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Taxbriefs: How to be strategic

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20th Apr 2005
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Do you work IN your business or ON your business?

Too many accountants are so busy handling the day-to-day chores that they neglect their long-term strategic objectives. This can stunt their potential for profitable growth.

Working ON the business strategically necessitates a different approach. It means making time for planning. It means managing the everyday issues to leave you time and headspace for activity that will add to the value of your firm.

So you think you are strategic'

  • Do you have a business plan?
  • When did you last revise your business plan?
  • Have you communicated your business plan to key members of the staff?
  • Write down the main aim of your business in 50 words. Can you do it?
  • How much do you want to grow over the next five years?
  • Who is your successor?
  • Do you have succession plans for all your key people?
  • Do you have capacity to handle more clients?
  • Could you cope with the loss of a major client?
  • Are YOU working to your full potential?

    How to get started with strategic planning
    There are three key stages to forming a strategy:
    1. Research and analysis.
    2. Identifying necessary changes.
    3. Effecting change.

    1. Research and analysis
    Formulate the right questions and the answers will come quickly.

  • Could you explain to colleagues why the firm needs to get more strategic?
  • Can you devote enough time and resources to the process?
  • Will you get the support of your partners?
  • Do you know what information you need?
  • Are you prepared to listen to partners, staff, clients and outsiders?

    Take time to collect the facts about your practice ' do you measure and analyse enough?

    Spend sufficient time on the process of strategy yourself and get help from colleagues. Make sure you have the necessary resources.

    • Do you know your most and least profitable:
      • Clients?
      • Departments?
      • Partners?
      • Activities?
    • Do you know which of these are the fastest growing and declining?
    • Do you know why clients value you? Why you win some accounts and lose others?
    • What are the key national and local trends that affect your practice?

    Write down your analysis and get your colleagues to criticise it, no holds barred.

    2. Identifying necessary change
    The planning stage is about getting the right direction. For example:

    • What services are you planning to provide?
      • Existing services to existing markets.
      • New services to existing markets.
      • Existing services to new markets.
      • New services to new markets ' the most challenging.
    • How will you provide them ' with what people and what physical resources?
    • What financial resources will you need and how will you raise them?
    • What is the timescale?

    Out of this should come a plan that is achievable and timely.

    3. Effecting change

  • Don't underestimate the time and money it takes to change.
  • Don't economise on communication time with colleagues.
  • Keep track of achievements and costs.
  • Review, measure, monitor and learn from success and failures.

    This is a snapshot of how strategic thinking can revolutionise your business. To see the bigger picture, and get a free guide to marketing your practice, visit the Taxbriefs Partner Page on AccountingWEB.

    About Taxbriefs
    Relentless change in taxation, regulation and the financial environment places a huge burden on professional firms, often stretching internal resources to the limit. To help reduce this pressure Taxbriefs has put together a wide range of practical outsourcing solutions in the key areas of client development. Clients receive high quality, up to date information, promptly ' but with all the responsibility for writing, checking, design and production outsourced to Taxbriefs.

    For more than 25 years, Taxbriefs' respected and innovative technical publishing services have been in place behind the scenes supporting financial services firms to meet the increasingly high standards expected of them by both clients and regulators.

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    Replies (3)

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    avatar
    By andy_north
    28th Apr 2005 13:59

    Test
    Please ignore

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    By AnonymousUser
    29th Apr 2005 09:30

    Will do!
    I am ignoring you Andy!!

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    By andy_north
    03rd May 2005 11:14

    Sorry to test again but...
    test

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