Thank goodness, you made it through the tax season home stretch!
A vacation is well deserved! But will it improve your practice?
Do you know what other firms are doing to keep ahead, and growing their business?
Here are six things that “progressive-aggressive” accounting and bookkeeping firms will do. And no, these may not be the common things that you think…
Increase Client Interactions:One of the topmost reasons accounting firms lose clients is communication, rather lack of it. And hence, contrary to the popular belief, it is not just during the tax season that leading firms follow up with clients. After the tax season, savvy firms use the “tax season recency” in client-touch to build stronger relationships. The clients of such firms generally do not say “I meet my accountant only once a year”.
Rethink Business Models:Why change what has worked for years? Leading firms don’t think so. They seek change. They question their own business model. They compare themselves with not other firms but other knowledge-based industries and ask questions like “why do we earn less money per person than x, y, z industry makes?”. They take the new learning from the tax season and leverage that knowledge to change processes. Then they look for opportunities to revamp their business model by eliminating, optimizing or empowering certain aspects of their business model.
Niche Identification:Every now and then technology and laws change, which inevitably uncover new opportunities in the marketplace. Visionary firms and aggressively ambitious accountants find such changes, and discover how to make the most of such changes by creating niche services or products around such changes, before others.
Trends Identification:Tax season is like being in another world, more often than not pretty detached from the world around. Most technology providers that cater to accounting profession work hard during tax season to get ready with new features, products and processes. Immediately after the tax season, all of these new things come to market. Progressive firms step out and look for the cool new innovations and try them out. Pioneers identify trends and ride them, even if it means risking some of their time and profits. Visionary firms have “gut-feel” of which trends will make money, because they have always tried new trends early.
Technology Upgrade, but NOT Just at Firm’s Office:Cloud and SaaS products have driven the big change in technology visions of leading firms. The whole behavioral shift in terms of people wanting to have unobstructed access to their own information at the time of their choosing has created new multi-billionaires in the social media technology industry. And accounting firms that have grip over customer psychology know this well. Their technology spend is being planned on not just upgrading versions and hardware but actually identifying and focusing on rolling out such technologies that empower their clients. Self-service client portals, secure documents sharing utilities, online access to accounting data, automated client communications, social media outreach, what-if analytics….the list will just keep growing.
Focus:The number one challenge, especially for small to medium firms, is the inability to focus on more profitable activities.In his highly acclaimed expressions, celebrity author Daniel Goleman says “Every leader needs to cultivate this triad (focusing on yourself, focusing on others, and focusing on the wider world) of awareness, in abundance and in the proper balance, because a failure to focus inward leaves you rudderless, a failure to focus on others renders you clueless, and a failure to focus outward may leave you blindsided.” See The Focused Leader at Harvard Business Review for full article.
What seems like work may not necessarily be required to be done by you yourself or by your expert staff. Cost effective resources can do the “grunt work”. The “skunk work” (aka innovative projects) is what will help you create new revenue stream. Leveraging your own or the collective expertise of your firm for generating higher return requires focus.
What will YOU do to after the tax season? Please share your thoughts.