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Future-proof your practice

Traditional accountants are being squeezed by the digital revolution. What does this mean? What are your options? Duncan Walker flags up developing your practice to survive and thrive.

Future-proof your practice
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  • Contributed by Duncan Walker
  • September 13, 2019
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Many members are already reviewing their client offering and how to build on the many strengths they have: knowledgeable about business; viewed as a trusted adviser by clients; insight into clients’ businesses and challenges/opportunities; and a network of professional contacts in the local area.

But many of you are seeking support in developing your ‘business advisory’ approach.

You need to take time out from operating your business to spend time on your business. Consider how is it performing in what is a dynamic, ever-changing environment. And how do you get your clients to invest in time on their business?

Get them along to a structured strategic planning workshop. Get them to consider the key planks of product, people, processes, marketing and sales, and finance.

A ‘root and branch’ review of your clients’ business, using a structured process will help them to identify their key business objectives, depending on what they want to achieve.

A rigorous, disciplined and structured approach using SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-related) objectives will help them get to the point where they have identified their strategic action plan.

Then it’s time to prioritise the plan. Help them concentrate on doing a small number of things brilliantly rather than trying to do too much too quickly and landing the plan poorly.

Tracking and monitoring their plan regularly, say every quarter, with you taking a critical view of what went well and what could be done better will also help them get where they want to be. 

Having a practice balanced between compliance and advisory work has the potential to protect and grow your business. You can be an accountant, or a strategic business adviser.

Duncan Walker is director of the Duncan Walker Partnership and is the IFA’s Scotland branch ambassador. Duncan runs one day courses for the IFA called the ‘Six Steps to Success for Accountants’

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