Just keep leading

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It can be tempting to take some much-deserved time off after the longest tax season in history. Not to mention powering through operational changes that included an abrupt transition to virtual workspaces and supporting clients in a contactless manner. It’s been a lot (to say the least) this year. But now is not the time to retreat. It’s time to lead … with focused intention.

We’ve experienced rapid-fire changes in 2020 that altered the accounting profession forever and, I would argue, for the better. Accounting professionals were forced to think differently about every level of firm operations. We were presented with big challenges and we overcame — and all in the name of taking care of our clients. Firms took charge of the Paycheck Protection Program loan and forgiveness process, coached clients through tough business decisions, and served as dedicated keepers of the calm.

With all those big mountains behind us, it’s enticing to take a break — a long one. But now is not the time. Modern firm leaders are doing just the opposite. They are keeping the momentum going by offering higher-value and higher-volume advisory services. They are enhancing their tech stack to completely embrace the cloud and digging deep into processes to identify issues and apply high-efficiency improvements at every level of operation. They are leading their firms with passion — because they know it’s what their staff and clients need … more than ever.

There’s never been a better time in our history to be a leader. Now is the time to:

  • Lean into client relationships. Relationships are what fuel small accounting firms in terms of growth and sustainability. Building on your existing client relationships is the key to long-term success, so lean into them. Take advantage of all that client data at your fingertips to identify and proactively provide clients with services you know they need. For example, identify business clients who would benefit from cash flow analysis and other higher-value advisory services. The opportunity to proactively help clients is greater than ever.
  • Leverage proven technologies. Keep moving forward in your quest to build a powerful, cloud-based tech stack. The goal is to operate at peak efficiency, which translates into a seamless and modern experience for both your team and your clients. Winning firms are making technology stack a core component of the business model, ensuring that both front and back offices are running on advanced, connected applications to offer a frictionless online experience. While many firms have long moved back-office operations to the cloud, many more are applying the same model to the front office, using communication apps like Slack and Zoom to conveniently connect with team members and clients. These same firms have also launched websites that connect with a content management solution, enabling them to easily push information out to clients and stay connected 24/7.
  • Connect. In a time when social distancing is law, connection has never been more vital for all the people that comprise your business. The difference between your firm thriving over merely surviving will be dependent on how you lead and your efforts to stay connected to staff, clients and colleagues. Firm leaders need to prioritize connecting with both staff and clients on a regular basis. Proactive zoom meetings, emails and even phone calls serve as the glue that will keep everyone together — and feeling seen and heard.

Make the choice to lead with intention. Put in the work to serve your clients proactively and move your firm, your staff and your clients forward — together.

For a deeper dive on the topics discussed in this article and more, subscribe to Darren’s "Better Every Day" podcast on iTunes or listen from the Rootworks website at rootworks.com/podcast.

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Practice management Client communications Cloud computing