Woodard Consulting founder and CEO Joe Woodard called upon the Greek gods to officially open the 2016 Scaling New Heights conference, offering attendees mythological lessons apropos to the QuickBooks ProAdvisor event’s location at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

Woodard emphasized the importance of endurance, resilience and focus, alluding to gods Atlas, Prometheus and Atalanta in urging attendees to make their practices “epic”—another theme of this year’s conference.

Accounting firms and practitioners need to focus on intellectual capital, Woodard advised, enabling them to be more holistic advisors. They should also have the systems and processes in place to make this knowledge an asset.

“Do you have standard onboarding and off-boarding processes?” Woodard asked during the keynote. “Do you have consistent enough processes so measurements are scientific? Or are you moving from brushfire to brushfire with what seems like a squirt gun?”

“The difference between an epic practice and a shopkeep is the shopkeep has a bell that rings at the front of the door, and only responds when a customer rings the bell. I’m challenging you not to be a reactionary shopkeep, to not only respond to clients when you hear the bell ring, but to have the processes to react against them in proactive ways. Meet clients where they are and ring their bell.”

Woodard also emphasized the importance of a trusted team, so accountants and bookkeepers wouldn’t, like Atlas, shoulder the weight of the world alone. Part of that equation is mentors, he continued, explaining he has five in his own life.

“There are two people you need to have in your life—those you are investing in and those investing in you,” Woodard explained. “Mentors and mentees.”

Woodard transitioned into the story of Prometheus, creator of mankind after he stole and bestowed fire, as an example of resilience.

“The secret to resilience is you live in the present,” Woodard said. “Worry is the interest paid on borrowed trouble. You can’t change circumstances but you can change your perspective to those circumstances.”

ProAdvisors should also look to Greek god Atalanta, and her legendary focus on golden apples, as inspiration for refining their own businesses, Woodard continued.

Accountants should focus on their competencies, on the services that increase their clients’ health and well-being, and on having the right clients, he advised, quoting thought leader and value pricing evangelist Ron Baker in explaining “our product is our clients.”

“The question is: How good is your product?” Woodard continued. “You have to have the right clients. If one client is not a fit for your culture, it can harm the whole culture of your firm.” 

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