Diversity, purpose and direction
The profession has seen incremental change during the six decades I have been privileged to engage within its boundaries. But, the change in the forthcoming decade is going to be far greater than the last six decades combined. And that change is happening right now today. Some are addressing the need to change are you?
Here are a few thoughts on how to position yourself for future success:
1 Think strategically. What do you envisage the firm will look like in five years? Do you envisage any change in the style or structure of the firm? What initiatives should you pursue? What core competencies need to be developed? What [new] markets do you wish to serve? Your competitors – should you seek a merger or maybe look to acquire?
2 Technology. What changes in technology do you envisage? Do you need to advance your investment? How can you maximise the use of Cloud technology?
3 Clients. Are you investing as much time as necessary developing your service relationships? How can you improve service?
Our trilogy of compliance services have served the profession well for decades but are now either withering on the vine or being delivered through new technologies. Cash accounting has reduced the absolute necessity for the traditional role for the accountant. In some instances the traditional role of the accountant is being bypassed.
In talking to accountants the message is clear – we get this, but what do we do?
Here are a few quick pointers:
The equity partnership model. In the future firms are more likely to be structured on a 1:1 basis with one equity partner for one non-equity. Why? Not as many people seek the full responsibility of equity ownership and firm profitability going forward is unlikely to be able to support every owner fully sharing in profits.
Profit sharing. Equal profit sharing should be history. Devise a remuneration strategy that is largely based on a fair salary and performance.
Specialisation. Successful firms are specialising. Either by service type or by service sector. What specialist services do you have or that you can develop?
Marketing. Is your website doing a good job for you? Up to date? Does it clearly state why you do what you do? Is your social media linked to your site?
Clients. Timeliness of service is going to be mission critical.
Staff. The number one requirement staff have is to be able to work on meaningful work. What can you do to develop your staff by engaging them with meaningful work for good clients?
The challenge of the future
Accounting firms are diversified in their nature. The profession is ever diversifying. The challenge of the future is to plan your firm’s purpose, its service and value proposition. The profession has served the community well and will continue to do so – provided change is proactively pursued and we recognise that standing still today is not an option if we wish to prosper tomorrow.