BLOG: Innovation as your competitive advantage

Jamie Johns from Sky Accountants has received another accounting industry accolade for innovation. How does he do it...?

BLOG: Innovation as your competitive advantage

Website projects are a collaborative journey, and we had fun working alongside Jamie Johns and Wayne Schmidt to showcase Sky Accountants to full advantage. The use of audio testimonials, a compelling video introduction, and an interesting 'rants' section (along with live chat) support Jamie's 'doing things differently' approach to a typical accounting website. 

Finders, minders, grinders

Jamie very generously shares all his trade secrets, knowing full well it's actually quite challenging to execute. Best practice has meant taking a top down approach, evolving from a 'cottage industry', small business approach to more of a corporate model. Sky Accountants is structured around three key roles: 

  • Finders - to generate leads and sales
  • Minders - client managers who deal with client queries and relationships
  • Grinders - to do the work

This approach means the partners can be focused on the big picture and strategic direction of the practice by taking the 'Finder' role. From there getting the right people on the bus, and in the right seats, provides an organisational structure that works. 

7 Steps to success

Having a guarantee that they will deliver on their promise, front and centre, really seals the deal for many prospective clients. 

1. Guarantee - all work is scheduled, and delivered as promised. 

2. Requirements gathering - this is all done up front, for a 'no surprises' approach. 

3. Fix-fee everything. Currently only an estimated 5% of accounting firms are taking this approach. This fee includes all communications, so no extra charges for emails or calls.

4. Sell products - this becomes possible with a fixed-fee approach.

5. Embrace cloud - 'we just do Xero!' Technology is used to full advantage at every opportunity. 

6. Measure efficiency. That means using timesheets internally only, to really keep tabs on what's happening within the  practice.

7. Annual AGM with each client. This is an opportunity to define what 'success' really means for each client, and align personal and business goals. 

Jamie is a firm believer in adding value and building for the future, and the key is a deep understanding of his clients' needs and aspirations.  

Find a niche

It's difficult to be all things to all people, and execute well. Sky Accountants have their niche within the hospitality and tourism sectors, for which there are over a hundred Addons alone. Their virtual CFO offering is also increasingly popular.

Getting clarity on your niche or specialty can help you focus and become the 'Go To' experts for your vertical.

20% growth, year on year

It's important to stay ahead of the curve, and the industry is becoming more competitive. Executing what business consultants say you SHOULD do will help with your business growth, but execution is not always easy. Servicing your clients well should be your baseline for 15% growth year on year. A focus on a niche or a vertical could get you 20 - 30% growth (or even more if you execute well). 

Sky Accountants have experienced 20% growth in the last 12 months, and with a key choke point identified have ambitious goals for the year ahead. Watch this space for the next innovation accolade!

Michelle Polglase PracticePlus

As General Manager for PracticePlus, Michelle is inspired by innovation and on a mission to provide the best website solutions for accountants and bookkeepers globally.