The Wize Guys

Episode 108: Wize Factor Chat: Michael Hanrahan - Hanrahan & Associates

May 30, 2024 Wize Mentoring for Accountants and Bookkeepers Season 1 Episode 108
Episode 108: Wize Factor Chat: Michael Hanrahan - Hanrahan & Associates
The Wize Guys
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The Wize Guys
Episode 108: Wize Factor Chat: Michael Hanrahan - Hanrahan & Associates
May 30, 2024 Season 1 Episode 108
Wize Mentoring for Accountants and Bookkeepers

This week's episode of The Wize Guys Podcast presents another special edition of WizeFactor Chat with Michael Hanrahan, the Founder of Hanrahan & Associates.

Hanrahan & Associates has been operating for 30 years in the accounting industry, so
witness the metamorphosis of a traditional partnership into a single-handed powerhouse, driven by the game-changing Wize Mentoring program. We unravel Michael's 'deep and narrow' strategy and how it blasted past the challenges of scaling and injected a robust business mindset into the heart of his practice. 

Learn about the pivotal mindset shifts that propelled both leadership and staff to new heights, as Michael dissects the cultural evolution that was key to embracing this novel structure.

Discover the secret sauce to Michael's success—the early adoption of a production manager role that catalyzed efficiency and paved the way for personal freedom. The episode highlights the art of delegation, mentorship, and strategic team dynamics that not only skyrocket business growth but also carve out space for life's treasures—family time and personal passions. Tune in and let this episode be your guide to achieving the ultimate synergy between professional success and a fulfilling personal life!


________________
PS: Whenever you’re ready… here are the fastest 3 ways we can help you transform your accounting/bookkeeping practice:

1. Join 40,000+ subscribers to our transformation Friday tips – Every Friday, our Wize Mentor and Thought Leader of the Year, Ed Chan will send one actionable insight from his experience of building a $20 million accounting firm that still runs without him – Subscribe here

2. Download one of our famous Wize Accountants Growth Playbooks – Our FREE Playbooks on how to build and scale your firm are more valuable than most PAID business coaching programs! See for yourself – Download here

3. Join the waiting list for a free login to the world's best accounting business intelligence software for scaling your firm. Take a look at the app we use to build our own $10million firm in just 7-hours a week – Get a FREE login here

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week's episode of The Wize Guys Podcast presents another special edition of WizeFactor Chat with Michael Hanrahan, the Founder of Hanrahan & Associates.

Hanrahan & Associates has been operating for 30 years in the accounting industry, so
witness the metamorphosis of a traditional partnership into a single-handed powerhouse, driven by the game-changing Wize Mentoring program. We unravel Michael's 'deep and narrow' strategy and how it blasted past the challenges of scaling and injected a robust business mindset into the heart of his practice. 

Learn about the pivotal mindset shifts that propelled both leadership and staff to new heights, as Michael dissects the cultural evolution that was key to embracing this novel structure.

Discover the secret sauce to Michael's success—the early adoption of a production manager role that catalyzed efficiency and paved the way for personal freedom. The episode highlights the art of delegation, mentorship, and strategic team dynamics that not only skyrocket business growth but also carve out space for life's treasures—family time and personal passions. Tune in and let this episode be your guide to achieving the ultimate synergy between professional success and a fulfilling personal life!


________________
PS: Whenever you’re ready… here are the fastest 3 ways we can help you transform your accounting/bookkeeping practice:

1. Join 40,000+ subscribers to our transformation Friday tips – Every Friday, our Wize Mentor and Thought Leader of the Year, Ed Chan will send one actionable insight from his experience of building a $20 million accounting firm that still runs without him – Subscribe here

2. Download one of our famous Wize Accountants Growth Playbooks – Our FREE Playbooks on how to build and scale your firm are more valuable than most PAID business coaching programs! See for yourself – Download here

3. Join the waiting list for a free login to the world's best accounting business intelligence software for scaling your firm. Take a look at the app we use to build our own $10million firm in just 7-hours a week – Get a FREE login here

Wize Mentoring:

From Wize Mentoring is The Wize Guys Podcast, a show about accounting and bookkeeping practice owners and the many stories, lessons, and tips from their experience of transitioning from a time- poor practice to a business that runs without them. I hope you enjoy and subscribe.

Wize Claudia:

Hi Michael, welcome again. Thank you for being here with me, and for making the time and the space in your day. I know your days are starting, so it means a lot to me. I wanted to sit down with you for some minutes to talk about what I was telling you earlier. We have this WizeF actor Chat and we think that you're a great member. You're a longstanding member also created a huge friendship with one of our Wize Mentor, Tim, so it's great to have you here today and, if you don't mind, I'm going to go through some questions and just find out what gives you the WizeF actor.

Michael Hanrahan:

Sure yeah, happy to do that.

Wize Claudia:

I wanted to start from the beginning. When did Hanrahan start? When did you start the business? How did it start?

Michael Hanrahan:

Yeah, so our business started probably about 30 years ago. So originally it's one of the big international accounting firms, and then I went to a partner partnership for 10 years and then I've been in my own practice at Hanrahan.

Wize Claudia:

So yeah, about 30 years I think yeah, a long time a long time. That's older than me even, and what I've been around so far with Hanrahan started 30 years ago. What was the first insight? How was the start? Did it start very organically? Did you have challenges at first, like what can you highlight as your experience while starting out an accounting business?

Michael Hanrahan:

Yeah, so I took my clients from my previous partnership hand-in-hand, so we had clients to start with and then, yeah, then we grew. We've never had to buy fees. Yeah, progressively over that time we've employed more and more people and taken on new clients and, yeah, just evolved, like a lot of other accounting practices do, sort of in a normal fashion. But as we grew it got harder to manage and it became, you know, challenging to actually do the work, do it effectively and have a normal life. So, yeah, that's why we try to look for better ways of managing the business and that's when I came across Wize.

Wize Claudia:

Yeah, how did you come across Wize and this while you were facing?

Michael Hanrahan:

I think here well, it was probably marketing. I think your marketing with our emails offering uh, I think it was Ed Chan offering you know your tips and things, and then there were links to that you know. So, yeah, so fundamentally that's your marketing program, I suspect.

Wize Claudia:

Yeah yeah, so awesome. I love that we got to you by that. Maybe that's the Friday tips. It's one of our greatest newsletters, which we love, and many tips for Ed. So that could be the one. And which specific challenge were you facing when you started? You were saying growth, but was there any challenge in particular that came with growing? That when you entered, wise said oh, this is it, this is what I need.

Michael Hanrahan:

Yeah, well, nearly all accounting practices the smaller ones have a flat line management model and as you grow, it just becomes impossible to really cope with it because it requires you to work more hours, you know. So it's a fundamentally flawed system. If you grow, if you're good and you're successful, all it does is make it harder for you to run a business, you know. So you get trapped inside this cycle of working longer and harder and it creates more pressure. So then, yeah, we decided to, yeah, we got, there's going to be a better way to do it. And then, when you look at the Wize model, it's the opposite of that. So it's not flat line, you know, it's deep and narrow and there's much more control and management and structure to how you run the business. So you're running out more like a business rather than an accounting practice. You know big difference. So that's the key takeaway for me that's great.

Wize Claudia:

Thank you for sharing that. Actually, the deep and narrow structure is one of the biggest discoveries for many of our members, but there are also others, like leadership, and culture- related. I wanted to ask you, because many members went through this, that they had to do some mindset shifts as they went through the divisions. They learned more leadership and more culture. Do you feel like you were like every Wize leadership lesson or anything related to culture resonated with you, or do you had to change your mindset a little bit when it came to it?

Michael Hanrahan:

I probably didn't have to change that much, because I'm not adverse to change. My mindset is easily adapted to change. Probably it's more your staff, your employees that you know have to struggle with that change. So there's a mind shift. That's right, I think, definitely in the way it's run. So you know, some people adopt that easily without any pushback and there's others that push back completely and can't get their head around or don't like the change. You know, I don't like the fact there's change. So that was an issue with us. Yeah, we had a number of people that weren't all that keen about the change. But you know, I think probably everyone's on board now. You know it probably took a while maybe 18 months for everyone to sort of really see the benefits of it. So, and that's starting to happen now. So everyone, I think they believe in the concept, they understand the concept and they believe in the concept and they're not working pushing against it. But it wasn't an issue for me to adopt that now.

Wize Claudia:

Yeah, which is great. It's something that you have in your personality that says you're not resistant to change.

Wize Claudia:

Many people do struggle with this or with letting go of control to have deep and narrow teams, to have more people on board, younger people on board, or new people to the business. That's kind of hard. So many people, as I was telling you, struggle with this, but I'm glad this was smooth on your behalf and then the rest of the team adapted to it, which is mainly what the leadership lessons and the culture want to teach you. So I also wanted to ask you, Michael. You've been working for a couple of years now, through the wise learnings and everything, taking everything in. So ever since you started, I'm guessing that you've changed some things in the business that you know. Now. What would you say to Michael who was stuck in the business, not working with the deep and narrow team structure? What would be a piece of advice that you would give to anyone who's a Michael at this moment?

Michael Hanrahan:

I think I would say to them to make sure you understand how operationally the change would work.

Michael Hanrahan:

So you need A to understand and then accept, and then you've got to work very hard on actually implementing it because even though the concept may be sound, it doesn't mean that it will work by itself.

Michael Hanrahan:

You've got to work pretty hard to actually implement it and I think there are some key parts to it that, on reflection, we would have done earlier. So I think getting a production manager early on in the process is really important. That's a key stakeholder in the deep and narrow system. So you need to make sure you've got them in place in your teams and if you don't, all you do is you sort of have a flatline management and a deep team management. You know. At the same time, you know and it doesn't work as it's meant to because the managers, the client managers, are still doing a lot of the grunt work you know often done. So that's probably what we do differently. If we start it again or start it for the first time, and we do that, get the production manager and focus on that person, you know, actually running the production effectively and bringing up the capacity of the people about them.

Wize Claudia:

Yeah, that's a great piece of advice, and this reminds me of something that Ed used to say, which is to get the right people on the right seat on the right bus. Otherwise, you will be just driving nowhere and people will be doing anything that won't be efficient and effective, so that's one of the most important lessons. So, now that you were saying this, that you were into optimizing processes, I'm guessing that you've. Ever since you started, you have been less busy or focusing more on growth than when you started the Wize program. Right?

Michael Hanrahan:

Correct. Yeah, so I've got more capacity, more brain time and so, yeah, I can focus on structures and systems, and marketing probably is one of my key areas, you know, so it allows me more time to do that spend more time with my kids and grandkids and all that sort of stuff. All the fun.

Wize Claudia:

Love that. I wanted to ask you based on that. So now you have more time and we talk about this phrase a lot, that is, build a business that runs without you. Does this phrase scare you, or excite you? This is the reason why you're still working out through the Wize program. Is this somewhere you want to get?

Michael Hanrahan:

Yeah, I'm not scared about it. I've probably tried to run that way in the past. You know, even though I was running a flatline management system, I didn't have the processes in place to do it effectively, you know, and so I didn't have the how. I had the why. I understand why you do it. I just didn't have the processes in place to do it effectively, you know, and so I didn't have the how. I had the why. I understand why you do it. I just didn't have the how. So the why gives you the how. For sure. That's what we're implementing, but it doesn't happen overnight. Even though you get it, you understand it, and you've implemented it. It's still hard work to actually have it fully functional. So you know we're working hard on getting that done. So that's our focus at the moment to make sure that every day we're improving the systems and the functions of those systems.

Wize Claudia:

Yeah, it's great that you mentioned that part that won't work if you don't work on implementation. It's not a thing that happens all by itself. It's not just moving a wand around and just saying this I want to work for it. And I'm saying that it's great that you mentioned that, because many people are scared to have a business that runs without them, mainly because they don't know how that will work or that sounds a little whimsical for them, but it's really when you work for it. So it's rather a lifestyle.

Michael Hanrahan:

Yeah well, the average accountant is averse to letting go and not being in control. So that's how we're trained, a bit like engineers you want to be on top of everything, so you have to do everything, but you can't if you're trying to have a normal life. You can't do both. So I can imagine some accountants would struggle with the concept for sure. But I think they're smart enough and, you know well, trained enough.

Wize Claudia:

I think once they get it and if it's implemented, it certainly makes your life, business life, easier or better, or it's easier, it's better yeah, the fact that you got it, you understood it very early on what makes you a WizeF actor member because if you came in without resisting to change, without knowing that there were things to work on, that will make the process a lot easier.

Michael Hanrahan:

Yeah, probably we're a little bit delayed in becoming fully functional with it because I tried to do it myself. You know you, you go through all the support systems and software, the vault, and look at all those there. I mean there's so much there, it's a bit hard to get your head around the volume and I think most accountants say, oh okay, I'll go through all of them. You know there's, I don't know, 40, 50 or whatever there is in there. Now They'd be probably more On hindsight. You're better off getting an understanding and then getting a mentor. You know, I don't know, I'm not paying you just to market your system, but your mentor is how to implement it more effectively and quickly, and it costs money. So no one likes to spend money, but you know, I think it actually saves you time.

Wize Claudia:

So it really does save you money in the medium to long term yeah, so that's what I'd do.

Michael Hanrahan:

Differently, you know, I'd probably do a mentor take up earlier I'm not getting paid for this.

Wize Claudia:

By the way nice that you pointed it out, but this is a genuine comment from you, which I appreciate a lot. Michael, I have one last question for you and you mentioned earlier that you have great- grandkids and grandkids, so I'm guessing this is part of it. But I always ask the wise factor, chat people I talk to what's one hobby or activity that they would enjoy doing more, or that they enjoy doing that they look up to once they are free, once they have more free time, that they would tend to this?

Michael Hanrahan:

Yeah, Well, I probably continue to do what I do. I think you've got to have a good work-life balance. So I've always tried to do that. So I go on, you know, adventure trips, exercise trips around the world, you know, and go to tour to France, sort of bike riding sessions, and New York marathons, and you know, various events around the world. I'm going to go to Japan next year and do a ride through Japan.

Michael Hanrahan:

So, yeah, probably just continue to do that, but do it knowing that the business is running even better, you know, while you're away, having a good time and enjoying yourself. So it'll allow me to continue with that life-work balance, I think. And yeah, family and you know sort of for you, you don't work to live, you work to live, not to live to work, you know. So I think it just allows you to do that sort of, you know, in a balanced fashion, enjoy life, that sort of thing, you know, in a balanced fashion, enjoy life. I love that. You work to live, not live to work, you know so. And if you're running a flat line management system, you're living to work, you know.

Wize Claudia:

So yes, but uh, flip that around your Wize quote of the day it's going to be an amazing Friday, good on you those were all my questions for you today, Michael. I am so thankful for you taking the time to answer them, to sit down here, and share everything with me. I really wish you a great tour through Japan next year.

Michael Hanrahan:

Okay.

Wize Claudia:

And a great Friday. Thank you so much.

Michael Hanrahan:

Yeah, thank you, lovely meeting you. You're doing a great job, Claudia, so well done. Yeah, thank you. Lovely meeting you.

Wize Mentoring:

Thanks for tuning in. If you liked this episode, please remember to subscribe and leave us a five-star review For more practical Wize tips on how to build a business that runs without you, head over to wizementoring. com/ podcast to download a free copy of The Accountant's 20-Hour Workweek Playbook. We've included a link in the show notes below. See you in the next episode!

Intro
Michael's journey from starting his business to finding Wize
What is the biggest challenge for most accounting practices?
Is mindset shift a challenge for Michael?
Michael's best key takeaway from the Wize program.
The concept of building a business that runs without you
Find out what Michael's hobbies are.