Mission statements: 10 tips to guide your firm

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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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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.

Mark has extensive network reach through his blogs, talks, social media activity, articles and his regular newsletters that go to thousands of accountants every week.


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21st Aug 2012 07:10

I would think .....

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

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By Locutus
21st Aug 2012 22:34

Mission statements

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).

Thanks (1)
By dstickl
22nd Aug 2012 06:47

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

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!] 

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