Four Steps to Improve CPA Firm Capacity

You have made it through the September 15th extensions if you are working in the U.S. Congratulations!

Our understanding is that a lot of you felt overworked and overwhelmed with staffing issues this year. This seems to be a common issue among the accounting profession right now. Finding and keeping staff is a problem.

Why is it so hard to keep and retain staff? The accounting industry is not currently flooded with new graduates ready to enter the field. This is both a good and bad thing. The good thing is you are in a high demand service. Supply is somewhat low and people need assistance with complex tax issues now more than ever. The bad news is, hiring competent staff is much more challenging.

Our solution includes reducing your workload and focusing your practice.

Here are four steps to take to help you with capacity:

  1. Analyze your client list. Where are you dedicating time, effort and money within your current list that is not benefitting your team and overall business? When you find out the mix of services that do not suit your bulk of expertise, you need to pass them along to other local firms. We have a “Good-bye letter” for this. ( We also have a tool for firm analysis called the Business check-up tool)
  • Increase prices. Select a portion of your existing list to increase fees on a value-based system. You are unlikely to get too much pushback or even lose a significant number of clients as most people are service sensitive and not price sensitive. Once you find the right price from some local analysis and agreement from a couple dozen of your existing clients, you can roll out that new pricing practice wide. You will make more money and have less clients to service.
  • Learn to let go. Analyze what you can delegate and let go to your existing team. We have a tool for this called the “three bucket tool” which helps you and your staff realize how to rearrange tasks and projects so they suit everyone on the team. Things you might hate doing, could be a growth opportunity for one of your staff accountants.
  • Focus on the culture of your accounting practice. No one will want to work in a practice that does not respect their personal life. Family will always matter more than work for people who are not vested in your business and respecting that fact will help you retain and hire key employees. A major way to do this is by respecting your own time and putting up clear boundaries with clients regarding your scope of services and working hours.

This may seem too simple, but relief is within grasp if you put in just a little bit of focused attention on your firm. You may not need another hire; you may need to rearrange how you currently run your practice. Capacity fills very fast in most firms. Create more of it, and fill it up with profitable work that suits you.

For help and guidance from myself and a group of peers implementing the same profound changes, hop into Accounting Practice Academy.  The final 2022 session deadline is Friday September 23rd.

For more in depth resources to help create capacity check out:

  1. Podcast on Hiring with Gina Pelligrini
  2. Free E-Book “The Unplugged Vacation”
  3. Accounting Practice Academy