Envisioning Your New Reality as a Professional Accountant

Gusto Editors

Do you know how to make your dreams a reality?

We all have goals and ambitions when it comes to our careers. Maybe you aspire to grow your team, invest in new services for your clients, or ultimately sell your firm and retire. Whatever your dreams for your career and whatever your current reality, you can accomplish everything you want if you take the time to carefully visualize where you’re going and take action to get there.

Fortunately, Gusto, along with our partners at CPA Academy, presented an informative webinar that will take you through a valuable coaching model to help you understand the different realities of your life and how you can reach your highest reality. We released our webinar, “A Coaching Experience: Envisioning a New Reality,” on November 8, 2021, and you can watch the entire presentation here. The webinar featured the goal-setting expertise of non-practicing CPA and executive coach Amber Setter

For this presentation, Amber also invited one of her former coaching clients, Mike Maksymiw, to take part in a coaching demonstration. Together, they explored the process of creating an action plan based on a dream.

Start with your high dream

Young busy businesswoman multitasking in modern office.

Take a moment to visualize your most positive dreams for yourself and your firm. What does your firm look like in an ideal world? How many members are on your team? What do your benefits packages look like? What impact are you having on your community, and who are you serving? Consider these questions, and truly let your imagination run free. This is your high dream — the absolute best you can imagine for your firm.

But having a clear picture in your head is not enough to accomplish that dream. You have to take action to bring your high dream into your concrete reality. The only way to do that is through action.

“It’s really imperative that you design action to move yourself forward.”

Amber Setter

In her coaching demonstration, Amber asked her former client, Mike, about his high dream. He stated that he would like to work with role-model accounting firms. His dream is all about promoting family initiatives and other helpful programs within the accounting industry, so it makes sense that his focus would be on creating firms that set a positive precedent for others. But how can he accomplish that dream of creating and promoting such firms? Through action.

For Mike, that action consists in identifying the future-oriented thinkers in the accounting firms he and his foundation work with:

“They use the first few weeks to develop a little bit of a relationship with [the members of the accounting firms] to find out, ‘Who are those future-oriented thinkers, and what are they currently doing? What’s going through their heads?’ … Because if I could pull them in as an ally, even if they’re not the role-model firm, they’re one of the … leaders in this group already.”

Mike Maksymiw

Consider your high dream again. What is the first action you can take to get there? It doesn’t have to be huge — it can be simple. A great place to start is to identify potential allies, as they will be essential as you move forward.

Why allies are critical

As you formulate and begin to execute your action plan, you will quickly find that you run into obstacles. Perhaps you receive resistance to your ideas from members of your team. Maybe you start working longer hours as you work toward improvement or change, and you need someone else to help you pick up the extra work. It could be something as simple as needing a pat on the back. Whatever your needs may be, it’s essential to find allies — people who will support you as you pursue your goals.

“For all of us, when we go through change, we get all excited, then we get to the edge of our comfort zone, and then it’s normal to contract. So, you want those allies to encourage you as needed and support you.”

Amber Setter

Who are your allies? Take a look at your friends, colleagues, and employees, and consider who else is future-oriented and ready to help you implement change in your firm. When times get tough, you’ll be glad to have those people near you. They can offer you the critical support and encouragement you need to keep pursuing your high dream in the midst of difficulty.

“How ripe are they for change? What are key questions that are going to indicate if someone is future-oriented?”

Amber Setter

How can you identify which of your team members is ripe and ready for change? Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with those around you — doing so will help you identify who may be ready to be your ally. 

You can help your clients create an action plan

Woman employee talking to her coworkers.

In case you were wondering, this process of identifying a dream, formulating an action plan, and connecting with allies to help you accomplish it doesn’t only apply to you. You can absolutely use this process to help your clients as well. Amber illustrated this point by using Gusto as an example:

“[Gusto partners with its clients] as dream-makers. They can put their expertise and all their wisdom up on the shelf, and … they see the value of not knowing and being curious with others. Next, they get out of their head and into matters of the heart. And you can hone this craft by preparing both mentally and emotionally for meetings, right?”

Amber Setter

As a leader in your firm, you have a unique opportunity to be a dream maker for your clients. When a client comes to you, they have a goal, and it’s up to you to help them achieve it. You can do that, first, by helping them get really clear on what their dream actually is. Then, you can choose to put aside your technical knowledge and financial expertise and explore your client’s dream with curiosity and an openness to new possibilities. Remember — your technical skills are necessary and wonderful, but it’s also important to approach your client’s dreams with a willingness to explore new possibilities.

Finally, you can pay attention to the matters of the heart — to your client’s emotions about their dream. As an accountant, you have the ability to provide real human empathy to your interactions with your clients and, to quote Mike, “treat humans like humans.” By paying attention to your client’s emotional needs as well as financial goals, you can help them achieve their high dreams.

Learn more about envisioning your new reality

It is possible to achieve even your wildest dreams for your accounting firm. By clearly identifying your biggest dream, you have the opportunity to build and execute an action plan to create the reality you want. Along the way, it’s essential to have allies in your teammates and colleagues who can support you and encourage you to keep pursuing your dream.

You can also use the coaching model Amber presented to help your clients achieve their financial goals. By partnering with your clients, you can help them identify their dreams and create their own action plans. You can “treat humans like humans” and offer a unique personal touch to your client interactions. Together, you and your clients can create a new reality.

“You begin to see that self-awareness and intuition are beneficial skills that are going to serve you in the work that you do, and as you become this next version of self and this people-focused advisor, you inspire others to do the same. … You collectively dream up new possibilities, and ultimately, you manifest new realities.”

Amber Setter

Creating a new reality doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as identifying your dream, the actions you need to take, and the allies you need to support you. From there, you can accomplish even the wildest dreams you can imagine, and you can inspire and actively help your clients to do the same.

If you’re interested in learning more about creating your reality as a professional accountant, look out for Part One and Part Two of this webinar series. You can also check out the full presentation here.

If some of your goals include expanding your firm and improving your ability to serve your clients, consider signing up for Gusto. Gusto provides accountants with exceptional tools for helping their clients and offering new insights. We also provide small businesses with payroll, health insurance, and benefits, and we even automatically file and send payroll taxes for businesses under 100 employees. To learn more about how Gusto can help you achieve your accounting goals, visit our Gusto for accountants page.

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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