Remote Work Success Helps Solve Staffing Shortages

Businesswoman relaxing in the office with bare feet up on her deskTax reform boosted those ready for consulting.

By Carl George

The two most significant changes that I have seen so far are:

  • “COVID has forced us to run our businesses better!” With so much being unknown when COVID first started, many firms developed plans and forecasts under numerous disaster scenarios. Accountability (and in some cases, behavior changes) of each owner was essential and I have seen many firms “pay more attention” to running the business. I believe these changes will become permanent.
  • “We became more comfortable with our technology capabilities and it saved us!”

MORE: COVID-19 Shakes Up M&A Activity | We’re in the Fast Lane… Can Your Partners Keep Up? | SURVEY: 2020’s Disruptions Are Only the Beginning | COVID Brought Us More and Better Client Communication
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The most significant change we will see long-term will be a significant portion of a firm’s practice will be accomplished by a permanent remote work force – at least 25 percent. We have seen that it works, we will continue to refine the model, and firms will be more efficient and profitable once the final model is in place.
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Manage Partners with Goal Setting

Includes 20 sample goals.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Role of the Managing Partner

The purposes of goal setting are to help the firm achieve its overall goals and to help individuals achieve their performance goals.

MORE: Clarify Partner Expectations | How the Managing Partner Manages the Partners | Overarching Authority That Managing Partners Must Have | Exceptional Managing Partners Offer Their Advice | Why Management Is the #1 Key to the Firm’s Success | Herding Cats: Advice for Managing Partners
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When individuals and organizations create goals, put them in writing, assign deadlines, follow up and establish a means of accountability for achieving the goals, they are more likely to achieve the goals than if they merely talk about the goals or have the goals in mind.
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Firms Face Business Realities

Pandemic means there’s no room for those who can’t embrace change.

By Angie Grissom

The working from home mandate has changed the way people think, work and communicate and has accelerated the move by four to five years (at least) over what I think would have happened without the pandemic. This has impacted the adoption of technology (Teams, Zoom, Adobe Connect, etc.) and has shown team members what works and what doesn’t work.

MORE: Remote Work Is More Productive | We’re in the Fast Lane… Can Your Partners Keep Up? | SURVEY: 2020’s Disruptions Are Only the Beginning | COVID Brought Us More and Better Client Communication
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People now know how and where they are the most effective. Clients are also seeing accounting providers as more essential and more as advisors, especially those dealing with the PPP loans and other programs that assist them with staying afloat during this time.
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More Complex Work = Higher Fees, Right?

ALSO: Some pushback on virtual work environments.

By Jeff Pawlow

Anytime that complexity goes up, it seems that accounting fees follow. That said, the current economic environment may not allow firms to capture as much additional work as they may have in other turbulent/changing environments.

MORE: Remote Work Is More Productive | Advisory Services: Real Commitment or Just Talk? | 2021: You’ll Never See ‘Normal’ Again
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Clearly, clients are tightening their belts, and it now becomes imperative for firms to bring more to the table than just “debits and credits.” The role of a trusted advisor is paramount in this uncertain time and firms that embrace the challenge will leap ahead of the pack. Unfortunately, many firms are slow to adopt this posture. Providing clear value for fees is a non-negotiable moving forward.
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You Like Being Remote, But What About Your Clients?

Businesswoman with headache at laptop2020 shed new light on diversity.

By Tamera Loerzel

Wow, we have learned so much from this pandemic. The toll of the illness, deaths and impact to our medical providers and so many more has been staggering; there are lasting lessons and change that can benefit us all.

MORE: Advisory Services: Real Commitment or Just Talk? | COVID-19 Shakes Up M&A Activity | We’re in the Fast Lane… Can Your Partners Keep Up? | 2021: You’ll Never See ‘Normal’ Again | SURVEY: We Adapted to Remote Work … Now What? | SURVEY: 2020’s Disruptions Are Only the Beginning | COVID Brought Us More and Better Client Communication
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Obviously, one of the most significant changes firms made is the swift move to remote back in March. This move to remote can be a competitive advantage for firms that truly embrace it now and aren’t waiting (or hoping) to “go back” to how it was.
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Clarify Partner Expectations

Two women talkingIt makes managing them easier.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Role of the Managing Partner

Over the years, during countless partner interviews, many have told me they aren’t sure of their role and what is expected of them.

MORE: How the Managing Partner Manages the Partners | Overarching Authority That Managing Partners Must Have | Exceptional Managing Partners Offer Their Advice | Why Management Is the #1 Key to the Firm’s Success | Herding Cats: Advice for Managing Partners
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Here is a basic, universal technique for improving performance and providing feedback:
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How the Managing Partner Manages the Partners

Silhouettes of three business partners talking against a window in an officeIt’s a people job.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Role of the Managing Partner

This is a saying I developed about partners that stands as tall today as it did 20 years ago: “As the partners go, so goes the firm.”

MORE: Overarching Authority That Managing Partners Must Have | Exceptional Managing Partners Offer Their Advice | Why Management Is the #1 Key to the Firm’s Success | Herding Cats: Advice for Managing Partners
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This means that the partners are the drivers of the firm’s success. To be sure, nonpartner personnel are critically important to the firm’s success, but nowhere near the level of the partners, who

  • Bring in the clients
  • Keep the clients
  • Help clients grow
  • Satisfy clients’ needs by cross-selling services
  • Mentor staff, helping them learn and grow
  • Embrace the firm’s core values and spread the word to others
  • Manage the firm and provide leadership to all

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Remote Work Is More Productive

Young businessman punching and breaking clock with fistAn unexpected pandemic benefit.

By Chris Frederiksen

After distancing (A.D.), senior people want to work at home all the time. Younger staff members want to work in the office all the time. So, what is the new normal?

MORE: 2021: You’ll Never See ‘Normal’ Again | SURVEY: We Adapted to Remote Work … Now What? | SURVEY: 2020’s Disruptions Are Only the Beginning | COVID Brought Us More and Better Client Communication
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The most likely is a hybrid model, where people work at home most of the time but come to the office one to two days a week for meetings and team projects – with appropriate masking and social distancing. In 2020, many firms are more profitable than in 2019 because they cut costs and raised productivity.
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Advisory Services: Real Commitment or Just Talk?

Overhead view of two businessmen meeting in lobbyHow your answer affects growth.

By Sarah Dobek

The unfolding events of 2020 will continue to be the tailwind of change for the profession.

The most significant and obvious change is the forced adoption of remote/flexible work. So many firms were convinced that remote work just wasn’t feasible. The pandemic has proven otherwise.

MORE: 2021: You’ll Never See ‘Normal’ Again | SURVEY: We Adapted to Remote Work … Now What? | SURVEY: 2020’s Disruptions Are Only the Beginning | COVID Brought Us More and Better Client Communication
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Yes, for some firms, it’s not working well. But on closer inspection, these challenges are actually bringing to light systemic management and operational issues. From today’s vantage point, long- term operational change is inevitable as firms evaluate more permanent work-from-home scenarios in both the long and short term.
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