Banner image for Scaling New Heights 2024, the premier accounting technology conference in the United States. The image features the conference theme and dates.

A “Less is More” Approach to Practice Success

Joe Woodard
Posted by Joe Woodard on Jan 29, 2024 8:51:56 AM

Accountants and tax professionals face unique challenges, especially during certain times of the year. Corporate income tax return preparers, for instance, experience a flurry of extended corporate returns, only to be met with a subsequent rush of personal returns due within the next few weeks. These "forces of nature" are compliance pressures that are not within the accountant's control. Similarly, bookkeeping and Client Accounting Services (CAS) teams contend with monthly, quarterly, and annual deadlines, which can be exhausting. 

The profession needs an escape hatch…a way to transcend deadline-driven work, where accountants largely service clients who are, themselves, only motivated to action by imminent deadlines. Simply put, the profession needs a sustainable and less stressful practice model.  

The key to achieving this model is the combination of the right structure for your practice and the right client profile. Historically the profession has been obsessed with efficiencies, but this obsession is driven by the wrong factors mentioned above: navigating work bubbles created by date-driven compliance and scaling practices to service as many clients as possible.  

The “Less is More” Approach focuses primarily on:

  1. 1. Outputs over Inputs: Wealth Generation for Your Clients.
  2. 2. Automation over Effort: A Sustainable Client Workload for Your Team
  3. 3. Profitability over Revenue: A Differentiated Practice Model, Positioned for Scale

To deploy this model, accounting professionals must: 

  1. 1. Create an Ideal Client Profile: By assessing clients based on criteria such as responsiveness, payment history, and alignment with your service offerings, accountants can make informed decisions about which clients to retain and which to let go. Ultimately, your ideal client profile should answer the question: “Can I create wealth for this client, given my slate of services and practice expertise?” 
  1. 2. Increase Profits on Existing Clients: Within the “Less is More” model, the compilation of financial information is a means to an end. The end goal is increasing the client’s wealth through either the reduction is expenses/costs (e.g., spend management services or tax advisory services) or the empowerment of the client to successfully expand operations (through advisory services).  
  1. 3. Attract Businesses that are Less Price Sensitive: Client acquisition is an essential aspect of any accounting practice, but not all clients are created equal. To attract value-sensitive clients you will need to deploy marketing efforts – coupled with a value-infused brand story, where you demonstrate expertise in specialized areas (e.g., spend management, budget curation, forecasting, A/R curation, cash flow forecasting, etc.). By attracting clients who value outcomes over effort, accountants can build a more sustainable and profitable practice. 
  1. 4. Reduce Stress and Foster Work-Life Synergy: The right clients will knowledge work or, more specifically, the results of knowledge work that reduce their spending, give them peace of mind, and protect their journeys. The "Less is More" approach provides increases in revenue that are disproportionate to effort, providing adaptive capacity and surplus operating capital for producers to moderate workloads and for practices to invest into their teams. 

Identifying non-ideal clients, increasing profits with existing clients, attracting clients who value quality, and prioritizing well-being are all critical components of this transformative approach. As you implement these strategies and embrace the "Less is More" philosophy, you can not only weather the compliance pressures inherent within the profession but also elevate with both profitability and sustainability and insulate yourself from the full force of seasonal and date-driven pressures. 

Topics: Modern Practice


Sign up and stay plugged into the education, news pieces and information relevant to you.

Subscribe to The Woodard Report today! 

Do you have questions about this article? Email us and let us know >