5 Areas CPA Firms Can Improve With a Peer Network

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In many firms, this tax season was the hardest in recent memory and in times like these we need to look outside of our own organizations for new ideas and best practices.

Joining a peer community can push you beyond your existing limits and offer a fresh perspective on five areas critical to your firm’s success.

1. Process

What takes a firm from good to great? Many firms have found the secret lies in efficient and effective processes that optimize value from a client’s point of view. Yet in a landscape of rapidly advancing technology and evolving client expectations, it can be challenging to stay on the forefront of Lean processes without accessing experience and expertise from outside your firm.

2. Talent

Talent is the life-blood of any organization and it’s especially crucial for an accounting firm’s success. Talent leaders need to implement initiatives to improve recruitment and retention, promote collaboration and expand engagement in employees.

Perhaps you’ve joined other HR networking organizations but found that the talent issues in a CPA firm are vastly different than those in many other industries.  You need a peer network of talented professionals from other accounting firms who can give you better insight into what has and hasn’t worked for firms in our profession.

With that knowledge, you can gain confidence in your decisions while discovering new ideas to implement and being aware of pitfalls to avoid. The people you meet in a true peer network will become trusted, lifelong friends and allies that you can lean on throughout your career as you become a better leader and transform your firm into an employer of choice.

3. Leadership

Leading an accounting firm can be a struggle, even with a strong partner group. You know you need to shape your firm for the future and lead your team, but it can be difficult to tell whether you are on the right track.

In the right professional communities, you’ll find that although your peers may come from different parts of the country, offer various services and focus on different niches, many of the problems they face are the same. Sharing what works and what doesn’t work in a trusted, non-competitive environment helps you develop your own leadership skills, improve your firm’s performance and plan for the future.

4. Technology

Accounting firms often struggle because their IT leaders and firm leaders attend different conferences and hear different messages and as a result, they face obstacles in getting in alignment. When firm and IT leaders share knowledge, best practices and learn about the latest technologies and innovations, individuals and firms perform at a higher level.

5. Growth

Most firm leaders know that to remain relevant and grow in the future, they need to shift their focus from [strictly] compliance services to offer more consulting and advisory services to their clients. But it’s difficult to know where to start in the creation of new services while helping your team develop the mindsets, skillsets and toolsets to grow in this direction.

The power of a peer network will help you fast track your progress and increase confidence that your firm is making sound decisions that will accelerate your success. No matter your focus, it’s what you don’t know you don’t know that costs you a lot of time and money.

Final Thoughts

When you invest your time, effort and energy in growing relationships within a network of your peers, you can quickly identify where you are lagging behind, where you are on the right path and where your firm is leading the pack.

You’ll discover a number of advantages when you step outside your own four walls and start networking with leading CPA firms from across the country.  The core principle of all of our communities is that professionals who share best practices and lessons learned are best-prepared for the future and benefit the most from the rapid changes in the profession.

The original article appeared on the Boomer Bulletin blog.

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About Jim Boomer

Jim Boomer

Jim Boomer is the CEO at Boomer Consulting, the director of the Boomer Technology Circles, The Producer Circle, The CIO Advantage and an expert on managing technology within an accounting firm.  

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