Back to blog list
min read

It all begins with mindset

March 12, 2024
The keys to working a 40-hour week in your accounting firm
Renew Mindset for CPA Firms
Shannon Vincent

A Renew mindset is paramount to leading a successful firm.  Everyone has access to the same clients, software, people and we all have 24 hours in a day. So why are some firms successful and some less so?  It all begins with mindset.

Amy Morin, author, wrote a book titled, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success. It’s a positive read and worth the time.

We have our own take on the 13 things.  We will cover the first seven this month and final six next month.

Mentally Strong People Avoid:

1. Wasting time feeling sorry for themselves

Many accountants say to themselves:  “I have too much work to do. I can’t keep up. I have too many clients. There aren’t enough hours in the day.  Tax season is too compressed.  No one understands what I’m going through.”

These all might be true (with the exception of the no one understands what are you going through, the Renew Community of firms does) yet you can’t mulch in your comfort zone, if you want to advance your firm.  You need to keep your pity party as short as possible.

As the greatest tennis player of all time Novak Djokovic says.. “I’m human. I’m going to have negative thoughts and doubt myself but I keep those thoughts contained and keep them as short as possible.”

2. Giving away their power

Many firms let their clients dictate the terms of the relationship.  This has deleterious effects on their workflow, their team and their stress levels.  Firms must embrace dictating the terms of the client relationship.

This includes what services we provide, how we price our services, when we receive payment, when information is provided, how information is provided and how we deliver the service/communication.  

Tax season is a good time to note where you need to dictate terms, uphold your boundaries and note the clients that don’t respect your policies.

3. Shying away from change

Most firms embrace easy change (buying technology) yet avoid the change that matters or hiring people to serve clients you shouldn’t have.  The change that matters for most firms is what we call Tier 1 Issues.

Tier 1 issues are: Who is our target client?  What services do we offer them?  How do we price our services? Who do we want to be when we grow up?

4. Wasting energy on things they can’t control

You can’t control how clients are going to respond to business decisions you make.   You are going to act with respect, professionalism and integrity.  How a client responds is up to them.

An example of this is if you no longer conduct tax appointments on evening or weekends.  Your clients aren’t worried about your mental or physical health.  That’s up to you.

One of our favorite sayings is, “what others think of you is none of your business.”

5. Worry about pleasing others

A critical Renew principle is Making the Firm #1 Client.  We will create the most value for the right stakeholders by Making the Firm #1 Client.  An old way of thinking is serve the client and everything will take care of itself.

This is incorrect.  Your client expects you know how to work on your firm, allocate resources and make a profit.  However, most firms do not invest time in working on their firm.  A healthy firm makes a more trusted advisor.

6. Fearing taking calculated risks

Most accountants are risk adverse particularly if you have been running your own firm for a while.  You likely have some creep in firm costs and have a lifestyle to maintain.

What is lost on most accountants is you can raise prices by 20%, lose 33% of your clients at 40% margin and end up better off.

Here is a link to our price/volume calculator if you’d like to do some scenario planning.  

7. Dwelling on the past

We can only look forward.  We are not victims of the past.  One Renew mindset principle is Accountability.  An abused term.  At Renew to be accountable is to be adult.  That is you have agency over your firm.

We also say most aim at nothing and hit it with amazing accuracy.  What this means is do you have goals and plans to achieve those goals. At Renew we have a model firm exercise. It’s not a fluffy exercise. It’s a meat and potatoes exercise based on modern firm benchmarks.

Real stuff such as target client revenue, how many hours you/your team will work and average client revenue.

If you are like most in the profession it’s time for a change.  The key questions, is if not this year, when?  Start your post tax season list, check it twice.  Advancing your firm is a few steps away.

Articles you might like