There’s a quiet transformation taking place in our profession.
Owners of leading tax & accounting firms are embracing new service models and automation technologies to create the practice of their dreams. Those firms are powering prosperity for clients in ways that weren’t possible just a few years ago. For these leading firms, the future is very bright with opportunity.
Leading firms are energized and passionate about developing their team as trusted advisors to make a difference with clients. Firms are defining valuable new services to help clients achieve their goals, and at the same time, they are automating low value tasks in the firm and eliminating non-value work to create new capacity. Client services are forward looking and proactive, and compliance services are typically a byproduct, instead of the primary service. These firms have updated their business model to align with clients operating in the digital economy and regularly embrace new technologies to automate tasks. They are prepared for a future of accelerating change and disruption by building expertise, learning and applying new skills.
Perhaps most amazing, these leading firms have mastered the art of rebuilding the engine of their train while continuing to power it down the tracks. Like all professionals, they don’t have the luxury of putting client deadlines on hold for a few months to overhaul their practice. These leaders have created a compelling vision, harnessed the strengths and passions of every team member, and transformed their practice to deliver new, higher value services, much more efficiently than traditional firms.
We call this transformation from a traditional tax & accounting practice to a leading firm, creating a ‘Tax Practice of the Future’. A Tax Practice of the Future is not a description of attributes, or a destination. It is a journey, a process, and a learning mindset. It’s a paradigm that defines value from the client’s point of view by embracing disruption and seeking opportunities to help clients grow and benefit from it, but it’s a different paradigm from traditional firms.
While every leading firm has uniquely differentiated their services from the masses, there are some common themes that identify a Tax Practice of the Future. The goal of this “Tax [Firm] Practice of the Future” series is to unpack what separates leading firms from traditional firms. We’ll examine the common elements of leading firms and contrast the way traditional firms operate. We’ll attempt to learn from the path leading firms have journeyed, to create a roadmap for traditional firms who are ready to start their own journey.
One common message we hear from every leading firm who has transformed their practice is, “we would never go back to the old way of doing things.”
In the next installment, we’ll identify the key pillars of creating a Tax Practice of the Future.
Author Bio: Jim Buffington is a CPA and leads the ProConnect Customer Council, supports Intuit’s E-file Security initiatives, and acts as the Customer Liaison for Intuit ProConnect, where he learns best practices from leading firms to share with the profession. Before joining Intuit, he was in public practice for a dozen years as a partner in an East Texas firm preparing oil & gas tax returns. Jim used Lacerte & QuickBooks software in practice, and loves improving processes and technology to drive productivity and better client experiences. Jim’s passion is helping Tax & Accounting Professionals lead with planning and advisory services to help power prosperity for businesses & families. You can find him teaching Tax Pro courses or in TaxProTalk, a video series for ProConnect customers. Jim is an Aggie, he has been with Intuit ProConnect for 17 years. Connect with him on Twitter @jimatintuit