Setting Your Strategy For The Year Ahead
Now is a good time to take a breath, reflect on how things have gone and prepare for the year ahead!
The world is changing and so is our industry. We seem to be busier than ever despite all the politician’s interference!
New technologies mean we need to constantly think about the way we do things so we are as efficient as possible. More new “virtual” firms are entering the accounting sector competing on compliance services, many firms have difficulty attracting new staff to the firm and there is so much social media noise!
Despite all this we are busy! Or are we just busy fools?
At 2020 we think our industry is changing and the future is bright … but it’s different!
This blog is relevant to all accountants looking for an understanding of where the industry stands and provides guidance on the skills needed in the future. Hopefully it will also encourage you to think “outside the box” to generate new ways of doing things.
Let’s start with technology. The most important thing about tech is our willingness to adapt!
Use tech to make it easier for our people to produce accounts, audits and prepare tax returns. Failure to adopt tech means new entrants into our industry will do their work quicker and faster than us! Adopting new tech means survival and prosperity!
So next year what should objectives be for production of tax and accounts? Some of the cloud providers have enhanced their bookkeeping packages with modules so you can use the client’s software to prepare returns and lodge directly with Companies House and HMRC. This has to be the future. The same package used by the client and their advisor. It may take a while to get to this position but it’s a journey you should be on. New entrants understand this and don’t have any need for separate accounting and tax packages and the associated costs.
As Making Tax Digital approaches its first anniversary for VAT we can expect this to be expanded to income and corporation tax with quarterly reporting. Now is a good time to encourage all clients towards going digital, to remove “problem” clients and to train your staff in helping clients make the transition. This is future proofing your practice. Stop being the accountant to everyone! Only take on clients who can fit in with your way of doing things.
Tech cannot build trust – exercise judgement or provide care and support to clients. That’s why retraining our team in client service and meeting client expectations is essential to our long term success.
If you are really busy, consider outsourcing or offshoring some of your compliance work. If you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work out try it again. Why? Because technology means the whole process is so much simpler. Many firms using outsourcing are bridging the talent gap and are experiencing better quality work. Talk to us at 2020 if you would like a recommendation.
We think the most important action any firm can take in 2020 is to invest time and resource in your marketing. By this we mean your market position. What do potential clients think when they look at your website? Are they seeing you as business advisors or simply a compliance practice? If you look a little different then there’s surely a better chance of getting more business? So how do you look a “little different”? The most successful firms we meet all have a wide range of services clearly defined on their website. Their home page has tabs for wealth management, finance, business advisory, tax planning. When someone clicks the tab they are directed to an “education” page which (for example) outlines the different types of finance available to businesses and individuals and, most importantly!, an enquiry form which goes directly back to the firm.
Talk to us if you would like to widen your services. We have considerable experience in helping firms do this and with rebranding into the high value sector of the industry.
So, dedicate a day out of the office to focus on how you want your practice to look in 12 months time. How will you be more efficient in production, how will you better serve your clients, how will you attract new business? Set targets and ask yourself the key monthly management question “What have we done this month to make sure we are on track with our vision of a more successful firm”?
If you want to find out more please come to our Spring conference on 19th March 2020 at the National Conference Centre Birmingham.