Practice Managers in accounting firms face numerous challenges on a day to day basis. Some of those include, what I consider, to be the top issues in many firms I have worked with and consult to. Let’s look at some of the main challenges;

The Top Challenges for Practice Managers

Recruiting and retaining key staff Several factors impact how attractive a practice is to a future employee and whether they decide to stay on or look elsewhere. The firm that manages these factors is more likely to attract and retain new staff than a firm that does not. For example, does the firm have:

  • Modern technology (e.g. digital workflow within the firm and state of the art equipment)

  • Paperless driven documented systems and processes.

  • Innovative and attractive value added service offerings.

  • A strong ongoing mentoring and learning culture.

  • A clear well defined career paths.

Workflow and efficiency
Using a carefully positioned and managed workflow solution is the most common factor to manage firm-wide efficiency. Efficiency here refers to how well a firm uses technology and human resources to achieve their goals. The best way to improve efficiency is to identify the common metrics or KPI’s used in the practice today to measure activity you wish to improve before you change anything. From there the amount of resources necessary to accomplish work can be measured and later compared to desired results.

Change management
Accounting firms continue to express ongoing frustration about change. Primarily, practitioners are concerned having to keep up with changes to software and systems. It is common to find numerous software applications being used in a practice over the course of a year that create a “silo effect” when managing changes to client data. Change is also a concern with ongoing automation, new technology advances, Government intervention and process reengineering.

Attracting new clients
It is often common to hear firms talking about adding new clients and staff to increase gross revenue by increasing total hours billed. Adding more clients may cause bottlenecks and slow your team down if processes and technology are not adequately managed. Maybe a more important question should be; could we better serve existing clients and leverage those relationships with business advisory service solutions that are value billed?

For more information on challenges for Practice Managers attend our Practice Manager's Workshop on 22 July, 2016 at the Sheraton on the Park, Sydney. Click here for details and to register.

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Mark Holton Smithink