Mark Lee explores some less well known measures that accountants can use to determine the success of their practices.
One of the first things any consultant to the accountancy profession needs to accept is that everyone has their own definition of success.
Not all accountants are looking to multiply the size of their practice or even to grow their client base. Some are very happy with the status quo. Start-up practices are different, of course, but they will still each have their own definition.
I recently met an accountant who seemed quite successful. He claimed to make a good living, having built up his practice over the past 20 years. He has three long-term contractors working for him on an outsourced basis (so no staff or employment issues to worry about), he plays golf 3 times a week and has no obvious cause to worry about negligence claims or the imminent loss of clients to his competitors.
When I congratulated him on what he had accomplished he was reluctant to agree he was successful. As far as he was concerned he was not a success as he doesn’t enjoy running his practice, he doesn’t really like the type of clients he has and he cannot see how or when he will be able to retire.
I have my own definition of success. I think you can claim to have a successful practice when you can honestly tick most, if not all, of these boxes because your practice:
- is sufficiently profitable
- is not hemorrhaging clients
- is sufficiently rewarding from a professional perspective;
- is not giving you regular cause to worry about staff, clients or HMRC
- allows you to plan for your retirement (if this is likely to be within the next ten years); and
- is sufficiently fun (in that you enjoy what you do).
If you are planning to set up on your own, do your plans reflect any of these measures of success?
About Mark Lee
Mark Lee works almost exclusively with savvy sole practitioners who want more out of their practice. More clients, more money, more time, more satisfaction - or everything!
An accountant by profession, Mark moved away from the provision of professional advice in 2006. He is now a professional speaker, mentor, facilitator, author and debunker.
Mark Lee is a realist and regularly debunks myths and hype related to his areas of interest and expertise. His keynote talk for audiences of accountants is How to STAND OUT and be more than 'just another accountant'.
Mark is passionate about helping accountants generally so is a keen blogger and commentator in the accounting and tax press. He is consultant practice editor of AccountingWEB and has written hudnreds of articles here that have been viewed over a million times.
Check out how he could help you here: www.BookMarkLee.co.uk/savvy
Mark stopped giving tax advice himself despite being a past Chairman of the Chartered Accountants’ Tax Faculty. He is however Chairman of the Tax Advice Network - the UK's highest ranked lead generation website for tax advisers and accountants. The network also publishes a weekly practical tax update for accountants in general practice and full tax support, on demand too. You can also use it as a lead generation resource for local people seeking tax advice from an accountant.