Accounting firms plan to continue growing through client specialization, joining networks and other strategies, according to a new survey.

The survey, by CCH, found that firms also plan to grow by recruiting and retaining talent, and effectively leveraging employee and client knowledge. The top challenges they face are growing the business, keeping current with technology, increasing productivity, and finding and retaining staff.

Approximately half the firms polled nationwide report that specialization is important to their future growth. Sixty-six percent of firms report that their specialized services are growing, and 64 percent plan to drill deeper into the areas of specialization they currently offer while 59 percent intend to become more specialized in particular practice areas.

More firms are becoming members of professional networks to serve the geographical and specialized needs of clients. Thirty-eight percent of firms report being part of a regional, national or international alliance. An additional 27 percent expect to become members of such alliances within the next three years.

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