5 Ways to End Your Year Strong
Like most professionals in a service-based profession, we accounting professionals tend to focus on our clients, and their needs and goals. Somewhere along the way, we take a breath, look around and think, “Oh, shoot! I forgot to do this!” As the year ends, it’s time to take a few minutes to conduct a spot-check on how things are progressing and what you may want to adjust in the new year.
1. Conduct a year-end client review
It’s hard to take our focus away from our clients, so the first step is to ask each client two questions before we close their month or year: What are your goals for the coming year? What are you currently struggling with in your business?
These two questions will highlight opportunities for you to help. It could be with additional software that solves their problems, through training you can provide or reports you can set up to give them insight into reaching their goals. In these two questions, you may be able to add additional services to your overall engagement. This is your opportunity to grow your business.
2. Review your contracts
Next, take a look at all your engagement letters and client contracts. If you don’t use client contracts, maybe it’s time to create some. Take some time each morning for a few days to review your clients. Have they added additional asks and hours to their requests that have increased your services without increasing their fees? If so, it’s time to stop the scope creep.
Write down all their additional requests, big or small, and determine what should be in their next agreement as you move into the new year. This is the most natural time of year to re-negotiate your services. Present the original list of services agreed to this year, what asks or additional requests the client made, and what you’ll need to maintain that level of service next year.
3. Set education goals
Do you need a better onboarding process, additional clients, increased marketing skills or grow your practice? Whatever it is you need, there is an educational resource out there – and most of them are free to you!
What are your goals this year? Perhaps the conversation with your clients highlighted some opportunities you could use to increase your services if you had the education or skill set. What excites you, but you haven’t had time to complete? Create a list of what you want to learn and then check out the QuickBooks® training center and CPA Academy for some educational content.
4. Get certified
Along with education, it’s that time of year to dig deep into the products that could be game-changers for your clients. We all know marketing collateral can be enticing, but nothing beats getting into the product, kicking the tires, and seeing how data moves between your systems and software solutions.
It’s time to write down a few products you could get certified in that will help you grow. Even if it’s a product you’ve been using for years, in the SaaS world, things change so fast you may have missed an update that could move mountains for you or your clients. And, if you’re a TSheetsPRO (or want to become one), fundamental training is now a specialty course in your QBOA certification! So, if you have clients who pay by the hour, have hourly employees or managing a remote workforce, you may want to add TSheets certification to your list.
5. Ask for help!
Is your business growing? Do you think you’ll need additional part- or full-time help in 2019? Now is the perfect time to think hard about it. You’ve reviewed your clients’ goals and obstacles. You have increased your service offerings based on some scope creep. You are outlining your educational goals and certification needs.
Is it time to grow your team with people who have the skills to offer new services? Is there a partnership you can work out with another firm, where you share personnel part time? In the gig economy, you can find help in areas like social media, website design, video editing, task management and more. What could you hand off this year to someone else so you can focus on things that energize you and bring you joy?
Running a business isn’t easy, but you’re doing it and helping others run theirs. It’s ok to take time for you and focus on what you need. Make sure you put it on your calendar, so you don’t book over the time you need to invest in yourself. May next year be your best year, may you reach new milestones and finish this year strong!