The best area of focus to drive the growth of your business


As a business’s capabilities improve, its biggest focus—the area of proficiency that it invests the most time and resources—will shift. Different drivers are needed to help it progress as a whole, depending on the maturity and size of the business. But the margin of focus can only be so big, as there is no ultimate silver bullet.

This discovery of the drivers of change is one of nine key insights identified in Karbon’s recent report, The Business Ability of Accounting Firms, which reveals the core weaknesses and progress of 250 accounting firms across the globe that were assessed through our Practice Excellence Scorecard.

As Ian Vacin, VP of Education, explains in this video, all accounting firms who took part in the assessment were broken down into four even quartiles based on their overall score:

  • Q1: Traditional (bottom 25%)

  • Q2: Transitioning (25 - 50%)

  • Q3: Expanding (50 - 75%)

  • Q4: Leader (top 25%).

Analyzing things further shows the average scores for accounting firms in each of these quadrants across the four pillars of Practice Excellence (the four key areas pivotal to running a successful accounting firm): Efficiency, Strategy, Growth and Management.

This table shows the biggest margin in scores in these key areas, as the overall Practice Excellence score of a firm increases—revealing the driver of change for firms of different levels.


To move from Traditional to Transitioning, the biggest advancement is in Efficiency. Management is what improves most to reach the Expansion stage. And Growth, in conjunction with Management, is the big move for firms that are classed as Leaders.

These changes highlight the main focus for each quadrant as they become more proficient overall. Different drivers are needed for a firm to progress, depending on their current ability.


However, the change from each quadrant in scores across the pillars is never greater than 31%, highlighting that most businesses do not favor one area too much. This highlights the balanced approach that firms are taking across all areas of pillars as they become more proficient and their overall Practice excellence score increases.  

While a focus on one specific area business ability can be beneficial at certain stages of your businesses life, it always pays to take a systems thinking approach, and not neglect the other areas.

Download your copy of The Business Ability of Accounting Firms for all the insights from Karbon’s Practice Excellence Scorecard. You can also take the free Practice Excellence Assessment to receive your own personalized scorecard and see how your firm compares.