In order to grow your PA accounting practice, you need to take on more clients, do more work, and add more staff. These actions are what make any business more scalable and may require making changes to the way you do things.
Scalability requires utilizing procedures and technology that improve efficiency and effectiveness. You may already have some great procedures and technology in place. A detailed analysis of what you do and how you do it, including what works well and what doesn’t, will give you the information you need to build a scalable firm.
Define your ideal client: The first step is to define your ideal client. Whom do you want to do work for and want kind of work do you want to do for them? Create a client profile – whether business or individual, what industries, income level, personality traits, etc. This detailed definition will help you create the right marketing strategy to draw in more clients or to scale the work you’re doing for your favorite clients.
Map out your client journey: Your client journey begins with marketing, through interaction with the potential customer, to onboarding, communication while services are being rendered, delivery, follow-up, and repetition. Closely evaluate each of these steps, looking at your success with current and previous clients. What works well? What needs to be improved? Do you have many inquiries but few people become clients? Or do you get the work once but not future work? Do you deliver on time? Do clients have to call you for updates? Do you have to call them for additional information or documents?
Standardize procedures and best practices: Using the information you’ve collected in your analysis, write down all the steps that you take every day for at least a week. Your staff should do this, too. You will begin to see repetition as you perform the same functions for different clients, but if you notice you are doing the same functions differently for different clients, this is an opportunity for close scrutiny and evaluation. Determine what is causing the adjustment in procedure, address the cause, and define the most efficient method. Evaluate activities that are performed monthly, quarterly, or yearly, as well.
Evaluate technology: There are so many options available for both internal communication and client-facing communication. Take some time to research the options and consider what new technology or upgrades to your current technology will improve your firm’s efficiency and accuracy.
Talk to your clients: Ask your best clients what they like about your firm, what could be improved, what other services they might need (whether you offer those services or not), and whether they would be willing to refer you to friends or business associates.
By now you have a great deal of useful information. Now is the time to implement new technology and create written policies and procedures for each function that your firm performs. Make changes to your marketing, intake, and communications as needed in order to create the best client experience so that your client retention and recommendations will naturally improve.
Think about what other services you can provide that your clients say they need. Do you have the expertise or could you get it easily? Could you hire someone to offer that service?
Consider making partnerships with firms or individuals who offer services that your clients have expressed the need for but you do not offer and do not intend to offer. These partnerships would be mutual, such that the other person will refer clients to you, as well.
One of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to do is to delegate. But you only have so much time in the day, and your company won’t grow – and you won’t be able to enjoy life as much – if you don’t delegate some of the work.
What you delegate depends on the size of your firm and the skills of your staff, but if your procedures are clearly defined, your staff should be able to handle most of the functions. Decide which functions you would like to retain for the time being and delegate the other responsibilities. Now would also be an ideal time to create oversight and management procedures for yourself and any other managers you have, in order to regularly check in with your employees to make sure the procedures are being followed and to determine if any adjustments need to be made.
Change can be challenging, but it can also be exciting, especially when it brings great rewards. Begin taking steps toward scalability and you should see your firm grow easily, without growing pains.
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