Neil has a thriving accounting practise in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and focusses primarily on business clients with a turnover of at least $10 million per annum. But, he admitted to me over coffee a few months back that he had 3 key challenges he was facing. He was finding it hard to recruit good staff. He was spending too much time on compliance work. And, thirdly, he wanted to scale his practise beyond the 5 partners but was finding it difficult because he didn't have time to find new clients!
I knew his 3 challenges were not uncommon in an industry being squeezed by new technologies and more demanding clients. Great software from companies like MYOB and Xero has meant clients were getting more technology savvy and now expected their trusted accountant to spend even more time with them on things like strategy and business growth options and succession strategies. "I just don't see my accountant enough these days" I have heard some clients tell me.
I showed Neil the diagram below and explained that the key was to increase his fees, have less clients and spend more time with each client doing the stuff that business owners really value! He said that sounded simple but was quite challenging in practise. I said the secret was "leverage".... something the large accounting practises had done for many years and was driving the source of the newer profits.
Neil claimed, at the time, he was doing some of the things on the right-hand side of this diagram. After some quick sums though, he admitted it represented less than 10% of his revenue and was not growing very fast.
This was all a few months ago and now Neil has made some changes to his practise so that now we are working together to march up what I refer to above as "The Accountant's Journey" - moving from compliance to reliance. Spending more time with less clients and earning higher fees... Which accountant doesn't want that these days?
Proof that the strategy we had implemented was starting to pay dividends came when a client rang him yesterday and gave Neil his first unsolicited referral in over a year... another business owner with a turnover nearly $55 million per annum.
If you have an accounting practise and would like to find out more about how to profitably grow the average income per client without compromising client service or retraining all your partners, then let's have a coffee chat so I can share what I did with Neil.