As 2012 dawns here are 10 New Year resolutions that I would encourage ambitious accountants to make. This list has already appeared on AccountingWeb where I included links to articles on that site that explain each of the ideas in more detail. In the list below I have replaced those links with references to related posts on this blog:

1. Reducing the January rush

I will take responsibility for allowing so many of my clients to delay sending me all the information I need until January. I have had enough and will start planning now to stop this continuing year-after-year. (See ‘The January tax return rush is your own fault).

2. Billing

I will release cash by reducing my lock-up to 60 days through more prompt billing and applying my standard credit terms whenever clients fail to pay on time. (See ‘10 key actions you need to take when starting an accountancy firm’)

3. Services

I will be more open-minded and introduce one new service for my clients this year – over and above the recurring compliance services I have always provided. This will enable me to help my clients with their businesses and, at the same time, to become more profitable myself. (See ‘Not all Accountants are business advisers’)

4. LinkedIn profile

I will add a photo and an up-to-date summary of my current experience and abilities to my LinkedIn profile. This could make all the difference whenever someone is checking me out online: e.g. a prospective client, a prospective referrer or advocate, an ex-colleague or ex-client. (See ‘LinkedIn for accountants (part three)’).

5. Twitter

I will look into whether tweeting might be useful or fun. If I decide to give it a go I will check out how to make Twitter work for me. I will avoid posting puerile and self-promotional messages as these will not help me or my practice.  (See ‘Is twitter for me?)

6. Alliances

I will establish a business alliance that will help my practice and my clients. Possible alliances could relate to any area of specialist expertise that some of my clients might need or I could form an alliance with a complementary service provider. We would learn how we can help each other’s clients and then agree to refer clients to each other. (See ‘Do you ensure your clients get the best advice or just your advice?’)

7. Plan

I will create a one-page marketing and business plan setting out what I want to achieve in the practice over the next year and what I will do to make this happen. (See ‘10 key actions you need to take when starting an accountancy firm’)

8. Talk with clients

I will make appointments to speak with all of my best clients within the next three months, just to see how things are going for them. Many of these calls and meetings will lead to those clients asking me to provide additional advice and services – that I can bill them for.  (See ‘What do you say when you ‘Keep in touch’?’)

9. Dump the duff clients

I will stop complaining about my three worst clients and will encourage them to find new accountants within the next few months. I will replace them with three new clients as I deserve to work only with people who appreciate what I do for them.  (See ‘Ditch the duff clients’)

10. Mentoring group

I will join a local mentoring group for ambitious accountants where I can learn from my peers and enhance my business and personal (non-technical skills). The group will help motivate me to keep all of my New Year resolutions. I also know I don’t have a monopoly on good ideas and I want to make 2012 the year that I learn to become more effective. (See ‘ What does CPD really mean?’)

What resolutions are you making as regards your practice this year?