Yesterday I ran one of my quarterly intensive seminars in London to a room of proactive practice owners.
And the title of the presentation was this:
“How to future-proof your accountancy practice against challenges in the next 3-5 years”
Throughout the morning we had lots of engaged discussion around what these challenges might be and exactly how you can future-proof your practice against them.
Here are my thoughts on the #1 thing you need to focus on if you want to successfully future-proof your practice.
What exactly do I mean by future-proof?
Let’s start by agreeing on a definition of what future-proof means.
The term ‘future-proof’ refers to the ability of something to continue to be of value in the distant future, in that it doesn’t become obsolete.
It also refers to the process of anticipating what might happen in the future and developing systems and methods to minimise shocks and stresses of future events.
Now I’m not saying for one minute that accountants will become obsolete.
But there is a chance that your practice could become obsolete/out of date compared to other practices who are ahead of the curve.
So how do you go about future-proofing your practice so that you can remain relevant?
The times they are a changin’
It’s important to accept that the world we live in is changing faster than ever before.
Check out this graph below:
New technology gives us unprecedented possibilities that would otherwise have been considered impossible in the not so distant past.
- Drones being used by companies such as Amazon to deliver products
- Driverless cars being developed by Tesla
- Entire warehouses staffed by robots (seriously check this video out)
And with the world changing faster than before, the accountancy industry that we work in is changing fast alongside it…
- The impending MTD initiative
- The application of AI in accounts & bookkeeping software
- Automating repetitive tasks so that you and your team have more time to deliver results to clients
So, with all of this current (and future) change, how do you keep up with it all and future-proof your practice?
As the practice owners (and ultimately the leader of your business) if you’re currently stuck working in the ‘doing’ side of your practice, with very little time available to spend working ON your practice, then this can have a pretty dangerous outcome…
And the outcome of this is that your speed of change is too slow.
You’re not flexible enough.
You’re not adaptable enough.
You’re so busy being busy that you don’t have the time to focus on dealing with this change and keeping your practice relevant.
It leaves you on the back foot – and when you’re on the back foot change becomes a challenge (rather than an opportunity).
And if this is the case, there’s a chance that as the world moves forwards, you could get left behind…
So, what can you do to remain relevant?
What can you do to increase your flexibility, adaptability and ultimately your speed of change?
The answer is quite simply…
You need to shift your work IN/work ON balance.
You need to start delegating more, letting things go, shifting your mindset from that of just an accountant to that of a business owner. You need to step up and lead your practice from the front.
Here are some ideas to help you make this shift:
- Is this holding you back from growing your accountancy practice?
- Are you a well-paid accountant or a thriving business owner?
- Are your over-reliant team stopping you from achieving your goals?
Because once you shift this balance, you will have the headspace and the time to start to look at how you can actually future-proof your practice in the near future e.g. identifying what technology you will need to use etc.
You will be flexible and adaptable enough to turn future changes/challenges into opportunities for your practice to do even better.