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How Firm Owners Can Shift Toward a New Future


The path forward for firms after more than two years of dealing with a pandemic will require strong leadership, a concerted effort to retain employees and a strategy for remote and hybrid work. Here, Jim Boomer explains how firm owners are shifting their view of the future to overcome the challenges of growing a firm in the new normal. 

May 17th 2022
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March 2020 was a month we’ll never forget. When U.S. businesses began to close up shop and we headed into lockdown, it was the beginning of what has now been over two years of uncertainty and challenges. We closed our offices, shifted to working from home and figured things out on the fly. Firms that had invested in technology and digital workflows had an easier transition than those that hadn’t, but we were all in the same boat—a reactionary position.

Painting the Picture

Beyond the uncertainty and challenges, the past two years have presented us with tremendous opportunity: to learn from experience, to rethink and reinvent a better way to work, to transform our firms and the way we serve our teams and clients and to leverage technology and improve processes. After all, process and technology is the core of how we get things done in our firms. When we align process and technology, they can serve as the rocket fuel to accelerate progress toward transformation. Let’s paint the picture of the opportunities in the accounting profession right now:

  • Growth of advisory and consulting. The majority of growth in the profession is coming from advisory/consulting services rather than compliance work. This doesn’t mean compliance work is going away, but firms will need to offer both to meet their growth goals.
  • Importance of the client experience. There’s a lot of chatter about client perception of the profession. The negative perception will change if firms proactively lead that change. We need to educate the market on the value we can deliver and focus on providing a frictionless digital client experience.
  • Outsourcing and automation opportunities. With talent in short supply, outsourcing and automation are the only options available for firms that want to expand their capacity. Remember, outsourcing doesn’t have to mean offshoring. There are various ways to outsource, so build the strategy that works best for your firm.

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Replies (1)

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By Alison Ball
May 25th 2022 12:21 EDT

Thanks as always, Jim, for leading the way here! The focus on the experience your employees have working at your firm is extremely important, as is the focus on the firm's Client Experience. If either are out of balance the firm will struggle with retention. These are areas that many firms need to step up their game on. Tech can help, as well. I welcome readers to check out Liscio, as a way to help alleviate some of the stresses that staff are currently experiencing (frustration with not having everything in one place, as example), as well as help your clients to enjoy working with your firm and to be quickly responsive. But ultimately tech can only help if managers are willing to really understand what the issues are in their firms.

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