The Modern CPA: Progressive, Strategic and a Valued Asset

March 8, 2017 Jillean Kearney

The role of the CPA is changing along with the advancement and innovation of cloud accounting technology. New tools and apps are creating opportunities for accountants to dramatically increase the value they provide to clients. As a result, the relationships between accountants and their clients are evolving, too.

Accounting firms are operating in new and exciting ways because savvy practitioners are adopting the new tools and tactics now at their disposal. The modern CPA is a new breed, and this is what they look like today.

Technology is embraced as a friend

The modern CPA has embraced the cloud accounting app ecosystem. They have expertly automated billing, document collection, scheduling and payroll. They use mobile and social platforms to serve their clients from anywhere and at anytime. They have restructured their firms to take advantage of new workflows and pricing models. They require fewer admin resources, and have reallocated that investment into developing robust marketing initiatives, streamlined tech operations and seamless on-boarding of new hires.

The tech-savvy bookkeeper is a valued partner

Today’s CPAs are aware that their digitally-savvy bookkeepers are the custodians of a practice's tech stack and workflow. Bookkeepers deliver the great service that clients expect, while also working towards implementing new optimizations and efficiencies. They keep their eye on new tech trends to ensure that their firm stays ahead of the curve.

CPAs recognize the importance of the tech-savvy bookkeeper's role in developing client relationships. Their frequent contact with clients builds trust, and they are often the originators of new cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

An entrepreneurial attitude informs business decisions

More than ever before, CPAs are assessing and measuring the success of their practices with an entrepreneurial eye. They are spending more and more time working on their business. They are planning, measuring and adapting to new efficient processes and workflows. They are operating their practice more like a startup than an old school accounting firm. They seek to move from the traditional hourly billing model to value-based pricing. They spend time developing new skills and expertise, and they use their newly acquired knowledge to create awesome client experiences within their niche.

Social media is a key to success

Modern CPAs know that social media is critical to the growth of their practice. In order to successfully build a cloud accounting brand, they must showcase and communicate their expertise online. They use social platforms to demonstrate their understanding of client pain points, and that they know how to solve them. They amplify valuable advice that fosters trust with existing and potential clients.

The modern CPA is a strategic advisor to their clients

The CPA has outgrown the vendor role in their relationships with clients. Now, they act as partners in their clients’ businesses. Traditional CPAs spent more time and energy focusing on preparing financial statements, payroll, taxes and audits. The modern CPA seeks to move up the value chain, and instead works towards making a difference in their clients' success by solving problems and eliminating pain points. They offer advisory services like strategic planning, corporate structure, and succession plans.

Wrap up

The modern CPA understands that their growth is wholly dependent on their clients' success. The 2017 mindset is defined by its focus on finding permanent solutions to client problems and pain points. A progressive accountant acts as a partner in their clients’ businesses, rather than an outside vendor. In today’s cloud accounting world, a CPA and their client grow together.

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