Are you working around the clock and wondering how to get your life back?
Every accounting practice is looking for that “quick fix” solution to being overworked. But when you’re under pressure you often don’t have time to even research your options.
Why failure to implement is the biggest barrier to growth…
Most small business accountants tell us they are just too busy to change. They’ll investigate new software options but then fail to implement them because they can’t find the time. So it never happens.
But while you’re busy just trying to get through what’s right in front of you, the industry is undergoing major change. It’s time to get your head out of the sand and make sure you don’t get left behind because you were too busy to pay attention.
What’s happening in the industry?
PwC says there is a 97.5% chance that basic chartered accounting will be replaced by automation over the next 20 years. In the meantime, compliance tasks are becoming increasingly commoditised, with downward fee pressure from more price-sensitive clients. Couple this with increasing labour costs, and traditional accounting models look like they are headed for dangerous territory.
Accounting firms need to think about what their practice will like look over the next 5 years. Will you view automation as a threat? Or as an opportunity to grow your business?
What will happen to my practice?
In this changing environment for the industry, most accountants see their future in the advisory space. Accountex Group reported that 72% of small businesses who changed accountants did so because their accountant did not offer proactive client service.
So, what is the real formula for change?
We know you’re busy. But there’s a way of setting up your practice to work better, for you and for your clients. With these steps you can transition your overworked accountancy practice and give your team the time to move into proactive advisory roles.
We recommend that you:
- Reskill your professional team of accountants to offer advisory services
- Outsource your compliance work to Connect Outsourcing
- Create a new role of administration manager to manage the compliance files
Outsourcing your compliance work to Connect frees up your senior staff to work on the highest level of accounting services such as consulting, advising, and mentoring. And an administration manager can take things off your desk such as file reviews and junior tasks.
Nathan Maisey from accounting firm Maisey Harris & Co has had success with this model. “All our outsourcing is actually coordinated by our admin person, not an accountant,” he says. “We have a checklist that we send to the Connect team, and then one of our accountants will do a quick review afterwards to make sure everything is correct. Using Connect to do our compliance is just like having our own team in India. Gurav, our team leader who we deal with on the day-to-day stuff, is awesome.”
This model frees you up as a business owner to play an overview role and focus on growing the business and advisory services. It can drastically increase your free time and productivity. And one of the other big benefits of outsourcing is that it drops the cost of compliance services, which is where clients are most price-sensitive.
Work on developing relationships with your existing clients and give them a service they can’t do without. That’s what will make them stick around. It will also help you pick up clients who are moving between accountants.
Get your staff engaged in the process…
Outsourcing can be seen as a threat to staff who worry that their job will become obsolete, so it is important for directors to manage a positive change process within the workplace. If staff feel threatened it is quite common for them to sabotage the process, so you really need to take your staff on the journey.
It’s important that your team are made comfortable and are actively engaged in the process to prepare for outsourcing. Ideally, they should understand that outsourcing the compliance tasks will be an opportunity for them to advance their career rather than lose their job. Outsourcing can never replace customer facing activities and business advisory, so the key benefit to staff is that their time will be freed up to be more available to clients or to manage reviews. Once accounting staff see that they can do more satisfying and meaningful tasks they will often become cheerleaders for outsourcing.
Build the process and systems for reviews…
Your outsource team has to be able to complete a work process using accurate information and following your protocols. So the key to a successful team is to create a single system to provide them with the rules you want them to follow. It’s easier said than done if you and your team have been doing things in an ad hoc way for many years. But as the saying goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”
Connect customer Paul McCormick from Mac and Associates has transformed his business using this model. “After leaving a big accounting firm to set up my own practice I started with no systems and an empty office floor, so the decision to outsource my staff was an easy one,” he says. “I now have a local PA and five senior people who are all client-facing. If I wasn’t outsourcing, I would have to double the team and not have as many senior people. It’s a completely different business model.”
Is it time for you to transform your accounting practice? Speak to the team at Connect to find out how we can help turn your business into a powerhouse of productivity.
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