Obstacles to Real Growth
As you are working to take your accounting practice to the next level, here are some insights on common obstacles on the path to your growth. With proper strategic planning, training, and discipline, you can sidestep them and save yourself time and expense.
1. Inability to tune into the market need
Any professional service is only truly valuable if it addresses a need in the market, and can be differentiated. Study your target market to tune into needs, desires, and pain points. Ideally, you want to address a problem that is urgent, persistent, and expensive enough to warrant investing in a solution. Then, tailor your offering to be an obvious best fit for your clients.
2. Ineffective value proposition
Send a clear message for how your service offering will solve the client’s problem. What’s more, invest time and effort into making your message stand out. If your value proposition could be confused for that of the accounting firm next door, why should the prospect select you?
Consider focusing the value proposition on the pain points and end results, not on your methodology. After all, the client did not come to you to buy a box of tools – they want a solution!
3. Lack of consistency in marketing
Professional practices of all kinds, and accountants in particular, can sometimes struggle with making a consistent effort in the marketing area. It is understandable – they have technical expertise in the field of accounting, and marketing can seem too uncertain, risky, and not a great fit for their preference and temperament.
Consider outsourcing, hiring or training someone on your team, or investing in your own skill-set development to ensure that marketing is not just a seasonal activity. Consistency over time brings a better ROI than a monumental effort every now and again.
4. Single rainmaker
The majority of small accounting practices never grow beyond the production capacity of a single rainmaker. No matter how good or efficient that rainmaker is, he or she is only one person. Invest in developing staff and junior partners into rainmaking roles through mentoring, training, and coaching. Build a compensation system with an effective profit-sharing provision to encourage your staff to think in an entrepreneurial way.
5. Inefficient use of time
Think about the flow of your day. What problems and challenges take up the bulk of your working time? Where is the highest revenue and opportunity potential? Do the two match?
If they do not, you are not alone – many accounting firm partners and managers spend most of their day putting out fires and dealing with last-minute issues, not working on strategically important areas of their business. Change your focus by reflecting on what efforts and activities, if done daily, will contribute the most to the growth of your practice over the next 5 years. Then, delegate until you can focus your productive time, creativity, and effort on what matters most.
6. Lack of partner accountability and unity
Discord among partners, as well as lack of a shared vision for the firm, are among the top reasons practice growth stagnates. If your partners could benefit from unity in direction and focus, consider hiring a professional facilitator for your next partner meeting. A trained, experienced facilitator can elevate the level of the conversation, keep the group focused, and help you build momentum.
7. Inability to attract and retain top talent
Surveys about top issues faced by accounting firm consistently rank attracting and retaining top talent among the two biggest challenges. The quality of your staff, coupled with their internal synergy, creates the customer experience and contributes to the market perception of your brand.
8. Shortage of cash flow to invest in growth
Firm growth means, at least in part, greater expenses. Larger office space, more staff, better software systems, updated branding – all of that requires financial resources. Dedicate time to analyzing your cash flow, and structuring it in a way that will support and boost your growth.