It is often said that accounting firms are very good at talking and planning about their future (it’s in their DNA), but terrible at execution and implementation. Partners get distracted with client service or low hanging fruit and give up too quickly in creating change within their own firms.
Domenick Esposito from 8 Steps to Great believes that your firm can only move form being a merely good firm to a sustainable brand with a strategic plan. This plan must highlight specific implementation tactics and accountability measures.
She suggest that your initial strategic plan should have no more than 10 to 15 different strategic objectives that need to be implemented. The strategies need to be a mix of realistic goals together with some that would be a stretch for the firm.
Some of the key goals that you should consider include:
- Burning a sound, basic governance and economic model into your firm’s DNA
- Attracting, developing and retaining first-class partners
- Developing a performance management and compensation plan
- Attracting, developing and retaining marquee clients through industry, consulting and technical specialization
- Demonstrating that your firm is distinctive and brings value beyond compliance services
- Expanding through national and global geographic reach
- Consummating merger combinations
- Making it all real through persistent and consistent leadership
The most opportune time is probably between busy seasons March to June, and the most effective vehicle to develop a meaningful, workable plan is an off-site retreat. A professional facilitator who can be open, honest, probing and who has no bias, baggage or preconceived notions about either your partners or the direction your partners and your firm should take.
Start with a small number of partners – usually a blending of some of the firm’s most senior partners, including the CEO and managing partners, together with some of the junior but high-potential partners – they are the initial strategy think tank.
Use this team to develop a vision for your firm for the next two or three years and a clarification of the firm’s strategic intent.
Do the following:
- Determine your values – That is what standards of conduct do you want to ascribe to your firm and staff.
- Determine your purpose – What makes your wake up in the morning and go to work?
- Determine an audacious goal – What is the biggest and nearly impossible thing you want to achieve?
- Identify your brand promise – How will you be delivering services?
- Determine how you will measure whether you adhere to your brand promise
- Set 3 – 5 year goals and detail how you will measure success
- Set 1 year n support of the 3 – 5 year goals and detail how you will measure success
- For each of your 1 year goals detail project plans per staff member/department on how they will be achieved.