Would Clients Notice If You Dropped Dead Today?

A morbid topic? Not really.

Even so, I am reminded that one of my friends once told me that the number of people who turn up to your funeral is directly proportional to the state of the weather on the day. Not really a comforting thought is it?

But seriously, would your client notice if you had expired, if you had gone to meet your maker or if you received a call from The Man Upstairs this morning?

Truth is, they probably would.

They’d send messages of condolences, they’d support the people who needed their support and (depending on the state of the weather on the day) they’d turn up at your funeral — or at least the wake!

And then guess what. They’d go to someone else in your firm and say, ‘So who’s going to do my work now — let’s get on with business.’

And guess what again — someone would step up to the plate and do the work that you used to do. What’s even more interesting is this — the client would be delighted with what that person does.

So now let’s assume we agree that that would be precisely (or even approximately) the scenario. Then two key questions arise.

Here’s the first: why don’t I run the firm NOW as a business so that it doesn’t depend on me? The second question is almost the same: why don’t I run the firm NOW as if I had expired? Put it more simply, why don’t I run the firm now to match the actual reality of what would happen if I were no longer here.

When you do that you can then treat the fact that you’re still alive as a bonus but — and it’s a big but — you modify what you do. In fact, it might even pay you to metamorphose into a bumblebee.

Let me explain why by referring to Walt Disney (tipping my hat along the way to my friend Ron Baker in California. Ron wrote the best book yet written on the profession — it’s called "The Professionals Guide to Value Pricing" — and he gave me the source for the Disney reference.)
Walt Disney tells the story of being asked if he drew Mickey Mouse. Disney continues, "I had to admit I do not draw anymore." ‘Then you think up all the jokes and ideas?’ No, I said, I don’t do that. Finally, my questioner looked at me and said, ‘Mr. Disney, just what do you do?’ Well, sometimes I think of myself as a little bee. I go from one area of the Studio to another and gather pollen and sort of stimulate everybody. I guess that’s the job I do.”

Good thinking Walt! And of course, we miss him just like your clients will miss you too. But we love the legacy (the bits of pollen if you will) that Disney left behind — empowered people sharing a truly magic culture and passion for what they do.

Some food for thought for the New Millennium (or for the next wake you go to).

Paul Dunn
Results Accountants Systems


This is the first in a series of articles authored by Results Accountants Systems.

Results Accountants' Systems improves the profitability and performance of Accounting Firms around the world. Beginning with its revolutionary Accountants Boot Camp experience, RAS enables CPA firms to develop and deliver practice-proven consulting and advisory services while creating dynamic, stimulating professional environments. RAS systems and support provide firms with the products and the people that differentiate them from the competition.

From its inception in Western Australia in 1992, RAS has been a leading force for changing the accounting profession, moving firms from compliance work into value-added consulting services. In the process, RAS has grown into a multinational organization, launching successful operations in North America and Europe. Nearly 3500 firms worldwide have taken advantage of the RAS systems and the Results Accountants' Network to increase profits and invigorate their practices. For information on the latest tools and resources to improve your firm's performance, call Results Accountants' Systems at 1 800 800 5601, or visit the RAS website at www.ras-net.com.

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