[IMGCAP(1)]Tax season has ended and the summer is now upon us. Deadlines are not as tight, so projects extend and extend. It’s the time of year when CPAs tend to evaluate what went well and where improvements can be made.
We think big, but oftentimes act small. We dream of changes but get caught up with minor issues that cyclically waste time and effort. The changes that are implemented are oftentimes small. They rarely make an impactful change on the future of the firm. We go back to our same old habits with very little to show as a result.
Chew on this for a second. Small changes have never created anything revolutionary. Changing software providers, re-evaluating staffing needs, installing the newest cloud technology, or improving a checklist have never put a firm on the map as the firm to be emulated.
This summer, go big! As a leader in an accounting firm, get away from the forest to see the trees.
Identify the systemic issues your firm has dealt with and has tried to tweak multiple times with little success. This summer, transform the future of your firm into one that should be emulated by the industry.
Steve Jobs once said, “I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I’ve done that sort of thing in my life, but I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why. Because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.” Revolutionary change may be difficult, but the rewards are surely exciting.
Revolutionary change is possible in accounting firms. The end product may not change materially, but the process in which you get to the results can and should change dramatically. What was done yesterday may not be the same as what is needed today. Be bold and challenge those around you to provide a revolutionary service.
Below are five opportunities to create revolutionary change in your accounting firm this summer:
1. Rebrand Your Firm: If your clients and referral sources are still coming to you and requesting a tax return or a financial statement and nothing else, you are in desperate need of a change. I’m not talking about changing the logo on your business card or updating your website, but rebranding the attitude your firm presents as one that is a necessary revenue-generating enterprise instead of one that is solely based on a mandatory cost of doing business. Revolutionize your firm to promote growth in your client. See what type of exciting work comes your way upon your rebranding. It should be exciting!
2. Define Your Purpose: I’ve heard it a thousand times. “We have committed to making client service our number one priority.” What does this mean? I guarantee that your firm commits to something similar, and your managers and staff have no idea what these commitments or purposes mean. Furthermore, your firm lacks the training necessary to carry out these commitments through one simple guide. I challenge you to take a look at your purpose and ensure that every person in your firm understands the role they make in ensuring that purpose is obtained. That is revolutionary.
3. Package a New Service: By now you have heard of the outsourced CFO, the cost segregation analysis, the SALT services, the tax credit services. Maybe your firm has jumped into one or more of these arenas, or maybe not. Rather than jumping into a new service this summer, a revolutionary step that you can take this summer is reviewing your core competencies and finding a way to package them into a box and sell them multiple times with little effort. For example, say you are working with a number of new startup companies. Create a chart of accounts system that fits 90 percent of startup companies and use it for other startup entities you work with.
4. Enhance Your Client Service: If you haven’t figured it out by now, your staff went to college to become accountants, not client service managers. Understanding and providing a high level of client service is not an innate trait that your staff was born with. It’s learned, it’s trained, it’s practiced. This summer revolutionize the service your firm brings to its clients. Make it stand out. Make it shine. Make it different than what someone would expect. But most of all, make it fit what your clientele seeks.
5. Overhaul Your Employee Retention System: Are your employees jumping ship now that tax season is over? Are you constantly churning through staff? Stop. Stop everything you are doing. Take the HR engine apart in your firm and overhaul it. Your firm value is based on the people that make your firm great. Your value is only as good as your people are creative problem solvers. Shaking up this system (if needed) will be a boon to future results.
This summer go big. Make a difference. Become the best. Whether the initiative is a failure or success, you will have learned more about the opportunity to improve your business. As Steve Jobs implied, the highs will be high and the lows will be low. But either way your revolutionary steps will have put you in a position to succeed as tax season rolls around in 2016.
Adam Blitz is a CPA and a relationship builder. Through his 10+ years in public accounting he has refined his ability to develop relationships with partners and clients alike in the pursuit of enhancing business profitability and individual satisfaction. Adam’s passion for business development stems purely from the notion that CPAs help people. He works with professional service firms to enhance relationships with clients, vendors, staff and communities for the purpose of developing revenue streams. Adam has a Masters in Leadership Studies and has published a thesis on the value a CPA provides to clients and staff. In his spare time, you’ll find him hiking the Sierra Nevada or training for his next triathlon. You can reach Adam at Adam@getblitzedsolutions.com or via twitter @getblitzed.
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