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Breaking Free: The Urgent Call for Accountants to Rethink Success Metrics

March 5, 2024
The world of public accounting is at a crossroads. For too long, the profession has hinged on traditional metrics that, frankly, haven't delivered the results accountants deserve. Although many firms are doing fine financially, it comes at a cost – huge partner (and team) billable hours, leading to burn out and stress and inevitably, pressure on the home front.
Renew Mindset for CPA Firms
Colin Dunn

Imagine a farmer who still relies on traditional farming methods in an age of technological agriculture. They work tirelessly, yet the yield remains stagnant. One day, a neighbor introduces them to modern farming techniques, emphasizing soil health, precision farming, and sustainable practices. The transformation isn't just in the crop yield, but in the farmer's quality of life – less labor-intensive, more productive, and environmentally sustainable.  

Similarly, firms who work with us at Renew Group embrace modern techniques that transform not just their business metrics but their firms and their lives. 

It's time for a change, a transformation that moves beyond the stale, conventional ways and embraces a future brimming with potential. 

Traditional Approach: The Old Guard Stands Still

Imagine a profession bound by the chains of partner billables and profitability metrics that have barely budged in a decade. That's the traditional approach to accounting – a path tread so often it's become worn and ineffective. A recent national survey, which will remain anonymous to protect the innocent, underscores this stagnation, revealing a profession stuck in a loop of unimpressive results and outdated strategies.  

The survey was dominated by the same old metrics; net fees per partner, net hourly rate, partner billing rates, utilization rates and so on. Metrics that have not worked for years but are still being trotted out as the holy grail. 

Cutting to the chase, any gains over the past decade have been driven by partners working longer hours. Partly as a function of the talent pipeline issue, but that’s an excuse, as the profession created that crisis by the way it has operated over many years. If you were a bright young grad considering your options, would you want to join the accounting profession in its current state?  

Think of traditional metrics and benchmarking as an old map used for navigating the vast seas. While it served well in familiar waters, the world has changed, with new currents and uncharted territories. Renew’s bite-size benchmarking is like a GPS for accounting, providing dynamic tracking supported with how-to guidance to navigate the ever-evolving business world successfully. 

Renew Bite Size Benchmarks 

At Renew, we believe in doing more than just crunching numbers. We believe in understanding what drives those numbers and how to leverage them by goal seeking for profits up and hours down. Our approach is not just a shift in strategy; it's a complete overhaul of your mindset. 

Our focus? Bite-sized, modern firm metrics that resonate to help you build your model firm. Metrics that focus on identifying where you are (or are not) getting leverage and offering practical recommendations to improve your results.  

Here are some of the benchmarks that our firms focus on (with associated targets for each):  

Revenue per professional FTE: $250K 

Average client revenue: >$10K 

Number of clients below $1K: Zero 

Weekly hours worked: <40 

The benchmarks drive different behavior. Profits up, hours down. That way, you’re setting up your firm in a way that might just attract and retain talented people. 

Embrace the Change!

It's time to step beyond the conventional. It's time to embrace a future where accounting is not just a profession but a journey of continuous growth and fulfillment. Renew is leading the way, and we invite you to be a part of this transformation. Please feel free to download our most recent Bite Size Benchmark study and compare your firm’s numbers. And when you’re ready, you’re welcome to schedule a call so that we can get to know each other, understand your goals, and determine if there’s a good fit. 

2023 benchmark study  

Book a Call 

About Renew Group

Shannon Vincent and Colin Dunn created Renew Group to create a better model and better lives for accounting firms. Our Firm Transformation Framework is the blueprint to a better model and a better life. Through education and training, templates, tools, and resources, coaching and community, our framework delivers life-changing results.

To learn more about transforming your firm, subscribe to Renewsletter. We offer practical tips to transform your accounting firm with Less Hours, More Profit, and Better Clients.

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