New Research Reveals the Secrets of Highly Successful Accounting Firms | AccountingWEB

New Research Reveals the Secrets of Highly Successful Accounting Firms

by Jean Caragher and Rick Telberg
SevenKeys CPA

In this newly competitive environment, the difference between success and failure can pivot on the smallest competitive advantages. Fortunately, through the Seven Keys to Successful CPA Firm Management program, we may have learned a few things about what separates the winners from the losers, the high performing firms from the also-rans - what we call: the Seven Keys Leaders and the Laggards. And, so far, we're gratified that hundreds of practitioners seem to agree.

In fact, our research shows that SevenKeys CPA Leaders are 19 times more likely to be growing revenue faster than low-performing, Laggard, firms. And they are four times more likely to be able to pass alone price increases.

That's why we're so excited about launching a new blog on AccountingWeb.

Our research shows, for instance, seven important take-aways you can use today:

  1. Values matter -- SevenKeys CPA Leaders are 3 times more likely than lagging firm to adhere to a clear set of values.
  2. Written plans are essential -- SevenKeys CPA Leaders are 17 times more likely to follow a strategic technology plan than Laggards.
  3. Focus wins -- SevenKeys CPA Leaders are about twice as likely as Laggards to focus on a few key market niches and specialties.
  4. Client satisfaction isn't an accident -- SevenKeys CPA Leaders are twice as likely than Laggards to operate from a formal program to monitor client satisfaction.
  5. Success doesn't happen alone -- It takes a team. SevenKeys CPA Leaders are 4 times more likely than Laggards to work as a team, not as individuals.
  6. CPE is a competitive advantage -- SevenKeys CPA Leaders are 3 times more likely than Laggards to conduct training that supports the firm's business strategy.
  7. Goals are serious -- SevenKeys CPA Leaders are 10 times more likely than Laggards to impose specific and measurable business goals.

Based on some of the SevenKeys CPA principles, we plan to bring AccountingWeb readers insights and guidance on topics such as:

  • The essential managing partner leadership qualities accounting firms need today
  • Firing clients: Why, when and how
  • Why clients change CPA firms
  • How to align learning plans with firm strategy
  • See You on Facebook: How CPA Firms are surging into digital marketing
  • Creating killer marketing budgets
  • The vision thing: Why it isn't just buzz words, and
  • Why some firms love their marketing results - and other don't

In fact, our SevenKeys CPA webinar season debuts May 19 with a two-hour online strategic planning workshop. We'll be using the exclusive, data-driven SevenKeys CPA tools to help a select number of attendees run a firmwide self-assessment and develop high-leverage strategies for success. As a special offer for AccountingWeb readers, you are eligible for $10 off. Click here to register for the strategic planning workshop and use the promo code aweb0519.

Meanwhile, by way of introduction, here's a little bit about us:

Jean Caragher is an award-winning, recognized industry expert with 25 years accounting marketing experience.  Known as a knowledgeable, experienced, and tenacious marketing consultant to CPA firms Jean uses a practical, relationship-based approach to help CPAs achieve marketing success.  Her approach is based upon her experiences as a CPA firm marketing director, a CPA association executive director, and her 13 years of consulting experience since forming Capstone Marketing Jean blogs at What I've Learned So Far.

Capstone Marketing provides a variety of services including:

  • Brand Surgery SM
  • Marketing Plan Development and Implementation
  • Retreat Facilitation
  • Training
  • Marketing Director Recruiting

Contact Jean Caragher at (757) 673-6826 or by email at

Rick Telberg is one of the tax and accounting profession's leading voices in industry research, analysis, strategy and trends.  He has played leadership roles at Accounting Today, SmartPros, CPA2Biz and the AICPA.  Today, as president and chief executive of Bay Street Group LLC, he provides actionable information, strategic insight, and results-driven solutions to the professional tax, accounting and finance community.

BSG services include:

  • Leadership retreats and strategy sessions
  • Custom research and competitive intelligence
  • New business development and strategy
  • Channel marketing guidance
  • Keynote presentations and on-site consultation

For the latest research and analysis from Bay Street Group, visit CPA Trendlines.

Contact Rick Telberg at (631) 604-1651 or by email


We're grateful to Rob Nance and Gail Perry at AccountingWeb for their inspiration and guidance, and we look forward to connecting with the AccountingWeb community.

For more about the Seven Keys to Successful CPA Firm Management, download the executive summary (PDF, 11 pages) at

Copyright 2011 Seven Keys CPA. All rights reserved.

This blog

A blog by Jean Caragher and Rick Telberg
New insights into the winning habits of high performing accounting firms from The SevenKeys to Successful CPA Firm Management.

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