If you are acquiring an accounting practice, expediting the integration of staff is important. The sooner you can tap into the talent of the people from the target firm, the sooner your bottom line increases. That sounds really simple and obvious doesn’t it? The key is in the execution.
Here are 3 crucial areas to remember when integrating people:
- Pay attention to your people: Often, buyers are only focused on client relationships and they forget to pay adequate attention to the needs of their new staff. For more information, please read our CPA Insider™ column on this topic.
- Learn their strengths. How do you go about doing this? You ask. What practice areas are they best at and enjoy the most? Where do they feel they are providing the most value to clients? Which clients do they most enjoy working with? These three questions will tell you a lot about their strengths. The more you can keep people focused on areas where they provide the most value, the more value you are producing for your clients…which ultimately determines your firm’s results.
- Break the silos. Just because people have always worked with certain clients or on certain tasks, doesn’t meant you should limit them based on what has been. Find ways to apply their talents across the firm. For example, we had a practice where the seller had significant management experience earlier in his career at a large regional CPA firm. He also had extensive practice management experience, so this was one of his key strengths. This experience could be put to use for in-house firm management practices. It also could be used for high value-add consulting work.
The key to all of this is a little bit of planning on the front-end. It’s also very helpful to schedule some time periodically after closing to monitor your progress and make corrections when necessary. Integrating a new firm is challenging and it’s very easy to get caught up in the day to day. It’s important to step back – away from the office – and assess what’s working and what’s not.
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