From the December 2009 Issue
For all of you who are in the business of consulting, in addition to accounting services, the month of December is the calm before the storm. As you wrap up 2009 and make your plans for next year, it’s a good time to pop up a few levels and look at where you add value in the world. Think about your business, your clients and the vendors with whom you work, and focus on your core values ... and on what drives your success.
Recently, Jeanne Tarazevits, a member of The Sleeter Group Consultants Network, posted to our forum about how her perspective has changed as her practice has grown over the years. Here is what she said, followed by my response to her:
I’ve found the last few years to be transformative. I can only speak to my own experience, but I hope the following will be informative and educational. I categorize my QuickBooks experience in the following stages:
- QuickBooks Accountant
Intimate relationship with small clients – Characterized by training, some bookkeeping for small enterprises, lots of QuickBooks clean-up projects.
- QuickBooks Consultant
Intimate relationship with larger clients – Looking for best solutions for client; less involved in everyday transactions; client has some accounting staff – still doing QuickBooks clean up.
- QuickBooks Mid-Market
Client has professional staff, looking for third-party products to fill need, spend more time dealing with inter-company workflows and personnel; most of my work is done in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, not QuickBooks.
Selling solutions that address specific needs of clients. May not even be engaged by the client to provide consulting because they may have in-house people, or a different outside consultant.
As my practice has moved through these stages, my perspective has changed. For example: As a QuickBooks Accountant, I found QuickBooks Enterprise (QBES) to be way too expensive – as did my clients. As a QuickBooks Consultant, I was more inclined to recommend QBES and recognize its value. In the Mid-Market, it’s a must, and as a VAR I now see QBES as incredibly inexpensive.
I’ve also realized with these changing roles, my perspective on what’s appropriate has changed. I recently criticized someone who had graduated to the VAR level of our group for selling the wrong solution to clients in my area. But in all fairness, I’ve probably done the same thing. I now have folks who call and describe their situation over the phone. Based upon client-provided information, I propose solutions, I demo solutions, and the clients make a buy/don’t buy decision. I’m not acting as a Consultant in these situations because I haven’t been to their shops, and I don’t know their businesses intimately. I’m just offering up ideas based on what they tell me, and they make the decision.
It’s a matter of perspective.