In his opening speech to over 100 delegates at the Scots institute practice management conference in Loch Lomond, Sam Allred urged firms to adopt a written business plan and not to ‘shoot from the hip’.
‘There are four key steps; assess where you are, look at the skills available, write your plan, monitor and revise it,’ according to Allred.
Allred, partner responsible for computer consulting at Anderson Zurnuehlen and Co in Montana, warned firms against leaving success to chance. He identified the following seven strategies – business plan, marketing, recruitment, training, compensation, quality control and research and development – as crucial to ensuring firms grow successfully in the 21st century.
‘Recruitment was noted as one of the top three biggest problems in a US partners conference I lectured at. None of the 100 partners present had a recruitment plan ‘ he said.
He also recommended accountants team up with other groups and practices in other regions when offering a new service.
‘Share the risks, resources and business plans,’ said Allred.
Identifying the type of client that practices want to serve was also pinpointed as vital to success.
He suggested compiling a ‘client characteristics list’ and committing to it advice that many delegates said had taken on board.
‘It is no good giving an A-level service to C-level clients. If a client is not going to pay or appreciate your work you may as well be golfing,’ he said.
Grenville Jonston, Scots ICA president and senior partner at WG Jonston and Carmichael , an 18 partner firm in Elgin, agreed with Allred’s advice on joining forces. ‘We have just done that this year we teamed up with an IT company to offer IT services .’
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