It is the first publication on managing an accounting practice that I read that isn’t written like an explanation of the Internal Revenue Code and, more importantly, it is the very best that I have read on the subject.

Consultant Gale Crosley's phenomenal new book is entitled At the Crossroads--The Remarkable CPA Firm that Crashed Then Soared, published by Wiley. As is the case with many other business books that I’ve read, it is written in the form of a fable. This fable is about a fictitious firm in Minneapolis, Minn., with partners and staff that every CPA will recognize and probably one individual with which you will identify.

“The moral or lesson [of a fable] should be so plain, and so intimately interwoven with, and so necessarily dependent on, the narration, that every reader should be compelled to give to it the same undeniable interpretation.” This quote is taken from aptly describes the story that Crosley has woven. The tale illustrates how by utilizing some basic tools and applying easy-to-follow guidance and principles, a firm can completely change its business model with minimum disruption to its operation and make-up, and relatively quickly generate consistent double-digit percentage growth. What I found so fascinating was how the basic personalities and skill sets of the individuals remained the same. The significant and dramatic alteration was in how the firm now pursues new engagements.

I was a skeptic at first because of my belief that there can’t be a silver bullet to double–digit percent growth, and even if such a bullet exists I was convinced that the firm must be of a certain size and make-up. When I finished the book I was no longer that skeptic. A firm of any size (even, and especially, a sole practitioner) that believes it needs help in obtaining significant consistent revenue firm growth can benefit from reading this book.

The clincher for me was a response I ran across for Practical Accountant’s annual regional survey, the results which will appear in our April issue, in which the head of a very real firm with 15 percent revenue growth in FYE 2007 cites a growth initiative as having the greatest impact on the firm. He explains, “Through the guidance of Gale Crosley, we have been redesigning our firm. We are moving away from a book-of-business mentality towards a service line/industry mentality for selling and delivering services. At the same time, we have redesigned our organizational structure to better manage our growth.”

I don’t think it is a coincidence that the real and the fictitious firm both had similar double-digit percentage growth in revenue, and both managing partners were very excited about the future of their firms and extremely satisfied with their ROIs.     

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