“Accounting is the language of business” – Warren Buffett
Whether they’re balancing the books, submitting tax returns, or producing financial forecasts, accountants are at the heart of each and every business.
We’ll explore how the three ways you can future-proof your accounting firm and set up your practice for success: from adopting an entrepreneurial mindset to creating a rock-solid value proposition and using technology to deliver more value.
If you decide to do it alone and embrace the rewards, as well as the inevitable challenges, of setting up your own practice, there are no two ways about it. You fall into that rare breed of entrepreneur – someone who has a dream and dares to do it. A little like one of our very own Receipt Bank partners, Adriaan Basson of Wingman Accounting.
However, having an entrepreneurial spirit is not easy. You need the confidence to believe you can be successful, you need the drive to make it work against the odds, and the discipline to handle others’ accounts whilst also running your own business.
In fact, having this entrepreneurial spirit is increasingly important – especially when dealing with entrepreneurs, who expect you to have the same approach to business as they do. This is made all the more important by the fact that South African entrepreneurship is steadily rising.
According to the VC4A Startup Ecosystem: South Africa report, there’s currently “the growing realization from both the public and the private sector that entrepreneurship is needed to solve the dual challenges of sluggish economic growth and very high rates of under- and unemployment”.
Practices can support burgeoning entrepreneurs by constantly improving their own processes. In particular, you need to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset when it comes to reviewing technology: being open to new ideas, testing out software, and constantly innovating.
Developing a value proposition
You know how invaluable your services are. However, you need to make sure that your target clients do. This means that you need to come up with a perfect value proposition if you’re going to land first-rate clients.
Firstly, identify your USP (Unique Selling Point). What do you offer better than everyone else? There are a few potential options:
1. Industry-specific experience
Do you know a specific industry inside out? Can you talk to a CEO about the nitty-gritty aspect of their business? If so, leverage this.
The myriad of industry-specific nuances and details means that the best accounting practices unlock benefits others didn’t even think were possible.
Or maybe your USP is that you’re a small practice which genuinely cares about its clients. Massive accounting firms deal with thousands of clients – whilst they might do a decent job, they won’t go the extra mile.
On the other hand, if your practice truly cares about its customers, you’ll build long-lasting relationships. Back in 2016, an ICAS report stated that accountants are SMEs’ most valued advisors.
The best practices adopt new technologies to constantly refine their processes. With this in mind, maybe your practice’s USP is speed – you only take on an exclusive list of clients, and you promise them quick turnarounds. For fast-moving businesses, having an accounting practice that keeps up with them is critical.
4. Large organisation experience, small practice care
Many of you cut your teeth at big organisations, which gives you an unrivalled level of experience. Leverage this when you step out and set up on your own. However, now that you’re not working for a behemoth, you can also give clients more attention and care.
5. Adopting tech
The worldwide accountancy software market is exploding. In fact, it’s due to be worth a whopping $11.8bn by 2026. But the proliferation of specialised software alone doesn’t necessarily make for better processes. So how can you use technology to deliver lasting value?
Just because there’s a piece of software for each accounting process, that doesn’t mean you should go out and buy everything. Start small before growing – use a single piece of technology to automate tedious and time-consuming data entry tasks like bookkeeping.
If it works, try using a piece of software to handle a more complex task. There’s no point in realising the benefits of technology only to never try anything else.
When assessing specialised software’s potential impact, go through a thorough cost-benefit analysis.
Despite the initial outlay, what will the long-term benefits be? Technology is so invaluable because it unlocks opportunity: the opportunity to save time, to work more conveniently, to increase your capacity, and to enjoy your job more.
By automating tedious day-to-day tasks, accountants can focus on providing important business solutions. Not only does this provide more value to your clients, but it’s also reinventing the accounting profession from a practitioner’s perspective.
Introducing Sales Invoices
We recently released a fantastic new feature for our South African Streamline and Optimise users.
Sales Invoices has been our most requested features to date and it’s here at long last. You can now enjoy the world-class data capture capabilities of sales invoices to your cost invoices, giving a one-stop solution for all your pre-accounting tasks.
It’s one step closer to refining your current processes and ensuring you get the time to work on your business, not just in it.