I’ve been a business coach for the last 12 years (and the last 6 of them have been spent working exclusively with accountancy practices) and in that time, I’ve noticed something.
Most accountancy practices have targets, plans, goals, dreams and ambitions.
But there’s something missing…
And that something is the difference between a practice thriving and achieving all of its goals and targets, and a practice that only meets some (or none) of its targets.
The thing that’s missing, that is absolutely crucial for success, is accountability.
What exactly does accountability mean?
Put simply, accountability means being held answerable for accomplishing a goal or assignment.
And it’s often what’s missing in accountancy practices.
Tasks get delegated, or targets are set by the practice owner, but that’s where it ends. There is no process in place for holding people accountable and checking that tasks have been completed and targets met.
Unfortunately, the term often has negative connotations attached to it, where certain businesses use it as a way of punishing employees and driving fear into them.
But when used correctly, accountability can have a number of key benefits for your practice:
- Increased performance of your team and practice
- Greater participation and involvement from your team
- Higher levels of creativity and innovation
- Increased staff morale and satisfaction
So, how do you increase accountability with your team?
There are a number of ways you can hold your team accountable, but here are my top 3 for getting results fast in your practice:
1. Effective delegation
Most people think they’re good at delegating, but what they don’t realise is that they’re only good at one part of delegation – asking somebody to do something.
The second part of delegation is where most people fall down – the follow up.
One of the tools I share with my clients for increasing the effectiveness of their delegation and for holding their team accountable, is the Who What When triangle. It’s so simple that you might dismiss it at first, but it gets results every single time.
2. Make your targets public
Having targets is pointless if they only live in your head or on a spreadsheet saved somewhere on your computer.
You have to make them public, and the most effective way to do this is to use whiteboards.
By having whiteboards in your office, you not only share your targets with the rest of the team, you begin to hold them publicly accountable to achieving them.
TOP TIP – split your team into small groups or pods, and for each one have a whiteboard. Set them targets for things you want to improve e.g. turnaround time, and watch the competition commence. You don’t have to say anything, but the natural competitiveness and peer pressure will take over and create a very accountable environment.
3. Leverage technology
Another way to increase accountability with your team is to leverage technology – specifically workflow and task/project management software.
The majority of top workflow softwares allow you to set target dates and deadlines for tasks and jobs. This in itself will hold your team accountable to doing what they say they’ll do because it’s very easy for you (or anyone else) to see what hasn’t been done on time.
Using additional task/project management software e.g. Asana allows you to easily keep track of what has been delegated, so you know exactly when to begin your follow-up.
What about you?
When you’re the practice owner, there’s often nobody to hold you accountable.
Nobody is checking whether you actioned your goals, or helping you look at things from a different perspective, so what can you do?
The easiest thing to do, is to hire a coach.
Think about it, all the greatest sports people have coaches to help focus their training and hold them accountable to making progress, and even leading business figures such as Larry Page and Richard Branson (you can see what he says about having a coach/mentor here) have somebody to hold them accountable…
So, why don’t you?
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking; you’ve hired a coach sometime in the past, they cost you a load of money and didn’t get you any results.
And if that’s the case, it’s probably because of 3 main reasons:
- They weren’t an absolute expert in your industry
- They don’t have a proven process for holding you accountable on a regular basis and actually getting results
- They don’t have a group of clients you can learn from, doing exactly what you want to do, right now
Or maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t need a coach, I can do this by myself…”.
In short, yes you can. But what you’ll find yourself doing is taking the long way round, making lots of mistakes and spending more time and money than what’s needed.
On the other hand, when you work with a coach who has helped many clients in your particular industry get the results that you want, you’ll shortcut the time it takes to get there, save yourself money in the long-run and avoid all of the common mistakes en route.
So, if you’re an accountancy practice owner who:
- Is serious about getting results this year,
- wants to work with a coach with proven expertise in your industry, and
- wants to shortcut the time it takes you to get to the place you want to be…
…then book in a 20-minute telephone conversation with me.
I’ll listen to your challenges and determine whether or not we will be a right fit to work together.
If we aren’t, then I’ll kindly let you know and point you in the right direction. And if we are, then we can arrange a time for you to find out more about how.
Remember, accountability is the missing key to success for most practices.
Follow the steps above to increase accountability for you and your team, and make sure that in 2018 all of your goals, targets, dreams and ambitions are met.