As the founder of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing, I get a unique view of what goes on in the accounting profession, and wider. I speak to practice leaders and their teams about how they run their operation, and understand that they want to provide efficient and valuable services to a client base that trusts them… but also wants more from them.

I am kept very busy – as they are. In a positive way, of course. But that can mean that I don’t spend enough time holding discussions about my views and experiences more broadly, to a wider community.

It then made me think that outsourcing can be seen as impersonal: that tasks and processes are ‘handed over’ to simply drive efficiencies, saving money. However, it’s the exact opposite, at least that’s how I see it for myself and the AdvanceTrack team.

First and foremost our tech and processes have to be optimal, in terms of how they work but also from a security perspective. But, AdvanceTrack’s people have to be great at communicating with the practitioner clients they work alongside. And, crucially, the efficiencies gained through outsourcing tax and accounting tasks isn’t merely about lowering costs. It frees up valuable resource within a practice, enabling leaders to change and adapt their offering to suit complex and deeper end-client relationships.

What is an accounting practice but a series of relationships between accountant and client? And the relationship is integral to AdvanceTrack’s arrangement with accountants.

This ties into my original point, which is you’ll be hearing more from me, AdvanceTrack and our clients in the months to come. Relationships and communication are, after all, central to what we do.

Vipul Sheth is MD and founder or AdvanceTrack. He can be contacted by clicking here

In the first of a series of articles, we look at why it is important to understand what the client wants. Only when we do that, can we truly help clients fulfil their personal and business ambitions.

What the Client wants

Our profession has been going through change, but never more so than the last decade. It’s fair to say that the Pandemic has probably accelerated that change, with the move to the cloud being made even more relevant.

The story that underlies everything we do is that “Accountants Change Lives, but not by producing a set of accounts”.

As the son of entrepreneurs who benefited from an accountant who understood this over 40 years ago, I know that he made a difference to my future. Having worked on markets when I was 7/8 years old to help my parents, I went on to University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser, going on to work for 2 of the largest accountancy firms on the planet.

Why do I talk about this?

My parents’ ambitions were not necessarily for themselves, but the futures they could afford their children. I talk about this because we need to understand what is important to the client.

Below is the result of some research which shows that client meetings and strategic implementation and advisory is more valued than the compliance, yet professional firms spend a disproportionate amount of time delivering compliance.

what does client want

Credit: Aaron Dunn

The key therefore is to reduce the cost of the compliance element, whilst allowing the accountant/bookkeeper to focus on the client relationship. We’ll talk more in the next feature about how you do this.

In this issue, let’s focus on the client needs. In order to serve the client, they need to deliver value and then demonstrate this.

Let’s discuss this a little further.

what the customer wants

© AdvanceTrack Outsourcing

The most important part of the equation is to identify the client agenda. Understand what the client’s aims are. For some, that may be material things, such as a large house, car, boat etc. The reality for most business owners is something more emotional than the material things.

Financial independence may be just one goal for the business owner. For my parents, it was ensuring that the children got into higher education.

This was their agenda for the accountant to help guide them through. If we take the past 18 months, some of your clients just wanted to get through and retain their staff, home, business etc.

It’s therefore important that the firm identifies the client agenda, jointly with the client and then agree their role in helping the business owner deliver that. The accountant won’t stand behind the counter of the store or weld the metal in the workshop. Their role helps the business grow, prosper and deliver the goals necessary for the business owner to fulfil their goals.

The accountant needs to measure what that looks like. More importantly, has the accountant and their team shown they understand the business? The most valuable lesson any accountant learns is asking the business owner to show them around their business. It is usually their biggest passion (other than family).
If the accountant doesn’t know what drives the entrepreneur, they can’t help the entrepreneur. At some point, the relationship could break down if it is not nurtured.

what the customer wants

© AdvanceTrack Outsourcing

So you’ve helped the entrepreneur share their goals.

How are you going to help them?

Have you identified the issues that will hinder their success. What impact will it have on the resources required of the entrepreneur and/or your firm? Every firm may think they can do the job, but at some point, the entrepreneur may outgrow the firm. That doesn’t always mean that you can’t serve them.
Sometimes it is about collaborating with others to help the client, for example, the world over, there are incentives to invest in Research and Development. The firm may not be able to do that, but there are specialists who work in this area. The firm retains the primary relationship and has presented a solution that serves the client and shown that you can help them deliver value by keeping their costs down or bring cash into the business.

I’ve seen in my own training days, a very successful entrepreneur floated their business on the stock market. The firm lost the audit to one of the large international firms then. The firm acted to support the entrepreneur and their family to manage the wealth they built up over the 30 or more years since, serving him throughout his business career. They maintained the trust and respect and just understood that the business was best served by a larger firm for part of their requirements. Retaining the trust of a prominent entrepreneur helped the firm to continue to demonstrate its value to the family and the wider business community.

We’ve included ethical values. This is important in considering whether you should retain the client. When faced with such dilemmas, the firm always needs to consider whether they want to retain the client or not. If the firm or its principals are not comfortable with what a client is asking them to do, what is the appropriate action for them to take?

When I used to run a small practice, I’ve been faced with situations where clients I considered to be friends asked me to do something I just felt uncomfortable with, or they acted against my values. At that point, you go back to the values you live and breathe as they’re instilled in you as you grow up. I think of the way I dealt with bullies in the playground or the workplace. Do you do the “Hard Right” or the “Easy Wrong”? I’ve always done the Hard Right and it’s what allows me to sleep at night.

If enough firms and principals rewarded partners for doing this, rather than penalising them because they “lost” fees, our profession would be stronger for it.

Can we execute the work?

How many times have you been on the wrong end of poor service? It’s often because the provider has decided that you’ll be their test customer/client. You’re paying for them to learn the service, which they’ll then be able to charge other clients for in the future. I’m pleased to see I’ve always been in firms that either had the expertise or stepped away from delivering it themselves.

Today, our industry is incredibly collaborative. Think of the WhatsApp or other groups you’re a part of. One message and you’ll find someone who can help your client. It doesn’t have to be you. You can manage it. Just make sure it’s right for the client.

If you know what your client’s goals are, you should be able to measure the success of the project. This is incredibly important in showing the value that your firm delivers in yours and your client’s journey. Without this, you’re not helping to keep the client or the firm focused on results.

It’s then time to re-evaluate what goals are important and the cycle goes through the same process again. I know I set both personal and business goals annually. It’s important that as an adviser you understand what your client’s goals are and if they’ve changed in any way. It will help you focus on making those happen. Remember, you’re trusted with their innermost fears and ambitions. Guard them safely and bring your team on that journey, so they understand what they do is so much more than reporting history.
We help firms deliver their goals. We’d love to talk to you about yours.

In the next instalment, we’ll continue the story of how to improve the customer experience.

Building a new normal way

We last spoke to Bruce in August 2020.

Q: How have things been since we last caught up?

A: We’ve had someone leave our firm, and I’ve reorganised the work around our existing team – that was a tough decision but it has worked well. It’s an upshot of the circumstances of recent months where I realised we needed to make changes. We’re now at two offices, Surbiton and Cheam (we had Kingston), having at one point been at four during the initial lockdown. The Cheam office is new, larger and gives us room to grow.

Q: How do you see the next few months, particularly lockdown/SA filing season and more government initiatives?

A: With fewer local offices it’s important that we up our online presence, so that’s a task to be dealt with quickly. There’s been much furloughing and insolvencies are increasing, so I think it’s going to be a tough winter. For my own practice, I’m trying to get a better handle on how we work and the metrics that flow from our operations.

As a management accountant in a growing business I’m always looking to improve the how to tweak and change things based on reliable information – but I am also a business owner and that can make it difficult to see the wood for the trees I recognise our monthly numbers, and the work people are doing, but from a system/process point of view we need better connection.

I’m managing cash and revenue separately. It’s against my rules of being a management accountant – instead I’m being an entrepreneur… I have a CIMA colleague coming into the firm to help connect the two.

Q: Longer term, how easy is it for you to plan? Where do you see the firm in the planning cycle, both long term and next 12 months? What is in your thoughts?

A: Fine-tuning the organisation is a big priority because it will help redefine the work people are doing and then manage from there. It will help me understand what work is going to be undertaken day-to-day and by whom. I’ve applied for a government grant to help me on that journey.

For the client, we’re looking to outline the path that a client will take and document it. From there it will mean that whoever is working with that client will know what they require in their lifecycle.

Get in touch with AdvanceTrack here

Building a new normal

We last spoke to Ria-Jaine in July 2020

Q: How have things been since we last caught up?

A: I’m now in my second year running my practice and have doubled my client base; we’ve 8-25 leads a month. I had a manic period of spending a lot of time on discovery calls and onboarding – I’ve now structured myself better to keep that work to defined blocks. When I speak to them I think about the ideal client: someone ready to embrace technology and willing to learn. If they make the commitment then I will too.

Ultimately, if we flow information between ourselves more accurately and quickly, then I can act in a more valuable way for them. This has included planning for lockdown, but also general tax purposes. I package things up from basic upwards – those at the bottom level won’t get the full benefit of what I can offer though.

Even then, I’ll run online demos, online videos or just have more regular check-ins, which I think demonstrates the benefit of a deeper relationship. Automation within our software, along with scheduling and reminders, helps with workflow and process.

Q: How do see you the next few months, particularly lockdown/SA filing season and more government initiatives?

A: I’m now looking for processes and systems and even easier-to-access client data – so client portals to benefit both myself and the client. I’m pushing with the digital processes that I have now, I probably have my app stack set so it’s about utlilising all the elements the best that I can – to really push to get my money’s worth – and the same goes for clients as well.

Q: Longer term, how easy is it for you to plan? Where do you see the firm in the planning cycle, both long term and next 12 months? What is in your thoughts?

A: We’re looking to employ someone. Having someone new and training them is really, really hard, but it would be great to get one more qualified accountant as a team member. I have a new staff member due to start early 2021 so will be focusing on client allocations and training to get us off to a good start. I have an office space but haven’t been there much. I’ve always wanted to offer a deep advisory service with quick support, but with a doubling of clients I need to streamline to be able to do that and manage if the client number grows

Wood & Disney

We last spoke to Brendon in August 2020.

Q: How have things been since we last caught up?

A: It’s been pretty much ‘business as usual’ the last few months – we’ve been fully open without any furloughing of our staff. Trading has been good, clawing back some of the fees that dropped off in April and May. Some project work has been coming in, and this has come from us being proactive with our client base. Lots of ‘looking after’ has led to advisory work. For example, some restructuring of property portfolios for tax planning purposes. Bringing clients’ bookkeeping up to date brings about other opportunities.

Q: How do you see the next few months, particularly lockdown/SA filing season and more government initiatives?

A: With the experience of what happened earlier in the year, we took the initiative of talking to our clients as regularly as possible. Key will be maintaining that communication – it has involved an awful lot of work but has stood us in good stead. There’s still uncertainty ahead for many sectors so we’ll still be deciphering what comes out of the government. We’ve got systems in place, including our outsourcing with AdvanceTrack, and so we know at a base level work is being done.

Sitting above that we use Senta’s tasks and deadlines capability to monitor the work. Part of what we capture in our customer relationship management (CRM) system is to check against what clients’ goals are – we can drill down into the information to check whether clients are on target. For example, letting them know that margins have decreased.

Q: Longer term, how easy is it for you to plan? Where do you see the firm in the planning cycle, both long term and next 12 months? What is in your thoughts?

A: I think that online will be more professional, perhaps using microphones and lighting. There is also phasing a return to the office – we all work across clients so communication is key. Longer term, we will keep an office.

Accountex Summit UK 2020

The recent online Accountex UK Summit saw AdvanceTrack MD Vipul Sheth lead a 45-minute session giving a really concise and useful roundup of what goes on in the outsourcing industry, and how firms can make outsourcing work for them.

In ‘The good, bad and ugly of offshoring and outsourcing’, Vipul started with ‘the ugly’. There are lots of horror stories told by accountants who have had bad experiences with outsourcing.

“One of the things we often hear is: it doesn’t work. In many cases that can be true,” said Sheth. “One reason is a lack of tech. A lot of people in the industry don’t have the tech to manage outsourcing effectively – whether that’s the firm, or sometimes the outsourcer or offshorer. Without tech it can’t be managed successfully, or at scale.”

The ‘real horror’ is the lack of security protocols in place. “We do hear of outsourcers with little regard to these,” he added. When it comes to ‘the bad’, poor communication between the outsourcer and accountant is at the fore. “We’ve improved over the years,” said Sheth.

Secondly, outsourcing can be seen as a short-term solution to a workflow ‘problem’. “However, this means it’s not usually managed and put together effectively. Outsourcing is not a magic wand to ‘wave’; there needs to be thought.”

For ‘the good’, Sheth said that “we want accountants to go and help their clients more”. “What can you use your extra time created by outsourcing to do? Clients really want your help – and if you can demonstrate value then they will rarely question their fee.

The firms we serve have increased revenues through the pandemic. “They have capacity to drive growth, and offer new services. We’re seeing them offer bookkeeping in the cloud; lots of virtual FD/FC services – getting under the bonnet of client data and feeding back analysis to clients. It gives them a place in clients’ ‘boardroom’,” he concluded.

• Visit https://summit-uk.accountex.co.uk to access this archived recording, along with all the other sessions

AdvanceTrack has teamed up with business advisory platform Clarity to offer clients a way to understand and improve their business

We have exciting news of a new partnership, bringing together AdvanceTrack’s outsourcing capability with support to build and deliver a top-level advisory service. Clarity has partnered with us to provide an exclusive offer for AdvanceTrack’s clients.

Clarity is a business advisory platform harnessing AI, machine learning and blockchain, which uses the right combination of people, process and tech to transform the business advisory services of accounting firms worldwide.

Clarity’s offering helps practices support clients in understanding their numbers – and how to improve them. Accountants can help them create a step-by-step plan to build a better business and, through a structured online data room, help access the cash and investment to grow or exit. The Clarity platform empowers 100% of accounting teams to help 100% of their small business clients with business advisory.

Its founder and CEO is Aynsley Damery – a qualified accountant and former CEO of a multi-award winning niche advisory accounting firm for entrepreneurs in the UK.

 

“Our world is now so connected – both people and devices, and the ability to reach customers is no longer restricted by borders,” said Aynsley. “The move to the cloud and the ability to analyse big data opens up incredible opportunities for many accounting firms. Harnessing the power of technology effectively has become critical to gain competitive advantage.”

 

 

 

 

AdvanceTrack founder and MD Vipul Sheth said that, by outsourcing, accountants should be freed to drive client value. “We want practices to break free from spending all their time on compliance work that can be managed and processed in a better way,” he said.

“And by freeing them from these bonds, they can make much better use of their time understanding and advising their clients on growth, or their longer-term aims.”

Get in touch with #TeamClarity on info@clarity-hq.com to find out how you can benefit from our partner programme, plus an advanced implementation plan to get your firm on track.

Growing practices need support to drive efficiencies, improve processes and create value. AdvanceTrack has been integral in helping firms achieve their goals for nearly 20 years. Here’s our story, and where we (and you) are heading.

 

While technology is integral to what we do, outsourcing on behalf of accounting practices requires so much more than that. It requires a commitment to collaborative working, absolute prudence and rigour in terms of IT security, and a focus on client service. These criteria are borne of a mindset that comes from our own experiences working as part of – and with – the accounting profession.

 

MD Vipul Sheth: About myself, AdvanceTrack and Inside Outsourcing

AdvanceTrack provides critical outsourced accounting and bookkeeping services to many UK accounting practices. Working with the accounting technology you know so well, we offer the best combination of IT and qualified people to free practices up to provide a better and more valuable service to clients.

As for me? Well, I trained with a great firm as an auditor and business adviser, and understand the challenges and rewards of being an accountant.

I eventually ended up in what is now EY. I remember thinking that, with my smaller firm training, it would be difficult to cope in a ‘big firm’ environment. However, I quickly discovered that my work to date prepared me better than I could imagine. I already knew how to deal with everything from a technical perspective, but now I focused on the value-added service of tax.

 

Understanding the ‘process deficiency’ in accounting practices

Going back to practices and workflow. My biggest lesson was realising that EY didn’t have 400 ways to produce a file (I’m guessing the numbers of partners in the firm then), but just one way.

This was the lightbulb moment in understanding what differentiated the firm I trained with and the Big Four firm where I now sat. And when I left, I then realised that a client is transitioned very quickly from yourself to another very capable colleague with almost no difference in client service.

A few years later I put this learning into what we all now know as AdvanceTrack.

Finally, Inside Outsourcing is AdvanceTrack’s monthly publication where we share insights on practice management, usually with a tech focus, and highlight the work we’re undertaking. A print version is available or you can view it online at www.AdvanceTrack.com.

 

AdvanceTrack and founder Vipul Sheth – the journey so far

2002 I left practice with the ambition to start up an outsourcing business. I spent several weeks in India meeting people and concluded that it could be done, and successfully. Having met people in the accounting industry, I knew the technical capability was there – but I wondered if the technology was as well.

 

2003 Formally set the company up and sought to build an online platform immediately. Being someone who used IT rather than creating it taught me many lessons. Most importantly, it taught me that staff need careful management, and I needed to build the technology to run the business.

 

2005/2006 I found some developers who demonstrated incredible focus and enthusiasm for the project. I told them what I wanted was to build something accessible on the internet (they hadn’t called it ‘cloud’ at that point).

 

2013 Security and quality accreditations were achieved. This was without making any material change to any of our processes. The security accreditation just demonstrated how the whole process was designed to deliver higher quality in a secure way.

 

2016/2017 Despite many improvements over the years, we ripped up the platform we had spent over a decade building and refining. It’s hard to do, to take something that has helped deliver great service and growth for the business and consign it to history. We bit the bullet and put a team together to deliver a brand new platform for the business.

 

2018 There were good reasons to rebuild the platform, particularly the need to comply with new and exacting data protection legislation (GDPR) that was brought in across Europe. Our early planning helped ensure that with plenty of time to spare, the platform was ready for GDPR and the challenges that would be undoubtedly coming, particularly as technology in the industry was changing so quickly. We can be sure that we’ll need to continue making changes.

 

2020 While other outsourcers are beginning their cloud journey, we’re proud that we started our journey more than 15 years ago. We’ve reimagined it time and again but sticking to our core values. With the pace of change increasing in the sector, we know we have to constantly re-invent ourselves to keep relevant to the customers we work with.

 

Beyond 2020 We won’t be making big announcements until they have happened. We don’t make our commercial strategy a public manifesto. It’s fair to say though that we’ll drive technological advancements faster and more thoughtfully than ever. Our clients expect us to help them lead the change.

 

take time make time

Being able to fight clients’ fires, or support their growth plans, are key steps in increasing your practice’s value to them. We cover how you can build this capacity within your accounting firm

The most successful accounting practices are those that have the capacity to either react, or be proactive, with clients. Ultimately this enables a firm to deliver a higher level of client service. If AdvanceTrack looked at our top clients, they have some 15% of spare capacity to deal with issues or broach things with their client.

But how do you achieve this? Well, first you have to take a step back and consider how your firm currently works and your attitude to technology.

 

Practice drivers and technological advancement

There are a range of drivers of change in an accounting practice, and these will vary in value dependent on the varying challenges it faces. However, there are key areas of which one or more will be on your radar most times. These are:

  • Number of staff/utilisation
  • Timing of service delivery
  • Use of offshoring/outsourcing in the practice
  • The pricing model used (fixed or variable)
  • How work is delivered to your clients
  • Frequency of invoicing

All these drivers can be impacted by the adoption of technology. But firms adopt technology at different rates, even in different parts of a single practice. Martec’s Law sets out pace of technological development versus change in an organisation. Most organisations are held back by the speed at which the technology is introduced into the business, and later have to ‘reset’ – in other words, effectively to start again. This ‘reset’ might mean reorganising a department or function – for some practices it might mean their natural end.

Consider within your own practice how quickly some teams or individuals have adopted change or new processes and technology. A prime example is a client using cloud accounting such as Xero, but the year-end process is an annual one that is completed months after the financial year end. If that feels like how your firm engages with clients, then neither party is benefitting from the technology improvements that software companies are introducing.

So, what are firms – namely you – going to do to respond? There are varying approaches, but it’s probably best to adopt and utilise the technology that will have the biggest, most positive, impact on the practice.

 

Help your teams, or the practice as a whole, build capacity

Press the reset button intermittently across the organisation. Consider where there is a wholesale change in the systems and/or process as a way of speeding up change.

The image (on page 3) shows the typical difference in perception of cost/value between an accounting practice and the client. Accounts processing and ‘being compliant’ for audit are allocated a lot of value by the firm, but the client attaches little or no value to them. The most valuable part of the service from the clients’ perspective is your meetings with them, and implementation of advisory services – plus the follow-up meeting.

So, if the compliance part of the business is perceived to have the least value, shouldn’t this be delivered at the lowest cost and in the fastest possible time?

As the MD of an offshoring/outsourcing business, I’d put the case that all firms need to look at the capacity required to not only deliver the service, but leverage any change to grow the firm. Our most successful accounting clients have ‘spare capacity’, which they achieve through a mixture of technology and strategic use of our outsourcing/offshoring solutions.

The question you should ask yourself, then, is: “How much capacity can I free up?”

 

Calculate your capacity plan

Using a ‘top-down’ approach, consider:

  • Predicted client billings
  • Write off allowances (plan should be zero)
  • Special work

Using a ‘bottom-up’ approach, consider:

  • Available hours of staff
  • Expected productivity of staff
  • Budgeted rates of staff

Any difference will be a surplus, or shortfall, of capacity.

 

Improving processes will increase the capacity of your firm

There are a number of tasks that need to take place to improve your processes, which will in turn help you build capacity.

First, you must identify your internal ‘champion’ to lead the process change, who must build a framework for change. Identify key leaders and their role in the review of this process, ensuring that non-compliance with the process won’t be tolerated.

Then you can build detail around the new process, once compliance has been signed off and key leaders have agreed on the changes. You’ll never make everyone happy, so consider the majority view. Also consider key risks and impact on clients.

 

Building an efficient team

Next you must make sure your team is fit for purpose. Training is the key to this, and this is done by building a training culture. The main areas to consider are:

  • Process training
  • IT training
  • Personal skills training (e.g. negotiation or presentation)
  • Product training (e.g. Xero, etc)
  • Share your training plan with a wider group (internal/external stakeholders)

 

Delegation skills

Build a delegation plan. Consider the skills needs in your business and ensure the team have the training to do the job. They must focus on solutions and ensure you hire and keep the best talent.

By having the right team balance with appropriate skills and experience you minimise rework, minimise errors and write-offs, particularly if work is otherwise delivered by senior managers and partners. Finally, if senior staff are freed up, they can be more client-facing, delivering more to the clients and bringing in new business.

Based on your client behaviour, it’s then key to try and smooth your workflow over the year. How do you do this? Well, build faster turnaround times within your production teams. AdvanceTrack has been building this for firms using their offshore outsourcing capabilities. And then ensure that there’s free capacity across the year, not just certain months, allowing the firm to grow and deliver based on client demands.

 

What are you measuring within the firm?

I know from personal experience when working in larger firms that KPIs are given to staff they have little or no control of. As a result, if you measure them against these, it is demoralising as seen as unfair. So, ensure you measure people on things they have the power to manage. You must also give honest and regular feedback.

Team members should be encouraged to advise management if job budgets can’t be met. An earlier conversation may reduce the write-off through open conversation with the client and team. Finally, ensure each team member has a job budget and delivery deadline.

Bear in mind that feedback from staff and clients will be critical. Review successes and make improvements where necessary. Can you recommend any advice to the clients based on the information your team has reviewed? Consider if that advice is billable, and whether a fee discussion is required.

If a client has poor bookkeeping or other issues, these must be communicated. If these are not communicated, they believe they provide good books. Firms across the industry are guilty of correcting the errors without communicating this to the client.

Make the client accountable for their actions around timeliness, accuracy of information provided, query resolution and payment terms. Consider the purpose of an engagement letter and ensure it focuses on the client relationship and not legals, which can be dealt with separately.

 

Clients

You’ve built your capacity plan. You’ve trained your teams and most importantly, you’ve adopted technology and have a plan to take the most benefit from this, so you are closer to the technology line in your improvement process.

You then consider how outsourcing/offshoring can help deliver more. Like all things, you need to consider the people in your business and ensure that they buy into the vision you paint of the firm and this will be driven by the type of person and possibly age profile of the team members.

 

Ready to start growing your firm? CLICK HERE

scaling for growth

It was ‘accountants galore’ on AdvanceTrack’s latest webinar, ‘Scaling for Growth? Building an Advisory Mindset and Firm’, which discussed the cultural and strategic approach towards making a practice invaluable to its clients.

AdvanceTrack MD Vipul Sheth started the conversation by highlighting the key challenges of changing how a practice – or any organisation – operates. These include altering mindsets, successfully adopting new technology and embedding change into the new normal.

“People are fearful of change, and will look to maintain the status quo,” said Sheth. “So leadership is required to change doubters to believers, and champions are needed to keep it all on track.”

Joe David from accountancy firm Nephos said that his background as an accountant in industry gave him a mindset that creating and analysing good data was key in supporting the making of decisions. This led him down the path of creating an advisory- and technology-led practice.

Clarity’s Aynsley Damery said that established firms have to go that bit further when it comes to driving change, particularly if ingrained in providing services based purely on clients’ historical information. “It’s about looking forward as a firm, and looking forward on behalf of your clients,” said Damery. He said that ‘champions’ within the firm, who will help instil that mindset while managing change projects, were vital. “They’re so important in terms of connectivity between management and the team – interpreting the vision and how it will work.”

Practice Ignition’s Trent McLaren said: “You must set out from the top, across the entire firm, the direction and why you’re changing. You also have to let them know about progression, or you’ll inevitably end up with silos of knowledge.”

Click here to access the webinar.