Voting will come to an end on Wednesday afternoon, 4 Setpember for AccountingWEB’s Practice Excellence Awards.
Cast your votes now for the country’s best small, medium, large and new accountancy firms in the UK’s most comprehensive accountancy awards scheme.
More than a thousand votes have been cast so far in this final round, in addition to more than 2,000 client surveys on which the category shortlists were based.
The winners will be announced on 20 September at the Practice Excellence Forum held at the British Film Museum in London.
As part of the on-going annual client survey, each firm that enters the Practice Excellence Awards will get an individual benchmark report comparing its client ratings to those of its peers.
Principa founder Ric Payne, one of the judges who helped to select the final list of PEA nominees, encouraged accountants to put more effort into measuring and understanding client satisfaction. His preferred method is the Net Product Promoter technique, which is based on the customer’s willingness to recommend the product or service. “It boils down to a single question and is a pretty good lead indicator about how clients feel about the way you’re working with them,” said Payne.
“I’ve been involved for many, many years with inter-firm comparison studies and the results are pretty much the same,” he continued.
“There will always be a small number of what I call ‘outlier’ firms. We know what these kinds of firms look like: good, solid regional firms with 10-15 people, earning up to £500,000 a year per partner with 10-40%+ profit margins.
“Then you have the really good performers - say £250,000 per partners. But no consistent business model pops out of those metrics.
“Based on deeper subjective research I’ve done meeting with those firms, the X factor is fit: how long the team has been together, and its ability to pre-prepare work so fee earners can concentrate on client work and don’t have to stop and start for admin. start/stop. The X factor really comes down to the people doing the work. There have to be close connections between people them and and clients. They manage their own processes and budgets - those are the firms that make that sort of money.
“The rest of the pack are floating around in the sea of sameness. They’ve got the same mission statements and the same prices and there’s little to choose between them.”
Find out more about this year's scheme and previous award winners, visit the Practice Excellence Awards website.
About John Stokdyk
John Stokdyk is the global editor of AccountingWEB UK and AccountingWEB.com.