[IMGCAP(1)] The value of your accounting practice not only affects your firm’s success today but will affect your performance years down the track.

Performing an honest assessment of where your firm is now, and where you want to be, is the best way to grow a more valuable practice. Whether you plan on passing the firm on to a family member when you retire or you intend on selling it — maybe you haven’t even thought this far ahead — you want to leave your firm in a position to continue growing.

While succession may be a long way down the road for you, there are many ways you can plan today to protect and grow the value of your practice now and in the future.

Use modern technology
Technology is what powers the success of a firm. Using dated technology increases the workload for you and your colleagues, and makes it more of a liability if you are looking to sell later down the line. If you are still using desktop accounting software there is a long list of benefits you are missing out on: security, increased workflow and elimination of manual processes just to name a few.

The adoption of cloud technology in your firm shouldn’t stop with your accounting software. Use services like Google Drive and Dropbox to store your scanned documents. Google Hangouts offers a way to collaborate with your clients anywhere, anytime through virtual video calls and teleconferencing, significantly reducing the need for onsite visits.

Develop a marketing strategy
Developing a marketing plan is integral to keeping existing clients and for gaining new ones. While some firm owners may not know where to start, others simply may not have the time or the resources to set this in motion. For larger firms, implementing in-house marketing may be a sustainable option, whereas small firms may need to get a little creative with what they have.

A DIY marketing plan starts with thinking about your client base. This includes assessing average company size, niche and sales volume. From there, creating a marketing plan will draw on your firm’s unique selling points, taking into account your business targets and the services your firm provides that are the most valuable. Adopting social media into this plan is vital.

Keep a finger on the pulse
You don’t have to be the world’s most innovative accounting practice, but you do want to keep up to date with the latest trends in the industry. This way you can let others lead the charge while keeping an eye on firms servicing a similar client base and see where they are experiencing successes.

Most of the industry trades and online resources do the hard work for you — even offering newsletters where you can have the latest news delivered straight to your inbox. Maintaining an active professional presence on social media should not only be part of your firm’s social media strategy, but also offers an opportunity for you to follow and engage with industry thought leaders.

With a little planning, a firm of any size can add value to their practice and ensure its security now and into the future.

Paul Miller is CMO Americas for Xero. 


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