With the wealth of automation solutions available, it's becoming easier for accounting and bookkeeping practices to offer new services while maintaining an incredible client experience. Expanding your service offerings can lead to fast-paced growth at your firm; however, it's important to have a few foundational elements in place to ensure you're set up for success while you scale.
Firms such as RBK Advisory have become a model for scalable growth in the accounting space. In the three years since their inception, RBK has expanded to seven locations around Australia, and has grown their client base from 300 to over 3,000. Although RBK experienced significant expansion from the get-go, focusing on the basics and solid planning have allowed the firm to successfully manage their growth.
The results have been clear: smooth operations, great client experiences, and being named the 2018 Australian Xero Partner of the Year (to name just a few!). RBK Director and Co-Founder, Jason Robinson, recently joined us for a webinar to share his insight on how starting with – or even getting back to – the basics can fuel growth at your accounting firm.
1. Know what you’d like to achieve
Building an accounting practice from the ground up is a daunting prospect, and it becomes even more challenging when you don’t have a well-constructed vision of what you’re working toward. For Jason, it was important for him, Greg Bramich, Jonathan Kane, and Anthony Turner (the RBK co-founders) to sit down and plan the big picture from the start.
As Jason explained:
“A vision was essential from day one. We knew what we wanted to achieve and what software we wanted to use, and we discussed our plan for success. I’ve always felt the burning desire to achieve success really starts with a great vision.”
Whether you’re in the first stages of founding your practice or are looking to take your firm to the next level with cloud technology, sitting down to sketch out a company vision will provide something to look back on and measure against.
Without clear business goals and timelines, it can be difficult to keep yourself accountable and assess if your firm is on track. While other metrics may quantify your firm’s key performance indicators, a company vision is a qualitative yardstick against which to measure success.
2. Be agile in the market
It can be tempting to accept all types of clients and stretch your service offerings for the sake of attracting or retaining clients (especially when you’re first starting out). While it’s a great idea to explore ways to expand your services, it’s also important to select a niche and recognize when services are potentially out of your scope.
For RBK, being agile in the market meant building a quality team to deliver their core services, but with the knowledge that not everything had to be done by their internal team. The firm saw the opportunity to help their clients by providing SEO (search engine optimization) services. Now, they outsource these services to a team of dedicated SEO professionals. At the end of the day, the job should be done by talented people with whom you can collaborate, and who will deliver the best results to make your clients happy (and your firm successful).
According to Jason, this was an important element to RBK’s success:
“Like anything, stick to what you are good at. If you’re not the best at it, don’t try to do it yourself. Keep key people in key positions. For anything you are not good at, find a team that can do it and make you look good.”
3. Embrace referrals
Referrals are warm connections that translate into happy clients, but businesses often shy away from asking clients for them, worrying that requesting a referral will make a client think that their advisor’s business is not doing well. In reality, clients often appreciate the consideration.
As Jason noted during the webinar:
“Some people think about asking for referrals as a negative, but for us, it’s a communications tool. We’re saying to new clients: ‘We love you and we’d love to help more people like you, can you please refer us?’ – and the results are almost always positive!”
If you’re providing great service and an outstanding experience, your clients want to pass along your name anyway!
As one of Australia’s fastest growing firms, RBK Advisory has been able to make waves in the accounting space. Strategically planning scalable growth has given Jason and every RBK employee the tools required to deliver the best experience for the customer.
Starting with the basics can help you and your partners create a strong and growing business in the ever-changing accounting industry. Even if your firm is well-established, it’s never too late to get back to the basics to plan for future growth.
Learn more of Jason’s insights on how to grow your accounting firm – watch our webinar on-demand!
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