At the beginning of each new year, many Accounting firms have finalised their yearly budget. However the majority of firms do this without reference to the activities that will make the numbers a success. This TA addresses the pitfalls of this approach and offers a free tool for planning your budget and keeping it on track.
Without referencing specific growth activities, you lack a real plan of action for how your firm will achieve budgetary goals.
This is where my strategy of ‘Farming for Growth’ tool comes into play.
Discussions with practices who have recently set budgets have revealed a number of learnings.
Many firms did not achieve their previous year’s budget. Here is a range of reasons why from some that were honest about what happened:
- We left the run too late
- We didn’t have a clear plan
- We lost focus – and/or didn’t follow the plan laid out; or
- We achieved the budget by sheer luck:
-By winning a big job that got us home, or
-The economy changing and business starting to pick up again.
These tactics lack four things:
- No understanding – how goals are to be achieved
- No control – no measurement or monitoring
- No focus – lack themed milestones (defined phases to achieve objectives)
- No engagement – the team are not enabled to achieve growth within their role.
Oddly I found a few practices that were unsuccessful even though they all had plans and details of how to achieve. I realised that they were unsuccessful because they lacked a mindset of accomplishment. These firms had failed to create a mindset of focus and control. Success comes from controlling the results through consistent focus, accountability and determination.
Plans are often left to chance or the details are not practical enough to implement and achieve. On the other hand, Premium Practices have an understanding of the strategies and therefore much more control over the success of their budgets.
The ‘Farming for Growth Strategy’
In order to ensure a solid understanding of what is required for a project like a budget or to control the outcomes on the journey, I apply a technique I have called ‘Farming for Growth’.
Farming for growth is best explained by likening it to the “Four seasons of growing a crop”.
Here are the four stages of seasons.
- Prepare the soil;
- Plant the seed;
- Nurture and maintain the crop; and
Let’s take a look at these stages, including the main points of each and some examples of activities required to achieve them.
In summary, I’m using the ‘Farming for Growth’ worksheet to drive 2016/2017 Budgets with my clients. You can access a free copy here for your own use, or book yourself in for a personalised, one on one diagnosis here.
I’ll spend 15 minutes on the phone to see if I can help you, then organise to take you through the process with your new budget and coach you through its successful implementation. This is covered in the Chairman’s Program as well, so check that out here.