A profitable accounting “firm of the future” is not out of reach for even the smallest of professional practices, because it doesn’t take a lot of people to develop a highly efficient and profitable operation. The key is having the right business foundation – the technology and the concentration on structure and process – which will serve the business for years to come. Profitability is really about effectiveness and efficiency… delivering more value and doing it in a more intelligent manner than the next guy. This is how the practice not only stays profitable, this is how it beats the competition.
Powered in part by efficiency created with technology-enabled business, professional firms find that they are able to realize increased revenues by billing for services, not by the billable hour. Data processing and performing the “mechanics” of the bookkeeping process is going by the wayside, with artificial intelligence and automation taking the lead in these areas. This creates the opportunity for professionals to broaden their scope of service and involvement with business clients. The higher value work, the tasks that most professionals would rather spend their time on, is now available because the lower value data entry and tabulation is handled electronically. When accountants are able to spend less time on entering information and more time on evaluation and analysis, business clients find greater value in the insight delivered from the engagement.
It is more than possible for the professional to develop new competencies in business technologies without having to invest the entire practice and put the client base at risk. Hosting and remote access solutions, for example, bridge the gap between on-premises computing and the cloud, delivering the benefits of mobility and anytime/anywhere working models without the complete transition to SaaS applications and web-based frameworks. This allows the firm to streamline production by taking advantage of connected systems and real-time data, which is at the core of efficiency in business.
The small business market is the economic growth sector, and the number of opportunities being presented to smaller firms is increasingly significant. With the correct technology and approach, small firms are able to compete at levels previously available only to their larger counterparts. The business of accounting is changing because the technologies supporting it are evolving more rapidly than ever before. The firms that embrace these changes and use them to improve and streamline practice performance are the firms that will achieve and sustain the highest levels of profitability.