Another journalist approached me recently, this time wanting some quotes for an article intended to help accountants who have been running their practice for one year.

As usual I made some notes to inform my quotes and, as usual, I’m now able to share these on my blog. You should find the list of ideas, tips and tricks useful however long ago you started your practice.

Background

The new accountancy or bookkeeping practice has survived 12 months. What should the practice owner do now to ensure business success in the future and to help them plan for the future? What should they review and how should they approach such review? What questions should they ask themselves?

My 15 tips and tricks

  1. Start by celebrating your successes. Review what worked well and also what lessons you can learn from whatever didn’t go as you’d hoped.
  2. Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t achieve your initial ambitions. But do look back and think about what you could do differently in the future.
  3. If you started out more in hope than with any real plan, now is the time to start being more strategic.
  4. Review the time you spend networking and which groups are proving to be the best use of your time.
  5. Hopefully you now have a good base of clients, so you should focus your marketing messages to get more of the clients you most enjoy working with.
  6. Review your approach to quoting fees and billing clients. Plan how you will increase the silly low fees you are charging some of your earliest clients – the ones you took on right at the beginning and before you realised how much work would really be involved.
  7. Identify the gaps in your ‘tech stack’ – what further software and tech support would make life easier for you and enable you to deliver better client service?
  8. Update your Linkedin profile so that it better reflects your style and approach a year down the line. Focus it on the people you most want to influence.
  9. Check that your website reflects the practice you have become rather than what you first hoped when you started up a year ago.
  10. What will you do differently to maintain your drive and motivation to build on what you’ve achieved so far?
  11. Review your CPD records and ensure you are making time to regularly keep up to date with all relevant technical changes and developments
  12. Set yourself some informed targets for the next 12 months. How many more clients? What should be the minimum fees? What about the average fee?
  13. Be firm as regards how many hours you work each day/week. If you need support consider outsourcing unless you know someone locally who has the skills, time and experience to help for a reasonable fee.
  14. Thinking about the conversations you’ve had with clients,  consider what key business skills you would benefit from enhancing over the coming year.
  15. If you couldn’t afford to invest in a mentor or practice coach last year,  revisit your decision. Would making such an investment now enable you to achieve more in the coning year than if you continue trying to do everything alone?