Thought Leaders Show Clients Why They Should Work With A “Firm Of The Future”

CPAs are known for being historians. The two service offerings they are best known for, preparing tax returns and preparing financial statements, are of course historical in nature. However, successful business clients, wealthy individuals and families, need more than a recitation of history.

Examples of forward-looking services include: business cash flow and profitability planning, business risk mitigation, real-time financial statements, business process attestation, income tax planning, business succession planning, and family wealth transfer planning. All of these are forward-looking applications.

If your firm is not performing these, or similar services, then your firm is probably a firm of the past. To be relevant in the world-wide economy of the present and the future, firm’s must be able to adapt to move far beyond the traditional services of income tax and financial statement preparation.

Here are eight attributes of future-forward-thinking firms:

  1. Paperlessness.
  2. People. Does your firm have racial and gender diversity? Do you outsource basic functions? Are your partner ranks all male? Do you offer “flex time” and/or “job sharing?”
  3. Work Flow. Do you have a clearly articulated process that you use for Project Management, or are your process based on “the tyranny of the urgent?”
  4. Technology. Do you utilize technology effectively? For example, do you have client portals, and are they “in the cloud?”
  5. Extreme Seasonality. Do you make time to meet with your clients in March and April, and in September and October, are do you staff disappear into the black hole of during busy season(s)?
  6. Billing by the Hour. Does your firm bill by the hour, or do you utilize some form of fixed pricing, so clients are never surprised by a bill and are encouraged to call you with questions?
  7. Marketing. Can you differentiate your firm from your competition? Can you articulate the “why?” Or do you define your firm by the minimum expectations that a client would have, such as by a mission statement that says, “We are a full-service CPA firm that provides timely and personal service” or “Founded in 1946, we are one of Townsville’s oldest and largest CPA firms.”
  8. Succession Planning. Do you have a coherent business plan, to transfer thought leadership and intellectual capital from the current leaders to younger generations?

Firms of the future think seriously about these attributes, and continuously strive to grow and improve in these areas.