What does it take to capture and demonstrate the value you're delivering to your clients?
In this podcast discussion you'll hear from Michael Carthy of Carthy Accountants in Stafford.
Michael talks about the 'value register' they keep for every one of their 300 limited company clients and how he's skilled up his team to ask the goals questions - what do you want to achieve for your business, for your life - even?
This is because Michael and his team are passionate about helping their clients achieve a better life, not just a better business.
So, what does it take to to get trained accountants to ask business owners - "what do you want for your life ahead?"
Michael's cracked that one! Every year, for every client, he's captured a 'value register' that shows at least one of the three 'freedoms' that Michael talks about in this podcast discussion.
The three freedoms they want for their clients around time, time to do what business owners really want to do, the money that enables them to do it and the peace of mind that comes from running a business with confidence and certainty, partly because they've got the right accountancy firm working alongside them.
So why not please join me on this Humanise The Numbers podcast discussion with Michael Carthy.
I hope you enjoy this discussion as much as I have.
"So accountants are not natural sellers - they're accountants, they're analytical people and it's taken me a long time to work out how to best talk to accountants about selling, up-selling, cross-selling, whichever way you want to put it.
"And the best way I found to describe is we are problem-solving.
"We are finding a problem and offering a solution."
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TRANSCRIPT - unedited
Paul Shrimpling: Welcome to the Humanise The Numbers the Numbers podcast series. Leaders, managers, and owners of ambitious accounting firms, sharing insights, successes, and issues that will challenge you and connect you and your firm to the ways and means of transforming your firms results.
[00:00:21] Michael Carthy: So accountants are not natural sellers.
[00:00:25] And they're accountants, they're analytical people and it's taken me a long time to work out how to best talk to accountants about selling,upselling, cross selling whichever way you want to put it. And the best way I found to describe is we are problem-solving. We are finding a problem and offering a solution.
[00:00:50] Paul Shrimpling: How do your clients determine the value that your firm delivers? How does a firm of accountants acknowledge the value they deliver? Year in year out, quarter in, quarter out, month in, month out. Well on this podcast, you'll hear from Michael Carthy, from his firm in Stafford talk about the value register that they keep and the challenging conversation we have around the non-tangible value that matters I would argue most to your clients as opposed to the tangible payoff they get from working with you. You'll also hear Michael talk about the natural tendency, not to sell and not to advise and how we work through overcoming those challenges. When we want to take a firm towards advisory fees, advisory profits, as well as delivering compliance.
[00:01:41] Let's go to that podcast discussion with Mike on that.
[00:01:44] Michael Carthy: Hi, I'm Michael Carthy. I'm the managing director of Carthy accountants. We are a small high street accounting firm based in Stafford. We do however, have an arm called CA tax international which deals with expatriate tax returns. So we do have clients across every continent. As an accountancy firm, we have 700 plus clients, 300 of which are limited companies.
[00:02:12]But we also pride ourselves on being slightly different that We use the accounts and the numbers as a tool to improve our client's business and their lives.
[00:02:28] Paul Shrimpling: So bigstatement improving the lives of your clients. Michael what exactly does that mean?
[00:02:34] Michael Carthy: So there's a thing with accountants where they talk about being business advisors as well.
[00:02:41] And a lot of the times. They will tag in, we will help our business owners grow their business. Now, although sometimes that's what's needed for the client to achieve what they want to achieve. Sometimes business growth, isn't going to improve their lives and potentially shrink the business.
[00:03:07]They might be able to achieve what they want to achieve. More of we, we work along sort of the, the free three freedoms of time, money and peace of mind which essentially anything with those three is achievable. Because let's say you want more holiday. You need time away from the business.
[00:03:24] You need the money to pay for the holidays and you need the peace of mind to sit on the beach, knowing that you're going to come back to a business.
[00:03:32] Paul Shrimpling: Love that, love that. So it's it's not business growth purely down to the numbers. It's the growth of. The life of the business owner that, that matters most in and around time.
[00:03:42] Money. Yeah. Peace of mind. How does that translate onto your team though? Michael? Cause we're not, we're not talked about, you've not introduced your team yet. How many, how many of you go? So
[00:03:50] Michael Carthy: I've got 22 team members all sort of levels. So we've got some ACA we've got AAT. ATTs. We have yeah, a very mixed bag of mixed bag, mixed bag of qualifications.
[00:04:09] We are also a training hub. So we train for ICA w and the CCA as well. We did training just while we're on the team, because It's great to train people our way of doing it. Because we do work that differently. That actually, if they've been trained within the way we work, it's a lot easier than bringing them in pre-trade by another firm where let's be honest at some firms they're told to sit there, do the keep your head down, do the accounts.
[00:04:38] We don't want you to import into our business off you go. Whereas here we want everyone to know. Right.
[00:04:44] Paul Shrimpling: Okay. Okay. So how then does improve the lives of your team work in and around improving that time? Money and peace of mind?
[00:04:54] Michael Carthy: So we are again, I, although I say it myself, we're actually very good with the team we believe family's more important than work.
[00:05:07] So if people have any family issues, we don't ask them to take holiday. We normally ask what you still doing here when they come and talk to us. But for instance, we don't make people take holiday for Carol concerts or sports days because why should you, you should be able to go and do your family time.
[00:05:27]But we also then get the quid pro quo. Where in January, and I don't think I've had a soil request or overtime request for three or four years, even though I know it happens. But because we treat our team well, they treat us well. Brilliant,
[00:05:48] Paul Shrimpling: brilliant. So I get the time. Okay. That, that influences, therefore, if you've got that family focuses peace of mind that money, how does it how does it translate into the into the money bit, which is a little bit more punchy sometimes isn't it.
[00:06:03] Michael Carthy: I didn't have the money translate to the T.
[00:06:05] Paul Shrimpling: Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's like you talk about the three freedoms, which I think is a really powerful line. So freedom for your customers in our own time, money and peace of mind, but freedom, the three freedoms for your team time, peace of mind. I've just, I've I've not heard where, how the, the, the, the monetary thing in terms of, you know, how they advance and, and, and sell.
[00:06:25] Michael Carthy: So we. I mean, we, we pay reasonably well for our, our team members. We also will have a target for our, our yearly turnover. And we tend to say anything above that for say the first 20,000 we'll we'll split between you all when we hit the
[00:06:45] Paul Shrimpling: level. So it's just as well, the team do well.
[00:06:48] Michael Carthy: Yeah, we all.
[00:06:49]We pay ourselves a reasonable amount. We just strip the business out. We keep our drawings in line with the rest of the team. Right. And they can see that. So they don't,
[00:07:06] Paul Shrimpling: so they can see that. What do you mean? They can see.
[00:07:09] Michael Carthy: They can see that we're not extravagant in the way that we take money out of the business.
[00:07:15] So they they don't sit there thinking we're doing all the work and they're getting all the money
[00:07:21] Paul Shrimpling: Monday. Right. Okay. Alright. So you, you building that sense of fairness as a consequence into the building
[00:07:26] Michael Carthy: the basis as well, we all do.
[00:07:28] Paul Shrimpling: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So therefore there's a sense of achievement.
[00:07:31]And w w w what's the sense of sort of a team ethic cameraderie piece what's that like in your phone?
[00:07:38] Michael Carthy: And very, very good, actually. Forgive me,
[00:07:41] Paul Shrimpling: that's a really clumsy question. Let me ask a better question. How would they describe. The team, the sense of team and camaraderie, not you. I know this is I'm twisting words here, but you know, how would they describe the team atmosphere, the team sense of comradery in your
[00:07:56] Michael Carthy: film?
[00:07:57] So if I bought one of them in here now, and you asked that question, the first word that would come out would be family, right? There's a lot of discussion when it comes to eight family from, because obviously at one point there was my dad, may my sister and my mom all working in the business. So when we said family firm, people naturally assumed we meant it's cause there's family in it.
[00:08:21] Yeah. But it's not. So for me, sorry for the team members, they feel part of the family. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Our clients feel part of the family. So they would say it's a family, you have arguments with family, but you've got their back. So. We really are a family firm.
[00:08:46] Paul Shrimpling: Okay. So cook culture matters clearly as a business
[00:08:49] Michael Carthy: major late.
[00:08:50]Paul Shrimpling: I can see that I can hear that as well. So because we talk about humanizing numbers and this conversation so much zeroed in on the humanity of, of what's going on in the firm at the moment. And then we can expand on that later. I am now curious a lot. This you've got me hook line and sinker on the three freedoms, by the way you know, time, money and peace of mind.
[00:09:07] How would you track and measure that so that you can see it's working for your clients?
[00:09:12]Michael Carthy: So our sit down once a year with our clients to work out their goals for the year I tend to start at the very end, which is when you get an hour to this, how old are you going to be? What's your lifestyle going to be like What do you want people to remember you for?
[00:09:32]And I actually tend to start with with quite a quite a dark scenario which I got taught years ago, which is you, you talk them through you, you're outside big stone building and the doors open. You go in up and down, both sides, people all in black, you walk down the aisle at the bottom is a coffin there.
[00:09:50] You're looking, you're lying in there. There's a person stood at the lack of. What are they going to say about you? And no one wants that person to say they ran a very good business. They want them to say they were a great dad. They did a lot for charity. They were a great listener, that sort of thing. So we'll work out that, and then we'll work backwards.
[00:10:16]And I tend to work around a five-year plan at a time. So we know where we want to be in five years. Then we work on that year. And when we get the goals together, it's things like I want to be able to take two weeks holiday and we know to achieve that. They need to be able to take enough money out, to go on that holiday.
[00:10:35] They need to trust the team enough to leave them in charge while they go away. And they need the time to be able to go away. Hmm. I have been with clients who have not been on holiday for eight years and sat with them. And they've said, do you know what? I just can't trust my team enough. And I then sat with their team and the team have said he doesn't trust us enough.
[00:11:04] We want to, we want to be more responsible, but he doesn't trust us enough. And as soon as you bash all the heads together, Two months later that client is off on holiday. The business is running absolutely brilliantly and it's, and it's all hunky Dory. And so measuring is very important. We then have a monthly zoom to see where they are.
[00:11:26] And then we have the quarterly 90 day planning sessions where we make sure they hit their 90 day goals. And we plan for the next 90 days.
[00:11:35] Paul Shrimpling: So, are you doing that for all 300 clients, then you've got your annual goal setting, your quarterly planning and your monthly zooms. Is that times 300?
[00:11:43]Michael Carthy: No, it's not.
[00:11:44]Purely for scalability purposes. The clients will get a yearly review meeting, so they all get that they all get the yearly one. They all get that. Not necessarily with me, that'll be with their client relationship manager
[00:11:55] Paul Shrimpling: and two, the client relationship managers ask them that goals question. They
[00:11:59] Michael Carthy: do.
[00:11:59] Yes. Okay.
[00:12:00]Paul Shrimpling: How comfortable are they doing that then? Michael. Cause that's not, that's not comfort zone
[00:12:04] Michael Carthy: stuff. Is it that they're happening? They seen, they've seen me do it. They've all sat in meetings and, and, and I've done it and, and it's once you've done it the first time you relaxed and it's a bit like when, when, and I'll use the S word, the selling word, the first time you go to sell something.
[00:12:24] Yeah. You're nervous. Your hands are sweating. Your mouth's all dry. And you know, you're going to ask for X amount and you and you think, oh God, can I do this? And you say it and they go, all right, then I'm suddenly like, oh, brilliant. And then from then on, it's absolutely fine. And it's exactly the same with that.
[00:12:44] Don't know. So
[00:12:46] Paul Shrimpling: what I've heard there is every year, every one of you, 300 limited company, managing directors have a goals conversation with either you or one of your team without. And your team have developed that skill. Cause all it is is a questioning skill. Isn't it? They developed that skill because first of all, they saw you do it more than once probably.
[00:13:04] And then they went ahead and did it themselves felt uncomfortable the first time. Like the first time you ride a bike, you fall off in school for your knees and then they get better and better at it.
[00:13:14] Michael Carthy: Okay.
[00:13:15] Paul Shrimpling: The business owners don't mind being asked, sorry, just the business owners. How do they feel about being asked that question by someone who isn't a business
[00:13:23] Michael Carthy: owner?
[00:13:23] So. It varies. And the conversation only carries on if that business owner wants it to carry on. And, and essentially we've got two or three different outcomes. Number one is you can't drill down to that goals. So that goals are, I want to put 20% on the business number. What's your personal goal? 20% more on the business.
[00:13:50] It's not going to work. They're closed book. Okay. That's. Overwhelms will Almanar and we'll come up with some, but still arm majorly bought into it. And then you have the other ones that really buy into it, say, oh my goodness, no one's ever asked me this sort of thing before. This is fantastic. And at that point, the client manager says, well, we can actually do more of this for you along the accountability side, at which point.
[00:14:21] Either myself or Aaron will get bought into the meeting to talk to them about how we work with clients to improve their lives by giving you three freedoms. So your
[00:14:33] Paul Shrimpling: team see that as a spot the problem or spot the opportunity, depending on which side of the coin you want to look at with that. And then they refer that into either you or Aaron, and then you'll follow through on.
[00:14:44] Yeah. Wow. Wow. So you've got a team of accountants got to a place where they're having a goals conversation every year with every, every limited company. Yes.
[00:14:52] Michael Carthy: Owner
[00:14:53] Paul Shrimpling: marvelous. So how, how many, how many are you in that quarterly planning? Monthly zoom,
[00:14:58] Michael Carthy: about 40 at the minute where we are talking to them regularly.
[00:15:05]I am trying at the minute, it's been a bit of a. Yeah, the old express, pushing the Boulder up the hill and suddenly it starts rolling and you just can't stop it. So my,
[00:15:18] Paul Shrimpling: I mean, you go to your boss, Michael, if you push the Opal in, it starts rolling and it comes with squashes. Is that what you mean? Yeah.
[00:15:23] Right. Okay.
[00:15:24] Michael Carthy: Scalability is a problem or is it the mineral? And the way I'm dealing with that is as much automation and systemization as possible. So every client that has these services has a WhatsApp group where I can send motivational quotes too, and just check in with them. They can also then ask, ask me questions via there.
[00:15:46]That is something that I can designate another member of the team to be able to sit on that. So although it's me responding. It's actually coming from another member of the team, but don't tell
[00:16:00] Paul Shrimpling: him that. Cool. Well, they're going to listen to the podcast or you've just dealt them. Okay. Okay. So I'm now curious about, you've got 40 clients who are in that quarterly planning and or monthly zoom with WhatsApp support group.
[00:16:16]How does the average fee differ for the 40 compared to the other 200? And. You got any sense of that?
[00:16:24] Michael Carthy: Yes, it
[00:16:29] did. It makes a major difference on the fees. And the reason is if you're advising a client and finding where that pinch points, pain points and problems are and offering a solution to them, which you are being negligent. If you don't. Normally the solution is why don't you let us take care of this? Why don't you let us take care of this?
[00:17:00] So the F the F there's obviously the fee for the advisory work, but the actual accounts fees are more than double with advisory clients, right? Because we are, they're basically saying you, if, if you try and do this yourself, Thanks for your time saying those words without saying that, you know, do you re do you, do you want to sit and take scanning a hundred invoices in when that hour that you're doing that you can be out selling your services or your, all your things?
[00:17:38] So and naturally the mindset is if they're paying for a, a coach and advisor, whatever, that, that their mindset is one. And as long as I can see the value and the return on my investment, I will pay for it.
[00:17:57] Paul Shrimpling: It's interesting as in that value and ROI. But before I dive into that, I want to just pick up on that comment about you're negligent.
[00:18:04] If you don't help that client get clarity on the problem and resolve the problem. That's a
[00:18:09] Michael Carthy: big statement. Isn't it? It, it is. It's how on I so accountants are not natural self. And they're accountants, they're analytical people and it's taken me a long time to work out how to best talk to accountants about Sally upselling.
[00:18:30] Cross-selling whichever way you want to put it. And the best way I found to describe is we are problem-solving. We are finding a problem and offering a solution. Yes, that solution comes into fee, but that's because we sell our time. I then say to them, if you were doing a set of accounts, found a problem in the accounts and didn't highlight it to the client, you're negligible in what you're doing.
[00:18:55] Therefore, what's the difference in that with their business, right.
[00:19:00]Paul Shrimpling: It's, it's very powerful positioning. Isn't it in that actually, it's putting the responsibility on you and your team to actually pursue questions and decisions around the best use of their time, their money and the resulting peace of mind.
[00:19:13]Now, like I like that. But you, you you've just waved a red rag to a bull in what you've just said that because we sell our time. Now it's funny, weird, arguably, that I was thinking about this this morning, just because I've been in a couple of group sessions with groups of accountants this week.
[00:19:30] And it, it it we're having timesheet debates and all the rest of it. I don't want to have the time sheet debate. That's on another podcast. We're on bakeries, better at talking about it than anyone else. And I was thinking, cause my son is I've got to tip them. I've got three sons, but two of them are musicians.
[00:19:45]W one of them is a quite competent on the state on the same. And they're a jazz double bass player. And he goes to a gig and he gets paid for his time at the gig. But actually it doesn't get paid for this time. At the gig, it gets paid for all the work he's done to be able to play that well on stage in that 90 minutes or whatever.
[00:20:06] And so I really struggled with this. We sell our time because it tends to focus the mind on the 10 minutes of a Q and a that can profoundly change the profitability or comp profoundly help the business owner, make the decision to take holidays and trust his team. And the value of that has got absolutely nothing to do with that 10 minutes slot.
[00:20:27] So, and then now to understand what you mean by we sell time.
[00:20:33] Michael Carthy: We, we sell time, I'll waive the the rack again. So we sell, be good. We sell, we sell time, but the cost of that time varies depending on what we are doing. So, if we're doing basic bookkeeping, then that time could be worth 30 pound an hour. If I'm doing a strategy session that is going to improve the life of my client, that time is worth 250 pounds.
[00:21:17] So the value of the time varies, but we're still selling the same thing.
[00:21:25] Paul Shrimpling: Okay. I, well, actually I would argue that you're not selling the same thing because one's bookkeeping one is not, so you're not selling the same thing, which is your point as well. So, and the price varies. It's still the same unit of time.
[00:21:37] Yeah. Something else gets delivered. Yeah. All right. So that's the delivery part of it, but actually the client experience, the value, the client experiences is actually helps the client determine whether they get return on investment or not, not the time.
[00:21:53] Michael Carthy: No. So
[00:21:55] Paul Shrimpling: all the service that's delivered, it's their perception of where the value comes from.
[00:21:58] Isn't it? That,
[00:21:59] Michael Carthy: yeah, we also do something called a value register. All right. I don't know if he's ah, okay. So it is an ongoing register, a list. Of how we are the value, the physical pound note value that we have given to that client, because the amount of times we do things on a just, we just get on with things and we don't highlight it.
[00:22:28] Simple things like paying dividends rather than the biggest salary. Yeah. We don't tell the client, well, this has saved you X amount in this year. Yeah. Certainly if you write it in a value register and show it them. Oh, so, so actually I've saved you our fee there. Right. Whereas normally that wouldn't happen.
[00:22:49]So anything where you've added, you know, I told you to change your phone supplier. Yeah. Because I could see the figures going up. That's actually saved you a thousand pounds. Yeah. And suddenly when you say your paying me put 6,000 pounds a year, but I've saved you 40,000 pounds this year or I've added this amount.
[00:23:12] Sure, sure.
[00:23:13] Paul Shrimpling: Brilliant. And so if you got that value registered for every one of you 300 clients
[00:23:18] Michael Carthy: at yes.
[00:23:20] Paul Shrimpling: All right. So for, I said, right, can we do a screen-share you could flip it up and show us, well, I'm not, we're not going to do that, but yeah.
[00:23:25] Michael Carthy: I could do it, but not on this laptop.
[00:23:29] Paul Shrimpling: That's fine. That's fine.
[00:23:30]Interesting. So so you've got a tangible, physical, you used the word register of the cost savings, tax savings, profit improvements that you've influenced you in that time, which brilliantly tracks the money impact of the. Yeah. Tracks the money impact the money value that your clients experience.
[00:23:52] How does the value register track the time improvement and peace of mind improvement?
[00:23:57]Michael Carthy: The value registered doesn't is the simple answer. The the, that only really trackable with the 40 clients. Okay. You're working with on a regular basis. Brilliant. Alright.
[00:24:10] Paul Shrimpling: Hi, how's it. How do you track
[00:24:11] Michael Carthy: it for them then add and purely through working through their business plan their 90 day goals.
[00:24:17]And then that their yearly plan going forward, we can see where we want to get to and we can see when we've got there. So if it's simply is, I want to be able to leave the business running for two weeks. Okay. That goes on there. So they wants to recall a date, right? That's the goal and this is what we need to do to achieve it.
[00:24:38]And we know it's successful when it's almost, I suppose. It's a smart target basically. Because one of them would be happy to receive no phone calls while I'm on that holiday because the business is running itself. And when we can tick off all the things that have made it achievable, We know that it's worked.
[00:25:00] Paul Shrimpling: it's interesting. Isn't it? That the as a profession, we have a tendency to drift towards the numbers first and the humanity, the human stuff second, and that's understandable. And actually it's easier to measure the tangible, physical value register numbers, but much harder to track and measure the peace of mind.
[00:25:22] Emotional payoff that your customers receive your clients receive time's tangible, isn't it? You, you know, if you've saved them time while they're taking a holiday that that, that can add you know, I would argue very strongly that you could add easily add that into your tangible register. If you, if you could And it's how on earth do we track and measure peace of mind for a client?
[00:25:40] You know,
[00:25:42] Michael Carthy: it's that, one's incredibly difficult. It's almost there they're tracking it themselves. And I say that because they know on a Sunday night, they're not sat there looking through those zero at that bank going, can I pay everyone? Can I have some money? You know, when you have peace of mind, it's, it's quite simple.
[00:26:04]You'll know it. I know it. I know I could actually, I, like I say, I know, I believe I could leave this business as three months and walk back in to a fully functioning business. And that is, is kind of, cause I've extracted myself from the day-to-day operations. Yes. I deal with the strategic side, the leadership side, but the actual day-to-day operations just happen.
[00:26:32] So you know, when you have that peace of mind yeah. You've got
[00:26:36] Paul Shrimpling: the processes and the people using the processes in such a way that you're concerned about it, therefore Sunday night for you feels great, but I think that's, you know, what you've just flagged up. There is a really interesting. Potential question for clients, Michael, in terms of, you know, how does Sunday night feel typical Sunday night feel now compared with last quarter or last year?
[00:26:56] Is it a qualitative response? Which can be tracked and measured. Yes, I'm, I'm, I'm working with a firm at the moment and they're insisting that Patel, what they want to do is, is get feedback from their clients. So they do, they've done they've done a client survey and there's Al there's real merit in those client surveys.
[00:27:14]And ultimately what they get back is a whole series of numbers in terms of performance against certain crimes. But I argue very strongly in those surveys that it's the qualitative questions where you get some real juice and some real insight. And it's why don't we, as a, as a profession, take more seriously the tracking and measuring of answers to qualitative rather than quantitative questions.
[00:27:42] And we go on, sorry,
[00:27:44] Michael Carthy: Michael. Yes, I was going to say there will always be. Some people in the profession who the advisory and working with the clients is not for because there are some people, accountants are analytical, they like numbers. They like numbers are proof. So I know I had 200 sets of accounts to do, and I've submitted 200 sets of accounts.
[00:28:12] My job is. Yeah. As soon as you bring any form of humanizing into it, that's not for them. They, they are numbered.
[00:28:24] Paul Shrimpling: And, you know what, there's the, the reason, lots of business owners, most business owners want to work with their accountant is because they're good with numbers. So that's good. And that's how it absolutely should be.
[00:28:36] But I would take issue with you that yes, the profession is analytical. It's been trained in a particular way to deliver a particular service called annual accounts, bookkeeping, payroll audit, and so on. And it appeals to a certain personality and a certain skill set. But what's really interesting, isn't it?
[00:28:50] That the most successful firms, the most successful accountants, it seems to me and it's anecdotal, but it's anecdotal over 20 years and dealing with hundreds of accountants, is that the ones that humanize it and take that as seriously, if not more seriously than the numbers often and recently podcasts with them, Marie Pegram from UHY east over in Letchworth.
[00:29:11]So they, they they've addressed the balance. So that actually the focus is. Not clients has priority, but team has priority because we treat them like Kings and Queens and they treat their customers like Kings and Queens. It's like, wow, what a shift and it's and I think, you know, every analytical accountant is humid, I think.
[00:29:31]And and there's, there's this opportunity that Sunday nights could be better for all those accountants. If they knew there was a more human game being played, the.
[00:29:41] Michael Carthy: Yeah, and they absolutely could not the problem, but I'm sure most people, they were listing I've read the E-Myth it's the book that everyone has said.
[00:29:53] Yeah, it gets presented. And I
[00:29:55] Paul Shrimpling: wonder when you were talking about the three freedoms, whether you were a Gerber, right? Like what I am as well, by the way, I think it's one of the most
[00:30:00] Michael Carthy: profound books. So. He talks about a hairdresser Helen's hairdresser, I believe. And you know, it's hers because it says Helens addresses above the thing.
[00:30:11] Yeah. But just because she's good at cutting hair does not make her a great business. Oh, no. Yeah, that's the same. Sometimes accountants basically want the three freedoms, so they leave the practice there in to set up for themselves. But it, it, they are great at doing accounts. It doesn't mean they have the natural ability to coach people and advise them.
[00:30:42] Yeah. So the other one that we do is very much we walk the talk talk the walk whichever way. So we have our own advisor that comes into our board meetings quarterly and works with those couple of it. Number one is a family business. You can imagine how interesting they they get. Yeah. But also a bit, like I say, we're working with lots of businesses.
[00:31:08] He's working with lots of accountants. So you get to be, or what the general trend is going around.
[00:31:14] Paul Shrimpling: Yeah. So you've just raised another red flag for me, which is the the natural ability piece. And, you know, there's a natural tendency for analytics kill accountants. Who've been trained that way in a suit audit and accounts and payroll and bookkeeping and all the other accounting services.
[00:31:30]But, or rather, and. We can all learn a new skill. Can't we, we can all learn to drive. We can all learn to ride a bike. We can all learn to ask questions. We can all learn to listen better.
[00:31:41] Michael Carthy: We can,
[00:31:44] Paul Shrimpling: I sense a boat coming
[00:31:46] Michael Carthy: well. So I was gonna say, could, could you learn to ballet dance for instance badly, but yeah, I could back up.
[00:31:53] I think
[00:31:55] Paul Shrimpling: I've learned to serve Michael. I'm not a natural surfer cause I haven't got aggressive talents and I, and I, and I'm going to Portugal this afternoon. And, and my goal is again, to get in the sea and surf two or three times over the week. And, and you know what I do or I, but I'm not the best, but I do.
[00:32:10] All right. So
[00:32:11] Michael Carthy: what you will do is you will listen to what you've been told, which is. and your surf board get onto your knees, then stand up, which is surfing. Paint-by-numbers she'll be well, you won't be doing the big loop de loops. I'm guessing you're not going be in the Olympics surfing next time. Yes, people can paint by numbers when it comes to to, to coaching, which is essential.
[00:32:41]Asking and listening and offering a solution. And what you've chosen may mean that that is their natural, that it's not natural for them to do that. And it puts them outside their comfort zone.
[00:32:58]Paul Shrimpling: And I've got some sympathy for that, but I've got to recommend a book which is labeled to sell is human.
[00:33:07] And actually every human being aged to is brilliant at asking questions with the odd and rare, et cetera. And, and they, and they ultimately get that knocked down to them over time because the teachers shut them down. Parents shut them down and not, not necessarily deliberately, but you know, the system shuts it out.
[00:33:28]But it's to sell is human to have a conversation is human. Some are better at it than others, but the skill is natural to humans because we're re you know connected Ray. Because of our language and so on. And so, and I know off of this call, we work, we're having a chat about the development of your team in and around advisory.
[00:33:49] And I thought that was really powerful that you know, yes, you and I, as business owners, couldn't go and advise another business owner and someone who's an employee. I think that's complete Twaddle personally. I agree. And expose them enough times to the questions and answers that clients have in those settings.
[00:34:06] And guess what you'll get accountants can do whether they want to or not is
[00:34:12] Michael Carthy: another issue. We also have which. When we've had team members come from other firms and they are told never to sit in a room and say the words, I don't know the answer to that question. We encourage it.
[00:34:29] Paul Shrimpling: And me too. I agree.
[00:34:31]Michael Carthy: That's no one knows everything. You don't know what you don't find out. Absolutely brilliant. So that is as well. And, and because of I'm, I'm very much, even though this, the crazy world we're living in is going to remote. I have everyone sat in this office. And if they need to pull someone else into a meeting, Got and get them all them into the meeting.
[00:34:52] Yeah. That's really advantages
[00:34:54] Paul Shrimpling: to working from home, but there's real big advantages from working together as a team and maybe, you know, high hybrid Scott, where, where this is all heading, you know what Mike, Michael, the, this conversation around the natural ability red rag that you waived, and the fact that we've gone to this place, which is to sell as human, I think it's by Daniel pink.
[00:35:12] And I'll, I'll share with you a, a short. Bite-sized business breakthrough report that we we created around this because it had such an impact on me when I read it. So I'll share that with you and we'll put it in the show notes of this podcast. So anyone who wants to access it can, and if you want to buy the book, you can go and buy the book from Amazon or wherever.
[00:35:27]But it's that? Yeah. We are blessed with natural abilities. Some of them are naturally human of which questions and listening are naturally human as opposed to surfing or ballet dancing, which hate necessarily of what we were put on the planet to do. You know? So that's what the standout for me is.
[00:35:42] And this conversation, this podcast, I really appreciate you taking time to join us, but I'm curious as to of all the conversation we've had in this pocket. W what stood out in terms of being useful or practical or an important insight that can help you help your business, help your firm help your clients and your team.
[00:35:58] Do you think?
[00:35:58]Michael Carthy: My, my takeaway is actually, although we do get the team to, to have the conversations is going to be to let them have more of them. Right. Encourage them all because. You used the glass ceiling expression and I suppose they naturally get to a certain level. And again, we've spoken about the first time you do something that gives the worst is the hardest.
[00:36:30] Yeah. They get to that ceiling and then they go, okay let's go get my clin actually, do you know what? Yes, I'll come and sit in. But.
[00:36:38] Paul Shrimpling: Yeah. There's there's forgive me if I'm getting bite-size obsessed, but there's another report on how do people learn brilliantly? And, and it's it comes from research by a lady called Carol Dweck, which she captured in a book called mindset.
[00:36:54] And she showed that if you share with children, how the brain works and that when a human being goes to the edge of their current. And make some mistake, that's where they learn. So you share that information with children, all of a sudden more children putting the hands up in class because they're less frightened of cocking it up because they know that if they do, that's a step in the right direction.
[00:37:18] And it's that that awareness in and around that that can really, so I'll share that one with you as well. It's. That, that, that, that blew me away. You know, being a family man with four kids, it's had a big impact with me. So it's like just encouraging the kids to cock it up, you know, cause that's how we learn.
[00:37:35] And whereas when we get to grownups, the ego kicks in a little bit more, a little bit more reticent about making mistakes and looking a bit daft. Especially if we're naturally analytical and less naturally human, then we can understand that there's resistance there, but. Or rather, and to sell is human to sell is to ask a question and listen to the answer, you know, which is Michael, this has been brilliant.
[00:37:56] Really appreciate you investing the time. I'll share those couple of reports with you, and hopefully look forward to crossing soldier with you again, sometime in the future. Thank you very much. Thank
[00:38:05] Michael Carthy: you, Paul.
[00:38:11] Paul Shrimpling: You'll find more valuable discussions with the leaders of ambitious accounting. At humanized, the numbers.online, you can also sign up to be notified each time a new podcast is made available this podcast series humanized. The numbers has been made possible. Thanks to the support of our sponsors, my work papers, advanced track and VFD pro.
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[00:38:47] Michael Carthy: services.
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Quantitative vs. qualitative
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