Make Strategic Thinking the Cornerstone of Your Accounting Firm

by J.B. Maverick

3 min read

You can enhance the benefits your accounting firm offers clients, the value of your services, and your firm’s revenues by focusing on strategic thinking. Accountants who can assist businesses in strategic business planning are more and more in demand by business management. A survey of chief financial officers at numerous businesses revealed that nearly 90% of CFOs stated they believe it’s important for the accounting professionals they work with to possess strategic thinking skills.

Develop the Necessary Skills

While it’s still important for accounting firms to provide basic financial services such as accurate recordkeeping and financial reports, business owners increasingly see the value of financial professionals who can contribute fresh ideas, often based on data analysis, to help grow their businesses. You can mold yourself and your accounting firm into a supplier of superior value by training your staff to look beyond bookkeeping and think about developing strategic plans to help your clients grow their businesses. By doing so, you can produce long-term financial benefits for both you and your clients. The ability to effectively engage in strategic thinking is a skill that, like any other, requires proper knowledge and training. The first step in making your accounting firm into a provider of strategic analysis and business planning is simply the decision to make it the focus of your business. The practical step that follows from that decision is seeking out and obtaining the necessary education and experience to equip you to deliver strategic thinking services. Consider encouraging your staff members to pursue educational opportunities, through formal courses of study or by attending seminars and conferences, to learn more about strategic financial planning for business growth. Personally, you might try finding mentors, accountants already well-versed in strategic thinking and problem-solving, who can teach you what they already learned through training and experience.

Become an Expert in Big Data Analysis

The collection and analysis of big data is becoming increasingly more important to businesses doing strategic planning for the future. Since the widespread use of big data analysis, especially among small businesses, is relatively new, there are a lot more businesses that want to use big data than there are experts who can help them accomplish that goal. There are two-year and four-year degrees in big data analysis, and online courses available, some of them even offered for free. Becoming an expert at integrating big data analysis with business decision-making can give your accounting firm a significant competitive edge over the majority of accounting firms that don’t have that kind of expertise.

Emphasize SOAR Analysis

As you shift your firm toward a focus on strategic thinking, one analytical tool you can use is SOAR analysis, which refers to analyzing a company by examining strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results. SOAR analysis stands in contrast to the more traditional SWOT, or strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, analysis. SOAR analysis, which includes aspirations, differs from SWOT analysis by focusing more on a company’s future growth plans and prospects rather than on its current position. Some business planners also consider SOAR analysis preferable because of the results element that involves using metrics such as key performance indicators for measuring the success of a company’s strategic business planning. Your accounting firm can gain a competitive advantage and increase its profits while providing better and more extensive services to your clients by developing strategic thinking skills. Make the effort to expand the skill sets of your staff, and then emphasize that newly gained expertise in your marketing.

References & Resources

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