Shining a light on process and practice

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Leading practice strategist Steve Pipe will unveil content from his ground-breaking new book at the National Accountants Conference on 23 June.

The AVN founder will focus on content driven by the two years of research for his new book “The UK's best accounting practices’, which he wrote against the backdrop of the past 18 months of recession.

Pipe’s main messages will be about profitability and his speech will explore the various tactics and strategies successful firms have used.

The success secrets he discovered among UK practices include:

  • A sole practitioner who cut his working hours by a third
  • A two partner practice that thrived despite the sudden departure of one of the partners
  • A sole practitioner who grew his fee base by 50% in the last 12 months
  • A six partner firm that increased fees earned from its existing clients by 33% in the last 17 months
  • A sole practitioner doubled his turnover in less than 18 months, at the same time as stopping working on Fridays
  • A 16 partner firm on track to earn an extra £480,000 a year from a new Business Advisory department it launched three years ago.

Pipe interviewed nearly 50 firms - including AccountingWEB members - and documented the ground-breaking things they were doing to weather the economic downturn.

According to Pipe, “These are practices that are in one or more ways shining a light into the corners of opportunity - shining a light on processes and systems and methodology that really work and serve their clients better.

“Better results for their clients, but also better results for the firm, so their practice becomes more successful, profitable and endurable to run.”

Pipe said accountants are usually reluctant to explain in detail what they do and how they do it because they see that as competitive advantage. He said: “I’ve managed to get 40 or 50 of them to lift the lid on things that create competitive advantage for them and create value for their clients.

“There are some astonishing examples of where people have reclaimed their work-life balance, dramatically changed their client profile, profits and sales.”

The book is expected to be published in time for the event and delegates can expect to get their hands on a complimentary copy.

Pipe also commented on the quality of the delegates that will be at the Accountants Conference: “As well as the speakers it’s about the quality of insight you will get from talking to people there. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with other practitioners, many of whom feature in my new book.”

The National Accountants Conference 2011 takes place on 23 June at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham. More details and tickets for the event are available from [email protected].

About Robert Lovell

Business and finance journalist


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    17th May 2011 14:51

    Process alternatives to reduce costs

    I am associated with a practice that is a member of both AVN and Probiz. Due to the continued expansion of the client base and increase in special work there were increasing pressures on processing compliance work.

    The pressures came from

    1. Recruiting and training reliable staff.

    2. Controlling debtors and cash flow as many clients were suffering from the current economic climate.

    3. Accommodating staff, equipment and filing without having to relocate the office

    The solution that has worked for us is .... reduce most of the paperwork to scanned digital images so that every relevant document, letter, invoice, contract etc can be filed by client and be available online. So all information is available by computer from anywhere including client's offices, home etc. Plus no problems with filing, archiving etc.

    To reduce the need for more staff we have outsourced all bookeeping, vat, tax, paye, final and management accounts and company secretarial work on a fixed fee basis which is approximately 50% of the in house direct cost.

    As our cost is a fixed percentage of the fee we can reliably offer the client a fixed fee for all compliance work with no danger of overruns. Also we can offer a more competitive fee in exchange for periodic payments which overcome the build up of debtors. Plus we do not need to keep time sheets.

    Accomodation is no longer a problem and we can increase the volume of work with no extra staff and no extra space, equipment, software etc.

    Now we can focus on the special work which is more rewarding for the clients and ourselves.

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