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Obstacles to Real Growth


As you are working to take your accounting practice to the next level, you will encounter obstacles on your path. With proper strategic planning, training, and discipline, you can sidestep them and save yourself considerable time and expense.

1. Inability to tune into the market needs

Any professional service is only truly valuable if it addresses a need in the market and can be differentiated. Study your target market to deeply understand needs, desires, and pain points. Look for problems that are urgent, persistent, and expensive enough to warrant investing in a solution. Then, tailor your offering to be an obvious best fit for your clients.

2. Ineffective value proposition

Send a clear message about how your service offering will solve the client’s problem. Then, invest time and effort into making your message stand out. If your value proposition could be confused for that of the accounting firm next door, why should the prospect select you?

Consider focusing the value proposition on pain points and end results, not on your methodology. After all, the client did not come to you to buy a box of tools – they want a solution!

3. Lack of consistency in marketing

Professional practices of all kinds, and accountants in particular, can sometimes struggle with making a consistent effort in the marketing area. This is understandable—after all, they have technical expertise in the field of accounting, while marketing can seem too uncertain or unreliable for their preference and temperament.

If that is the case, consider outsourcing, hiring, or training someone on your team to ensure that your firm’s marketing efforts are consistent. Consistency over time brings a better ROI than a monumental effort every now and again.

4. Single rainmaker

The majority of small accounting practices never grow beyond the production capacity of a single rainmaker. No matter how good or efficient that rainmaker is, he or she is only one person. If you want your firm to grow, invest in developing staff and junior partners into rainmaking roles through mentoring, training, and coaching. Build a compensation system with an effective profit-sharing provision to encourage your staff to think in an entrepreneurial way.

5. Inefficient use of time

Think about the flow of your day. What problems and challenges take up the bulk of your working time? Where are the highest revenue and opportunity potentials? How well do they overlap?

If they don’t, you are not alone. Many accounting firm partners and managers spend most of their day putting out fires and dealing with last-minute issues instead of working on strategically important areas of their business. Change your focus by reflecting on what efforts and activities, if done daily, would contribute the most to the growth of your practice over the next five years. Then, delegate everything else until you can focus your productive time, creativity, and effort on what matters most.

6. Lack of partner accountability and unity

Discord among partners, as well as lack of a shared vision for the firm, are among the top reasons why practice growth stagnates. If your partners could benefit from unity in direction and focus, consider hiring a professional facilitator for your next partner meeting. A trained, experienced facilitator can elevate the level of the conversation, keep the group focused, and help you build momentum.

7. Inability to attract and retain top talent

Surveys about top issues faced by accounting firms consistently rank attracting and retaining top talent among the two biggest challenges. The quality of your staff, coupled with their internal synergy, creates the customer experience, and contributes to the market perception of your brand.

8. Shortage of cash flow to invest in growth

Firm growth can mean higher expenses. Larger office space, more staff, better software systems, updated branding – all of those require financial resources. Dedicate time to analyzing your cash flow and structuring it in a way that will support and boost your growth.

Business - Accounting Industry

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This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.