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Propelling your firm forward in 2021

Practice Management Moving forward

Now that the 2020 tax year is behind us, it’s important to take time to set your firm, and your clients, up for future success. Below, we share tips to implement in 2021 to propel your firm forward and achieve success for the next five years and beyond.

Set goals

Be intentional and specific about setting goals to achieve for your firm. Don’t view the success of your business as how many tax returns you completed the year before; instead, think about how many clients you helped grow and achieve their goals. By working together to create more long-term goals, you will see an increase in clients looking for advisory services, which, in turn, helps to build better relationships overall. Setting distinct goals is healthy for every business and helps give employees things to strive for.

Correctly staff for those goals

Hire for a culture and knowledge fit. Tangible skills in the accounting industry can be refined and taught — attitude cannot. Employees won’t be fulfilled if they are not inspired by the work they are doing. Over time, a lack of inspiration becomes apparent in client relationships. This is a crucial step to help propel your firm in 2021. Focus on the big picture and bring people into your firm who want to see not only the firm, but their clients’ businesses, succeed and thrive.

Technology adoption

There are tons of tools that can help the effectiveness and efficiency of your firm. It’s important to find the right tools for you and your clients, so when considering a new technology adoption, test it out. Trial the tool out with a few clients open to giving you feedback, and have an open line of communication with your staff. Not every tool will be a perfect fit, but testing out different options will help you hone in on which ones make the most sense for your firm. Technology in the tax and accounting profession, when chosen with clear goals in mind, will help run your firm more efficiently and lead to greater success.

Stay in tune with your clients

Building a great relationship with your clients starts with a strong foundation focused on helping them achieve their goals and setting them up for success long-term. Continuously ask questions and send out surveys to help narrow down future plans and visions, like “what keeps you up at night” or “what are offerings and services you like from us” to help better understand how to serve your clients. Having a target to work toward enhances collaboration and serves as a reminder of the priorities your client has set for themself and their business. In addition, keeping a pulse on your client’s mindset will help better inform you on future decisions and helps to better anticipate client needs and asks.

Keep an open mind

It’s important to create an environment and culture that is open to change. With so many firms moving toward offering more advisory services and advice to clients, it is essential that your firm and employees are open to change, feedback, and updates to ensure you continue to stay ahead. As a leader in your firm, sit down with other key employees and think about where you want to see the business in the next several years. If you can’t identify where you want to be, you won’t be able to get there. Continue to build your goals and objectives from there, and find areas to improve current processes. Mindset is key, so make sure your firm offers a collaborative and open environment to have these important conversations.

Propelling your firm forward in the next year starts with setting goals for you and your clients. Create aspirations and work with your staff to achieve them. After the difficult 2020 tax year, it is important to stay persistent and strive for success in every area of your business. Start having conversations with your clients and staff, and work toward building a better future and stronger relationships.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Tax Practice News.

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