Be prepared for big changes and how to drive your business forward

It’s a new year, a time of resolutions most of which are doomed to failure, but in business, it is important to strengthen your resolve to succeed.

January is one of the busiest times of the year for accountants, but there should still be time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new year.

Delays can be costly, so look at the things you thought went badly and what you can do to change them. So it should be a time to talk and communicate with clients and staff.

Offer incentives for improvement. Could you deliver training to both clients and staff on the latest cloud technology? Many of your clients may still not be up to speed and now is the time to address that, a mutually beneficial move.

Structure

Look at the structure of your practice, are you doing just enough for clients? Are you dealing with their tax returns in a timely manner so they don’t have to worry about fines and penalties from HMRC?

A colleague of mine had this problem recently, having to chase the accountant to settle the bill. She got by, but not without some anxiety. When the contract is up, she will be looking for another accountant who will go the extra mile. There are literally thousands of them for her to choose from.

The future

Do you have a plan for the next 12 months, whether it be growing the business, attracting more clients, building up the brand or even making the premises more client friendly?

Planning is key. We recently had a marathon marketing session, which lasted a full six hours. At the end of that, we had a schedule in place for the coming year that allowed us to plan how to support our clients.

Why do it? It allows you to grow, deliver better service, match or beat the competition, attract the best staff and it puts you on the road to being the best you can be.

It will be a crucial year for businesses that are suffering from the cost-of-living crisis like everyone else.

Empower staff

They are facing increased rents and rates, huge energy costs and of course, January is when many people are spent out and everything feels dark and gloomy.

Footfall and trade are down and businesses are often at a low ebb. That is the time the accountant can figuratively put an arm around the shoulder. Sit down and talk about how they can tackle a difficult period, by suggesting cost-saving solutions and advice on how the client can possibly diversify and grow the business. That will be very important at a difficult time.

Pay them a visit, but don’t leave it there. Diarise a series of meetings, or schedule Teams or Zoom meetings. Get your team on board for this project. If you have 300-400 clients you cannot do it all so delegate and empower your staff to give clients the service they deserve. It is also good for team morale.

In the same vein, get your team to buy into your overall project. Sit down and brainstorm with them. Be brutally honest about what is working and what could be done better. Then you can get the feeling of all being in it together.

Marketing and planning

Once the January rush subsides make sure to find time to look at marketing and planning

Make sure your calendar provides enough time for drilling down into exactly what you can offer clients.

Adopt a positive tone with the team. Encourage them to come up with innovative ideas. Don’t just talk the talk, make sure you walk the walk and lead by example.

You can motivate both older and younger staff to learn from each other. You never stop learning and it always offers a sense of achievement.

Learning keeps your mind engaged and body active and helps you gain new experiences, and trains your brain to handle a wide range of challenges, which combine to keep you physically and mentally healthy.

Respect people

A final note concerns how we treat each other generally. I reflected on this after losing both parents over the holiday period. One just before Christmas and the other early in January. Both were in their mid-70s and it brought to mind the phrase that you are here for a good time and not a long time.

We are a close family, but it made me think we should make the most of friends and family while we have them. Don’t hold grudges and be filled with anger, don’t let arguments fester.

A new year resolution we could all try to stick to is to be nicer to each other. It costs nothing and we will be better for it.

Contact our UK-based team of account managers today to find out how we can help your firm.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Thought Leadership.