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What to Consider About You and Your Firm

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Jun 28th 2017
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In the accounting profession, we hear a lot about change these days, constantly communicated to using the terms “fast-paced,” “ever-changing,” and “hyper-connected.” But when we scrape the marketing speak away from our outlooks, has much actually changed in your firm?

Ask yourselves: Are you still keeping most of your clients? Have you still got a recurring fee base that supports your lifestyle and the monthly payroll? Are you still worried about recruitment, retention, capacity, pricing, etc.?

It’s been like this for a while, hasn’t it? So, one thing I hear a lot of when speaking to small and medium-sized firms is, “but what about me and my firm?”

What they mean by this is, where are the practical solutions to the ongoing challenges of growing their practices and not just what’s the system they are selling us today.

Let’s take “the cloud” for example. We know that the move to the cloud is an inevitability for us eventually, if not now. But for many firms, the speed, appetite for, and nature of the adoption is varied across the country. 

As a percentage of small to medium-sized accounting firms across the United States, there are relatively few firms that can demonstrate a tangible transition of their compliance work being automated and the time saved having resulted in high-value, consultancy-style engagements.

The harsh reality is that most of us have just dropped our prices and are doing the same for less, with a little bit of new technology added in.

For many of us, progress is slow, if there’s any progress to be reported at all. Many packages, resources, and systems have been developed to speed up this rate of change and accelerate “cloud adoption.”

Few products, if any, however, seem to cater for those dealing with the peaks and troughs of an owner-managed practice and can’t oversee dramatic, radical change even if they were convinced that this is what was needed in the firm. 

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of support for those of us who:

  • Advocate smaller, incremental changes rather than wholesale, dramatic ones.
  • Accept that “core” traditional services (bookkeeping, tax compliance, etc.) are relevant to the modern practice (at least in the short to midterm)
  • Solve “real world” problems surrounding perpetual issues, such as capacity, recruitment, retention, etc.
  • See technology as a tool in the toolbox rather than the cure for all issues.

If there’s a common thread between myself and AccountingWEB, it is that we have focused on providing insight and confidence to the “transitional accountant” in the United States – and that includes both the progressive as well as the aspirational firms. As part of that commitment, we’ve joined forces to produce a three-month “Pathfinder” program for you of education, support, and mentorship designed to address those “real world” issues with the aim of:

  • Enabling firms to understand and articulate the changes impacting their firms.
  • Allowing them to break down those challenges into manageable segments.
  • Defining an appropriately paced practice development strategy.

This will be delivered by myself in a series of six, one-hour webinar sessions each accompanied by follow-up and easily manageable “homework” to be actioned in time for the next session.

Our first session asks the question:

Have I Got the Capacity to Grow My Fee Base?

In this session, we’ll explore one of the greatest fears amongst practitioners, that of, can I service work? Nothing gets in the way of practice growth like the “what if I fail” scarcity mindset. It needn’t be so for any of us, and my job is to show you the “why” and the “how” we overcome this valid concern in practical, actionable ways.

As the series progresses, we’ll also look at technology, existing client relationships, winning new fees, forecasting our income with accuracy, pricing, recruitment, talent retention, and much more.

Each session will have a “progress PDF” for you to complete in-between sessions and complimentary resources for you to adopt and implement at your own pace.

The world might well be changing fast, but all we need to focus on is succeeding fast. Join me on this series and I’ll show you the proven ways of doing so for firms of our size. Together, we will identify YOUR true path to progress in September!

Entry to the 2017 Practice Pathfinder program is now closed.  Martin will be appearing at QB Connect in San Jose for a final special edition session.  We will be reopening the program for 2018 enrollment in the spring.

 

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By isabellehargreaves
Sep 28th 2017 01:04 EDT

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