30 Tips on How to Build The Perfect Accounting Firm for The Time-challenged Accountant

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Are you looking to take that proverbial step up to creating your perfect accounting firm? The problem is you and your team are overwhelmed with work that you don’t have the time. But, before we get to the HOW, let us define WHAT is “the perfect firm”.

“The perfect firm” is an accounting business that has effectively implemented a whole host of strategies that make a positive difference to the firm’s performance.

To see if you fit the bill, ask yourself these three questions:

1. How well-developed is your firm?

2. How well do you implement anything?

3. With what you implement, do the strategies produce a positive result to your financial performance?

Improving your firm’s performance means you have to CHANGE actions and strategies - or implement the ones you know you should!

We’ve coached thousands of firms, and we have them focused on key strategies that make a difference to their overall performance, sometimes instantly, because we can look at any accounting business and tell immediately where the problems and opportunities are. If the right strategies are being implemented, then you’ll produce exceptional profit, create excess capacity and have solid, predictable annual revenue growth.

Here are 30 tips on how to upscale your business amidst the constraints set on your clock. These are focused on three crucial areas of firm development - profit, capacity and growth.

  • Tip #1: Price upfront
    Your clients must know the price and scope of all projects before the job starts. Put it in writing.
  • Tip #2: Reduce WIP and receivables
    You should put a strict system in place for reduction of each with a lockup period of less than 30 days..
  • Tip #3: Eliminate write-offs
    You must get rid of all write offs as much as possible. You also need to have a process to establish net write ons every month..
  • Tip #4: No low-profit services
    These must be identified and eliminated. Focus on high-profit services only..
  • Tip #5: Establish value pricing
    You must learn how to give the right value for your services. Education and systems must be in place to train your entire team. This can represent greater than 30% increase in revenue.
  • Tip #6: Steadily increase Average Hourly Rate
    This should be measured on every invoice and should grow monthly. Eventual target should be greater than $350 AHR.
  • Tip #7: Streamline productivity
    Your Accountants should be at a healthy 1,350 hours (no more) while partners should have 500 hours (no more).
  • Tip #8: Develop your team
    You have to continue to train and upskill your team with a structured education process to get them more profitable faster.
  • Tip #9: Choose your clients wisely
    You must identify low-profit or high-hassle clients and move them up or move them on.
  • Tip #10: Always provide the best service
    Build a structured service program to make sure all team members deliver exceptional levels of service to all clients.
  • Tip #11: Improve communications with clients
    You have to establish a structured process - face-to-face, phone, events, social, etc. to greater than 12 communication points per year.
  • Tip #12: Set up all policies and processes
    You must have documented systems for everything. Establish the best way of “how we do it here.”
  • Tip #13: Manage your workflow
    You need to build a fully operational workflow system with less than 10 days average turnaround time. You can use the PANALITIX 18-step workflow process.
  • Tip #14: Always push for efficiency
    You must complete with less than 80% of allocated hours’ budget..
  • Tip #15: Take your firm to the Cloud
    You need to have all internal technology systems transitioned to cloud-based.
  • Tip #16: Take your clients to the Cloud
    You must have more than 80% of clients on pure cloud accounting - not hosted.
  • Tip #17: Set your team’s performance
    You’d enthusiastically rehire them all. And, your entire team should be 100% focused on taking time out of projects.
  • Tip #18: Establish a good administration team
    You must have a dedicated team to do administrative work associated with accounting.
  • Tip #19: Supervise remote teams better
    If you are outsourcing, offshoring or contracting, they should be in place and working well.
  • Tip #20: Find your niche market
    You must concentrate on your target sectors and own that niche(s).
  • Tip #21: Know your best buyer
    You need to have clearly identified best buyers within your niche, own a database and established strategy to get to them.
  • Tip #22: Develop your brand
    You should become one of the thought leaders in your space and be known as a ‘go-to’ firm.
  • Tip #23 Dominate the web
    Your firm should be everywhere on the web - all possible channels and platforms.
  • Tip #24: Establish a lead generation program
    You have to create a consistent weekly marketing process that generates leads and positive ROI.
  • Tip #25: Have a solid sales process
    You need to find a documented systematic process that works for all client-facing team members.
  • Tip #26: Enhance your sales skills
    You must have a sales education process in place to enhance your client-facing team.
  • Tip #27: Retain all good clients
    You should build a documented ‘Client Success’ process that works.
  • Tip #28: Increase average project value
    You must have project values known, measured, focused on and increased monthly.
  • Tip #29: Raise the number of projects per client per year
    You must get all clients to buy all your firm’s services that help them achieve their goals.
  • Tip #30: Focus more on business advisory services
    This should represent greater than 30% of your fee base and growing monthly.

We can help you implement each one of these tips like we've done for thousands of Accountants from hundreds of firms around the world. On average, the Accounting firms we've guided have achieved a 75.5% increase in profits (before partner salaries), 30.6% enhanced capacity (without hiring any more Accountants) and 52.1% sustainable revenue growth (without acquisitions of fees) in 12 months or less. The first step in this path to success is taking your firm's customized business performance plan. Are you ready?

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