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Hierarchical models of management in professional accounting firms all over the world are being challenged by new ways to build a business. It seems new business models (based on hearing every voice on the team), or focusing on results (and nothing else) are becoming more and more popular as the younger generations begin running the world. It seems some of these methods are hell bent on eliminating management, whether management is needed or not. Is it?
What is a business model, anyway? For that answer, let’s turn to the guru and author of Business Model Generation, Alex Osterwalder. In this book, Osterwalder defines a business model as “the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.” Basically, an accounting firm’s business model explains why they sell what they do, how they price for it, and how what they sell transforms their clients. According to Osterwalder, you need a cool chart, building blocks, and some markers to get it done. Business model creation is currently a fad, growing more and more popular every day. I guess it’s our search for why working at a lame firm sucks. But do we need a new business model? Read more
It’s right before tax season, and I’m sitting here at a table in my office’s front room, typing away on my laptop. This moment has significance.
We moved into this office space in February 2012, right as tax season started that year. It came after an unexpected offer to change suites at our office park to a ground floor spot. It’s not a big space, 1100 square feet +/. But I got to design the floor plan and had been working with the contractors on buildout, colors, flooring, network placement, etc. There was a concept then for how we wanted to decorate the front room, but we had to settle for the basics at the time so we could go full swing into tax season.
And now it’s three years later. And we’ve decorated the front room to welcome our customers into a relaxing coffee shop style feel that was its original plan. And I’m sitting at a pubstyle table here. Read more
July 1, 2014 was the Blumer CPAs 2 year anniversary of being a virtual firm. We messed some stuff up, but have also learned a lot. I believe our virtualness sets us apart, so we are committed to getting better at being a virtual firm. So that I can add to my learning around being virtual, I’m documenting 9 things we’ve learned in 2 years of being virtual.
First, let me define virtual. We do not have offices, and thus we don’t exist anywhere except at a web address. But you could have firm offices and still be virtual to your clients. In that scenario, the team still meets together in one location, but the clients may or may not come to your offices. I don’t call that virtual, I call that paperless. Virtual in my definition is when a client can not assume that they have access to you physically. It’s a totally different mindset, and that’s why I’m defining it. Read more
And the ideal is not ‘having it all figured out.’ There’s no reason to feel bad or punish yourself for not being fully organized. Chaos is a natural part of the picture — you can’t pull order from chaos without a little chaos. Which is why it’s okay to deliberately mess things up now and then. Or as we say in Thriveal parlance: blow things up.
When asked the question, “What does your firm want to be when it grows up,” it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” Discovery really best happens from the side rather than head-on. You really can’t plan “a-ha” moments, or else it’s not really a discovery. Discovery is, by nature, unexpected. All you can do is put yourself in different places or situations where it might occur and remain open to it happening, without compulsion. A little trust in Providence doesn’t hurt either. Read more