Are you running your practice or is it running you? Up against yet another deadline? Overwhelmed by client demands?
Having consulted thousands of accounting practice owners, over the past fifteen years, so many of them I see, fall victim to upward delegation of work from staff!
Staff accountants, and sometimes even the owner, consider it, the owner’s role to solve every problem, and answer any significant questions or issues that they come across! Typically, staff take the work only so far and then leave it to the owner to finish – and/or correct!
Have you fallen victim to such “abuse”?!
Some practice owners have even resorted, in an effort, to resolve this issue, to getting rid of staff, and wind up as a one man show! While this is one way of handling the problem, it’s like amputating a broken arm, rather than mending it!
Do you have a staff working for you or are you working for them? Are your staff working to their full potential or are they mostly overhead, generating very little revenue for you?
Traditionally, few accounting practice owners, at least those I’ve worked with over the past sixteen years, had a well thought out business model. They would add most work that came their way, without much discrimination.
In recent years, I’ve witnessed many tax and accounting practice owners shifting away from this. They no longer just want ‘more work’ or ‘new clients’, indiscriminately. They are looking at what type of work is best suited to their practice, given the resources (mainly staff) that they have at their disposal. In many cases, it’s relatively easy for the owner to fill his/her plate and while many ‘gurus’ advise to focus on doing more high level business consulting as what is needed and wanted by clients. In some cases, this is not very practical. Unless he has the talent among his staff to absorb some of this, it causes the owner’s plate , to get progressively more and more full, till he is literally drowning in work, and carrying the majority of practice billings.
I would advise practice owners to stand back from the practice, and take a hard look at what personnel resources they already have; as well as what personnel skills could be added, and then market the practice to those skills. Adding work to the practice based primarily on their own skills/ability to get it done, worked fine as they were building their client base. However, continuing to do so, can result in a practice that is very owner dependent, leading to bottlenecks and inability to grow!
Avoid becoming your own best employee, and instead work out the type of work that can be done independently of you. This solves a number of problems of – heavy time commitment to the practice, overwhelm, inability to interact with clients (as owner is too busy doing the actual work), exhaustion, feeling like a cog in your own wheel, instead of the guy running the show etc.
In my estimation, practice owners have very worked hard to get into an ownership position and in addition to that, they have marketed their practice successfully so that they have a consistent workload.. At some point, it is payback time — time for them to enjoy the rewards of ownership – both financial as well as balance of life. The business model they choose is crucial to achieving both!
If you would like assistance, developing a business model, tailored to your practice so you can be rewarded for your hard work, in getting to this point, with both the time and the revenues you deserve, please do not hesitate to contact Ciara MacMahon, Senior Management Consultant, via the Contact Page of this website.