What's the next normal for your Accounting firm?

What’s the next normal for your Accounting firm?

What’s next? Normal or new normal? Or a rejection of any kind of normal entirely?

Which one suits you, suits your team, suits your firm and suits your clients?

These questions have serious implications for your firm.

Your firm has either started the journey to using the office again or is working out how to do this best.

I know from the many conversations with the many owners of accounting firms this is happening.

Quite rightly, there’s also some challenging questions being asked by the leaders of accounting firms:

  • How do we balance working arrangements to suit our many team members who have different attitudes to the pandemic, different levels of fear and concern and different working from home conditions?
  • How do we learn lessons from the lock-down and create a different, better, more efficient, more enjoyable and more rewarding way of working?
  • What competitive advantage can be gained from the lessons learned during the last few months?

There’s quite a lot of fondness towards the ‘old ways’ of working but nobody we work with has asked this question:

  • How do we work out how to return to the old ways of working again?

And when you consider this consistent suite of survey statistics you can see that the answers to the first 3 questions are the source of a stable team and better working relationships with your clients:

“A survey by strategy consultancy ‘BritainThinks’ a fortnight ago, showed that only 12% of people want life to be “exactly as it was before”. A 1500 person poll at the end of June, commissioned by the nursery provider Bright Horizons, suggests that just 13% of people want to return to working as they did before the lockdown. A YouGov study in the same week revealed that only 6% of us want the same type of economy as we had before the pandemic. Another survey by the same pollsters in April showed only 9% of 4343 respondents wanted a return to “normal”. It’s rare to see such strong and consistent results on any major issue. A YouGov survey suggests that 8 out of 10 people (of 2061 surveyed) want the government to prioritise health and well-being above economic growth during the pandemic, and 6 out of 10 would like it to stay that way when (if) the virus abates.”

Adapted from an article by George Monbiot – see full piece here 

I acknowledge the political bias that comes with George Monbiot’s commentary but the statistics have a clear message irrespective of George’s views.

And like George says at the end of his blog...

“We live in abnormal times”

“They demand an abnormal response”

Now is the time and the opportunity to reinvent the working protocols, norms and moves in your firm.

What happens if you simply work out how to go back to the way it was?

Good question. Two answers:

Answer 1: If, or rather when, your competition works out how to create a new way of working together and it appeals to the best of your team then you risk losing your best team members. Turn this on its head and create a better way of working that appeals to the best people in your firm and it will probably appeal to the best people in other firms!

Answer 2: Your clients have experienced more contact from you and your team in the last 4 months. Return to ‘normal’ working and this level of client contact will fall off a cliff. This runs the risk of losing good clients, fees and profits as a consequence. If your competition continues to build on high levels of client contact whilst you return to normal, you’re taking a big commercial risk.

Let me know what you’re planning by email or direct message me here: https://www.linkedin.com/mwlite/in/paulshrimpling

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