We entrepreneurs love speed. Scale fast and get big. Do it quickly and maybe you can even sell your accounting firm.
While speed is not the enemy, the result of it can be detrimental to your firm if not managed well. If you are like many firms, speed is not a problem. Few firms have penetrated a market so deeply that they are inundated with leads and new clients. It’s the state of entrepreneurship in the accounting firm profession.
Since many firms don’t have too many leads and don’t have to worry about speed in scaling, they can safely continue along making the most of the leads they can get through referrals.
But for firms that are on a faster pace of growth, managing your speed well can be the key to scaling your firm well.
In this case, let’s use the metric of year-over-year top line revenue growth of at least 25% or more to define ‘speed’.
A firm provides service to clients. Accounting and advisory firms offer a high-powered deliverable created by smart people. The work of financial advisory, assurance, and complex tax services is done by smart people that are trained well, follow processes that create valuable consistency, and also care about the mission of the firm (whether the team is offshored or employees).
So ultimately, a firm is built around a team doing its best work. A major part of any innovative and modern accounting firm is their commitment to technology to assist in doing their work well. If you offer complex services, you know the value of having amazing software for a team that you’ve trained well.
Recommended reading: The essential questions to ask when building your accounting firm’s ideal tech stack
Embedded in the definition of a firm above is the fact that firm growth and scaling is a highly complex and people-focused business. Some firms do it well, and some struggle to do it well. You know how hard it is to hire a team, train that team over a period of months or years, and then to practice the delivery of services to clients over and over. Sometimes client delivery may not go so well, so we all have to grow and mature in our abilities to deliver, learn, train others, and change our processes of delivery.
So it’s people that help you scale. Firms grow on top of multiple teams working in concert to deliver complex scope to multiple clients. And people are notoriously distractible, inefficient, and prone to miss deadlines, work out of scope, and just lag behind. Admittedly, we all do it as we seek to manage our ups and downs through our seasons of life.
So you’ll do well as a firm entrepreneur to realize the real movement forward in scaling is actually people. With all of their challenges and their ups and downs in providing professional firm services, and their amazing abilities to delight clients—these are the people we actually build our firms with.
When we make moves, we make them with our teams. When you decide to scale, take assessment of your team’s ability to go with you into the future. They will be the reason you succeed.
Jason Blumer, CPA
Founder and CEO, Thriveal CPA Network
Jason is the founder and CEO of Thriveal, a network to help entrepreneurial CPA firm owners connect, learn, and grow by providing them with a community, coaching, consulting, events and more. He is also the CEO of Blumer & Associates, CPAs, co-hosts two podcasts of his own, speaks and writes frequently for the financial and creative industries, and was named by Accounting Today as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting.