Today’s TA is a landmark… I’ve written 100 blogs in about three years and it’s given me cause to reflect. I’ve looked back at how our industry has changed in three years, and it gives me cause to think ahead about where it will be in another three years time.
Over the three years, we’ve seen the Australian Accounting industry move through several phases. Three years ago we were in a Service Growth Phase, when it was still relatively easy to grow business through traditional service delivery.
Right now, I believe we are experiencing a Technology Disruption Phase. In a nutshell, this means that due to technology, outsourcing and licensing factors, we are being forced to review how we produce revenue and how we communicate value to clients. What I am seeing with high performing firms is they are recognising this yet still struggling to upskill teams quickly enough. The need is now greater than ever to create systems and methodologies for communication around offering value add services.
Where the Australian Accounting Industry will be in three years time
I believe that over the next three years our industry will transition into an EXPERT SERVICES PHASE.
What the Expert Services Phase looks like
I believe that services will become identifiable by distinct skillsets that result in definable revenue streams. In other words, firms will become known by the results their clients achieve, and that are repeatable throughout the firm.
This means that clients will know exactly what a firm can do for them and what the outcomes will be for them.
Team members will be easily attracted and retained by the firms due to the clarity of service offering.
Firms will have moved past the measure value phase of advising, analytical reporting, (KPI and cash flow monitoring) and into the infinity value phase of advising, growth of business and wealth which is solution providing.
What Expert Services will be like for Partners
I believe that our Partners will move towards operating as one of the following roles:
- Operational, or
- Expert knowledge.
The business will be run operationally by one leader, and will be strategically focused. This will free up partners so they can focus more on client serving and revenue contribution.
Partners will benefit from greater role satisfaction and by being financially rewarded for their individual contributions.
HOW we can prepare for the Expert Services Phase
I believe there are several changes that we can adopt now within our management, mindset and strategic planning.
- Embrace, and become technologically savvy in offering compliance and reporting.
- Educate ourselves, starting now, especially in developing client communication.
- Invest in systems & methodologies. All services will need to be repeatable and have clearly defined client outcomes.
- Develop skill sets and build our expertise through specialisation.
- Transition your firm’s language from service provider to solution provider. This means knowing how to articulate your value and position your knowledge as your client’s solution. Not just in terms of what you do or what software you use.
Consequences of not preparing for this new phase
- Profitability will slowly erode. This can be so slow that firms fail to notice until it becomes an avalanche.
- Partners become disengaged and tired of what they do. This can be catastrophic for business.
- Senior people will move on to firms that are doing specialised work, as they will look more exciting and can offer more job satisfaction.
- Clients may stay, but will seek other consultants to help them with wealth and business growth. This is a lost opportunity for firms who are willing to begin the change process now.
Firms who are prepared for the Expert Services Phase will increase profitability
Firms who are prepared to begin the change process in a timely manner, can look forward to a range of long term benefits.
- Your business will look more like a service based business rather than a practice of professionals.
- Profitability will grow.
- New opportunities will enable better pricing strategies and greater personal satisfaction for yourself and the team.
- Teams will become specialised and seek reward in opportunities to develop into areas they love. This results in happier work environments that allow greater prosperity.
- Clients will duly achieve results far greater than they anticipate for themselves, resulting in them becoming your raving fans.
Start Your Expert Services Preparation Here
I have been helping firms anticipate and navigate industry changes for ten years as a consultant.
Over the past year, I’ve packaged this preparation plan together into the Chairman’s Program. Laid out this way, clients can see their growth plan stretched out in front of them and can begin to visualise how their firm can make the transition.
View the Chairman’s Program outline here.
When you’ve taken a look, send your questions to email@example.com. I answer all questions personally, and guarantee that you’ll leave the conversation understanding the key next step for your firm to prepare for our next major industry phase.
In the next Thought Activator [TA 101], I’m discussing exactly why the 10 Year Vision is so important for your VAS strategy. So watch this space on Thursday, 7 April 2016. If you’re not already, make sure you sign up to get it delivered to your inbox.