Empower your firm to excel in the new era of accounting

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Last Updated September 29, 2023


*This blog is part of the April 2023 Thought Leader newsletter

Darren Root headshot and bylineNot to date myself, but as someone who’s been around the accounting profession for more than three decades, I can honestly say I’ve never been as bowled over by the quantity and speed of changes to the profession as I am these days. Literally, everything is changing—and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

That’s why this month, I want to ask you an important question: Are you ready to change, too?

If you want your firm to thrive and operate as a sustainable business, change requires action. Artificial intelligence, outsourcing, cybersecurity, managed services and the steady introduction of new and more powerful apps are changing the accounting landscape in ways that will make it impossible to function (and compete) if you don’t jump on board. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s truer now than ever. Firms will need to keep up, or they’ll be left behind.

Smart choices for today’s modern firms

Over the past year or so, you’ve probably heard me mention the concepts of Smart Firm Management, Smart Client Management, Smart Security Management and Smart Team Management. And you may have wondered, “Why on earth is Darren talking about this again?”

Well, I talk about it—and keep talking about it—because these concepts enable you to withstand the chaos of change. And they help you build a high-performing, profitable and sustainable practice.

So as an introduction for those of you who haven’t heard me talk about it yet, and as a refresher for those of you thinking, “Here he goes again…” let me introduce you to what we at Rootworks call our “Smart Series” of modern firm pillars.

Pillar 1: Smart Firm Management (SFM)

The SFM pillar encompasses the expert guidance required to develop a business model that supports a modern practice. When you operate within an ideal business model, you:

  • Create a standardized tech stack
  • Optimize workflow across departments and roles
  • Enhance broad practice management and market presence

And when you follow this approach, you not only end up with streamlined—and automated—operations, but you’re also well-positioned to create a sustainable practice and bolster your business’s value.

Pillar 2: Smart Client Management (SCM)

The SCM pillar represents the new, modern way to build your book of business. SCM empowers you to:

  • Develop a clear understanding of your ideal clients
  • Identify lucrative new revenue opportunities
  • Retain your best employees.

By moving out of the traditional business model and thinking modern, you can stop taking every client who walks in the door. Instead, you can build a roster of ideal clients, enjoy recurring revenue via higher-value advisory services and balance workloads to create a happy and sustainable work environment.

Pillar 3: Smart Security Management (SSM)

Discover the ways a move to the cloud and consistent cybersecurity staff training can enhance security on a large scale. SSM supports a holistic approach and methodical strategy to protect your firm from the threat of cybercriminals. SSM also…

  • Safeguards the critical applications you use every day
  • Minimizes the threat of human error via staff training
  • Protects the devices used to perform and deliver work

It also improves continuity and recoverability by securing business-critical applications in the cloud, helps prevent unauthorized access to work devices and strengthens your first line of defense against cybercriminals: a highly trained staff.

Pillar 4: Smart Team Management (STM)

The STM pillar will inspire you to maintain a culture of inclusion, equity and diversity that entices new and existing employees to join your organization, with a proven approach to creating a healthy and sustainable firm culture. Create a modern, enjoyable work environment by:

  • Leveraging advanced technologies and tools
  • Setting clear expectations and goals
  • Appointing a Team Culture Leader

This approach brings significant operational efficiency gains, reduces staff challenges, boosts team member engagement and improves client experience. Best of all, in an age of constant staffing challenges, you’ll create a work environment where people love their jobs—and want to stay.

Empower yourself to take action

I’ll admit, mastering these pillars isn’t a “Wave your magic wand and make it happen” kind of transformation. It takes planning, preparation and some heads-down work to implement. But all of us at Rootworks are doing our best to get the message out there that even if it hasn’t come to your neck of the woods yet, changes are coming to the accounting profession. More than anything, we want every practitioner out there to be ready.

That’s why, for Rootworks’ Empower conference in May (our first-ever conference for both Rootworks member and non-member firms, incidentally), we’ve built our agenda around a deep dive into the Smart Series pillars, so we can help firm leaders and their teams create an actionable plan for firm transformation.

Now is the time to get smart and more intentional about your business—before change leaves you scrambling to catch up. We’ve got a whole community of Rootworks members who are building practices with ideal clients, a holistic approach to cybersecurity and team members who love their jobs.

On a personal note, no one should have to face change alone. So I hope you’ll consider joining me, the rest of Rootworks team and the most supportive, encouraging group of firm leaders and staff that you’ll ever meet at the Empower conference in Denver this May.

Let’s do this…together!

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