Home Alone. But Not Really.

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Seven tips for teams and leaders dealing with coronavirus lockdowns.

By Gale Crosley

As I stood in the shower one morning earlier this week the words, “This feels like war” came to mind. Not that I’ve been in one. But I’m experienced enough to recognize the panic, uncertainty and vulnerability. Moments later, with coffee in hand in front of the TV, I listened as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated, “This is a war. We have to treat it like a war.”

The Coronavirus Crisis: How to Leverage Referral Opportunities in a Crisis  |  10 Things You Can Start Doing Immediately  |  Three Ways to Step Up in Uncertain Times | Accountants Battle Coronavirus Chaos | Smartphone Thermometers Predict Coronavirus Hot Spots | Go Remote with This App You Already Own [#WFH] | The Top Portable Monitors for Working from Home | Why Process Is Key to Remote Work | In These Turbulent Times, Leaders Must Lead! | The Tax Effects of Coronavirus [Live 1-Hour Webinar] | How to Think Straight through the Coronavirus Crisis | Coronavirus Culture-Shift Hits Accounting Firms | How to Sanitize Electronics Against COVID-19 with UV Light

More: CPA Trendlines is providing free access to our latest crisis updates. Start here for a guide to all our coverage.

For PRO Members: Coronavirus Resources for Remote-Working (#WFH)

War, according to military wisdom, requires an approach that is both tactical and strategic. We need to focus on tactics—preparing yourself and marshaling your troops for success on a new kind of battlefield. One with toys underfoot and a dog howling in the background.

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Dicey Disruptions

And the five strategies your firm will need.

By Gale Crosley
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

A year ago, firms were struggling. The organic growth of the top 100 slid down to 4.6 percent, the lowest level since 2011.

MORE: 2020 Outlook: Upstream Mergers | 2020 Outlook: Staffing Gets Creative
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Was it because...?

  • The profession was resource-constrained?
  • Was it the distraction of technology transformation?
  • What about distractions caused by mergers?
  • Or possibly all of the above?

Here are the five best strategies to consider going forward:

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Why You Need a Tech Strategy Consultant

What to do with these new capabilities? Commercialize them, of course.

By Gale Crosley
The Rosenberg Survey: National Study of CPA Firm Statistics

Last year was a tipping point, as firm leaders began to convincingly acknowledge the fact that technology is going to rock their world. It was the year our colleagues finally got the memo that the profession is poised for transformation. Now the debate is around how quickly and in what sequence.

MORE FROM THE MAP SURVEY: 2019: Three New Trends to Watch | 2019: Why Small Firms Shun Mergers | 2019: Using M&A to Launch Consulting | 2019: Client Service Moves to Fore | 2019: Expect More Alliances | 2019 Trends: Client Service Changes | 2019: Shifts in Hiring & Office Space | 2019: Firms Grapple with Change | Staff Policies Improve, But Not Mentoring
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This is hardly the first time we’ve had to grapple with significant change. But never have so many promising technologies come to practical commercialization at once.
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Be a Consultant or Be Left Behind

Calendar pages turningProduct development will be critical.

By Gale Crosley
Rosenberg MAP Survey

The last decade was the Decade of the Industry. The next one is the Decade of the Service.

MORE FROM THE MAP SURVEY: Succession Issues Stalling Some M&A | Firms Focus on Profitable Growth, True Leadership
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Last year I highlighted the significant changes anticipated in our core services, mostly because of technology. Since then, others have been writing about the topic, and firms are starting to sit up and take notice.
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Sustainable Innovation: How to Pull It Off

Young woman acrobat performingSounds good. But what actually is it, and how do you do it?

By Gale Crosley

Everybody’s talking about innovation these days.

MORE CROSLEY: Think Growth, Not Marketing | Channels, Not Referrals | Technology Will Solve Labor Shortages | The Three Elements of Growth Strategy
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The “i” word may be overused, but when it comes to growing your firm, I’m an unapologetic believer in the power of innovation. This is especially important for mature service lines.
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Think Growth, Not Marketing

Man and woman chatting over a cup of coffee inside a cafe or restaurantAdd product management skills to the mix.

By Gale Crosley

The next time you’re in a Starbucks, conduct an informal survey of the Millennials sitting and sipping around you. Ask their college major, or the field they’re working in currently.

MORE CROSLEY: Channels, not Referrals   |  Technology Will Solve Labor Shortages  |  Four-Part Plan to Re-ignite Revenue Growth  |  Not All Fish Need Audits  |  The Three Elements of Growth Strategy  |  Defining the New Business Model  |  The New Growth Evolution  |  At the Best Firms, Growth is No Accident

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I’d wager that in the time it takes you to order and consume a grande iced coffee or chai latte, you’ll have identified at least three people whose answer included the word “marketing.”

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Growth Strategies: Think Channels, not Referrals

Just as CPAs apply rigorous discipline to deliver services, so too can firms achieve growth.

By Gale Crosley
Crosley Co.

You know the services your firm has to offer and you know who your target buyer is. In order to drive growth you need to align these elements in an act of strategic matchmaking. If you’ve been relying on referrals as a way to achieve this you’re operating with about one-and-a-half hands tied behind your back.

MORE CROSLEY: SURVEY: Technology Will Solve Labor Shortages  |  Four-Part Plan to Re-ignite Revenue Growth  |  Not All Fish Need Audits  |  The 4 New Growth Engines in Today’s Marketplace  |  Change Catches Up with Auditors  |  The 6 Elements to Sustainable Growth for CPA Firms  | Jody Padar’s New Vision for the ‘New Accounting’  |  Reality Check: Achieving World-Class Growth Requires Real-World Intelligence  |  Crosley: The New Growth Evolution  |  Expand Your Vision and Expand Your Business  |  Leveraging Leadership: A New Way of Looking at Growth  |  Are You Creating a Sustainable Firm?  |

VIDEO: The Three Elements of Growth Strategy  |  Defining the New Business Model  |  The 3 Hallmarks of the ‘New Accounting’ Business

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The required firepower cannot be unleashed by occasional meetings and introductions. Instead you need to energize your efforts by cultivating focused channels of distribution. This will take your efforts from tactical to strategic and lead to a more powerful growth experience.

A distribution channel is the way you find your buyers and they find you in large numbers. Distribution channels are the individuals, businesses, organizations, websites, events, publications and places your buyers prefer. The possibilities are limited only by your knowledge of your prospective buyers and your ability to seek them out. The best channels are those your competitors have never considered. READ MORE →

SURVEY: Technology Will Solve Labor Shortages

Business BackgroundInternational networks continue their boom.

By Gale Crosley, Crosley Company
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

In the past year and a half, major trends have taken form.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: New Leaders Promoting Positive Changes | Accounting Profession Demands Swift Change | Next-Gen Leaders Getting Restless | Accountability, Equity, Compensation Are Concerns
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In audit, data analytics and continuous auditing concepts are starting to be widely discussed. The Big Four are investing in cutting-edge audit approaches, and these technologies will significantly change what auditors do in the future.
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Four-Part Plan to Re-ignite Revenue Growth

Sprout growing on money pile of glass jar bankNew times call for new expansion strategies.

By Gale Crosley

It’s been a long slog, but we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel known as the Great Recession. Both job creation and the gross domestic product are robust. Interest rates remain low, and the stock market is showing solid gains.

MORE by GALE CROSLEY: Not All Fish Need Audits  |  The 4 New Growth Engines in Today’s Marketplace  |  Change Catches Up with Auditors  |  The 6 Elements to Sustainable Growth for CPA Firms  | Jody Padar’s New Vision for the ‘New Accounting’  |  Reality Check: Achieving World-Class Growth Requires Real-World Intelligence  |  Crosley: The New Growth Evolution  |  Expand Your Vision and Expand Your Business  |  Leveraging Leadership: A New Way of Looking at Growth  |  Are You Creating a Sustainable Firm?  |  Don’t Confuse Marketing with a True Growth Strategy  |  Overcoming Four Imaginary Barriers that Limit CPA Firm Growth  |  How Firms Unleash the Power of Diamonds, Cash Cows and Fat Cats  |  How Smart Firms Use Market Research  |  Got Leads? Get Real. Learn How to Qualify Big Opportunities  |  It’s a New Generation in Lead Generation  |  At the Best Firms, Growth is No Accident  |  Four Keys to Success at Seiler CPAs  |  How Accounting Firms Are Re-Building Their Sales Pipelines  |  How to Get Started on IFRS in One Easy Step  |  [PRO Member Exclusive. Log in required.]

VIDEO: The Three Elements of Growth Strategy  |  Defining the New Business Model  |  The 3 Hallmarks of the ‘New Accounting’ Business

While these bright spots are welcome, I urge firm leaders not to be lured into believing that it’s back to business as usual. The light at the end of the tunnel may look like, well, light. But the market conditions illuminated by that light are substantially different from those of the pre-recession environment.

What’s changed? Nearly everything, from an upsurge in globalization to stiffer competition, increased standards and regulations, more specialization and a growing reliance on technology. Today, clients can engage CPA firms around the corner or around the globe. Just because you’re in the neighborhood doesn’t mean you’re in the running. READ MORE →

Not All Fish Need Audits

fishing lures AdobeStock_103169363 crop2Market segmentation and why you need it.

By Gale Crosley
Crosley+Co.

Successful CPA firms are typically open to approaches known to yield positive growth. So why are they so reluctant (dare I say impossibly stubborn) when it comes to embracing the concept of market segmentation?It’s often perceived as complex, difficult to understand, and therefore optional. However, it is so fundamental to strategy development that bypassing market segmentation can result in years of wasted effort and disappointing growth results.Market segmentation is the foundation of specialization, a natural outgrowth of mature markets like ours. CPA firms no longer have the luxury of being all things to all clients. Today’s market conditions require that we hone in on the needs of focused buyer groups with similar attributes. But first, we need to know what those groups are and what they need.
 

It’s a lot like fish. Not all fish are the same, and they certainly don’t all need audits. Some trout need tax work. Bass require business consulting. And flounder, well, they “flounder” and need help with everything!

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The 4 New Growth Engines in Today’s Marketplace

Vector check engine icon

Things are changing and the old growth model no longer fits.

By Gale Crosley
Crosley + Co.

From the outside it might appear that public accounting is much the same as it has always been. CPAs pursue traditional activities such as tax, audit, and consulting services. To build their business, they lunch with lawyers and attend after-hours cocktail receptions.

MORE by GALE CROSLEY:  Think Growth, Not Marketing | Not All Fish Need Audits  |  The 4 New Growth Engines in Today’s Marketplace  |  Change Catches Up with Auditors  |  The 6 Elements to Sustainable Growth for CPA Firms  | Jody Padar’s New Vision for the ‘New Accounting’  |  Reality Check: Achieving World-Class Growth Requires Real-World Intelligence  |  Crosley: The New Growth Evolution  |  Expand Your Vision and Expand Your Business  |  Leveraging Leadership: A New Way of Looking at Growth  |  Are You Creating a Sustainable Firm?  |  Don’t Confuse Marketing with a True Growth Strategy  |  Overcoming Four Imaginary Barriers that Limit CPA Firm Growth  |  How Firms Unleash the Power of Diamonds, Cash Cows and Fat Cats  |  How Smart Firms Use Market Research  |  Got Leads? Get Real. Learn How to Qualify Big Opportunities  |  It’s a New Generation in Lead Generation  |  At the Best Firms, Growth is No Accident  |  Four Keys to Success at Seiler CPAs  |  How Accounting Firms Are Re-Building Their Sales Pipelines  |  How to Get Started on IFRS in One Easy Step

VIDEO:The Three Elements of Growth Strategy  |  Defining the New Business Model  |  The 3 Hallmarks of the ‘New Accounting’ Business

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Yet beneath this familiar scenario, our profession is undergoing a seismic shift, one set in motion by changing market conditions, technological advances, demographic transformation, and other factors. As a result, much about the way we practice is being forced to change. That’s certainly the case when it comes to growth.

Jack Welch, the former General Electric CEO turned guru, urges business leaders to “Change before you have to.” That’s advice accounting firm partners should heed.

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Outlook 2016: Change Catches Up with Auditors

2016-ROUNDTABLE-OUTLOOK-FOR-ROSENBERG-MAP-COMMENTARY-VF-240x219New technology is only part of the movement.

They say "past results are no indication of future performance." Maybe. Maybe not. But if anyone should know, it's our panel of experts, their comments drawn from the new edition of The Rosenberg MAP Survey. These are their bullet points and comments, verbatim, looking back at the last 12 months and looking ahead to 2016. – Rick Telberg, CEO

By Gale Crosley
Crosley Company

Lessons from 2015:

Over the past year, I’ve noticed smaller firms engaged in acquiring firms yet smaller than them. They’ve observed larger firms mastering merger integration, and are now taking the plunge.

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The 6 Elements to Sustainable Growth for CPA Firms

Hand holding a rising arrow, representing business growth.

The signs that you’re heading in the right direction.

By Gale Crosley
Crosley+Co.

I’ve talked a good deal about sustainable growth lately. And I’m often asked how I know if a firm can achieve it. The answer is to look for the common indicators. It’s relatively easy to know if your firm is growing. But how do you know that the growth you’re experiencing is sustainable? What are the signs that it will last beyond this year?

Firms that are consistent performers demonstrate common elements of sustainable growth. Those elements are integrated seamlessly in the best firms. Here’s what I look for:

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