The profession has seen incremental change during the six decades and maybe some would say massive change since the onslaught of this pandemic. I have been privileged to engage within its boundaries. But, the change in the forthcoming decade is going to be far greater than the last six decades combined. And that change is happening right here and now today. Change is accelerating at a pace that few envisaged. Some are addressing the need to change, are you?
Here are a few thoughts on how to position yourself for future success.
1 Think strategically. What do you envisage the firm will look like in five years? Do you envisage any change in the style or structure of the firm? What initiatives should you pursue? What core competencies need to be developed? What [new] markets do you wish to serve? Your competitors – should you seek a merger or maybe look to acquire?
2 Technology. What changes in technology do you still need to make in order to better serve staff and clients? Decisions may not be easy to make with all the myriad available options, but delaying may not be the best decision if you have been unable to make up your minds over these past 19 months. Do you need to advance your investment? How can you further maximise the use of Cloud technology?
3 Clients. Are you investing as much time as necessary developing your service relationships? How can you improve service? What are their current problems and how can you interface with them to address those problems. Add value in real time and your clients will stay with you longer and be happier to recommend you to others. Meet with them. Make contact via the Internet using Zoom, Teams or your preferred internet inface.
Our trilogy of compliance services have served the profession well for decades but are now either withering on the vine or being delivered through new technologies. Online accounting portals have reduced the absolute necessity for the traditional role for the accountant. In some instances (bookkeeping, tax returns) the traditional role of the accountant is being bypassed.
Key point: In talking to accountants the message is clear – we get this, but what do we do after the intensive response to Covid?
Here are a few further pointers:
- The equity partnership model is in so many firms view no longer the right way to go. Many countries are seeing the advance of private equity with firms selling out to a new wave of marketplace consolidators. In the future firms are more likely to be structured on a 1:1 basis with one equity partner for one non-equity. Why? Not as many people seek the full responsibility of equity ownership and firm profitability going forward is unlikely to be able to support every owner fully sharing in profits.
- Profit sharing. Equal profit sharing is (or should be) history. It no longer delivers the performance or incentives that are necessary to drive firms forward. Devise a remuneration strategy that is largely based on a fair salary and performance.
- Specialisation. Successful firms are specialising. Either by service type or by service sector. What specialist services do you have or that you can develop?
- Marketing. Is your social media activity and website doing a good job for you? Up to date? Does it clearly state why you do what you do? Is your social media linked to your site? If you are like me and do not wish to have an active presence on Facebook and Twitter, do ensure that all firm leaders have a top quality presence on LinkedIN – are you all – All Stars? Visit here to find out what LinkedIN recommends to attain All Star status.
- Clients. Timeliness of service is more mission critical than ever before. This is the battle ground that we are fighting on with technology companies.
- Staff. The number one requirement staff have is for them to be able to work on meaningful work. What can you do to develop your staff by engaging them with meaningful work for good clients? Working From Home? View our recent articles here.
Accounting firms are diversified in their nature. The profession is ever diversifying to meet client needs. The challenge of the future is to plan your firm’s purpose, its service and value proposition. The profession has served the community well and will continue to do so – provided change is proactively pursued and we recognise that standing still today is not an option if we wish to prosper tomorrow.