Where there’s a will..

Date Added | August 21, 2019

As part of 2020’s commitment to help and support accountancy firms, we continue to facilitate over 50 Regional Members meetings each year. They are very popular, as the meetings allow delegates it’s good to talk – share and learn!

What are most of us, most concerned about, most of the time ?

Feedback from these meetings undoubtedly points the finger in 4 directions:

  • Not enough people, resources or efficiencies to satisfy the ever-higher demands from clients
  • Trying to be “all things to all people” is just not possible anymore and is causing us concern
  • What should our “IT stack” look like?
  • Moving up the “value chain”

Its fair to say that all these items are inextricably linked but we are seeing more and more firms rightly conclude that there has never been a more important time than now to set your strategy and align your team to the common cause.

Here’s a case study that one 2020 member firm found to be successful, eventually – I stress “eventually” as these things can take time to take effect;

First of all, they agreed they were fed up doing “the same old, same old”, with the “same old outcome” which, was highly stressful, not very profitable and generally unrewarding. – It was decided to stop fighting the “price war” with compliance work and the resulting challenges of workflow, efficiencies, IT and keeping people excited with boring work – instead they would focus to move up the value chain and make life more exciting, more challenging and more rewarding for almost everyone – here’s how.

  • PITA clients – package up and sell a portfolio of clients that are holding your firm’s strategy back.

2020 now has access to fellow 2020 members whose strategy is ONLY to act for smaller, compliance only, clients – they will buy these portfolios from you

  • Marketing efforts step up to attract the right type of client – in this case;

the type of client they wanted are;

  • Owner Managed Businesses,
  • Turnover >£2m, or Net Assets on Balance sheet >£500k, or profitability >£350k (not always possible so each set of accounts needs to be reviewed manually)
  • Over 50 years old:
  • Married
  • Niches – Care Homes, Childcare, & Chemists
  • How to get a list of these targets
    • Local knowledge
    • Local regional societies/chambers of industries/niches
  • Networking (social with solicitors, clients and banks)
  • Companies House software
  • Search engines and Websites
  • LinkedIn, Facebook and Google-maps
  • The services offered focus on
    • Selling the business (and preparing for sale)
    • Profit improvement and Business Advisory (including tax planning)
  • Wealth Management (Financial security in retirement)
  • Communications to these targets is restricted only to the services listed above
    • Marketing calendar prepared for each niche;
      • Mailshots
      • Telephone follow up
      • Website landing pages for each niche
      • Fully engage with local or regional chamber/society of each niche
      • Offer to speak at their events on the services you want to promote
      • Write articles on the services you want to promote
      • Provide your board room to host meetings
      • Volunteer to be the Treasurer (if appropriate)
      • Events for each niche
      • Seminars, webinars, and socials (including wine tasting, golf, and quarterly lunch club)
      • Blogs – weekly
      • Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook – 3 coms per week

The net result was that revenue fell by 15% immediately the PITA clients were sold off. This was replaced within 2 months ! Revenue further increased by 25% the next 2 years.

The team (including the partners) are happier, better paid and more motivated  – they lost 2 team members out of 25 because they did not “get it” and/or were not prepared to retrain accordingly.

This is a great example of how we can deal with these challenges if we put our minds to it.

They still don’t even offer in-house Corporate Finance and use the services of a local 2020 member when the client is ready to sell up.