3 things to think about when scaling your accounting practice
Three questions to ask yourself before you start planning to scale your practice.
Scaling your business requires preparation. Prepare a solid foundation for growth by asking yourself these key questions.
One way of scaling your business is to start offering additional services. Traditionally, accounting professionals have provided compliance services such as tax planning. But with business costs on the rise, it might be worth thinking about generating new revenue streams.
Advisory services isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, so it’s worth asking yourself these three questions before you start planning to launch these or any other services.
Why do I want to scale?
This is the first question any ambitious accountant or bookkeeper may ask themselves. Understanding your motivations, or starting with why as author and speaker Simon Sinek recommends, is key to mapping out a growth strategy you can commit to.
It all starts with the client and what they need. Think about your engagement process – how often are you engaging with your clients? Annually? Twice a year? Quarterly? This is an ideal time to reassess what they need.
When it comes to growing your practice, client engagement and commerce platforms such as Ignition can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Technology like this simplifies how you engage clients, get paid and run your business. Rebecca Mihalic is Ignition’s Head of Accounting and also a practice owner. She does most of her client engagements at tax planning time, and finds this is an ideal time to also focus on growth.
“This is when we discuss with clients what’s going on in their business. They may need more help freeing up cash flow or even securing funding for an acquisition. Having that conversation tied to an existing project is more natural than cold calling a client and trying to sell them something,” she says.
Do I have the skills in my practice to scale?
Having the right skills to be able to offer advisory, and other services is vital. Some accountants and bookkeepers will need to go through a period of refreshing or upskilling, Rebecca says.
“Educating your team is also an important part of this process. It’s not just the managers and partners who need to be across the new services you’re offering,” she says. “It needs to be a practice-wide approach, from the intern to the CEO.”
Traditionally, accounting professionals have peaks and troughs in their calendar, such as end of financial year (EOFY). Upskilling used to be done during a lull, when things weren’t so busy. But the pandemic has removed many of these quiet periods. Accountants and bookkeepers are now busier than they used to be due to increasing demands from clients.
Given this new operating environment, interim reviews and tax planning time are great opportunities to launch a new offering.
Do I have the right support to scale?
Having a strong foundation of technology and support is important when scaling an accounting practice.
Adarsh Dutt co-founded Oyster Hub in Sydney, Australia, four years ago. The accounting and advisory firm has since grown to serve more than 250 clients.
With the pandemic pushing accountants to deliver more than accounting and compliance services, Adarsh has been able to adapt to changes quickly and invest the time saved from admin work in providing more valued-added services as a virtual CFO.
“We have been able to provide more valued-added services to our clients,” Adarsh says.
Oyster Hub has been a cloud-based firm from day one, but the team still found themselves swamped with manual work.
Adarsh was referred to Ignition by a colleague. Oyster Hub once had a team of three handling invoicing and payment collection, with over 100 hours a week spent on admin and workarounds to overcome obstacles. The practice now has one person who gets through these tasks in less than a day.
“Ignition removed all the manual processes we had,” Adarsh says. “It has saved a lot of time and we’ve found it really good value for money.”
Over to you
Many accountants and bookkeepers will be feeling the pressure of rising costs. Diversifying into new services can generate fresh revenue streams and having the right support as you scale is essential. With Ignition, you can easily win new business with impressive digital proposals, engage new and existing clients with a clear scope of work, and get paid on time by automating payment collection – all in one place.
To find out more about how to prepare a solid foundation for growth in your firm, read Ignition’s step-by-step guide below. It focuses on four key areas: scalability, pricing, efficiency, and client retention, and provides simple, practical ways to shore up your firm for the future.
This article was originally published on the Ignition website.
This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.