Why avoid planning for your firm’s future?

It’s a shame that most firms get sucked into short-term priority work and miss out on strategic wins

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Isn’t there always too much ‘real work’ to do?

Ever feel pushed for time (or simply exhausted)?

Ever have ‘real work’ creep into your evenings, your weekends, your holidays?

No wonder most firms fail to design the firm of the future they (you) really want.

Even though you know that if you invested a little time in your firm’s future vision, values and purpose you’d end up with a better, stronger, healthier firm. A firm that achieves better results and feels better to everyone involved – all because you invest an hour a week in strategy work.

An hour a week!? Something has to give!

A better phrase would be: ‘Something has to change.’

Or even better: ‘Something has to stop!’

Most business leaders, accountants and their clients believe that strategy is a leader’s responsibility. They are (you are) right, of course.

Except, when it comes to implementing strategy to create the firm of the future you really want, you need your team on-side, on-board and enthusiastically helping you. You need their committed help bringing to life your vision, values and purpose (three key elements of strategic health).

The best way to get everyone enthused

The best way to get everyone enthused and committed to helping you is to have them involved in building your firm’s strategy in the first place.

STOP thinking you’re alone in building strategy and START sharing out the workload.

Also, there are a few ‘real jobs’ you do now that you can stop doing tomorrow because they don’t really need doing, can wait or someone else can do them – you choose. This will free time to do some strategic work on your firm of the future.

Many hands make light work

An early-stage start-up firm, a multi-office £20m+ firm and many in between have seen the merits of investing small chunks of time regularly with their teams to build a healthy strategy for their firm of the future.

You’re reading this article because you’re ambitious to build a better firm too. To help you achieve your ambitions here’s an eight-question framework you can use to build the firm of the future you really want. One where so-called ‘real work’ does not interrupt your weekends or holidays again!

One question at a time

Every question has value in helping you create the firm of the future you really want. You can start wherever you want.

Start with the easier/simpler questions 5 and 6. Or go for the big-win questions 2, 3, 4 and 7. All eight questions move you towards a healthier, more fulfilling and higher-performing firm.

Eight questions for a healthier firm

Some of these questions lend themselves to getting all your team involved, others in getting just some of your team involved. Either way answering these questions together eases the strategic burden and builds enthusiasm from more and more of your people.

NB Question 1 is for you and fellow owner-leaders in isolation, although it pays to consider getting everyone’s personal goals clear through your appraisal process.

  1. How will your firm’s strategy deliver on your personal goals?
  2. What do you and your firm stand for?
  3. What does success look like at your firm?
  4. How must you and your colleagues behave?
  5. Where is the business now?
  6. Where is the world moving to?
  7.  What matters most to your clients?
  8. What is your without-fail focus this quarter?

To help you put these questions to work here’s an ebook created in partnership with ACCA to guide you through a proven strategic process – many firms have already used it successfully (the experience of these firms has prompted the creation of this ebook).

A recipe for success?

  • Ingredients – a little time; help from others in your team; a proven framework to help you do the strategic work
  • Method – choose one question to start with; invest weekly time away from interruptions and answer your chosen question using the framework above; tackle the next question.

Here’s what one firm leader thinks of the ebook and this ‘recipe’ for success:

‘For me, reading this book has cemented my thoughts that strategy is all about people and it’s all about action. Too often we hatch plans but don’t follow through. What these eight questions do is challenge our thought processes and better connect us to our people. Implementing our response to the eight questions has had a profound effect on our business.’
Subarna Banerjee, managing partner, UHY Hacker Young, and chair, UHY International

As Subarna says, ‘strategy is all about people and it’s all about action’. Get the ebook or take the survey and you’ll be taking action towards your firm of the future and your strategic health.

Wishing you every success.

Douglas Aitken, director, Remarkable Practice

In partnership with ACCA, Douglas is co-author of the ebook, How ambitious accountants make strategy work: 8 questions to help you transform your firm's results.

Because of Douglas’s commitments to the United Nations Social Development Goals, every ebook download will result in the planting of a tree. Remember to take the survey if you want to know how strategically healthy your firm is now.

ACCA is delighted to partner with Remarkable Practice in bringing the strategy ebook to you and the engaging podcast, Humanise The Numbers. The podcast features many ACCA firms in discussion with Paul Shrimpling, co-author of the ebook.