Back in March, Daniel Hood wrote an article in Accounting Today about the 20 biggest problems accounting firms are facing in 2023. As the fall deadlines pan out with familiarity for many firms (are you working 80-hour weeks, missing family dinners, and wondering why you ever became a partner?), perhaps it’s time to figure out how best to address some of these issues with a view to making next year very different.
The War for Talent
You’re not going to win the war for talent just by throwing money at the problem. The real issue? Your firm's business model. If you're still stuck in the billable hour rut, good luck attracting the next-gen CPAs. Renew firms are moving to a subscription model, offering massive value to the right clients in a leveraged way and guaranteeing 40-hour weeks year-round. Not surprisingly, they are finding that they are getting good quality applications when they search for new talent. It takes time and commitment, but with a framework to guide you, it’s very achievable.
Most firms are swamped with work but can't find people to do it. Instead of trading dollars hiring people to deliver low-value services to the wrong sort of clients, Renew firms are laser-focused on doing more with less. Profits up, hours down is one of our mantras. The best way to do this is to focus on target clients only and figure out a service offering that is standardized internally to the extent possible (yet feels customized externally). Stop being a jack-of-all-trades and master something that'll make you indispensable.
Burnout isn't just about workload; it's about lack of purpose. If your team is simply crunching numbers and do not feel as though they are making a difference, they'll leave. What was not long ago thought to be the savior of the profession, Client Accounting Services (CAS) has actually made the problem worse. Accountants find themselves trapped in low-value tasks such as bookkeeping, write-up, payroll, invoicing, and bill payments for clients. This leaves them with no time for meaningful advisory work, rendering the original goal of CAS unattainable. Make work more meaningful, and you'll make it manageable (and even fun!).
Accountants typically gravitate to tech as the solution to everything. This is not surprising, as they are being bombarded with that message by many of the tech vendors. Our view is that tech is NOT a Tier 1 issue for accounting firms. Rather, it SUPPORTS your model and strategy. Before you worry about upgrading your technology, invest your time figuring out what services you offer, who you will work with, the level of sophistication of who you’ll work with (if a client or service is overly complex, it’s too partner-dependent), and who you want to be when you grow up. Once you’ve nailed that, you can then figure out the people, technology and marketing required to support that model.
Your clients don't need another tax return; they need a trusted advisor. We often hear clients are ‘more demanding’ but ask yourself what they are demanding. If you’ve taken on their payroll, AR, AP and bookkeeping, maybe you’ve positioned yourself as a low-level pseudo-employee, rather than a trusted, strategic partner. More and more firms are sunsetting services that no longer make sense for them. It’s your firm; you set the rules.
Renew firms experience real results, not fluff, such as a 137% increase in average revenue per client with fewer hours worked.
Our best-in-class solution equips you with the training, tools, and support to reduce your workload and command premium pricing with the right clients.
Renew Group's Firm Transformation Framework is your blueprint to a better model and a better life. Schedule a no obligations call to find out more.
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.