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3 mistakes that stop you scaling up

19th Feb 2024
Brought to you by
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Are you running an accountancy practice? Or is it running you?

AVN helps you to take back control of your practice.

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Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

Growing an accountancy practice isn’t just a question of employing more people and moving to a bigger office. It starts with something much more fundamental; YOU. Get your free guide to overcoming these common scaling mistakes.

3 mistakes that stop you scaling up - AVN Inspiring Accountants - photo wooden letters spelling out the word mistakes
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We’ve seen it happen time and time again. An accountant starts their own practice full of hopes and dreams of doing things differently. But after a while they find themselves stuck. Stuck at a certain level of fees. Stuck with a certain kind of client. Stuck doing a certain kind of work, day in, day out. This can go on for years, or even decades.

Sound familiar? If you recognise this situation, it could be because you’re making one or more of these mistakes.

Mistake 1 – The wrong mindset

Many accountants who start their own business believe that they are the business, the product, the solution. They believe that their clients are buying them. They retain an employee mindset, as if the business is dictating what they can and can’t do, the hours they work, the income they take. Even though they’re the one in charge.

This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you run your business with this mindset, the business will always rely on you. No matter how much you try to grow, the business will always be limited by your personal capacity.

The business owner mindset thinks differently. They understand that clients are buying the solution that they, the business owner, has created. They ensure that their team deliver to a consistently high standard. They put the mechanisms in place from the outset to ensure true scalability and reduced reliance on themselves. So they continually shift from working ‘in’ the business to working ‘on’ the business.
Holding onto a business technician mindset turns you into the bottleneck that restricts your growth. 

Mistake 2 – Your Prices Are Too Low

When did you last raise your fees? Putting up prices strikes fear in the heart of many accountants. You worry you’ll lose clients or get negotiated back down again. So your fees stay the same for years on end.

But of course, this means that your clients are less profitable every year, even though you’re working just as hard for them.

When you think about it, it’s insane! We accept price rises in other industries so why not in accounting?

We talk to accountants all the time who struggle with this issue. And when we suggest raising their fees, they usually come up with a whole raft of reasons why they can’t do it. But when they take the plunge, most clients barely even query the new fee (though there are exceptions of course).

We recommend testing out new prices on clients you really wouldn’t mind losing. So either they leave and you free up capacity for more profitable clients, or they stay and you earn more from them. And once you gain confidence in quoting higher prices you can roll this out further.

Mistake 3 – You Don’t Invest In Yourself

If you really want to get unstuck and start moving forwards, you have to take action.

Upgrading your skills in, for example, marketing, selling or managing your team is essential if you want to keep up with your competitors. Understanding how to sell and deliver advisory solutions will be increasingly critical as compliance services become more and more automated. And if you don’t investigate how new tools and technology like AI could help your practice, you’ll start to fall behind others who are already taking advantage of these developments. 

The world will move on whether you like it or not – don’t get left behind.

Once you recognise that you’re making these mistakes, you can start to do something about it. 

Download our free guide that explains this further and shows you how to avoid these mistakes (and others) – Is it time to change gear in your accounting firm?