- What should I be anticipating?
- Am I thinking about change in the right way?
- How do I set up the right business model in this new business era?
- What transitions may I need to consider?
- Creating and offering products focused around CPA services and reevaluating how to price those services
One of the first steps your firm can take is to push product accounting to clients. Jodi suggests really thinking of your services and products in a way that you can scale your client reach and do your job more efficiently, better serving your clients in the process.
Jody is a big supporter of value pricing. She urges the industry to push forward with adopting this new approach and get away from the hourly-billing model.
- Focusing on your client in a more impactful way
Be an advisor-driven and a client-focused firm. Be the proactive advisor and value-added partner to your clients instead of the passive, reactive CPA partner.
As for your clients, some may be legacy clients and others are next generation clients. In your change process, you do not want to alienate them. “Be there for both of them. Service your legacy and next generation clients in different ways,” encourages Jody.
- Enhancing the user experience for your client
“Business is about people. People do business with people they like,” notes Jody. Building rapport with your clients takes time to establish good, trust-worthy relationships. Project out to you clients and commit to take action when clients need your assistance.
- Improving your marketing approach that includes social media
It is all about your brand – who you are and what your style is. Be authentic and transparent. Let your personality shine through in what you do. Attract the people and clients who will work well for you. Jody assures that “It’s ok to be quirky and fun.”
Develop a marketing plan that captures who you are and project it out there. Jody says that for her, she just tried implementing ideas to see if it worked and “figured it out along the way.” Put no constraints on what to do or not to do. She admits to making some mistakes but it all comes together in the end.
One big marketing recommendation is to tap social media...Social media for a social business.
Social media is an important tool to reaching out to your client and potential client audience. “Pick a social media channel and do it well,” Jody recommends. “Own it and like it. Don’t spread yourself out too thinly.”
Jody suggests tapping a social media channel for 15 minutes a day over a 6-month period as you get started. Give it time to develop and work itself out by getting new followers and watching how others in the field are addressing topics.
For social media, Jody likes Twitter, in particular.
Twitter is “like a Chamber of Commerce meeting” but in this case, you hang out online. For Jody, Twitter is a good way to offer information and build relationships. The audience gets to know you and then know more about your business
- Switching to the Cloud
As with many CPA firms now, Jody’s firm has switched her business to a cloud platform. Correspondences, paperwork, files – the old way of doing business has become digitalized.
Her firm first embraced the Thompson cloud that was a software-to-service package but moved to a different cloud platform, CCH Axcess
“It was a big undertaking - more so than I imagine and I have a smart, tech-savy team!”
For Jody and her team, switching to the cloud meant there was so much to learn in addition to doing client work, especially during busy season. However, Jody says to “choose your battles – sort out what the best course is,” and to prioritize what to do and not to do. Don’t transition everything all at once.
“This year is cleaning up what they created last year. We transitioned lots of stuff but 75% is there now.” Jody and her team continue to make sure that the transition in place and processes.
When you have recovered from the demands of busy season, think about your transition to the cloud “with a fresh head” without client work taking attention away from this important next step for the future of your CPA firm.Start thinking now about how your can drive your radical CPA firm into the next decade of business and beyond!