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Deeper Weekend 2014

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Strategy

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  • Adrian Simmons
    Adrian Simmons
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    Bryan Coleman
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    Greg Kyte
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    Ian Crook
  • Jason Blumer
    Jason Blumer
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    Jennifer Blumer
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    Scott Kregel
JasonRocksYou’ve heard this before right? You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Lame, but it does illustrate something I’ve noticed while speaking on the Intuit Roadshow recently (register for free here in a city near you). Here is what I’ve noticed: traditional firms attending this event seem overwhelmed at making the significant changes being required of them. They’ve noticed that technology has changed around them and they are feeling the pressure to change quickly.

 

Topics like the cloud, value pricing, and practice efficiency seems to make them nervous when they are just struggling to find new clients and lead their employees. They have “boots on the ground” problems, and they find it hard to act strategically to change their firms. Some feel the urgency to do it quickly, while others just write it off as something they can’t focus on right now.

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Category:
CPA firm, Personal Growth, Strategy
Comments:
0
Jason BlumerThe year 2015 was a year of me learning all about the depths of the risks we face in our firm. I think I was mostly blind to the risks we were bearing in how we pay our team, how our clients pay us, and the rewards we were assuming we were receiving as a result. But my partner, Julie Shipp, helped me to see how serious the risks were.

 

An Example of our Risk
I’ll take a diversion and give an example. Each client is assigned to one of our CPAs to lead the relationship with that client. The CPA is called a Customer Ally. We feel this is a differentiating position for our firm to take and allows our team to remain focused on just a few clients at a time (each CPA can handle about 10 to 12 clients). Mid-year 2014, we had to let one of our CPAs go, and this caused HUGE problems we are still working out in our firm. When a CPA leaves our firm, then there are clients that go without service. This is really bad. Most clients were understanding as we searched for a replacement but still we lost a few good clients because of this fiasco.

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Category:
CPA firm, Strategy
Comments:
4

Jason BlumerHierarchical 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

Category:
Business, Leadership, ROWE, Strategy
Comments:
4

REFM -  Adrian Photo Square - CATOBIt’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

Category:
Other Thoughts, Strategy
Comments:
3

Jason BlumerJuly 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

Category:
Business, Leadership, ROWE, Strategy
Comments:
4

REFM -  Adrian Photo Square - CATOBThere’s a balance line somewhere between having everything planned out and having no idea what’s going on.

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

Category:
Strategy
Comments:
12