As an accountant I always believed in making a difference. I set out to be an accountant who was going to make my impact on the world by providing exceptional service to my clients. I was going to be an accountant who was different and my practice was going to be different. I wanted to be an accountant who was going to change the world by helping business be more profitable and rewarding.
In 2003 when I was at the early stages of my “accountants journey” it struck me, that while the accountants were the trusted advisors to the businesses of the world, that they as trusted advisors had very few people advising them. At that point I changed direction and decided I was going to leverage my impact by working with accountants rather than business owners. Some would say that at 26 years of age, with my 21 year old brother Micheal as my business partner, setting out to become the Trusted Advisors to the Accountancy Profession was madness. Maybe it was madness but we did it and within four years we had built a million euro turnover business and very strong brand penetration in our target market. The accountants market is quite resistant to change and being told what to do and to compound matters further even though I was in the grey haired advisors role back then I didn’t even have any grey hair. The lack of grey hair was resolved soon enough though.
About 5 years into my journey I began to ask questions about my business and what we were doing. Some Sunday nights as I faced into the coming week I used to ask myself was there more than this? Yes our business was successful on some fronts but it was not what I had dreamt of and I felt that life was slipping by quicker and quicker every day. I felt I wasn’t answering my true calling and that the impact I wanted to make was getting buried under a morass of business and urgency as we serviced our ever growing client base. We were growing and wining clients but we were not really changing the world and the strategy, vision and values we had set out with at the start of our journey were becoming dimmer and more distant by the day.
The recession landed and things got even tougher but I wasn’t prepared just to sit back and let life and others dictate to me what we did and how we did it. Every day we woke up and went about our business with a resolve that if we just kept working harder everything would come right. We read all the right books and listened to the guru’s. We always had an external consultant and coach to keep us on track and even in the depths of the recession between 2011 and 2014 we kept growing even if money became very tight. But something was missing. The fun had gone out of the business. We wanted to be in a business where we enjoyed every minute of it. Yes there was some fun but at times the bad stuff outweighed the goodstuff.
You see it is hard as a professional services firm. It is hard to go out and continually win new clients. It is hard to keep your existing clients happy. It is hard when you have a mixed client based some of whom you love working with and others not so much. It can be hard to manage staff. It can be hard to manage cashflows. It can be hard to deal with the challenges you face every day in business. Our challenges drove us to face our fears by making fundamental changes in our business.
We went in search of new mentors and found them. Our mentors had built their own businesses. They were attracting the ideal type of clients they wanted to work with. They were streamlining their businesses and processes so that they were building real businesses rather than just creating a self-employment situation where every little thing was falling back onto the shoulders of the business owner. Our mentors thought us how to do the same. Our mentors thought us how to build a sustainable, manageable, profitable and rewarding business. The knowledge was one thing, the challenge was implementing it. We revisited our strategies. We looked at our people, introduced performance management, our operational structures and what we needed to do on a day to day basis to get from where we were to where we wanted to be.
We set off on our new adventure. With 10 years under our belt and a full deck of staff we set sail for pastures new. We committed to this new way of doing business. Our approach needed to be new. Our thinking needed to be new. We were using new language and new physiology internally with our team and externally with our clients. This was a big change for us. We had to recognise our old patterns and identify what was working for us and more importantly what was not working for us. We had to change. If we wanted something different every day we had to change what we were doing every day to create a different result.
The real challenge with all of this change was that we had to do it and keep the doors open on a busy and expanding business. We didn’t have the luxury of shutting down the doors and going into a retreat we had to fix as we flew. We needed to go into our cave to create deep change. We needed to identify how we were sabotaging our own progress with our habits, our personalities and our culture. We had to identify and examine our own limiting beliefs. For anybody who has gone through this process in any aspect of their life you know how uncomfortable it can be to acknowledge that we are part of our own shortcomings.
Eventually the old organisation and the old methodologies began to die off and were replaced with new life. We had to face down our dragons to get to the pot of gold that was on the other side of the bridge. We had to find new tools and methods of working to get to where we wanted to.
You see ProfitPro is not like many of the other advisors in the market place. We truly believe that we can change the world one accountant at a time. We do this by helping accountants build their firms to be profitable and rewarding businesses. At the same time we are facilitating accountants help their clients build profitable and rewarding businesses. We have built a professional services firm from scratch and we actually understand and have had to overcome the challenges that you face every day. We don’t just talk the talk. We walk the walk. We have found the internal keys to unlock many of the external challenges we face. We know our journey is not over. We will never stop learning and improving. We will continue to work towards mastery, but at this stage in our journey we are ready to become mentors to those on the same path as us – accountants who want to build profitable and rewarding businesses.
Des O’Neill’s Why – To provide visionary leadership so people can realise their true potential with ease while inspiring and motivating others to do the same.
ProfitPro Why – To change the world one accountant at a time. We do this by helping accountants build their firms to be profitable and rewarding businesses. At the same time we are facilitating accountants help their clients build profitable and rewarding businesses.