Our Big Ideas: Accountability

The Big Ideas of ABLE

In each installment of the “Our Big Ideas” series, we take a look at one of the cornerstones of the CRM for CPAs. We discuss what the feature is, why it’s important, and how to use it best.

Today, we take a look at ABLE’s accountability tools. Check out the video below to hear ABLE CEO Jeff Pawlow’s explanation, or scroll down for a summary of what Jeff has to say:




The Whys and Hows of Accountability

In a recent article, author Laurence Whittam discusses the importance of creating accountability within CPA firms. He explains that, due to the competitive environment of the accounting industry, maintaining high accountability standards can help firms achieve greater success. How can firms do this? He says that “they need to facilitate a radical shift in the way employees think and act. They need to transform the way employees see, own, solve, and play their role at the CPA firm.” Whittam suggest the following four-step approach:

  1. Set, and Communicate, Clear Goals – Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound), should be assigned at least three key performance indicators (KPIs), and should be clearly communicated to all firm members.
  2. Require Results – Employees sometimes fall into the bad habit of considering simply “doing the job” their goal. Work to create an environment where achieving results, not checking off boxes, is the overall goal.
  3. Maintain High Standards Across the Board – Wherever an employee works within your organization, they should be held to an equally high standard.
  4. Establish a “Give-and-Take” Feedback System – Encourage your employees to be open-minded about receiving feedback. In turn, be open-minded yourself, and seek feedback from your team.


How Does ABLE Promote Accountability?

ABLE encourages accountability within accounting firms in two ways.


1. Accountability Using CRoPs Tiles

First, Jeff starts off with this example:

There’s one page in ABLE that everybody wants to make optional—My Firm CRoPs. I’ll tell you why.

Every user in ABLE has 12 client tiles, 10 referral tiles, and 14 prospect tiles. At The Growth Partnership, we determine who to put on client tiles by looking at the top 80% of our revenue. These clients get are assigned appropriately throughout our organization. Every ABLE user in our company can see the status of the dashboard for each of these client relationships on the My Firm CRoPs page.

Imagine that I look at my colleague’s tiles and see that one of his dashboards is red. I say to him, “Hey Charles, what’s going on with that?” Hopefully he’ll respond, “Don’t worry about it, I’m going to be with that client in two weeks.” At that point, he’ll probably indicate one of my clients and say to me, “But what’s up with your client over here?” And just like that, he’s caught me. I respond, “You know what? That’s my fault. I don’t have anything scheduled. I’m going to get on that right away because I am overdue for a major interaction with that client.”

This type of interchange among colleagues is the kind of accountability you should promote. If you’re actively managing the portion of your clients that drive 80% of your revenue, you are more likely to achieve success. As partners or managers, you should be able and willing to have these conversations with your colleagues.


2. Accountability Using the Pipeline

Secondly, in ABLE users can manage their pipeline in real time. They can “slice and dice” their sales funnel by individual, industry, niche, practitioner, and more. Jeff discusses how this promotes accountability:

One of the reports I love to run is on that shows all of my organization’s deals that are marked as having a high chance of closing within the next 90 days. This report is useful because it allows me to manage cash flow. Alternatively, I can zoom in on the deals of a specific practitioner, industry niche, or service line. I can see who is active in my firm and what they have in their pipeline. As the managing partner of my firm, this is a fantastic accountability tool.


Learn More About Accountability and ABLE

Ready to learn more about how ABLE can help you keep your team accountable? Sign up for a free demo today!