The Winning is Everything (WiE) conference is an excellent opportunity for firm leaders and business partners to broaden their network and share business development concepts. Celebrating their 20th anniversary, the folks at WiE promised to provide “comprehensive content designed to evolve firms from the top down.” Without exception, the presenters delivered, inspiring the change and innovation needed to drive continued growth. Here are my top takeaways from Winning is Everything and what they mean for your accounting firm.
Mind Over Matter
Those who know Brian Banks’ story might have done a doubletake when they saw him listed as WiE’s keynote speaker. (If you don’t know his story, I highly encourage you to check it out through his WiE bio.) In the past, it seems the obvious choice for a keynote speaker was a salesperson or public relations expert or marketing guru. This year, the organizers selected a magnanimous speaker to infuse the room with wisdom about staying focused and following your goals, especially in the face of adversity.
What this means for you: It is notable that the powers that be chose Brian. His message of perseverance and grit set the tone for the conference, opening the hearts and minds of leaders looking to face and overcome disruption. This is validation for a profession in the midst of great change. It is also a challenge to leaders who limit themselves and their firms by thinking change is too difficult.
As accounting firms shift from compliance resources to strategic partners, their staff will need well-rounded development. To retain talent and grow, firms must invest in their people. This investment looks a little different today than it has in the past. Mentorship, continuous learning opportunities, and a culture that values soft skills will be necessary priorities for firms looking to evolve with their target market and ideal employee.
What this means for you: As I listened to comments and questions from the audience, I was struck by the number of firms that are seeking innovative ways to provide incentives for their people to stay. In our work with clients, we illustrate how a retention strategy focused on talent management can directly impact firm growth. Stay interviews are a great way to uncover what makes people happy in their jobs. Your staff and shareholders are happy to share what’s important to them – whether it is professional development opportunities, community involvement, or being a part of a company that demonstrates a purpose.
Technologies like robotic process automation, machine learning, blockchain, and artificial intelligence are disrupting every industry, which means they are also impacting your firm and your clients. Firms cannot hope to become or remain valued business partners if they resist technology.
What this means for you: Companies have a growing demand for predictive analysis and deep strategic insight from their business partners. If you want your firm to have a competitive advantage, you will need the tools and training to leverage trends and financial data to make proactive suggestions to your clients.
- Be open to demonstrations from tech companies. Don’t just read about or rely on your interpretations of sales materials. And don’t be intimidated by the technical jargon. Lean in and learn how to speak the language so you can become more comfortable with your options.
- Think about how technology can allow your firm to operate more efficiently. Technology may replace some functions of your business, but it will also open doors to opportunity.
- Aligning your tech stack with your service model does not necessarily mean you need to break the bank. While many fantastic platforms exist, an excel spreadsheet and a business intelligence system (BI) can give you the insights you need to create a strategy for business growth.
The accounting profession has an opportunity to adopt best practices in talent management and technology to not only better serve clients, but to ensure continued growth. We are excited by this trend, embracing the combination of innovation and growth (as our name, Inovautus, expresses). If you need help putting some of these ideas into practice, give us a call.