Your winning modern accounting business model starts here: Part 2

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Last Updated October 25, 2023


In part one of this two-part series, I talked about how you can implement our first two smart pillars: Smart Firm Management and Smart Client Management. Applying these two concepts to your accounting business model can help you build the firm to support the life you want to live. And that starts with operating at peak efficiency (Smart Firm Management) and prioritizing your firm’s most valuable assets (Smart Client Management).

Next, I want to cover the ways you can protect your firm, your data and your clients’ data, as well as how to build a winning firm culture. So, let’s dive into the final two pillars: Smart Security Management and Smart Team Management.

How to protect your firm and your data

Full of highly sensitive business and client data, firms are a prime target for cybercriminals. And that’s why Smart Security Management is important. It supports a holistic approach to protect your firm from the ever-present threat of cyberattacks.

Your firm can achieve Smart Security Management with the following three components…

Move to the cloud

If your firm still uses an in-house server to host all your business applications, it’s time to move to a secure cloud environment. Even if your team uses many web-based applications, not all tax programs are cloud-based. By moving to the cloud, you:

  • Gain access to your desktop apps from anywhere at any time (the pandemic showed us the importance of this).
  • Eliminate the investment in costly hardware that you also have to pay to maintain.
  • Reduce the amount of IT maintenance for the firm.

Secure all devices

Making a move to the cloud doesn’t eliminate the threat of a cyberattack—but it does exponentially increase your protection from them. And it’s crucial that all your devices are safe, including laptops and mobile devices. You can keep your devices secure by:

  • Installing antivirus software
  • Using data encryption
  • Implementing endpoint detection and response (EDR)

Something to keep in mind: If you partner with a cloud provider, they’ll handle the security and monitoring of your devices for you.

Educate employees

Just one click on a malicious link within a single email can take down your entire firm. That’s why security awareness training for your employees is critical to keeping your data—and your clients’ data—safe.

Your staff is your first line of defense in maintaining security. Without proper (and ongoing) training, your firm remains vulnerable. Invest in a security awareness training platform that will help train your staff to remain vigilant.

How to create a winning culture

Attracting and retaining staff has been a challenge for quite some time. And with fewer college students choosing accounting as a career path, the candidate pool is dwindling. By applying the Smart Team Management approach, you’ll begin to create an atmosphere where people love their jobs and want to stick around for the long haul.

Your culture is a direct result of your accounting business model. You can do everything right (i.e., take care of your team, provide pizza parties or weekly beer carts), but if your business model doesn’t support that, a once-healthy culture will deteriorate.

Fortunately, by incorporating the four habits below, you’ll start building the foundation you need to support a winning culture.

  1. Direction. This means having a well-defined business model (i.e., knowing your WHO, WHAT and HOW). This helps set clear expectations and attainable goals, so every member of your firm knows their responsibilities and how their contributions matter. Creating this kind of clarity within your firm is critical.
  2. Assessment. This includes measuring what matters (i.e., having the right KPIs in place) and consistently meeting with your team members individually to track progress on firm goals and objectives. It allows your team to candidly provide input on workload or anything going on within the firm—the good and the not-so-good.
  3. Appreciation. Recognizing your employees and the great work they contribute to your firm starts with fair compensation. It also includes offering benefits, such as 401(k) matching and healthcare, along with perks like flexible schedules and a remote working environment. Appreciation also encompasses providing a clear path for career growth, whether that happens within your firm or elsewhere.
  4. Improvement. Your team needs to see how your firm succeeds. Whether it’s through reporting or success stories from clients, keep your team involved in all your firm’s successes. Be transparent with goal progress and celebrate accomplishments. Your staff needs to know that what they’re doing matters—so include them in those conversations.

If you start building healthy habits now, Smart Team Management can help you maintain a winning culture for your firm.

Build the firm you’ve always wanted

Every firm can reach modern status. It just takes an intentional accounting business model and the implementation of our four smart pillars.

You don’t have to rush to implement it all at once. Start at a pace you can handle and remember, every step forward—no matter how small—gets you closer to building the firm of your dreams.

For more information on applying the smart pillars and building a business you love, talk to us about becoming a Rootworks member today.

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