What are your accounting goals? Many firms want to grow and expand. However, other businesses want to focus on:
- Increasing profit margins
- Boosting net profit
- Growing revenue
At the same time, owners often find themselves stressed because they don’t maintain a healthy work-life balance.
As the tax season picks up, we recommend that you sit down and reflect on the past before diving into your goals for the future.
Step 1: What were you able to achieve last year?
Before you make plans for the future, it is important to assess where you are right now. Looking over the past year, you have to consider the following:
- What goals and objectives did you meet?
- What goals and objectives didn’t you meet?
- What went wrong this year?
Hopefully, you had goals that you properly documented. If you did set objectives, did you reach them?
Whether or not you reached these milestones, it’s important to ask: Why did you get these results?
Ideally, you’ll delve deep into the last year to better understand what’s working and what’s not for your firm.
Additionally, you’ll need to outline areas of discomfort.
These areas may include:
- Financials. Did you start running out of capital during the year? Did you experience cash flow issues?
- Personal. Was the last year an uncomfortable year when you had to work longer, harder hours to meet your goals? Would you like to free up time so that you’re working less?
Your plans for the year should be to find ways to alleviate the discomfort you experienced. Perhaps you can free up time by delegating tasks and outsourcing. You might also want to incentivize early invoice payments by offering a 1% discount if invoices are paid in net 15.
Before you move on to the next step, you really need a crystal-clear understanding of where you are right now and why.
Step 2: Envision where you want to go
You know where you’ve been, but now it’s time to figure out where you want to go. Accounting firms should focus on the things that worked so that they can continue to meet and exceed your goals in the coming years.
One recommendation is to:
- Create an annual goal for one major area of your firm.
- Create a variety of small milestones that you can meet along the way.
Take this time to put together a business plan that outlines where you want the firm to go and what needs to be done to reach these goals.
Visualization and putting this information down on paper can truly improve your chances of reaching your goals.
Many firms make a major mistake because they have a singular, primary goal and outline no specific steps to reach it. For example, maybe you want to start putting systems in place to automate your business tasks to some degree.
TaxDome can help, but before you can reach your milestone, you must:
- Schedule a demo
- Learn how to use the platform
Another goal may be monetary. Let’s assume that you want to make $1 million. Your small goals or objectives may include:
- Introducing new products
- Generating higher recurring revenue
- Landing new clients
When you know where you want to go, you must take multiple steps to reach your destination. Don’t believe us? Click here to see how a firm can develop a step-by-step plan and grow 3x.
Step 3: Take steps to improve your service
What products, services and advancements did you include in your accounting business plan? Many firms want to improve their service, and you can be the frontrunner if you set smaller goals that specify how you can improve. You’ll want to take this time to analyze your current relationship with clients and customers.
You should examine:
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer experience
- Relationship with customers
Additionally, is your relationship with customers helping you meet your growth strategy? Word of mouth remains one of the most powerful forms of marketing.
Before adding new products or services, take the time to improve your offering for current clients.
When you can keep your clients happy and continuously improve, you can ensure that your future clients are more likely to also love your service. Plus, when you keep clients content and offer them solutions that are crucial to their success, they’ll work to promote your business organically.
When you improve your service, you’ll differentiate yourself from the competition.
Step 4: Collaborate better and grow your team
If you analyze accounting firms that continue to maintain high market shares and grow their business, you’ll notice that they maintain a very strong team concept. This is because these firms master the process of leveraging each team member’s unique strengths.
As a business owner, you never want to miss out on the power of collaboration.
One mistake that a lot of new firms make is that they have a long chain of communication. As an owner, you’ll have a manager, team managers, supervisors and other stakeholders that pass information down a chain of command.
While this method may have its own unique benefits, it takes away your power and the team collaboration that can lead to growth.
Firms should work on using communication and tools that:
- Help owners maintain their collaborative power
- Offer teams a way to contact firm leadership directly
If you can support and foster teamwork—and this includes training and other exercises—you’ll be improving your business at the same time.
Step 5: Plan to improve profitability
Profits need to flow into your firm to keep operating. Increasing your profit year-over-year is a necessity, and one way to achieve this goal is to outline your ideal client. When you know your ideal client, you can:
- Create services or offers to attract them
- Realign your marketing goals to reach their clients
- Build value
Catering your products and services to these clients will provide lasting value. Once you’ve done all of this, you can also predict the number of these clients you’ll need to sign on to hit your profitability goals.
To cope with the flow of clients better and increase profitability, you can start using software for accountants. For businesses across the internet, client portals have grown far beyond simple file-sharing. Today, one tax client portal serves many purposes thanks to features that provide safe and secure document storage, more efficiency in service delivery, and better communication between companies and their clients. For CPA firms, a secure client portal like TaxDome is a great example of a massive improvement on older applications. It is a specifically designed client portal for accountants, made to meet the demanding needs of clients during tax season.
Step 6: Plan for some personal growth
Business growth is not separate from personal growth. When your quality of life is high, your business quality will grow. If you’re not spending time on personal development, you’re doing your organization a disservice.
Owners that are happy and find enjoyment in life have the energy and drive to grow their businesses.
In fact, as part of your annual plan, you need to make yourself a priority. Perhaps you want to travel or take up other hobbies this year. Add these goals to your annual business objectives.
Growing an accounting firm is no easy feat, and writing a plan for your firm takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s crucial for the success of your business. When you have a plan to follow and goals to meet, you’ll have a clear path for the year ahead.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay