2020 Outlook: Focus on Business Development

Consider spreading the responsibility.

By Art Kuesel

Few firms have truly unlocked the keys to above-average organic growth. Those that have unlocked the keys display distinct differences from many firms that haven’t.

MORE: 2020 Outlook: Innovate and Anticipate | Balance Advisory and Compliance | Talent Shortage Drags On | Demand Is High | Business Development Goes Borderless | Data Import on the Rise | Becoming the Most Valuable Advisor | Top Three Tips for 2020 Success | Where Do You Want to Be? | Dicey Disruptions | Upstream Mergers | Staffing Gets Creative
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One is a strong bench of young and up-and-coming partners with above-average potential to contribute to business development. Not only is this a succession planning strategy, it can double as a growth strategy.
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2019: Appetite for Growth Unabated

Hand watering small plant in pot shaped like upward arrowFirms revisit old initiatives with fresh eyes.

By Art Kuesel
The Rosenberg Survey: National Study of CPA Firm Statistics

Business development investment continues to increase for growth-minded firms. There's significant demand for traditional business development training and coaching for individuals at all levels.

MORE FROM THE MAP SURVEY: 2019: Doing More With Less | 2019: The Biggest Tech Changes Yet | 2019: Three New Trends to Watch | 2019: Client Service Moves to Fore | 2019: Shifts in Hiring & Office Space | 2019: Firms Grapple with Change
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A handful of firms are pursuing non-traditional business development efforts such as converting a client service professional (partner, manager or supervisor) to part-time or even full-time business development.

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Putting Big-Firm Growth Strategies to Work at Small Local Firms

Forked rural road in forestBalancing hi-tech with hi-touch to remain the essential advisor.

By Art Kuesel
Rosenberg MAP Survey

Increases in needs for revenue growth and people development to fulfill succession plans are fueling several macro-trends led by small, local firms.

MORE FROM THE MAP SURVEY: Technology Evolving Faster Than Accounting Firms | Will Staffing Challenges Change the Definition of Partner? | Firms Focus on Profitable Growth, True Leadership | Technology Playing Center Stage in CPA Profession
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First, smaller local firms are adopting robust organic growth strategies once only reserved for large local, regional or national firms. Early indications suggest that these plans have begun to deliver expected organic results, though not enough to solve the problem. So, additional resources, additional strategies are under consideration to fuel growth.

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SURVEY: Firms Must Build Their Benches

Ice hockey player in bench area watching actionIt's that or watch your bright new stars bolt.

By Art Kuesel
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

In 2015, I saw a moderate shift in mindset from that of “let’s help everyone develop themselves” to “let’s target our resources at our high potentials.” Firms worked through their fears of offending lifetime managers as they saw high potentials depart at the fastest pace in recent memory.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: New Leaders Promoting Positive Changes | Cybersecurity Grows in Importance | Don’t Just Win Work, Figure Out Why | Mergers Keep Racing Forward  | MAP Survey Top 10 Findings | CPA Firm Revenues Rise a Hefty 8%
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Only a handful of firms started the year with formal “path to partner” programs while many more had them by the close of the year. And MPs reported that the biggest gap in skill set for partner potentials continued to be business development.
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