The Real Blocker to Progress in Your Business

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| Des O'Neill

As firm owners, we know what we should do to make our businesses more profitable and less stressful. It's not a question of not knowing what the problems are or what the solutions are. Accounting and bookkeeping firm owners are talented advisors. They're working with businesses and see every day what is working and what is not working in business. Accounting business owners give advice to their clients. We know how to remove the blockers but why don’t we?

If we know what we should do what is holding us back?

The reality and the reasons are not clear. If I could find the answer to this question, I would be a retired gazillionaire. From working with thousands of firms and thousands of firm owners over the last 20 years, the answer to this question is comparable to the Holy Grail for accountants, bookkeepers and tax advisors. It's even bigger than that though it's the question, if answered, could transform the lives of so many entrepreneurs.


If we had more time everything would be different. Creating more time should be easy because it's not really time that is the problem it's just about prioritising what is truly important. Everyone has the same 1440 minutes a day. Why do some people seem to get exponentially more done in their 1440?

The people who get more done just prioritise better. They use Pareto to identify the 20% effort that is going to get the 80% result. And more importantly, they use Extreme Pareto to find their ONE Thing. The ONE Thing such that by doing it, to completion, makes everything else easier or unnecessary.

If it was that easy, we would have removed the blocker.

Better Clients

It's not just time though it's our clients. If we had better clients we would have more time to prioritise the truly important things. Now we want better clients but it is hard to create the time to attract better clients.

Maybe an easier thing to consider is if we cut all our non-ideal clients. Let's not beat around the bush here. It's not just non-ideal clients. We should cut the energy-sucking, time-devouring vampire clients. But again the problem is we need time to do this.

Better Team

It's not just time and our clients though. If we had a better team we would be able to attract and serve better clients and that would give us more time.

The problem here though is we need better clients to attract a better team. Better clients are more profitable and that means we can pay our team better. If we have better happier clients we will have a happier team.

To build a better team and attract a better team we need more time.

Better Systems and Procedures

If we had better systems and procedures and better technology, that would make us more efficient and then we would be able to attract a better team who would give better service to our better customers. And if you put all those things together you would end up with more time.

We could create betters systems and procedures if we had a better team and all of this is really contingent on having the time to focus on it.

Better Services

If we had better systems and procedures and were more efficient using better technology with a better team on better clients it goes without saying that we could deliver better services.

Who doesn’t want to provide better services? But only if we had the time.

Better Fees and Better Profits

If we were delivering better services, to better clients, with a better team, using better systems, and better technology, and achieving better efficiency we would definitely be able to charge better fees and deliver better profits which would allow us to look after our team better and look after our customer better.

If we were doing that, how different would our worlds be?

More Time

I hope you're still with me and I hope you'll agree that if we had better customers, a better team, better systems, better technology, better efficiency, better services, better fees and better profits we would have more time.

The time issue is not one-dimensional but even as a multi-dimensional problem, it can be solved. So what's really holding us back and what is the biggest blocker to progress?

Perfection is the Biggest Blocker to Progress

We operate in a black-and-white world where things are right or they are wrong. Either something balances or it doesn’t.

Perfection is the greatest enemy of progress. Imperfect action wins every time.

No matter what challenge you're facing and no matter what the next obstacle to progress is for you:

Just do it.

Take action.

You do not need to be able to see the top of the stairs to take the first step.

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About the Author

Having worked for a number of years in practice, and with one of the profession’s regulatory and support institutes, Des co-founded OmniPro to develop tools, techniques, products and services that make accountancy more profitable and rewarding. Des is passionate about bringing innovation to the accountancy profession and enabling accountants to achieve what they want from their careers and business. His core belief is that when empowered to achieve their best, accountants can deliver transformative results for clients. Today, OmniPro has a multi-million-euro turnover, and its operations span the areas of practice support; practice development; company secretarial; tax and legal; corporate finance; continuing professional development and online information products. As managing director, Des’ focus is on strategic development and expansion of the group as an internationally recognised professional and personal development brand. ProfitPro is the newest company in the group, and Des has developed a practice management blueprint, designed to help principals and partners build less stressful, more profitable and more rewarding practices, aligned to their business and life goals. With unique insights on the accountancy profession, Des speaks regularly at national and international fora, on practice development, auditing, accounting, company law and regulation. He is a frequent commentator on the impact of new legalisation and technology on the work of accountants in practice. He holds qualifications from the ACCA Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, CPA Institute of Certified Public Accountants and ACIS Association of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.


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