How to Prepare for a Recession, Prioritize the “Next Thing” in Your Firm, and More


Roger Knecht

Roger is a returning guest on the Growing Your Firm Podcast and we are excited to have him back! He is the president of Universal Accounting, a friend of our show, and tends to make our inbox light up. Universal Accounting is considered a post-secondary school for accounting professionals, and Robert and his team help countless individuals.

If you:

      • Are an Accounting firm owner

      • Provide a bookkeeping service

      • Offer tax practices

      • Are a CFO

    Then, you fall right into a portion of Universal’s niche.

    UA may also be able to assist by working directly with the firm owner, or even focus on staff training in order to bring them up to speed with certifications. Roger explains that in order to build what he calls a premier accounting firm, supporting the staff is a crucial piece of their process.

    Visit their website to further see how Roger and Universal Accounting may be able to help.

    How Do We Adapt to Post-2020 Vision?

    David and Roger discuss the abnormalities businesses were faced with during and after the COVID Pandemic.

    David Cristello, founder and CEO of Jetpack Workflow, offers two questions and perspectives for Roger, and the biggest takeaway here is to study which routes accounting firms are taking, now that we are nearing 2023.

    Have the firms adapted to the new age of business with strategies like remote teams, cloud-based software, and workflow pricing models, or have firms gone back to a more traditional way of thinking as if it is 2019 again?

    What we hear from Roger is great to consider. Instead of getting the play-by-play on what these firms are doing, Roger comments on more principle-based scenarios:

        • What are the areas of focus and how do we adapt to the changing nature of the world today? For example, what is the problem today (inflation) impacting the business? What can be done about it?


          • What is the accounting firm learning that translates to successful opportunities for the clients? In this scenario, how is PPP money appropriately handled, and what does the firm recognize about that?

        Roger presents various ideas that are important to consider when it comes to conversations with clients.

        January 1st got here fast and Roger gives us two key points to recognize and focus on (outside of questions firms should already be asking).

            1. An abundance of business clients struggle with cash flow.

                  1. When it comes to addressing these frustrations, the accounting firm is the perfect place to provide all the answers business owners need surrounding their cash flow crisis.

              1. A strategic advantage for the accounting firm is buying into the tax professional title.

                    1. Whether it’s tax planning, strategy, or general service, firms should buy into these potential revenue streams as business owners are extremely open to hearing how the accounting firm can save them money.

              Roger leaves us with a final thought, no news isn’t good news. Open and clear communication with the accounting firm is crucial for both the business itself and the vision going forward. Not every business owner is able to consider EVERY problem, opportunity, and potential benefit that exists. That’s why it’s important for accounting firms to be vocal about possible issues that the business owner may not see.

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              In general, has the accounting firm clearly defined the services that are offered to its clients? Roger breaks down three core 1a and 1b services that a firm should be offering:

                  1. Accounting and Bookkeeping

                        1. Bookkeeping is everything that is done in order to prepare financial reports. Once the client receives the P&L, balance sheet, cash flow statement, etc. the bookkeeping role is completed.

                        1. When it comes to accounting, however, if offered by the firm, the job is not finished. Once these reports are generated, how are they being interpreted and studied in order to provide the business owner with key areas of focus?

                    1. Tax Planning and Preparation

                          1. Tax preparation is simple: prepare the returns → submit them to the client. Tax Planning, on the other hand, requires much more focus and detail. These are strategies related to R&D, tax credits, cost segregation for property owners, and more.

                      1. CFO and Advisory Services

                            1. CFO and Advisory Services are the most involved, and yet quite possibly the most valuable. These are the hands-on opportunities that require the firm to get their Mike Rowe on and dig into their client’s business, literally. As for an idea related to process improvement models and lean 6 sigma principles, ‘if you are unable to understand the cause of a problem it is impossible to solve it.’ – Naoto Kan

                      Baby Boomers and M & As

                      David brings forth an interesting question. Because many retirees are expected in the coming years, does this also mean that the sales of business and Mergers & Acquisitions are likely to increase as well? Simply put. Yes.

                      Roger enlightens us that these opportunities are abundant, and the accounting firm should realize that in order to grow with their client (and their client’s business), the relationships between the owners and the firms need to be integrated.

                      This proves to be an excellent opportunity to act as the client’s first-hand resource for all their capital, funding, and valuation perspectives.

                      One final piece of food for thought: As an accounting firm, it’s important to know the ins-and-outs of the clients and their businesses, not just a matter of being aware of them.

                      It seems as if Roger and David discuss the idea that the more investments that are made into their clients, the higher the dividend pays… but hey we’re accountants, not stock brokers.

                      If you enjoyed this recap, be sure to listen to the full podcast above!

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