One Courageous Authentic To Another: The Power of Community
When we are in community, collaborating with one another, we become better leaders with more successful firms. My firm, Lance CPA Group, has a guiding core value of Courageous Authenticity, meaning engaging in relationships with each other that are transparent, vulnerable, and honest. This same value also applies to my interactions with other firm leaders. It checks our egos at the door and through an act of mutual submission, we can learn and grow from each other.
Us vs. Them
Accounting firm owners can easily get into a “my firm vs. other accounting firms” mindset. This mindset tells us to scrap and fight in order to get new clients in the door. If I’m honest, this competition can be good. It forces us to become better businesses and continuously adapt to a changing landscape. But, if I only see other CPA firms as competition, I miss the opportunity to learn from them and share my knowledge and experience as well. A new, better mindset is one of collaboration. And I think it’s vital for CPA firms to adopt.
One Courageous Authentic To Another
Besides knowing I wanted a virtual, entrepreneurial firm, when I first started my CPA practice I had no idea what I was doing. Yes, I had the technical chops to serve my clients, but I had never ran a firm before. I had one interaction early on that changed how I viewed competition vs collaboration.
Prior to starting my practice, I had networked with another CPA firm owner that started her firm a couple of years before me. During the course of our conversations, she opened up about how her firm operated: the sales process, her internal processes, the software she used, and her goals for the coming years. I was blown away by this. She was radically transparent with her “competition.” The reality is that she did not see us as competitors but collaborators. Sure, we might “compete” for a potential new client, but realistically there are enough clients to go around.
This changed how I thought about competition and collaboration; a simple conversation built upon courageous authenticity. My own courageous authenticity with more seasoned firms has given them the boost needed to make long overdue changes. Whether you are new to running your practice or have been doing it for years, we all have things to teach and things to learn.
Encouraging Communities: Thriveal and XeroHour
You may be in a community in the accounting world where you interact with fellow peers. Personally, I’m involved in Thriveal– a CPA network for entrepreneurial accountants. One of the guiding principles of this group is Collaboration. Collaboration keeps in mind that “the ability to humbly learn from others is what will make us better at every aspect of running our firms. We will seek each other out to become better at what we do, always focusing on helping each other excel at leading our firms.”
Through this collaboration mindset, my relationships with peers have moved from cordial to cooperative. Instead of competing, I look for ways to help them as well as learn from them. The reality is that each of our firms are different. We have different niche markets, provide different services, and serve our clients in unique ways. A client that isn’t a good fit for me might be for one of my peers. Being able to identify this and operate from a collaboration mindset allows our firms to flourish.
Xero has created the Xero Hour community in different cities across the country, including Chicago, with the idea that by collaborating with our fellow peers we are able to lead our firms and serve our clients better. Xero Hour is the journey to becoming a more connected advisor. Each month we meet together, break bread, enjoy drinks, and spend time working to better our practices. Xero Hour is full of thought, tough decisions, and honesty. It’s a courageously authentic community where by learning from each other we accelerate our practices. I encourage you to consider joining us in the Xero Hour Chicago community each month. We can learn from your unique perspective, and by sharing we can all grow and lead our firms better.