I led with a provocative title. I hope I got your attention! I’m not just trying to trick you into reading this article; I actually believe the title is true. But I know it takes a while to get to a place where accounting firm owners can give up performing accounting. The whole reason I bring this up is because I’ve been interested in what it takes to scale an accounting firm lately (I actually wrote a free guide to help you do just that). I’ve been interested in this topic because Jeff Phillips, CEO of Accountingfly.com and myself will be teaching on how to scale your accounting firm at this year’s Deeper Weekend conference (see more details below).
Scaling (or growing) a company is a process of structuring a business model in a way that allows for a company to safely grow and to continue to add more services to more clients over time without compromising value or care to those clients. But few get this right. That’s because it’s hard to do.
In fact, I believe most accounting firms are not structured in the right way to actually scale. Entrepreneurial firms (the kind of firms we want to help scale at this year’s Deeper Weekend) are structured with a leader (like a CEO) whose role doesn’t change. In an entrepreneurial firm, that leader is tasked with the ongoing vision of the company, inspiring others to achieve that vision, and leading the charge to get it done. As the company grows, that leader draws other leaders to the table to begin leading the charge too (that’s what my partner and I do in our firm). So the leadership team grows as the firm scales. This allows for exponential growth as it only takes a few leaders to lead large teams.
But in many firms today, the partners are still some of the key technical advisors still doing technical work and providing direct service to clients. These are ‘accounting firm owners still doing accounting.’ To grow this model, you need a bunch of partners. The more staff you have, the more partners you need. But often there is no leader, so the firm becomes bloated with a bunch of equal leaders who all have opinions. There is no CEO, and thus there is no vision. Without a vision, a firm can not scale properly. I didn’t say a firm can’t grow larger without a leader. That can happen. But those large organizations are often inefficient as they just add more partners to add more staff to add more clients. These firms often become siloed with each partner managing their own book of business with their own staff. This leads to segregation within the company, and the inability to follow one vision. More services can be done, but the things being done are often incremental changes to growth that typically fail to dominate markets or create immense value. And these firms typically miss a critical inspirational leader that a team can follow to a healthier, more valuable place.
I believe firms in the US must make a choice. Should they remain a partnership, or should they restructure as an entrepreneurial company that can truly create huge value in the lives of the clients they serve?
How do we do it? Julie Shipp and Jason Blumer, partners in Blumer CPAs, have structured their firm as an entrepreneurial organization. Jason Blumer leads the firm as the CEO, while Julie Shipp leads the firm as the COO. And as leaders of Thriveal, Jason and Julie want to share their stories of firm structure, and help others realize their own paths to restructuring their firms too. This is the work to be done at this year’s Deeper Weekend conference. Deeper Weekend could mean the difference between staying where you are or creating a new path to a more valuable firm!
Further, members of Thriveal can continue discovering their path to restructuring their firm as they meet together monthly in their own Community Group with 8 to 10 other members (and get up to 25 hours of CPE at the same time). If you are interested in joining Thriveal, register here to come to a free monthly Intro Call to find out what Thriveal membership is all about!