2018 Accounting Firm Growth Trends & Predictions

At Inovautus, we don’t settle – we keep our eyes and ears open all year long so we can offer CPAs the best practical advice to grow their business. Last January, we shared our annual growth trends and predictions for the accounting profession. Let’s take a look back to see how we fared in 2017 and let you know what’s on our radar for 2018.

2017 Prediction Outcomes:

International Business Is Trickling Down to Smaller Firms

We saw a steady flow of leads and opportunities but felt the trend remained status quo. Over the next few years, it will be interesting to watch the outcome of this administration’s tax reform.

Training & Management

We have weekly conversations with firms of all sizes around training and management. Accounting firms are investing more time and money in instruction and soft skills. Some firms are building out internal programs, but most are investing in external programs that take training beyond CPE.

Evolving Business Finance Technology Will Change How CPA Firms Deliver Compliance Services

We haven’t seen any dramatic shifts as a result of technology changes. We have heard more chatter about how to adapt to changes, and have seen firms continue to pivot and plan for these changes by expanding skill sets and services.

Influencer Marketing Will Become More Personalized and Creative

Influencer marketing is shifting and becoming much more macro. While it hasn’t hit the accounting profession the way it’s hit other sectors, it is evolving. We are seeing many more personal approaches to leveraging relationships and creating results.

 

2018 New Predictions & Trends

Live Video Streaming and Podcasts/Vlogs

In 2018, we predict many more accounting firms will jump on board by choosing to add alternative communication formats to their overall marketing strategy. From Facebook Live and LinkedIn Video to vlogging and podcasting (audio only option), we believe these formats will be become a more dominant form of communication over written text, especially as we see more generational shifts emerge in the accounting landscape.

Client Experience

In accounting, the client experience is important, but not always top of mind. There is a growing trend of firms recommitting to client experience to ensure client retention. We believe transition, changes in the marketplace and high expectations are driving this renewed responsibility. More than just a client survey initiative, this focus puts measures in place to ensure a firm is fulfilling its brand promise and truly, proactively caring for their clients. There are several large national firms with dedicated positions to this role. Read more about the importance of client experience in our Spotlight on Client Service.

Recommitment to Organic Growth

With a lot of firms on the other side of transition, we see a renewed energy toward organic growth.  Organic growth rates for public accounting firms have remained steady, but strong. Firms are reinvesting in organic growth through training and development by reallocating resources to free up time to develop more business.

With the recent tax reform, I expect an increase in planning opportunities and some easy short revenue increase. However, I also see this as an opportunity for firms to redefine their ideal client base and do some much-needed pruning. I also believe we will see firms make the decision to move upstream with their tax work.

Diversification

As the demographics shift and the changes in technology advance, we see a commitment, not just discussion, around diversifying business. I believe we will continue to see firms looking for opportunities to diversify beyond compliance services, as well as strategic merger opportunities to expand into consultative services or a commitment to deepen a particular practice area.

As we work with firms to embrace new trends and forge new paths, we don’t discredit the merits of leaning into what currently works. If you need help seeking the right balance for your firm or want to discuss new ways of growing your business in 2018, contact one of our team members today at marketing@inovautus.com.

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