Most “successful” Accountancy businesses are run by hard working, smart and caring accountants who are stuck working 6 or 7 days a week, not seeing their family and friends as much as they want and making good revenue but not enough profit to step away from the business for a real break. The accountant is stuck trying to juggle client development, doing the boring work they have always wanted to pass on and trying to manage a business and team.
Remembering what they got into business to do and this is not it. Feeling stuck. They look around and see other practices that look just like what they want to build and they can’t figure out how to do it.
What Went Wrong
Over the past 2 years alone I have worked with around 100 accountants and more than half fell into this category. They had a successful 6 figure practice but were working 6 to 7 days a week and they had a small team but didn’t know how to grow the business or the team because they were responsible for everything themselves. They were overworked and stressed out.
It is a secret of the profession that accountants aren’t great at building businesses. But why should they be. They are good at THEIR craft. They are experts at what they do. That doesn’t mean they are natural born experts at managing or growing a business.
Most aren’t great at sales and marketing. They don’t naturally like managing people. They aren’t brand or systems experts. They feel bad asking clients for money – even getting what they are owed feels uncomfortable. They often end up with people owing them £1000s and don’t know how to get their clients to pay.
They are stuck Googling how to grow their business and team, looking for ways to develop that don’t involve doing even more work. Or they are looking for the answer from mentors who built practices in the old days and have no idea how to do it in the 21st Century.
A Better Path
In my 10 years’ experience working with accountants many are working with the wrong clients, don’t have enough of the right clients, are doing the boring work they hate, have picked the wrong niche and need to shift or are trying to do everything and always being asked to do more and more by clients who are unwilling to pay what the service is really worth.
Imagine being an expert at what you do, wanting to start a lifestyle business giving great value and support to clients you love so you decide to set up a business doing that. And then you discover that you aren’t that great at the other things needed to build a business. But you get stuck in and work really hard and when you can you outsource and get external help. Some of which is good and some really isn’t. But you do what the Association says, what Google says and what other Accountants say. Eventually you get to a solid 6 figure business but slowly over time you realise you are stuck there. You want to grow a bigger team, make more money and start to cut back. You want a lifestyle business but you start to realise you have a millstone tied around your neck.
It is possible to grow a scalable, sustainable and profitable Accountancy practice that does not take every minute of your life.
Building a Stronger Business
Were to start? Below are the Key Results Areas you will need to address to scale up and build a sustainable Accountancy practice.
- Mindset – you can’t grow to multi 6 figures and onwards past the Million mark using the same mindset and methods that got you to the first level. Next level results require next level thinking.
- Positioning – your brand, marketing, products and pricing must match what you want to achieve. You need a clear vision of exactly what you are looking to build and then you can reverse engineer on that vision.
- Productivity – how you manage your business and yourself changes as you shift up to the next level. New ways of working and managing come into play.
- Systems – you need to build all the systems and processes to create the business you are aiming for.
- Sales – you need a customer journey and customer experience that is repeatable, easier to manage, can be measured and is scalable. It is the journey prospects take from first discovering you all the way through to being raving fans who refer everyone they know to you.
Ask any other business owner and the problems they have with their accountants are much the same. They say accountants over promise and under deliver, are not available when needed, they don’t give useful support or advise, are behind schedule all the time …..
These are symptoms of the problems Accountants are facing within their own business.
It is possible to have happy clients, a successful and profitable accountancy practice, an engaged team and more free time.
To start: step back from your business and audit the Key Results Areas listed above.
To properly audit your business make sure you get crystal clear on your vision for the future of your business. Think out to 5 and 10 years from now and exactly what you are trying to create. Then as you audit your business you can hold in mind what you are aiming for. As you audit each area, ask yourself if your business is on track to fulfilling your vision.
If you are not on track then focus on what you need to do to get on track. List the areas you will need to focus on and then build a 12 month staged plan using the Key Result Areas as your guideline.
Schedule time to work on your business and not just in it. Start to implement the plan.
It may not be easy but it is worth it.
Have a great day.
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Originally posted on angusmaclennan.com