How Accountants Can Sell Effectively and Add More Value - Accounting Influencers

Episode 30

Published on:

27th Dec 2018

How Accountants Can Sell Effectively and Add More Value

Phil Sayers has spent his life in sales. He’s sold products as varied as building materials, storage and logistics equipment, design services, telemarketing services, IT systems management and testing software, satellite communications equipment and software, and accounting and payroll software.

He’s sold and managed sales team around the world and is old enough to have seen how new technology has radically changed the way we work, from the introduction of fax machines, pagers, mobile phones and of course, the internet and cloud technologies.

In the 1990’s, Phil ran one of the fastest growing Sage Resellers in the UK, during a period that saw the early transition from DOS to Windows based software and more recently returned to the Accounting Software sector as Sales and Marketing Director and interim CEO of one of the UK’s cloud accounting software vendors.

In 2018, having worked with accountants and observed the challenges faced by those practices that wanted to expand into the area of advisory services, he founded Proten Sales Development, working with accountants to help improve the effectiveness of their clients’ sales activities. He also heads up the UK business development activities of The Gap Portal, web based software that enables accountants to market, sell and deliver high value advisory services in a consistent, repeatable way. Shownotes:

  • The more successful clients are, the more profitable things are for the accountant
  • Compliance is changing, but definitely not dying
  • The two ways the market for accounting services is changing
  • Technology is generating massive operational efficiency
  • Real time data allows accountants to pinpoint and advise on problems and opportunities before they become issues
  • Downward pressure on fees makes it difficult for accountants to differentiate themselves
  • The four broad groups of accounting firms – lifestyle, growth, exit and niche
  • The different attitudes accounting firms have towards change in a disruptive world
  • Why there’s nothing wrong focusing an accounting practice solely on compliance
  • How technology is helping accountants to be so much quicker and more efficient
  • Many accountants struggle to articulate the benefit of technology to clients and the need for good sales skills
  • How the generation gap plays out in accounting when it comes to technology
  • How accountants can add value in a digital world by making the clients life as easy and free as possible
  • Case study – what is it actually like for someone looking for a new accountant
  • The two reasons why accountants don’t sit comfortably with the word ‘selling’
  • Why the technical nature of accounting makes it difficult to learn the skills of communication and selling
  • It’s what clients ‘don’t know that they don’t know’ that can add massive value from the accountant
  • The struggles accountants have with positioning and selling their advice
  • A lot of accountants like the idea of selling more advisory services but struggle with how to do it
  • Why it’s difficult for accountants to position and sell advisory services without a tool or platform like the GAP Portal
  • The problem of scalability of advisory services – it’s not enough to have one or two champions in an accounting firm who can sell it
  • Selling accounting advisory takes a different set up skills to selling audit and regular compliance work
  • Interpersonal skills – the missing ingredient that helps accountants sell advisory to clients
  • Advisory for accountants opens up a much more interesting career path for young professionals than mere compliance
  • Big problem for accountants in doing advisory work is charging for it – it’s hard to break away from years of pricing in a particular way
  • Compliance isn’t dead for accounting firms – many accountants still excel at and really enjoy that critical side of the work
  • In order to provide the best service to clients, you need lots of weapons and ammunition
  • The best accountants build up a network of useful, trusted professionals they can introduce to their clients
  • The accounting profession is the second most highly trusted profession behind healthcare
  • Learn three great questions to get the advisory conversation on the agenda.

Phil is regularly asked to speak on the changing landscape and future of the accounting services market and has published a book It’s All About The Value; a simple step by step approach to help small businesses improve the effectiveness of their selling activities. Find out more at or to contact Phil directly:

 LinkedIn or on Twitter or  Liked your Accounting Influencers Interview with Rob Brown" target="_blank">email him directly>>

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About the Podcast

Accounting Influencers
Insights, interviews and commentary for accounting, CPA, bookkeeping and finance professionals
ACCOUNTING INFLUENCERS is a weekly podcast for accountants, CPAs, bookkeeping and finance professionals, together with the networks, associations, fintech vendors and influencers who lead them, work in them and serve them.

The show is hosted by Rob Brown. co-founder of the Accounting Influencers Roundtable (AIR). The style of the show is not overly technical/technological/tax in nature but more on people, performance and success in the accounting world. Popular topics and themes covered include:

☑ leadership, executive presence, trust, integrity & reputation
☑ M&A, business models, future proofing, drivers of change & disruption
☑ performance, values, culture, vision & strategy
☑ employer brand, gen z/millennials & talent - succession, recruitment and retention
☑ industry trends, statistics and patterns
☑ growth, marketing, differentiation & positioning
☑ pricing & profitability
☑ digitisation, cloud, technology & automation
☑ advisory services, niches & emerging markets
☑ environmental & social governance ESG
☑ diversity, equity & inclusion DEI
☑ professionalism, career development & CPE/CPD
☑ business acumen & commercial awareness

Sources and guests come from:
★ EXPERTS - influencers, disrupters, consultants, gurus, podcasters and broadcasters in accounting and fintech
★ EVENTS - live coverage and interviews from exhibitions, conferences and a range of industry events
★ MEDIA - newspapers, online outlets, commentators, writers, bloggers and authors
★ VENDORS - suppliers and providers of accounting apps, platforms, fintech and software
★ REGULATORS - professional accounting bodies, institutes and associations
★ NETWORKS - alliances, associations, networks and communities of professional firms and accounting practices
★ SOCIAL MEDIA - opinion pieces, high engagement posts and controversial conversations

Rob Brown is a renowned presenter, facilitator and chair of high level conferences, panels and events globally for the accounting and fintech profession. He is retained by many professional networks, alliances, associations, practices and vendors to chair their events and provide high-level interview content for their communities.

He is a dynamic speaker and accomplished expert on trust, reputation, employer brand, talent, career development, succession, gen z/generations, executive presence, referrals, networking and winning new business. He is also the bestselling author of Build Your Reputation (Wiley) and his TEDx talk ‘The Personal Brand of You’ has been viewed 320K times on YouTube.
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About your hosts

Martin Bissett

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Martin Bissett is the founder of the Bissett Group of companies that provide practice and personal growth communities, content, and continuing education exclusively to the accounting and bookkeeping professions worldwide.

Previously he established a high six-figure consulting firm while serving as a keynote speaker with over 100 one-off and repeat engagements to his name, as well as becoming the most published author on his topics of specialism with 11 books including 1 bestseller.

Since 1998, he has played a major part in working with over 1800 accounting firms in over 40 countries. These projects have led to those firms acquiring over £500m of recurring fees before inflationary increases, referrals and upselling are factored in. He stopped keeping track of this number over 5 years ago. Martin now advises both accounting practitioners and FinTech companies alike, at board level.

Rob Brown

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Rob Brown is a renowned MC, facilitator and chair of virtual and in-person panels, conferences and events globally for the accounting and fintech profession.

Rob is co-founder of the Accounting Influencers Roundtable (AIR) mastermind group and co-hosts the world’s most popular accounting and fintech podcast: Accounting Influencers.

Throughout the pandemic, he chaired 24 virtual panels with leaders of global accounting networks and alliances to discuss the key issues and challenges. Rob is retained by several associations and vendors to chair their events and provide high-level interview content for their communities.

He is the bestselling author of Build Your Reputation (Wiley) and his TEDx talk ‘The Personal Brand of You’ has been viewed 300K times on YouTube.