Agility is for CPA Firms, Not Just Sports Teams or Dog Shows
Rebecca Ryan, proprietrix of Next Generation Consulting and motivational speaker, describes "the agile CPA firm" as the CPA firm most likely to thrive in the future. She points out that agile CPA firms go beyond social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to empower junior employees, to look beyond traditional answers for struggling clients (one example: an Ohio firm which found non-traditional financing for cash-strapped manufacturing clients), to reduce office rent by finding inexpensive properties to rent and replace physical client contact with e-mail and other electronic communication and to save costs by avoiding traditional perks for top management. Additional features of agile CPA firms include an emphasis on innovation and continuous improvement, searching for market niches, transparency in business relationships, an emphasis on value added rather than time spent and some level of ruthlessness with underperforming or vexing clients and employees. The end result: MIT research indicate on average that agile firms increase revenue and profit by 30-40% more per year than non-agile firms.
The fact that Ms. Ryan points out issues probably also raised by Michelle Golden's Golden Practices or Rick Telberg's CPA Trendlines does NOT mean that they should be ignored. Certainly, the expansion of technology in accounting practice is an issue that can seem overwhelming by itself to practitioners my age (55) or older, but the empowerment of younger staff, transparency and value added emphasis and greater use of electronic communication to save rental fees (and possibly commute time) are also well worthy of consideration.