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What Accountants Must Do to Be the Natural Trusted Advisor
Episode 367th February 2019 • Accounting Influencers Podcast • Rob Brown (Accounting Influencers Roundtable - AIR)
00:00:00 00:28:45

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Colin Dunn

Colin Dunn is a chartered accountant with extensive experience in coaching accountants to develop and implement strategies to build better businesses and help their clients achieve their business and personal goals. Having spent almost 9 years in a business advisory capacity in a fast growing accounting firm in the UK, Colin has spent the past 23 years training, coaching and consulting to accounting firms around the world.

As a co-founder of PANALITIX, Colin has developed software, content, products and systems to enable accountants to work closely with their clients to grow their businesses, improve profitability and better manage cash flow. He regularly speaks on these topics and passionately believes that accountants can play a major role in kick starting the economy by providing truly valuable services that their clients both need and want. Shownotes include:

  • Hear the story of how Panalitix was founded and how it serves the accounting profession with training and coaching
  • Why there has never been a time like this for accountants, but where they fall short in really exploiting the technology
  • What if accountants took the time saved by technology and put it into getting face to face with clients?
  • How face to face creates trust and familiarity with accountants so that clients pick up the phone and actually share problems
  • Too many accounting firms throw resource at social media and expect that to generate high quality leads
  • The story behind the book ‘The Natural Trusted Advisors’
  • To focus more on clients (and be more profitable), accountants should constantly ask ‘what can we do to add more value to our clients?’
  • Accountants can (and should) do so much more than being the guardian of compliance work
  • Accountants have not always been the trusted advisor – it used to be the banker, but they’ve lost that status
  • Some accountants achieve trusted advisor status by default, but not all of them embrace it
  • Listen to the ONE THING accountants do which rob them of trusted advisor status
  • For accountants, being the ‘natural trusted advisor means when the client has a problem, they come to you first
  • How a full day Planning Session was once used as a foundation for advisory services, though it doesn’t happen anymore
  • Accountants can advise and lead clients by helping them ascertain what are the priorities in their business
  • The best accounting advisors hold clients accountable for business decisions to ensure they take the right action and measure results
  • The power of leading with the numbers to drive more accounting advisory opportunities
  • What would happen if accountants asked a client ‘how would you respond best to accountability?’
  • Three very different approaches to how clients can respond to accountability from their accounting advisor
  • For accounting professionals, what are the real benefits of being the natural trusted advisor?
  • To differentiate as an accountant, it’s quite easy to stand out if you do the right things
  • An example of one brilliant question with 6 words that can really open up a client’s world for an accounting advisor
  • Accounting compliance is NOT disappearing, but fees are being driven down and time is being taken out of it, often by clients themselves
  • There are actually a downside to being a trusted advisor for accountants if they don’t get a few things right
  • Many accounting firms claim to offer advisory help but don’t have the culture or infrastructure to deliver
  • The four types of accounting firms when it comes to advisory, and the pros and cons of each
  • Doing more advisory is an aim for many accounting firms, but few think exactly what that looks like
  • Accounting advisory is a lot more than buying some software and churning out interesting reports
  • The challenges many larger accounting firms have in positioning themselves as an advisory led business
  • The ONLY 3 THINGS partners should be doing in a successful accounting firm
  • A mindset tip for accountants – how ‘flipping the banana’ can turn your accounting firm into an advisory firm
  • Mistakes accountants can make when choosing software to win and deliver more advisory work
  • Even if an accountant has strong commercial acumen, they still need a good process or framework to deliver advisory work
  • Accountants should look for success, not perfection, when serving their clients with better advisory help
  • Examples of some great questions accountants can ask clients to initiate advisory conversations.

Outside of work, Colin is a qualified cricket umpire and an operatic tenor. He grew up in Blackburn, Lancashire and was a season ticket holder at Blackburn Rovers for almost 20 years before leaving Blackburn on a high after their Premier League Championship season. He also has a passion for ice hockey, following the San Jose Sharks in the NHL.

Find out more at or to contact Colin directly:

Twitter: @ColinDunnACA

Colin on LinkedIn

+61 418 250115

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