Accounting is built upon an intricate system of balances. There’s the trial balance that always foots nicely to zero. There are individual journal entries that always include equal parts debit and credit. And then you have the Balance Sheet. There is something extremely rewarding about that moment you drop in your current year earnings and see that your Liabilities and Equity are exactly equal to your Total Assets. In my opinion, there is no picture more beautiful than a balanced Balance Sheet.
With all of this balancing and all of our focus on putting information in the right buckets, we accountants do a wonderful job of giving order to chaos. We move the transactions around until we produce a financial statement that gives our client insights into their business results. But sometimes order isn’t enough. If you talk to your clients, the fact that we can give them a report card after the fact is comforting. It’s definitely better than relying on internal reports or a setting prices based on some gut feeling that they are on the right track. That report card helps them see where they have been. But if you listen closely to your clients, you might find them yearning for something more.
Most clients want you to help them paint a picture of their future. They want to make changes that will help them achieve their goals. They want to take the path of least resistance towards building a successful business. They don’t want to waste time on trial and error to decide what they should do. They want guidance and most of them want it now.
You have the skills to show your clients the future. But, when it comes to projections and forecasts and the future, you will have to step out of your comfort zone. You can’t be sure if your unit assumptions are valid. You can’t audit the expected interest rate for the next five years. There is no book of guidelines to show you what gasoline prices will do to your client’s operating expenses in the next five years. You will have to be willing to make guesses and assume that at least some of them will be wrong. And what about your client? Will he expect you to have a perfect crystal ball when it comes to next year or even next month? Of course not. Your client just wants the benefit of your experience. He wants you to apply your knowledge in a different way.
With Mentor Plus $COPE IT!™ software, you can apply the skills you already have in a structured way. You don’t have to spend all of your time keeping the financial statements in balance. You can change assumptions and watch the impact ripple through all of your financial statements. You can undo changes, modify dollars, and revise percentages. You can satisfy your need for balance while addressing your client’s desire to make assumptions, to try new things, and to tweak the numbers.
With the right tool, you can abandon your fear of the unknown and take your client on an entirely different journey. But it all comes down to this. Who do you want to be – a Historian or a Futurist?