Last updated on January 16th, 2023
In this day and age, every accounting firm needs to transition from the traditional methods to the new-age accounting techniques. In this journey, there are various essential parameters that an accounting firm must take into consideration.
In this video, Doug Sleeter, Ace Cloud Hosting’s leadership board member and a noted personality in the accounting industry, highlights some of the key aspects of a modern-day accounting firm and how it affects the growth of the firm.
Douglas (Doug) Sleeter is the founder and former CEO of The Sleeter Group. He has been featured on Accounting Today’s list of ‘Top 100 Most Popular Influential People in Accounting’ for eight years straight from 2008 to 2015. He was awarded ‘Small Business Influencer Champion’ by Small Business Trends in 2013 and inducted in The CPA Practice Advisor Hall of Fame in the accounting profession. Doug is also the author of The QuickBooks Consultant’s Reference Guide and QuickBooks Complete.
Let’s watch the video by Doug to know more –
So, what does it mean to become a modern accounting firm? Well, the first thing I like to think about is -using technology at every stage in your practice. All your processes should be using technology wherever possible.
I want you to start by looking at your firm from the outside – what do your clients see in your firm? Do they see just an address and an office that they come to once a year?
I hope not, because your clients’ expectations, over the years, have really changed. They want to be able to see you on the Internet, they want to be able to visit your website, and your website is more than just a business card. Of course, it has who you are and your background and your skills and so forth. Maybe pictures of your staff – I want that for sure; I want pictures. Because, it’s funny how people really react to being able to see who they are going to work with, all your staff should be shown there. My clients should be able to make appointments with me on my website.
My clients should be able to (I call it a client portal), maybe my client can both upload documents to me that I need for whatever services I am providing. I also want to deliver documents back to clients when they need to – let’s say a tax return. Of course, that should be something that you upload into an internet place with security wrapped around it (whole different topic but never skimp on security). But your client should be able to access their tax returns or whatever deliverables you are giving them. And by the way, those aren’t just a one-time “Here it is” like an attachment to an email, but a portal where clients come back time and time again, and that’s where their storage is with regards to the services you provide.
I also want you to think about hourly billing. A lot of the people in the accounting thought leader community, and I am one of them, who say these hourly services don’t serve us well anymore. Move away from hourly services and towards some sort of subscription or value pricing of what it is you are doing. I really like the concept of subscription pricing on pretty much any product or service in the marketplace. Get away from hourly and towards some sort of subscription pricing for what you do. This really is going to change your relationship with your clients in ways you will totally love in the long-run.
The other thing is, as I said before in my other videos, when we asked the SMBs what they want, what they really want from you is proactive strategic advice. They don’t just want you to react to what they need – financial statement and a tax return. They want your proactive, forward-thinking advice on how their business could do better. OK, so always think of yourself as an advisor to their business as opposed to a servant of the material that they need for the government to do taxes or whatever.
Develop a continuous improvement mindset – I have called that #AgilityTrumpsAbility, and what I am saying is no matter what you are good at, you can always develop improvement processes in everything you do.
So, to summarize – a modern accounting firm is always looking for improvements as opposed to just simply providing services. And ask yourself as you go away from this – Are you a modern accounting firm? Do you do all of the things that I am talking about here – continuous improvement? What are you doing or what you need to go start doing that you aren’t yet doing to become a modern accounting firm?
According to Doug Sleeter, it is essential to adopt the latest technological platforms as the clients want you to be easily accessible over the Internet. He also emphasized the importance of having a website and all the important features that need to be included in it.
He mentioned that to become a modern accounting firm is by changing the billing model from hourly to subscription-based. This helps you in offering more value-based services and improves your relationship with clients.
Giving proactive strategic advice is another thing that he finds essential for an accounting firm in today’s time. The accounting firms should not limit themselves to just handling the documents but should be proactive in thinking about the client’s future requirements.
Becoming a modern accounting firm can only be achieved by improving continuously in every aspect, which Doug calls as #AgilityTrumpsAbility.
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