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Practitioners discuss growth strategies

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22nd Nov 2013
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Client acquisition is the preferred method of growing a practice, at least for two accountants who shared their views on growing a firm. 

Claire Priestley, a director at Clarand Accountants and Paul Scholes, sole practitioner at Atria Associates, spoke with Jay Modhwadia, senior sales executive at Exact and former practitioner, in the last video conversation with practitioners about the 21st century client - accountant relationship. 

The theme of the bi-weekly video was growing your practice, future hopes and business plans.  

Scholes has been in practice for 30 years now, and says growth is no longer his ultimate goal, but rather winding down and diverting select clients onto other accountants. 

“About three to four years ago, my ultimate goal would have been to be retired by this stage, but now I want to get my practice to a manageable state where it doesn’t bore me as much as it has over the last 30 years,” he said. 

“One thing that has sparked me over the last few years though is cloud accounting; the ability and the efficiency you get with it and the relationship you can build with your client using cloud collaboration.” 

Scholes doesn’t tend to look for growth as he believes it can make you “fat and unhealthy”, but if growth was ever necessary for his firm, he advised planned and managed growth. 

In addition, he added that a healthy client base was vital as healthy clients lead to healthy recommendations. 

Priestley, in contrast, is working in quite a young firm which she said does really want to grow and do so through client acquisitions, and its “good” client base. 

“At the moment, we want a good, strong client base, we want to grow and we want to create a strong reputation in the North East of England, and I think we can achieve that,” she said. 

The accountants also spoke about their attitudes toward business plans and whether they had any place in a practice.

“Business plans are key,” Modhwadia said, “It’s important to have one, but the challenge can often be that you get into the cycle of execution so much that you don’t have view of exactly where you are. When I was in practice, I wanted to get from a to b as quickly as possible.” 

Priestley agreed, and also added that her firm has a business mentor, which they find invaluable. Scholes on the other hand praised the idea of taking days out of your firm to take stock and see where it’s headed. 

To find out more, visit the Exact hub homepage and view the final video - you can also comment below to let us know what your plans for growth are in your firm.

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