|CPA Practice Management involves setting worthwhile, realistic goals for the immediate weeks, for the next year and a 3-5 year period. Those goals must be realistic and based on...|
CPA Practice Management: Setting Goals
Missing ingredients in a achieving goals for your Practice
|Your CPA firm is the result of your ideas and goals. Development depends on setting new goals and adjusting them once you reach the set targets. Makesense Practice Management should involve planning the future and then following that plan to make it reality.|
CPA Practice Management: Strategic planning and goal setting - the making of something viable and permanent out of NOTHING
Let me ask you a question: Have you ever set a goal for yourself to reach... and then failed to reach it in the time frame you reserved for it?
Well, it's a trick question, I admit. There isn't a person alive that hasn't failed to reach his set objective - in the time he originally allotted for it.
And there isn't a practitioner who wouldn't have made the mistake of assuming that he had FAILED just because his set schedule for it didn't work out.
I'm not talking about the TIME-SENSITIVE Accounting procedures here. "Filing the Tax Report of Business, Inc. latest March 15th" isn't a strategic Practice Management goal - it's a smaller action that's part of the production of your firm.
A strategic Practice Management goal would be an envisioned state of something that, if established and created, would greatly increase the viability of your firm.
"Getting 15 new businesses and/or a $50,000 revenue increase within the next 12 months" would certainly qualify as an example for a very worthwhile strategic Practice Management goal.
The resulting increase in revenue, cash flow (profit) and the value of your practice would all be permanent. Further, going through such a program ONCE would give you the experience to REPEAT it at any time you wished - get ANOTHER 5, 10, 15, or why not 25 clients wihtin 12 months a couple years from now.
Strategic planning like this is truly an issue of "mind over matter." It's a primary example of causative thinking - you decide to create something that doesn't exist, create a program for it... and the MAKE IT A REALITY.
It is the OPPOSITE of only reacting to what the market brings in front of you - waiting for clients to turn up, waiting for work to come in... and then perform the duties required.
A clever Practice Management strategy includes BOTH of these parts: The self-originated creation of the future and then handling the traffic / work that it brings in.
There isn't a CPA Practice in existence that hadn't done BOTH. The problem that most firms encounter is that their attention goes so wholly to the "REACTING TO" of it that they eventually all but stop actively creating the future.
In the bottom line that translates into slowdown and eventual stagnation of revenue and growth of the firm.
The right and wrong lesson to learn from failures
The time frame you set for a goal to be reached plays an important role in SCHEDULING the smaller actions of your project - the "do this many of that in a week" -type of targets of it.
But whether you obtain your 15 clients in a year or 18 months is fundamentally of little or no importance. What does it matter HOW LONG it takes - as long as you can see that you are ON THE WAY and SUCCEEDING in what you set out to do?
Most goals "fail" in some way. Either the CPA doesn't obtain as many clients as he set out to get. So you get 13 clients instead of 15 - who cares?
Or, the project takes longer than anticipated. Again - so what? - you're on your way and time is really not the element determining the success of your project. As long as you are ADVANCING toward your set goal, it doesn't matter. It takes what it takes.
The right lesson to learn from these problems is to put your attention on the POSITIVE issues - measure and keep track of your advancement toward your set goal.
Putting your attention mainly on the NEGATIVE side of things is useful only when finding a way to CORRECT something.
Too much attention to minor failures usually leads to abandoning the project - one makes the false deduction that it has failed when in actuality, it is flourishing.
And here's the most important thing of all:
If you are NOT achieving ANY meaningful advance in your project, the problem is not with the GOAL or your environment but inadequate planning.
Goals don't come to be by wishful thinking. You cannot "wait for something good to turn up" if you want to affect the outcome of it.
The wrong lesson to learn is "it isn't possible."
The right one is "where's the bug on this - what do I need to change, adjust, delete or add to make it work?"
Making your CPA Practice Management Goals an actuality
A goal is something that is a big achievement set far into the future.
A daily or weekly task is a much smaller thing to effect - one that's easy not only for it's comfortable size, but also because you can SEE THE END OF IT. It's a few things to do and then you can see the completed results - you're done.
The difference between the two is the amount of things to do it takes to achieve completion - the time and distance of it, if you wish.
A goal is set so far ahead you cannot see the destination from where you start. Instead, you must MAP A ROUTE to it - break it down to MONTHLY achievements... WEEKLY targets... and DAILY things to do.
A 12-month program takes some persistence and self-discipline to complete. There's no instant gratification.
Nothing worthwhile is achieved without some effort put into it and a doable schedule with weekly actions done consistently.
To make your Practice Management goal a reality, you need a PROGRAM for it. You need to take that one goal and break it down to smaller parts, achievements, targets and things to do on a weekly or even daily level.
Programming makes those weekly chores short, easy and gratifying - you can see the immediate results fast. Keeping your mind on the BIG GOAL is needed so you will not lose your way, stray on your route - or forget about your goal in the hectic workaday world.
A good Client Base Expansion Program has several important aspects and parts. Here are the main ones:
1. THE GOAL BROKEN INTO SMALLER PARTS
To get 15 new clients within the next 12 months, you need to devise a plan to achieve that goal by weekly actions. Otherwise, you're never going to get those clients.
Break it down to a "things to do" list that repeats itself weekly. Work out how many prospects you would need to sign on 15 clients - and how many contacts (ads, mailing letters, calls, leads) you need to GET those prospects.
Then break these prospecting actions down to weekly quotas. It would be like "20 calls on Monday to Retail businesses" and "100 sales letters out to general businesses" and "interview one existing client to get as many referrals from him as possible."
Then create some standard on handling the prospects you find. This is a vital part as it directly regulates your success ratio - the higher your closing percentage is, the less prospects you have to unearth to get those 15 clients eventually.
You break it down to weekly actions and targets. Your aim is to get say 1 new client every three weeks. You count down from that - how many prospects are needed to in average to get one client... how many business owners within your target group you need to reach in order to GET that many prospects... and so on.
You use self-discipline to MAKE those weekly quotas.
Obviously, there are clever and effective ways of doing this. And that's where the second element comes in.
2. EFFECTIVE TOOLS TO ACHIEVE RESULTS
This is where most goals of CPA firms die - there aren't any effective tools or proven successful methods to ACHIEVE the weekly targets.
If you don't have a way to effect success and OBTAIN those prospects and HANDLE them in a way leading to a high sign-on ratio... then no amount of tenacity and self-discipline will help you.
Your goal will not be reached, your program will fail utterly.
See - a set goal is in essence a vision of future that you need to make happen, become actuality.
The one thing that will KILL EVERY GOAL is getting TOO FEW or NO RESULTS.
Failure is a paralyzing element to any dream. Constant failure - absence of results - will not only make anyone abandon his dream... it will also ensure you won't want to try again.
Well, nothing new here, as such. It's the same in any business activity and human endeavor. You cannot do Tax Returns or keep books without an understanding of the basics of Accounting and taxation - and a set of tools that make it reasonably efficient to get from beginning of the work to completion.
But here enters a major killer of projects that I call the "professional blind spot -syndrome"
Professional fixed idea - applying the rules of one science to another
Every professional is prone to attempt solving ANY problem with the principles of his own area of expertize.
Let me give you an example of myself.
My profession is marketing. I live and breath marketing Accounting services. I've received some acclaim and with a 25-year experience, feel quite confident about the subject - it's the area of expertize that I am at my best.
Now, there's absolutely no problem with this as long as I stay within MARKETING OF CPA SERVICES. I have lots of Accounting Professionals as clients - help them out, no problem.
But here's the blind spot:
When I have a problem in some OTHER area, such as financial management of my own corporation... I am prone to try solving it with what works in marketing Accounting services.
Instead of cutting down my expenses, I SPEND MORE BY LAUNCHING A MARKETING CAMPAIGN. Of course, it only makes the short-term problem WORSE.
Can you see where I'm coming from?
Like it or not, I've seen a thousand times how Accounting Professionals try to solve a MARKETING PROBLEM with the basic procedures of Accounting.
That's the professional blind spot that we all have. We live our professiona - and we often "import" the make-sense principles of our own profession into other, unrelated areas of business.
An Accounting Professional will do his best to ensure his client's business activity will NOT have more costs than income. This is achieved by cutting costs wherever possible.
That's how it should be - but that same principle does NOT apply to a project of getting more clients for YOUR PRACTICE.
Cutting costs is not going produce new clients, obviously.
Getting new clients WILL produce more income. That new income will cover costs - but it cannot be obtained without ANY expenditures or investments.
Beware of the "Profit percentage blindness"
Profit is usually calculated into a percentage of revenue. For purposes of Accounting, that is how it should be.
The task of prudent Accounting is to ensure a business activity spends less than it makes. This is primarily achieved by cutting costs and ensuring the expenses ARE less than the income.
But in CPA Practice Management, this is not the full picture.
Profit is rather a theoretical matter. It doesn't explain POTENTIAL or the utilization of capacity or available resources.
If someone makes two dollars and his expenses are only half of that, then his profit could be said to be 50%.
But he only makes ONE dollar.
Another business makes a million dollars - but the profit is only 20%.
Which of these businesses would YOU rather own?
Obviously, you cannot eat percentages. You cannot buy a house with it. For all that, you need MONEY.
In your professional capacity, servicing your business clients, you have a DIFFERENT ROLE than when managing your own practice.
It's not the Accounting Professional's headache to CREATE NEW BUSINESS for his client. That's the client's responsibility.
But in managing your own business, it IS your job to also ensure the firm gets new clients.
First, you have to begin to SEE the potential that is there to be immediately utilized
Figures on paper are only the symbols of the RESULTS achieved and expenses incurred by a business activity.
Accounting concerns itself with what has happened - and ONLY that.
It doesn't make any estimates of revenue and profits that COULD HAVE BEEN MADE BUT WEREN'T. It doesn't estimate the production capacity or compare it to utilization of opportunities available.
Books don't show the biggest expense or loss of all:
THE MONEY YOU COULD HAVE MADE BUT DIDN'T.
Since that money doesn't exist (=wasn't made although the opportunity presented itself) then it is easy to be fooled into thinking NOTHING IS MISSING.
But a lot of income and profit IS missing. And it's STILL there to be taken. It's never too late to start making use of what your true earning potential is!
The difference is in the philosophy by which a person runs his business. The reactive way is to respond only to what the world throws at you - document what happened. The proactive way is to see the potential and go out there to CREATE IT.
It start's with the viewpoint. If you can SEE the possibilities available, you can then UTILIZE those potentials.
If you don't see - or refuse to see - them, then they don't exist. And there's nothing you can effectively to to affect the outcome of your future.
So it's basically a choice each of us has to make. If you SEE the possibilities, then at least you HAVE a choice. Those that see nothing, have no choice.
Putting things in correct perspective and order of importance
Saving is what makes EXISTING business activity profitable (as opposed to losing money).
Savind is NOT not the action that causes new revenue from new clients.
Saving in the wrong place will cause a HUGE LOSS OF FUTURE INCOME. That the loss won't directly show on the books doesn't make it any less real.
Saving in the ESSENTIALS of a new-client program will ensure the program never has a chance.
That's because the more uncertainties you allow there to be at the BASIC SYSTEM, the more likely the whole project is to fail.
Let me explain.
If you don't get PROVEN tools to get prospects, if you don't have a way to HANDLE those prospects in a way other CPAs have used successfull, and if you don't know PRECISELY WHICH PART of your service to offer and in WHICH WAY... then your system is going to have hundreds of problems.
Those problems simply mean that you LOSE a lot of what you are out to obtain. You won't get a good response to your prospecting. You lose most prospects during the sales. And you don't close a sufficient number of your prospects onto your services.
It all translates into NO CONTROL - and TOO MANY FAILURES.
The end result is an abandoned project - your goal of getting those 15 (or whichever number of) prospects will not become a reality.
So here's my best advice: Don't save on the initial cost of getting a proven system. Instead, save by selecting a system that is very inexpensive to use. That way, you can afford to keep it up basically as long as it takes to get results. Your risks are minimal and your possibilities of succeeding are maximized.
Rewards of setting goals and achieving objectives
Success, while measured usually in money, is NOT about money in the final analysis. Money gives you the wherewithal of life and helps to solve a lot of problems. But it's not the primary reward of success, no matter how strongly the cynical so claim.
Money is not a good PRIMARY motivation in setting goals. It's that only to bank robbers.
The primary motivation has to do with issues like
SATISFACTION of succeeding well beyond your needs
SUCCESSFULLY HELPING more clients to succeed
PRIDE of producing a highly valuable service
FEELING OF WELLBEING you create to your family and people around you
SELF-CONFIDENCE brought on by abundant success
...and comparable things like that.
The ultimate reward of success is the KNOWLEDGE of having succeeded. And there's a lot of pleasure in BEING ON THE WAY - noticing that what you're doing WORKS and following the gradual reaching of your goals.
I guarantee it gives you a lot more pleasure than your bank statement. Not that the bank statement of a successful CPA Practice would make you feel BAD... but it's not the main thing.
Success is a state of mind - an earned knowledge of having reached a much higher range of well-being. It's a care-free and content state with empahasis on the positive things in life - with time and money to enjoy life, too.
It all starts in you mind. It's that precise point in time when you decide to find out how high your true potential really is.
Honesty - you've always KNOWN you're not utilizing your true potential, haven't you?
All it takes is the decision.
Recall the dreams you had when you started your Practice? REVITALIZE those dreams, only this time DEFINE your goals and get the tools to get there.
The only thing separating your goals and dreams from reality is some time - and a proven set of tools to get it happening.
g with dreams than that they seldom have adequate planning to become actuality.
These tools are available to you. CLICK HERE to get a full briefing on Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course.
Why not join the countless CPA & Accounting firms in 45 U.S. states and 30 countries worldwide using these tools to make their plans become actuality?
|Which are the effective elements in a CPA service presentation and sales system - which parts are essential if you want RESULTS with certainty?|
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