[IMGCAP(1)]Over the past few years, I’ve preached about keeping up with change, specifically in relation to technology, social media and value pricing. These are all items that reflect the New Firm attitude—that is, those firms that are willing to change, stay ahead of trends, and streamline operations for ultimate efficiency.

My firm is certainly changing—sometimes, it seems like, on a daily basis. But the effort we’ve put into enhancing operations has helped us grow exponentially, even in a recession! So, my question to you is: Will you change, too?

Let me expound on some areas where my firm has grown and how it happened.

Exhibit 1 – Social media: Many leads come from social media. For my firm, it’s Facebook that drives potential clients to my door. Our presence is professional, and we maintain ongoing, consistent communications via our social media channels. A sound social media program is bringing prospects in. For example, we recently took on a large client who was formerly with the global firm KPMG. Fees for this client will approach six figures.

Exhibit 2 – Value pricing: Our fixed-pricing model allows us to compete on value and service with the big firms. Not restrained by billable hours, we can go the extra mile for our high-net-worth clients. Complex partnership returns was once the exclusive territory of Top 100 firms, but with advanced technology and streamlined workflow practices in place, we can provide the same level of service as the big guys…at a fixed monthly cost. This drives a lot of big clients to our small-firm doors!

Exhibit 3 – Technology: Technology is the lynchpin in any successful firm. You have to have a streamlined system in place to efficiently handle client work. This allows you to put a fixed-pricing model in place and take on the six-figure clients. Firms must be willing to get out of their comfort zone and move to the cloud, as well as implement other advanced applications if they are to compete with the big firms. It’s technology that levels the playing field. It certainly has for us.

The final word: It’s all about changing with the times. We are a small firm, but we are competing with the big firms because we were willing to implement the right changes (and I have the case studies from tax season to prove it).

Such changes include adopting social media, cloud technologies and value pricing. All of these items combined give small firms a competitive advantage. Having implemented all of these things has definitely given my firm the advantage over my competitors and allows us to compete head-to-head with large firms.

You can do the same if you are willing. The best part is that there are firm owners that are willing to share how to go about it. And I’m one of them. If you are open…I’m here to help.

Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, is a Certified Public Accountant experienced with Complex Federal & State Income Tax Compliance for Business & Individuals. Jody is an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College, where she teaches Taxation and QuickBooks Courses. She is part of Intuit Trainer Writer Network and speaks nationally on various Technologies and Taxation. She can be reached at www.newvisioncpagroup.com.