This year’s theme is Growth, Growth and more Growth

An interesting morning spent listening to Grant Bloxham, CEO of  bStar, present the 2017/2018 Accountants Research Report.

Some interesting changes over the past 4 years with this year’s research showing the focus for accounting practices is on Growth, Growth and more Growth.  2014 the focus was on disruption, 2015 Restructuring and Cost Cutting, 2016 Growth with a high awareness but low action and now 2017 practices recognising that a failure to act now is a strategic threat.

Some key points I took from the presentation were:

  • Practices are moving to attract new clients and broaden their services and fee base.  Innovative practices that have already made the decision to change their model have lower levels of stress and concern.  Even where practices are still going through the process of implementing new models, the new focus is creating a more positive outlook.
  • Declining fee revenue is reaching a tipping point.  Most practices have already moved to reduce costs, but partners now understand this will not ensure survival.  To prosper practices must act to increase revenue streams.
  • How are Strategic Innovators growing?  The key starting point is embracing advisory solutions that are easy to implement and rely on accountants’ core financial and analytical skills.  To combat strategic threats from new competitors such as ‘big data companies, Strategic Innovators are acting first and upgrading their relationship with ‘ideal’ clients from trusted advisor to essential advisor.  Other points to note:
    • Practices are appointing product specialists to ensure the take up of any new products have buy in across the whole practice
    • Practices are expanding industry specialisation services

Staffing Strategies

Having a great team was identified as the top characteristic of a great accounting practice, but building a team is challenging.  Practices are moving away from a focus on technical skill to client relationship management. Strong advisory and business development skills are now the main focus when engaging new staff.

If you would like to know more download the Accountants Research Report 2017/18 Exec Summary.