Jennie Moore wants accountants to be more warm and gushy.
Jennie Moore, Partnerships Manager at Ignition and Founder of Moore Details, encourages accountants to step out of the traditional ‘do the numbers’ mindset and act more as a financial therapist for clients.
With a shortage of new blood in the industry, Jennie likes to look for work-from-home moms to fill gaps in her hiring needs.
Maintaining a niche in consulting keeps the peace with her employees. If Jennie goes too far off course with their client base, it becomes frustrating for her staff.
In her time as Partnerships Manager for Ignition and with her own firm, Moore Details, she’s learned to be less about the numbers and more about connection and trust. For Jennie, it’s all about the soft touch.
“We're not so much in a cubicle, nose down with a pocket protector and a 10-key. We're now out there on the battlefield with our customers, helping them survive,” she says.
Karbon co-founder and host Stuart McLeod chats with Jennie on episode 71 of the Accounting Leaders Podcast, covering her role as a self-proclaimed ‘financial therapist’, her solutions to staffing shortages in accounting, and why maintaining her firm’s niche is so important for her employees’ sanity.
Where accounting and therapy collide
Jennie believes the accounting industry is in need of a brand refresh. Firm owners must become laser focused on identifying and articulating their purpose. Owners should know why they went into the profession and what they want to get out of it.
“We need to be lean, mean, and focused on who our clients are because you can't give that kind of relationship to everyone,” Jennie tells Stuart on the podcast.
In other words, if you focus too much on acquiring high volumes of clients rather than facilitating quality interactions, your days will likely become empty and unfulfilling.
Jennie likes to be a resource for her clients not just by providing updated and accurate financials, but by helping them understand what the numbers mean and how they can guide a business’s success.
This approach creates an intimate partnership between business owners and their accountant and is redefining the public image of the role accounting plays in business development.
“Some of my clients will call it ‘Jennie time’, and some call it ‘financial therapy’. They don't really call it bookkeeping and accounting anymore. You're almost selling a feeling,” she says.
You're selling confidence. You're selling security, trust, and belief, as opposed to a tax return or a profit or loss statement.
Digging into what keeps clients up at night and what worries they have for the future makes numbers far more substantive. And those deeper relationships provide a happier experience for both the client and the accountant.
Jennie employs a creative solution to that problem:
Often, companies will resist work-from-home arrangements because they’re worried employee productivity will suffer. Jennie sees it differently, tapping into an often-overlooked talent pool that depends onremote opportunities to return to the workforce.
“We have to be more open to not controlling people, but controlling the results. When we're more open to that, we can start looking at little pockets of talent… For me, it's always been, ‘Who's curious?’ and ‘Who's willing to learn?’ Not, ‘Who's got a degree in accounting?’”
She’s found her hiring sweet spot with work-from-home moms who have just a few hours to give per day. Jennie’s found that not only does this subsection of the talent pool often come with strong work experience, but that they’re curious and eager to learn new skills, too.
Jennie thinks part of the solution to the accounting talent shortage lies in needing to push a shift in accounting’s reputation and showing that accounting can be tech-forward and innovative.
“I'm not saying [we should] replace humans. What I'm saying is using technology for humans doing redundant tasks that don't add value to the customer relationship. Then bring in the humans that provide that relationship where we talked about the trust, the connectivity, the financial therapy, and all that warm gushy stuff that clients are actually willing to pay for,” she explains.
While Jennie loves to work with clients across many industries, doing that isn’t what’s best for her small firm. And she also knows she must consider the firm’s morale when choosing clients.
“It felt so good to solve these big huge problems for clients that had these audacious needs…until I looked at my employees and saw how frustrating it was for them. They're not me. They don't share that passion. And it wasn't standardized. It was all over the map and missing deliverables,” Jennie shares.
Still, she likes to find ways to mentor the smaller startups that desperately need guidance. She needs the bigger clients with bigger budgets to make her business model work, but she recognizes that startups need just as much help—if not more—than the big ones. To overcome that gap, she offers ‘Optimizer Sessions’, designed to support entrepreneurs in their DIY accounting journey.
Break out of the home for a change of scenery
Everything has a place, but sometimes changing it up is worthwhile. Jennie is a big advocate of working from home, but acknowledges that some connections are simply better in person. With Ignition, she spends a fair amount of time meeting new people and digging into the details—face-to-face.
While her primarily-remote work with Moore Details provides her with much-needed flexibility, her role at Ignition allows Jennie to step out of the remote world, offering a welcome change of pace.
“We're less guarded when we meet in person. We're more vulnerable and we have more meaningful conversations. It's almost like grandmas exchanging secret recipes. Our knitting patterns and recipes are now tech stacks. It's like, ‘This is my tech stack. This is so cool. What's your tech stack?’”
It’s the personal connections that make Jennie’s work fulfilling—with clients, with her small-but-mighty team at Moore Details, and working with Ignition’s partners. And ultimately, it’s the desire to make accounting more personal that fuels Jennie’s passion for serving others.