What makes practices great

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According to new research there are 15 key factors that determine how successful an accountancy practice will be. Steve Pipe explains what they are and offers a step-by-step action plan for implementing them.

In June 2011 I published the results of a three-year research project into what makes some of the UK’s best accountancy practices so successful. With remarkable candour and generosity of spirit the firms we studied revealed in precise detail exactly what they do to generate extraordinary results for themselves and their clients.

Based on what those firms told us we were able to identify the 15 primary drivers of excellence for the profession.

In this article I want to pay their generosity forward by sharing with you the 15 drivers of excellence the research identified, and also giving you the entire (unabridged) action plan so that you can replicate their success.

Background to the research

The firms we studied came from just about every corner of the UK, from village greens to city centres. They ranged from start-ups to long established practices who can trace their roots back to the 19th century. And they represented independent accountancy firms of all sizes, from sole practitioners to multi partner firms (although it is important to stress that the vast majority were one to three partner firms. Only five firms had six or more partners, and the very largest was a 16 partner firm. We didn’t, however, study any of the top 50 firms since we wanted to discover what works for “normal” accountants.

The 15 drivers of excellence

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About Steve Pipe

Steve pipe

Steve is an FCA who is passionate about the profession. Often described as one of the world's leading strategists for the accounting profession, he has had helped hundreds of UK practices.


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By vowlesj
14th May 2012 17:58

Another interesting report from the Accountant's Guru

A thought provoking article - but with the promise of the action plan to work towards turning it into a reality.   Steve continues to add value to the world of accountants! 

Thanks (0)
15th May 2012 12:36

Great piece!

Great article and I completely agree with all 15 especially with #11.

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15th May 2012 13:41

Steve Pipe and 15 points for running your Practice

As always very challenging points by Steve.

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15th May 2012 16:09

Steve Pipe

As always another sales pitch under the guise of advice nothing new

Thanks (3)
16th May 2012 15:58

Accountant V Chartered Surveyors



Good advice and it is something that US Chartered Surveyors can do with but are not able to provide for our self or through are esteemed RICS.

In Response to Ryedeman, Bit confused coming from within an Accountants web site, as I assume he is an accountant who give professional advice for a fee. I act with my clients not against them, so I have no conflict (excluding Party Wall work) with my clients. However I am running a practice and charge them for my time, or an agreed fixed fee.

If AVG wish to give some free advice to promote they greater product who am I or other to complain? It does not strike me as selling something we all do not need.

Yes some of the point get repeated in different form on each occasion, but that because the point and ongoing improvements is constantly the same, but the message need putting across in different ways to address us all at different times and different issues to be addressed.

Keep it up Steve



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to Euan MacLennan
16th May 2012 17:33

Well Said Charlesgrace

Thanks (0)
16th May 2012 17:52

Keep it up

It's a great article and an excellent piece of research, Steve. I know that Steve and his organisation AVN are really passionate about helping accountants build a better future for themselves.

I agree with Charles - this is a website for accountants which asks for unpaid contributions from people. Consequently, you will get suppliers to the profession who want to share their expertise. I don't see this as a sales pitch and actually Steve really does know his stuff. 

Keep up the good work Steve.



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16th May 2012 21:12

Steve Pipe AVN


Yes I am an accountant in practice

Yes I do charge for advice but have many times given it for free 

AVN well known company been to several demos by them they may have even been given by Steve

Good sound advice but anyone who as not seen it before in many different forms by I would have to say the usual small group of people must have been living on another planet

Altough not open about it nice to see that my viewpoint is actually shared by some others


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