Each individual’s definition of success is personal, but individuals and businesses have advantages and scalability in today’s market. Before I get into the details, let me explain just how confusing the accounting profession has become for our clients and the market.
Businesses and organizations of all sizes are undergoing transformation, and accounting and consulting firms are not spared. Business transformation is the term used to make fundamental changes in the way the organization operates. This includes people, processes and technology. Changes in operations and mindsets are essential for a successful transformation.
Business leaders have called accounting and consulting services to clients a key part of growing and transforming a business, but it is not possible to get a consistent definition of CAAS among accounting professionals. , even within the same cabinet. Marketing professionals, please provide a better name!
Service opportunities continued to grow with specialization. This is demonstrated by the business capacity model which focuses on:
- The company’s vision and game plan;
- The interests of owners and stakeholders;
- The technological platform or ecosystem;
- Customer and employee experience;
- Services and products;
- The development of talent;
- Operations; and,
- Compliance and legal.
Historically, the accounting profession has focused primarily on finance, compliance, and operations. Today, the profession has broadened to include opportunities throughout the business capacity model. Advisory and advisory services are limited by capacity, while compliance and transactional services are limited by capacity.
We all know that businesses are facing capacity issues due to the lack of talent and should explore more automation and outsourcing. Transformation will not be possible without an increase in capacity. Companies need to seek out talents with different skills to provide the consulting and consultancy services that clients seek.
The opportunities are obvious, but most companies struggle to find the time (capacity) and talent (capabilities) to take advantage of them. They need different mindsets, skills and tools, and mindsets seem to be the most difficult. From our consulting experience, the four main challenges are:
- 1. Change management. Businesses and professionals want to be shown why they should change and the value it brings.
- 2. Focus on the exceptions. The human tendency is to always think of outliers, rather than the majority. Those who focus on making it work do, while those who focus on why it won’t work continue to do what they always have. Two good examples are hourly billing and a focus on compliance over predictive and prescriptive services.
- 3. Motivation. Income can be a motivator, but most businesses are having peak years. Motivation must come from the ability to maintain success and be ready for the future. Think about how you can add exponential value to the customer.
- 4. New business model. Hourly billing doesn’t work in organizations that focus on value through automation and improving talent skills. Switch to a subscription model where customers choose from a menu of services including transactional, compliance, advisory, and advisory. Defining your target customers can help you filter out customers who are no longer suitable for the business.
Back to the increased opportunities for transformation. It sounds easy, but it’s hard to execute without a game plan and coaching. To make it even simpler, we’ve created an acronym that focuses on the mindsets, skills, and tools needed to transform your business and your customers. The acronym is: “THE VISION OF SUCCESS”.
- Technology. No surprises here. Your challenge is to learn to tell the time, not to build the watch. You need to be in the cloud to meet your requirements as well as the needs of your customers. Think about how your apps fit together: data and workflow. Your technology stack will likely be different from your customer services technology stack due to outdated core applications.
- Human resources / talent development. Most of the skills you have today are either obsolete or soon will be thanks to automation and outsourcing. Do a skills gap analysis for the future and hire based on unique skills and abilities, rather than educational credentials.
- Efficient processes. Continuous process improvement and the convergence of process and technology improvement are the key to lasting success. This is where you create the rocket fuel. Transformational change often requires external scrutiny.
- Vision and plan. You need a current vision (personal and as a business) that has been updated over the past couple of years. The strengths and weaknesses of the virtual world have been fully exposed. Zoom is now a transport system. What do you want to be, do, have, experience and create in the next three years?
- Innovation. Innovation is messy because it disrupts historical operators and forces change. You need to develop an innovation process in your business to manage, accelerate, finance and implement innovation. The spirit of innovation comes from above, while innovative ideas often come from the people closest to the customer.
- Sustainable. Now is a great time to become a CPA if you are ready to change and learn. Your current success and the success of your business may be the biggest obstacles to a transformational mindset. Ask yourself, “What if we don’t change? “
- Integrated workflow. The pandemic has highlighted the need for a digital workflow rather than paper. If you are not digital, it will be difficult to survive in the future. Many workflow applications need to be updated to better manage projects, planning, and communications between team members and clients. Data and workflow are better and more secure in the cloud than in hybrid applications.
- Outsourcing. Sourcing, outsourcing, relocation and offshoring are all important and will become even more so in the future. Many tasks can be sourced, while jobs will require skills upgrading. Focus on your unique capabilities, leverage technology, and source tasks to increase customer value.
- New economic model. With business transformation comes the need to transform the business model. Historically, accountants have used the cost plus model: Karl Marx’s labor theory. This model will not work for organizations focused on creating exponential value. You should bundle and price the services based on a subscription model, including transactional, compliance, advisory, and advisory services. Ron Baker has been evangelizing for years!
- Operations. Operations are different from finance, but both are necessary in exponential organizations. Operations concern the execution and management of resources. They often need different resources than funding. Visit the Boomer Operation’s Circle for access to a community of peers, expertise and advice.
- Financial. Automation and real-time information are extremely important, as is management accounting. Too often, businesses focus on financial reporting when customers value real-time decision-making data. The technological platform and the continuous improvement of the processes are extremely important.
- Sales and Marketing. Businesses need to increase their marketing and sales budgets to compete for profitable consulting and advisory services. Currently, large companies spend around 3% on marketing and sales. With increased automation and competition from non-CPA vendors, businesses must adopt a standard sales process and think globally rather than locally in their sales and marketing efforts.
- Rise in skills of talents. I mentioned human resources and talent development earlier, but some of the skills currently required in businesses are data analytics, project management, marketing, sales, and talent development. Find the right “who” and they’ll know how or find out. These positions generally do not require an accounting degree or CPA certificate.
- Compliance. Compliance work has a future. We increase the value of compliance work with improved packaging and pricing. You can reduce costs through better workflow and better automation.
- Capacity. Most businesses today face capacity challenges as their primary sources of revenue come from transactional and compliance services. Increased automation and outsourcing are potential solutions. Advisory and consultancy services are limited by capacity. Use some of your capacity to focus on higher margin advisory and consultancy services. Business transformation requires capabilities as well as capabilities.
- To live. The pandemic has revealed the need to improve customer and employee experiences and the ability to work from anywhere, anytime. Improved customer and employee experience stems from a focus on work and home environments, rather than technical skills. Balance is necessary, and the virtual world supports this balance.
- Services and products. Companies are expanding their services while focusing on target or strategic customers. The hardest challenge for a business is to stop providing a service, but many services have lost value due to automation and outsourcing. Once companies have defined their strategic accounts, they can develop appropriate service menus for each customer, and offer packages and prices accordingly in a subscription model. Price by the customer, not by the service line.
- Stakeholders – shared vision. It is crucial that stakeholders are on the same page with a shared vision. You can achieve this with a simple exercise or a workshop and an outside facilitator. Once you have a common vision, it’s easier to develop a game plan and hold people accountable for their areas of responsibility. Accountability is the fastest way to improve results.
Complexity and confusion exist in the marketplace and within the accounting profession. The acronym “THE VISION OF SUCCESS” should provide you with a tool to transform yourself and your organization. Think – plan – grow!