In order to practice, most professional accountants are qualified. For sole practitioners and smaller partnerships, this can set up tensions if staff fail to deliver to the required standards.
My guess is, that many principals in accountancy firms have found themselves prevaricating between explaining to staff how to do a particular job, or just get on and do it themselves.
This flags up an interesting dilemma, what processes have your firm set up to manage delegation? It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall when practitioners are wrangling with staff, who have either messed up a job or seem incapable of taking on the required skills.
Logically, we all suffer from the same limiting factor: there are only so many hours in the day, so placing the art of delegation towards the top of our list of priorities would seem to make sense?
Other under-rated skills are the arts of listening and considering. Are we really interested in understanding another person’s point of view or are we more intent in pouring out our righteous interpretation of their issues?
Oddly, this can impact your practice fee income.
Consider this scenario, you are having a conversation with a client who is outlining an issue they have with their business. You immediately see how the problem can be fixed as you have just spent several hours sorting a similar circumstance for another client. Keen to prove your worth to the client, and perhaps demonstrate how smart you are, you blurt out the solution.
The client is suitably impressed and offers to buy you a drink. You, meanwhile, are starting to have misgivings.
In the two minutes it took you to communicate several hours of research you have missed a billing opportunity. Better to have mused “Leave that one with me for a day, I may have a solution.” After your day’s consideration you could continue your conversation and outline the benefit and cost of you adapting your previous research to fix the current issue. The client sees the benefits you are offering and readily agrees to your fee quote.
But hey-ho, at least you have a free drink…