Creating an Accounting Practice that Sells Fast
Have you heard the story about Pablo Picasso?
Picasso is sketching at a park. A woman walks by, recognizes him, and begs for her portrait. Somehow, he agrees. A few minutes later, he hands her the sketch. She is elated, excited about how wonderfully it captures the very essence of her character, what beautiful work it is, and asks how much she owes him. “5000 francs, madam,” says Picasso. The woman is incredulous, outraged, and asks how that’s even possible given it only took him 5 minutes. Picasso looks up and, without missing a beat, says: “No, madam, it took me my whole life.”
Or have you heard the quote:
“Success always looks easy to those that weren’t around while it was being earned.”
Sadly, creating an accounting practice that sells fast…takes years.
The ones that do sell fast are the really desirable firms with plenty of cash flow and low owner hours…and building a firm like that doesn’t happen overnight!
Many accountants reach out to us years before selling to get their practice in shape for the market. This is smart because there are things most owners can implement a few years before they plan to exit that make a very significant impact on their bottom lines. In fact, there is usually an endless list of possible improvements that could be made.
However, what HAS to happen before any real changes can take place?
1. You have to want to change. You must have a good reason and a strong desire to change or it’s not going to happen.
2. You must believe the changes will work.
If you have owned your practice for a very long time, this is no small feat. You may even decide that it’s easier to let someone else take on these challenges. Many people do make that decision and that’s fine, but know that there is a trade-off for that decision. Unless you are 100% committed to making the changes to your practice, you should probably just keep on as you are.
Is there a simple approach?
Yes. Here are a few key questions that can help you decide if optimizing your practice is the right decision for you:
1. From the laundry list of things that you could change, what’s the ONE that you could focus on that would have the most impact? Don’t pick 2 or 3 or ….just ONE!
2. Is there a way to carry out a low risk test? You have problem clients? Pick one to try to turn around or refer outside of your practice. You want to increase fees? Pick a handful to try out your new pricing model.
3. What’s the very first step to implement?
4. What’s the step after that…and then the next one?
Masterpieces are not created in a day…but they sometimes do sell in a day…and for a nice price!