We released our annual benchmark report last week. Hundreds of firms sent in their financial data, we analysed it and then produced a 23 page report on our findings.

Already thousands have downloaded it (if you haven’t got it yet the entire report is available here for free) and no doubt it will be the topic of conversation at many partners meetings coming up.

I noticed this year that profit per partner was about the same as last year (A$344k in Australia and A$259K in New Zealand) and many of the other metrics are very similar.

Does that mean that there has been limited improvement? Probably. I often wonder why that is. I think it comes down to being comfortable.

Think about it. The Accounting profession is a pretty solid business with the majority (in the small to medium sector of firms) of work in annual compliance. Every year you have to ‘do the books’ of your clients (whether they like it or not) and every year there is some form of legislative change that you need to implement. You have the status of ‘trusted advisor’ so when other business opportunities occur you’re often the first to be called upon. Put into the mix that you have ‘financial intimacy’ with your clients (you know things that no one else does – or you’re the first to find out) which means they stick with you for a long time as well.

In my view all this ‘comfort’  breeds apathy and lack of innovation.

There are many changes afoot and massive disruption on the way (make sure you read my dossier and open letter to the profession in the first few pages of the report) which will hopefully (as they happen) break the cycle of apathy, reactiveness and limited innovation.

My company offers performance coaching & training for Accounting firms. We build really cool software solutions to help accounting firms succeed. My biggest competitor is apathy. There needs to be a healthy discontent for the present to break a cycle.

If the profession was more ambitious and was REALLY interested in the success of their clients then it wouldn’t be so apathetic.

That’s my rant for the day!

The tables below are a summary of the Australian and New Zealand samples.

Benchmark data summary - Australia

 

Benchmark data summary - NZ