. Football, baseball, hockey, NASCAR … these are important to sports fans. When the major sports have play-offs like the NFL or NBA, you can count on those rabid sports fans purchasing a ‘pass’ which buys a whole block of games. The Dish Network does offer sports, but they are more global in their choices. You will likely find rugby, lacrosse and soccer just as much as the football or baseball. They just don’t have as much of a selection. So, if sports are your thing, then going for a Directv dish and satellite system is the best choice for you.

Now you have a perspective from both sides of the two major satellite TV service providers. Both offer similar programming. It is choosing the little things that will influence your decision. Think about the Directv Tivo option. Think about the future possibility of Directv HDTV. If having these things in the future is important, then perhaps your mind is already made up, unlike that decision about which political party is more corrupt …

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