Most Accounting firms exist by default not by design. Over the years they have just happened and here they are today. They have been poorly planned and they are often producing poor returns for the owners. You can change it. There are 4 key areas (and 26 sub points) an Accounting firm must focus on at all times to run a great firm.
All 4 must have attention every day. If you focus on just one the other three will falter. Do not start on any one of them first – do them all together at the same time – otherwise you’ll miss out on opportunities.
It’s your business – re-engineer it the way you want to run it. What I am writing about here is best practice based on 19 years advising Accounting firms around the world.
- Client service. It seems the term ‘service’ has been forgotten by many Accounting firms. What’s it like in your firm? Do you…offer refreshments, promptly return communication, explain all of your work, run events, educate your clients, have pleasant people, smile, provide technology, offer additional services and so on. Ask your team what are some examples of great customer service. Emulate the great companies. Do something different. It’s a sea of sameness out there in the Accounting profession.
- Niche markets. If you are attempting to be a generalist Accountant who works with any type of client type then you are being nothing to no body. Get focused on who you want to serve. When you pick your niche(s) make sure you like working with them, they are good people and they have the ability to pay.
- ‘A’ class strategy. Because most firms exist by default not by design they have a mix of A,B,C & D class clients. What are you doing for the A class clients? They know people who might be an A class client as well. Make sure you have a defined strategy for the A’s.
- Classification / Selection. There is an abundance of clients you can select from. Why do you take on anyone who walks through the door. You are not a community service or a charity – you are a business. Know who you want and be ruthless about it. If you have the attitude that you are selecting and not convincing then your entire persona will change. And so will your client profile.
- Value Added Services. Here’s what annoys me most about Accountants. If I give you an income statement showing 3 years of progress & a balance sheet and ask you to brainstorm ideas of improvement for the client then you will come up with a host of ideas. Then why are you not doing that every single day with every client you meet!!! Your clients may be buying tax & compliance service but what they really need is: Profit improvement, Cash-flow management, Revenue improvement, KPI analysis, Planning, Monitoring, Health Checks, Cloud technology, Benchmarking, Strategy, Coaching & Wealth Creation services.