Technology Consultants Must Lead to Succeed
by Terri Eyden on
At this point, the client is seemingly beyond the point of no return and is now looking for someone to blame. If not blame, the client is certainly looking for help to unravel this disaster and, almost certainly, doesn't have the skills on staff to figure the right way out of the problem.
I'm sure you're getting the picture here. So let's ask a few questions again. Based on what you've heard about this client's story:
- Should the consultant have recommended the vendor at all?
- Should the consultant have stayed uninvolved in the implementation, even though he's the main accounting software consultant for the client?
- Should the vendor salesman have done more to disqualify this prospective sale?
- Who is to blame for this disaster? (A) the consultant, (b) the vendor, (c) the client, or (d) a mixture of all of the above?
- What should be done now? And who should lead the client out of the muddy waters?
This situation clearly shows why consultants must lead to succeed. In this case, most likely the consultant will lose the client, or at least lose the respect he once had from the client. From the client's perspective, the consultant's job is to (a) keep the systems running smoothly, (b) recommend the right solution for improving the system, and (c) be there to support the client and resolve problems that are bound to occur from time to time.
The whole point here is that in order to deliver your services in a truly professional way, you must assert yourself with each of your clients. First, and most importantly, you must develop trust with your client. Then, once you've gained the client's trust, you must take control to make sure you have complete involvement in every aspect of software, hardware, and implementations that affect the overall system.
Clients hire you because they don't have the skills to do what you do. So go out and give them what you signed up for. That means you'll forever be schooling yourself in new technologies, software solutions, and best practices for implementations.
At the end of the day, the buck stops with you, but consulting is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, so enjoy the ride.
About the author:
Doug Sleeter (@dougsleeter) is the founder and president of The Sleeter Group, a worldwide network of over 700 accounting software consultants. He is a passionate leader of innovation and change in the small business accounting technology world. As a CPA firm veteran and former "Apple Computer Evangelist," he has melded his two great passions (accounting and technology). CPA Practice Advisor has recognized him as one of the "Top 25 Thought Leaders" in the accounting profession for the past several years, and he has been named to Accounting Today's "Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting" each year since 2008.