What Three Things Do You Want to Achieve in 2017?
We live in a time of constant disruption, where every new fad or trend can distract you, leaving your firm unfit to compete in the changing accounting environment. Whether your focus is on starting your business, growing your firm, increasing efficiencies, expanding your offerings, providing excellent client service or anything in between, you need to set goals, assemble your personal trainers and start training, in order to turn those disruptions and distractions into opportunities, achieve your business goals, work smarter and become ‘Firm Fit.’
#1: Vision and Value – Setting Goals
As you navigate through the disruption and distraction, the foundation for achieving success is defining your firm’s strengths, weaknesses and goals. Hold a strategy session to identify where you want to focus your time and attention, and what value you want to bring to your clients and the organization. Include input from your team members, feedback received from clients and consideration for the trends in the industry. This is a starting point, as of right now, but should be regularly evaluated to ensure that you are putting a strong effort toward your purpose, as your definition can change over time.
#2: Relationships – Personal Trainers
Creating a team of advisors, clients and staff, and collaborating with them in the process, will enable you to make better decisions by harnessing their experience and expertise. Choosing the team goes beyond just identifying who those advisors are, requiring you to build a deep relationship with them that’s founded on trust, which will allow you to make quick decisions and respond and react to changes that come your way.
Your clients are a critical part of that team, so take the time to understand those things that limit, concern, excite and motivate them, and incorporate those into your strategy.
Your staff is another critical part of that team so take the time to understand their needs, interests and passions, and get them involved in the creation and implementation of your strategy.
The relationships you build with those on your team will help to hold yourself and others accountable to the goals and vision you set, and are instrumental in the implementation.
#3: Resources and Processes – Training
Your staff is essential to your success and need guidance as you work towards your goals. Focusing on their training and development will ensure that they are prepared for the job. It’s easy to overlook the importance of training and development when you are so involved in making the decisions, but your team needs time to learn. Creating a comprehensive, yet flexible training program will ensure that your team is all working towards achieving the goals.
Where possible, standardize the processes to be in line with your goals, giving your people the chance to become experts at what they do, as opposed to generalists. Allowing your staff to have this level of focus will make your teams more efficient at all levels, and will help you explain to your clients how you do things, giving your firm a polished look.
With the cloud options available today, flexibility is becoming more important for your clients and staff. Offer your staff some flexibility, based on the schedule and location that work is performed. By giving your people and clients the flexibility to do their jobs, you demonstrate respect and value what is important for them, allowing them to thrive and increase their efficiency.
In the ever-changing accounting environment, we are afforded an incredible opportunity to continually innovate, grow and expand our offerings. This can be an exciting time, but it can also feel disruptive and distracting. To manage those disruptions and seize the opportunities they present, be sure to set your “vision and value” goals. This will be your guide, and as new things present themselves, you can assess it against your goal and determine if it’s right for you.
Focus on building strong relationships with trusted advisors, clients and staff. This is the team that will help keep you on track towards achieving your vision and value goals. Establish standardized processes and comprehensive training that support your staff, while also offering them flexibility to succeed individually. All these things combined, you will be ‘Firm Fit’ in no time.