As a leader in your firm, you're responsible for transforming your organization for the future. However, understanding what business transformation truly is can be challenging.
Unfortunately, some firm leaders think business transformation simply means offering additional services or moving service delivery to the cloud. While these can be part of the transformation, they're not the whole story.
So let's look at what true business transformation means in a CPA firm.
Business transformation is people
People are arguably the most crucial aspect of business transformation because they drive the changes needed to transform the firm's business model.
Your team members need to be knowledgeable about both their responsibilities and their client's businesses to proactively identify opportunities for growth and greater efficiency. They also need to move beyond traditional technical skills, such as tax and assurance, to improve the firm's processes, become trusted advisors to their clients, and experiment with new ideas and technologies to create a culture of innovation.
Without people who are passionate about driving change through creativity, problem-solving and questioning the status quo, your firm's business transformation efforts will fall flat.
Ultimately, people drive true innovation within organizations, making them an integral part of your overall business transformation strategy.
Business transformation is process
Business transformation is also about process. Process refers to the various operational steps and procedures involved in delivering services to clients and performing your firm's "back office" tasks. As such, effective and efficient processes are critical to a successful business transformation strategy.
One common complaint we hear from firms that struggle to transform is that they don't have time to upskill themselves or their team members because they spend all their time on client service. But streamlining your firm's processes can help you identify and address inefficiencies, creating capacity for your people.
Ideally, you won't use this excess capacity simply to do more of the same. Instead, you can use it to learn new skills, have more consultative conversations with clients, and look for opportunities to expand your firm's service offerings.
Business transformation is technology
Business transformation is not complete without technology. In today's digital landscape, technology is critical to a successful transformation strategy. The benefits of technology in business transformation include automation and outsourcing opportunities, enhanced efficiency, a better client experience, and the ability to harness data for strategic insights.
One of the most compelling reasons to integrate technology into business transformation is automation and outsourcing. Automating routine manual tasks can reduce staff workload, increase productivity, and improve accuracy. This can free up resources for more value-added activities, such as strategic planning, innovation, and client relationship management.
Some tasks don't lend themselves to automation but are excellent candidates for outsourcing. With the right technology, your firm will be ready to collaborate and leverage outsourced resources, whether from service providers or independent contractors.
Technology can also help your firm insights into its clients and markets. By gathering and analyzing data, you can identify areas for growth, trends, and client preferences. This allows you to tailor your services to meet client needs better, improve the client experience, and make informed strategic decisions.
At its core, business transformation goes beyond basic change initiatives, like moving client accounting services to the cloud. Instead, it involves an extensive strategic shift that allows your firm to move up the continuum of value—from transactional and compliance services to advisory and consulting.
To successfully transform your firm's business model while creating sustained value for yourself and your clients, you must transform your people, processes and technology. This will put your firm in a much better position for confidently facilitating changes that stick—driving growth now and far into the future.
Could you benefit from a peer network of other advisory service leaders?
The Boomer Business Transformation Circle is a peer group of advisory service leaders from top accounting firms who benefit from sharing knowledge, best practices and lessons learned. Apply now to get plugged into the Circle and start transforming your firm.
Jim Boomer, CEO of Boomer Consulting, Inc., is an expert on managing technology within an accounting firm. He serves as the director of the Boomer Technology Circles, The Advisor Circle and the CIO Circle. He also acts as a strategic planning and technology consultant and firm adviser to CPA firms across the country. Accounting Today called him a “thought leader who can help accountants create next-generation firms.” Jim is a prolific writer with a monthly column in The CPA Practice Advisor and has been published in a number of industry publications including Accounting Today, Accounting Web, the International Group of Accounting Firms and several state society publications.