Home > Uncategorized > Thoughts on Advisory. Nothing has changed in 23 years.

Thoughts on Advisory. Nothing has changed in 23 years.

January 21st, 2021

Exactly 23 years ago I presented a program in Reno Nevada at the Peppermill Casino to 593 people who were members of the Results Accountant’s Network in North America. This was followed with the same program in Sydney and Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK. In total 1,176 people attended. It was called Results Revisited and it drew together every idea we had shared with past delegates to the Accountants’ Boot Camp on how to add business development advisory services to their service arsenal.

The manual for the program consisted of over 500 pages of material on not only what to do but HOW to go about doing it.

The introduction to the Manual stated the objective of the program:

…. our goal over the next two days is to motivate you to get yourself re-focused on Business Development Consulting by giving you very specific how-tos and additional resources to educate and guide you.  In the time we have together it will not be possible to do more than give you a framework – YOU must take responsibility for implementing it. 

If you attended one of those programs and you’re still trying to figure out how to establish a robust position in advisory services, blow the dust off the Manual and “re-visit Results”. The answers (with some tweaking and use of today’s amazing tools) are in there. If you can’t find the manual (I refuse to believe you’ve thrown it out) you’ll be interested in my upcoming book  so let me know and I’ll make sure you get an advance copy – my email is at the bottom of this post.

In the meantime, you can download by clicking here, a short extract from the Manual that talks about the 3 key problems faced by most firms, why we face them and how they dictate firm growth strategies, why those strategies are driving the profession into a hole, how a firm can choose to extract itself from slipping into the vortex of mediocrity, how and why the forces of competition determine how value is created, priced and distributed, and why you need to embrace a revised business paradigm and firm strategy statement to fully realized the potential you have to help your selected clients realize theirs. The strategy statement I shared at the time is:

The only strategy . . . that will work for any firm in any industry is one based on differentiating and/or dominating a niche.  To do that it must carefully select its customers and know how to create value for them by knowing precisely what products and services they need.  It must do that efficiently so that its costs (including the cost of capital) are lower than the value (and hence prices) it creates.  It must also select who its competitive rivals are going to be.  If it elects to compete against firms that have the same strengths and characteristics, its success will be short lived.  It must also build a strategy on initiatives that competitors will find difficult or impossible to replicate.

Many (but not enough) people who have attended my programs over the years have successfully created and implemented a business advisory strategy and to illustrate how that can be done very successfully, the one I consider to be an extraordinary example is my good friend Paul Kennedy who was also recently credited by my only other good friend, Paul Dunn, as being one of the top 25 people who influenced his (Dunn’s) thoughts in 2020. If you’re interested in what Paul Kennedy is doing you can download an article I wrote about it by clicking here.

Oh and one more thing. If you have been successful in delivering advisory services I’d love to hear from you. If you have faced insurmountable challenges in doing so I would also like to hear from you and I might even be able to help. In either case you can contact me at ric.payne@principa.net.

  1. January 9th, 2022 at 10:06 | #1

    Thank you for your note and congratulations on a magnificent success. I’m delighted that the boot camp served as a catalyst for the results you have achieved and I’m also very mindful of the fact that it is implementation not ideas that make the difference. You have obviously been one of the people who realized this and got to work making it happen.

    I hope 2022 and beyond turns out to be much better than the past couple of years. Congratulations again and thank you for your note, it has given me a renewed incentive to keep working on sharing ideas on how to build a great accounting business.

    Ric Payne

  2. January 4th, 2022 at 03:09 | #2


    Happy New Year!
    I attended a boot camp 23 years ago as well. My compelling reason for starting my own firm 30+ years ago was to concentrate on the advisory component as the lead service with compliance playing an important supporting role. The boot camp experience gave me the confidence that could happen.

    The transition was far from perfect – but driving sustainable change never is as was clearly articulated in the boot camp materials.

    Fast forward and I am thrilled to report we have grown to a team of 50 people, 20%+ year over year growth for 5+ years, now an IPA top 400 firm and multiple years as an IPA Best of the Best. The foundation of our business model can be traced directly to many of the boot camp concepts.

    Yes, I still have my binders and still refer to them from time to time.

    Cheers and best wishes for a prosperous 2022.

    John Kirsch

  3. March 18th, 2021 at 05:53 | #3

    Thanks for your comment Paul, it’s always nice to hear from Bootcamp alums. I’m sorry to hear of the early mess-up but it sounds like you have viewed it as a learning experience rather than a failure. I am however, pleased to hear your current firm is committed to advisory. Good luck with that and please reach out to me if you would like any help.

  4. March 17th, 2021 at 01:45 | #4

    I attended one of your bootcamps 23 years ago. The firm I was with at the time managed to pretty promptly mess it up. The vision and the methodology stuck with me, however. I’m with a firm that is committed to advisory, and is changing in that direction. I look forward to the information you will share this year and beyond. BTW, have you ever worked with Geni Whitehouse?
    Paul Wilkin

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