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3 Important Accounting Practice Management Tips to Prepare for 2023

Carl Coe
Posted by Carl Coe on Jan 25, 2023 11:26:06 AM

The new year is upon us, a time when many accounting companies reflect on their performance over the past 12 months and spend time determining their direction for the coming year. It also tends to be a busy time, with many corporate clients closing out their books to end the year. With all the end-of-year activity, it can be tough for some firms to carve out sufficient time to address the operations of the business itself. 

The three tips presented below will help improve your practice management capabilities so that you can more efficiently balance client work with the operational demands of your firm itself. 

 

1. Set reasonable goals 

After January 1, many firm owners get caught up in the possibilities of the new year before them and try to make bold predictions about doubling or tripling the size of their business in 12 months. While that’s certainly not an impossible feat – we’ve seen many accounting companies grow exponentially after implementing the right tools – it’s important to balance your desires with real-world constraints. You may not have the team or systems in place to achieve your ultimate goals, or perhaps you just need to space it out across a longer timeframe. It’s especially important to set reasonable goals if you’re going to be applying them to others in your firm. 

One great solution here is to come up with three different performance goals or targets. The first goal can be a “stretch” goal – if things go really well and both performance and luck are on your side, you may be able to hit this goal. The second goal is your primary goal, showing steady growth and achievement but not at an extraordinary level. The last goal is your lowest acceptable threshold for performance. Hitting this goal indicates a need to make improvements to whatever you are tracking. 

2. Value and empower your team 

While we’re now almost two years out from the Great Resignation of 2021 that caused many people to change careers or leave the workforce completely, it’s still critical to stay mindful of the concepts that created this phenomenon. These include low pay, a lack of respect, and scheduling/flexibility issues often related to childcare. 

Luckily for accounting firm owners, many of the helpful practice management tips in this area are free or cost very little to implement. There’s no cost, for example, for treating your employees with courtesy and expressing your appreciation for their work. With the use of modern practice management software for tasks like hourly billing and time tracking, it’s easier than ever before to offer your team a flexible schedule or at least give them some options regarding when and where they work. 

Other simple options for showing your team you value and empower them include:  

  • Host an employee appreciation gathering at your office or a location close to where most of your team lives. If you prefer to keep events remote, think about sending each member of your team a special treat to enjoy during the gathering. 
     
  • Recognize top performers with low-cost options like a gift card, a place in the company newsletter, or extra time off. 
     
  • Defer to your team about their preferred working methods whenever possible. Of course some accounting processes need to be done in a specific method at a certain time, but there are many internal tasks that may not need to be completed in a specific window – like filling out a timesheet.   

3. Incorporate more automation 

There are so many simple tasks and even more complicated processes today that can be handled by software. Even if they are things you don’t mind handling yourself or actually enjoy doing, it’s still important to think about how you can make them as efficient as possible, if not completely outsource them to automation. 

For example, you might not mind writing emails to clients, updating them on things going on with your firm or any upcoming changes to their service. However, think about how much time you could save during this process if you used a template and some software automation tools to send these messages automatically. There’s still an opportunity to provide personalization – you might write a line or two in addition to the template on certain messages – but in this case, you’re ultimately achieving the same result (or close to it) with exponentially less manual effort.  

This year, one of the best things you can do for your business and your team is think hard about opportunities to automate that you may have been missing out on in the past. No task is too large or too small to consider automation. From ordering supplies for your office to assigning team members to specific client accounts to generating reports and payroll, automation can be used in almost every part of the business.    

Final thoughts on practice management in 2023 

While we expect lots to change in the new year, there are plenty of things that will stay the same. Leveraging automation whenever possible, showing your employees you value them, and setting reasonable goals may not be groundbreaking new ideas, but they are important fundamentals for any successful accounting firm. If you haven’t already made the switch, think about using practice management software this year to help you implement some of these techniques. 

Topics: Practice Management


 

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