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.
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:
- Start with the key questions
- Focus on your clients
- Include reference to your people
- Be ambitious, but be realistic too
- Avoid being too general
- Keep it simple
- Polish the language
- Get buy in
- Make it distinct
- 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.