Mission statements: 10 tips to guide your firm

More and more firms of accountants have mission statements. Mark Lee explores how to make yours meaningful rather than meaningless.

A mission statement is quite separate to your plans and ambitions. But it is an essential pre-requisite.

A mission statement provides a guide for you, your staff and your plans in good times and in bad. Some mission statements are supported by more detailed statements of values, client care charters and employee engagement principles. Together these demonstrate to your clients, business associates and potential staff something about you and your firm, your standards, principles and objectives.  Mission statements also provide a guide for your more detailed plans and ambitions.

As a judge for this year’s Practice Excellence Awards I have seen plenty of accountants’ mission statements in the last few weeks. Firms were asked to share these as part of their entries. Some of the statements I read were more impressive than others, but few scored especially well.

Ten tips

Based on weakspots in the documents I’ve seen, here are 10 tips for crafting your firm’s mission statement. Not all of these points will be relevant in every case, but they are all worth thinking about. Log in to AccountingWEB to for more detailed advice on how to implement them:

  1. Start with the key questions 
  2. Focus on your clients
  3. Include reference to your people
  4. Be ambitious, but be realistic too 
  5. Avoid being too general 
  6. Keep it simple 
  7. Polish the language 
  8. Get buy in 
  9. Make it distinct
  10. Ensure it inspires you 

Mark Lee is Consultant Practice Editor of AccountingWEB and writes the BookMarkLee blog to help accountants build more successful practices more enjoyably. He is also chairman of the Tax Advice Network of independent tax consultants.

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Comments

I would think .....

ThornyIssues | | Permalink

That a popular mission statement of readers on here is ..... "to reduce my par"".

Locutus's picture

Mission statements    1 thanks

Locutus | | Permalink

Slightly off topic, but one bugbear that I have is when I find generic mission statements on CVs.  If I get to meet the person I always ask the question "so Mr X explain how you are a proactive goal-orientated career focused achiever". I always get a blank look.  I continue "errr ... I see from your CV that it's your mission statement".

Going back on topic, I suppose this highlights the importance of the mission statement being meaningful.  If it is just some meaningless, generic marketing blurb then it is probably better not to have one (in my humble opinion).

Does this count as a Mission Statement: "Don't run out of ..."?

dstickl | | Permalink

Once, when I had been made redundant, I set up as an OMB (Owner Managed Business) consultant, with just one motto that I shared [as "do as I do" statement] with a slow paying client - e.g. when chasing for my invoices to be paid - of:  "Don't run out of ... CASH".    

Does this count as a Mission Statement?    [The follow up Ho-Ho was:  "At least it keeps me out of the Missionary Position", which sometimes shortened the payment delay when the payer giggled!]