Business growth is always a high priority for accounting firms, especially small-to-midsize practices. Take care, though, because growth can be a double-edged sword. If your firm expands too quickly or without the right strategy, it can ramp up costs faster than you can handle, lower the quality of your services—and put so much stress on your staff that every day starts to feel like the height of tax season.
We’re not suggesting you slam on the brakes or hit the slo-mo button on growing your firm, however. Instead, you should identify your unscalable practices, and then replace them with flexible, sustainable strategies that grow with your business.
Going Concern is all about helping people (the word our staff psychologist used was “enabling,” but close enough,) so we’ve made the first part easy for you by drafting a “Dear John” style letter you can use to break up with those nasty unscalable habits. Simply copy and paste the content below, print it out on some nice letterhead, invent a way to send letters to abstract concepts, apply appropriate postage, and—BOOM—your accounting firm will be growing sustainably in no time!
It’s not you, it’s me (but really it’s you)
Dear Unscalable Accounting Firm Practices,
Look, we’ve had some good times, okay? But there are some issues I simply can’t ignore any longer.
Let’s start with this: your processes are inconsistent. I won’t deny that the spontaneity and unpredictability were exciting at first. My business license may have read “sole prop,” but it was only when I partnered with you that I truly felt incorporated.
It’s time to face facts, however. A lack of standardized processes is preventing the firm from remaining healthy as it grows. Every time we prepare a statement, conduct an audit, perform a cost analysis—anything—it’s like we’re doing it for the first time. That leaves my team (particularly the newer hires) unsure of what to do. And it creates repetitive and unnecessary work. Even worse, having no standards leads to random decisions based on gut instincts instead of best practices and real data.
Maybe if it were just you and me, we could find a way to make it work—but we have to consider the whole team. And, quite frankly, you and my staff go together like orange juice and toothpaste.
Time was, the staff would cheer each time we landed a new client. Now, when we sign a new customer, they sob and panic and update their LinkedIn profiles. And it’s all because you’re so hesitant to adopt new technology! That stubbornness is forcing the staff to spend 60 hours a week on work that could easily be done in 30—maybe even less.
Our firm also needs automation, but when I asked you about it, you rambled for 15 minutes about alien robots that can turn into cars and something called “energon.”
Your inconsistency has also scattered our documents across Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack threads, email attachments, and who knows where else? I would say that locating the documents we need is like finding a needle in a haystack, but that would be an insult to needles, haystacks, hay, and the general concept of finding things.
Even if I could forgive everything else, the damage you’ve done to our client relationships would still be enough to bring our journey to an end. It’s gotten so bad that they question whether we can meet deadlines or even respond to their queries. You’re not just burning bridges—you’re napalming them.
With a heavy heart and a massive sense of relief, it’s time to say goodbye.
An Overworked, Stressed-Out-Yet-Hopeful Accounting Firm Owner
Unlocking scalable practices for your accounting firm
There you have it, folks—the break-up letter that every fast-growing accounting firm needs to send to its unscalable practices. A little harsh? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely.
Now that you’ve done the hard work of identifying those bad habits and kicking them to the curb, it’s time to move on and find your accounting firm’s true soul mate: practices that not only scale as your organization grows, but also help your firm grow even faster
By adopting standardized processes for tax returns, audits, and even client onboarding and communications, you can enable your staff to work more efficiently, complete projects faster, and enjoy a healthier work/life balance.
Finding the right accounting firm technology
One of the best ways to adopt scalable business practices is through technology. Project management software can help your staff stay on task, efficiently collaborate, easily hand off work between team members, and prevent them from missing deadlines.
Clay Lehman, Head of Product at Firm360, put it like this: “Project management shouldn’t be another project to manage. For accounting firms, software that enables seamless collaboration is just as essential as decimal points and caffeine.”
With document management solutions, you can unite all your documents into a single tool—no more wasting time digging through multiple systems to find what you need.
Along the way, technology can help automate many of the manual and repetitive tasks that hold your firm back—giving you more time to focus on delivering great results for your clients.
According to Lehman, “Client dissatisfaction is the silent killer of accounting firms. Modern practices need modern solutions to keep clients in the loop and satisfied.”
The best way to achieve all of the above is with a single platform that combines project management, document management, and automation into a single tool. That’s exactly what you’ll get with Firm360—plus time and billing features, a client portal that enables easier communication and more efficient movement of documents, and an easy-to-use, mobile-friendly interface your entire team will love.
Reach out to Firm360 to unite your accounting firm with the kind of scalable business practices you can bring home to Mom. Instead of growing your firm out of business, you’ll make your practice more efficient, your staff less frazzled, and your clients much happier.
Developed by accountants who actually know what it’s like to drown in paperwork, Firm360 offers an all-in-one platform that combines project management, document management, and time and billing capabilities. Say goodbye to lost billing, unorganized filing cabinets, and unhappy clients, and enter a new era of efficiency and peace of mind for your firm.