The six levers of value creation

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We often hear the words “value creator” and “business catalyst,” and depending who you speak with, they have different meanings and different impact.

A “value creator” is focused on seeking out and finding opportunities to impact their client’s business. They are relentless in identifying enterprise needs and possess the ability to mobilize their extended network to find solutions of relevance. Additionally, value creators possess the acumen to subtly market their firm’s overall contribution in a manner that the client acknowledges as well as appreciates.

A “business catalyst” is determined to accelerate movement and create future possibilities. They are viewed by their clientele as forward-thinking professionals who unleash potential opportunities.

Given the challenges emerging from the recent chaos, clients will be scrutinizing with greater regularity their operating expenses and will be more discerning about what they decide to fund versus reduce or eliminate.

The time has come as we enter a new decade to adopt a different mindset. We need to shift the paradigm from being a necessary business expense to offering a return on investment. This approach is not new, but very few providers market their work in this fashion.

Let me explain by first introducing the six levers of value creation. These areas of impact change the conversation and force a discipline of viewing things through a different perspective.

This includes revenue enhancement, cost optimization, risk avoidance, ease of doing business, profitability expansion, and business process improvement.

To better understand how these can be put to use, consider the following examples, understanding that some of these recommendations are outside the traditional scope of what an accounting firm provides. Do not limit your thinking, as it takes leveraging an entire ecosystem to truly make a difference.

1. Revenue enhancement

  • Referring a future client, channel partner, subject matter expert, employee
  • Explore creating an advisory board
  • Share workforce productivity ideas

2. Cost optimization

  • Provide industry comparisons
  • Introduce suppliers who can lower the client’s cost of doing business
  • Review how the cost of goods is calculated
  • Introduce supply chain experts
  • Review employee benefits plans

3. Risk avoidance

  • Complete a risk assessment that spans human capital, supply chain, proper insurance coverages, cybersecurity, and client risks
  • Financial reforecasting and modeling
  • Employee retention
  • Supplier/client risk assessment

4. Ease of doing business

  • Streamline workflows
  • Leverage automation
  • Recommend customer/client service best practices

5. Profitability enhancement

  • Establish dashboard
  • Perform client/segment profitability assessment
  • Introduce leadership to industry or owners’ groups
  • Share relevant success stories from other clients

6. Business process improvement

  • Evaluate outsourcing
  • Review critical workflows
  • Conduct lean or Six-Sigma events

By adopting an enterprise vantage point and demonstrating a willingness to leverage all the assets of your firm, a much larger set of possibilities will appear. It requires being intentional, curious, and determined.

By changing the trajectory of the conversation, it is amazing how much more you can expand your sphere of impact and be viewed in a different light. This might seem like a daunting challenge; however, when exhibiting this type of inquisitive and caring behavior, we feel a sense of empowerment. The key is demonstrating a willingness to take action in a mindful manner that creates distinction.

Given the reality of what the new world order will demand, it is imperative that we become innovative, take calculated risks and make it a point to be further engaged with our clients. They need our expertise and now is the time to lean in to demonstrate what you can do to become more relevant.

Do not wait until the client grants you permission — go on the offense by being curious, demonstrating empathy and showing you care. You will be rewarded by being recognized as more than a reliable vendor and will elevate your status to a true value creator

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