The discussion around becoming a practice that is fit for the future is a particularly important one for those who work with clients in the agriculture sector, and one that you’ll likely hear us talking about at Xerocon.
Here in the UK, we’re seeing multiple drivers of change - Making Tax Digital, Brexit, price volatility, subsidy changes and Open Banking - impart their influence around how farmers should think about the financial management of their farm. Never before has there been more reason to consider the impact that agri-specific financial management technology could have on your business and your clients.
Because while these might be the influences that lie ahead of us right now, looking ahead, we can expect a period of constant and on-going change, and within six months time, those drivers of change could be completely different.
The point is therefore, your practice needs to be equipped to handle it. What we have already seen in markets who have experienced disruption, is that those who get themselves into the position to adapt to change, will be the ones who survive and thrive over these coming years.
A focus on profit overproduction
A prosperous industry needs to start with a cultural shift towards focusing on profit, rather than production, as a driver of business results. We see so much talk about on-farm technology, such as drones and self driving tractors, but there is only value in these tools if they are helping your business to become more profitable. Their value is not just about the data they provide, but understanding this in the context of a farm’s financial performance. Therefore, empowering advisors, and their clients, with insightful financial data and analysis tools is the first step to ensuring that UK farmers are able to become more competitive through these changing times.
What that means for you
It’s not enough to recommend technology, you need to demonstrate to your clients a credible story about the impact it will have on their business. That means disrupting yourself first. When you’ve challenged your own business processes and ideologies, then you’re in a position to challenge your clients’.
An authentic approach
With these changes comes a more human approach to dealing with your clients. Not only does it open the door to more goal-driven conversations with your clients, but your experiences with dealing with change make you a more authentic and credible source of advice. These are not skills you’ll learn through an institute or seminar, but through creating a culture in your practice that encourages questions, fails fast and leads with a more authentic and empathetic approach. Those practices who are able to walk to the talk, will be the ones who not only retain clients, but acquire new ones as their reputation as a firm with a progressive approach grows.
Act as a leader
Change is guaranteed, but how you deal with it matters - for your clients, and for your team. We’ve seen how conversations around MTD persist with a negative narrative. Is this you? Or will you be a practice to instead invest time in getting to grips with new guidelines and technology, so that you can be a high-value resource that clients confidently turn to for advice?
We’re looking forward to discussing these points more and talking about the role that tools like Figured and Xero play in becoming a practice that is fit for the future.