How COVID-19 is Impacting Accounting Firms’ Strategic Priorities

August 18, 2020

Author: Russell Shapiro

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has upended life as we knew it, including the way businesses function. While no industry has been untouched, the ways the pandemic has impacted a business and industry vary. To better understand the ways COVID-19 has changed the accounting world, including their priorities for the upcoming year, I recently interviewed 12 highly respected accounting firm managing partners on a variety of issues, including their financial outlook, employee morale, and current challenges. After these interviews were conducted, I gathered their feedback and insight to help businesses learn from each other.

When asked about their priorities for the upcoming year, most managing partners expressed a focus on executing on strategic priorities, with an emphasis on growth. Most firms are continuing to invest, including in recruiting, development, and technology.

The following are some of their responses when asked, “What are your top priorities in the next 12 months?”:

  • Elevate client service. Make sure adding value. Truly being a partner and not just a vendor.  Develop new ways to train and develop teams.
  • Hiring top talent. Several job searches for supervisors and managers.  Recently hired a full-time recruiter. Maintaining culture of teams and community in remote environment. Long term goal of transition from client service provider to client service advisor. Identifying prospective clients.
  • Stay close to what is going on every day in the business. Pushing our strategic agenda which has fallen off to a degree. Expand data analytics offering. Further refine our development tools to individualize leaning goals for our employees.
  • We are going to invest into the recession. We are investing into marketing including on mass media platforms. We have recently hired several new partners. We will ride it out with partners whose practices are slow due to the virus and related economic implications. We have an entrainment practice that we are sticking with. We have a significant bonus pool for partners who perform.
  • We had a partner meeting and are moving forward with our strategic priorities. This includes growth initiatives, dealing with leadership voids and digital transformation (and helping client with that as well).
  • Partner level planning. Lead generation and the mechanics of growth in this environment.  Asking partners for what they will commit to. We also need to continue to adapt. Maintaining the principles that made us successful but figuring out how to do it in a different way.
  • Innovate particularly within our market niches.  Continue our investments in technology and training.

 

You can read the full survey and additional responses here.

Levenfeld Pearlstein is the law firm for accounting firms and the people who run them. Partner Russell Shapiro is a leader in advising on the legal and business aspects of accounting firm partnership agreements, mergers and acquisitions, and the enforcement of restrictive covenants. He has twice been recognized by Accounting Today magazine among the “Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting.” What’s more, Levenfeld Pearlstein is a thought leader in the industry, and Russell has substantial management and leadership experience with the firm. He is currently a longstanding member of Levenfeld Pearlstein’s Executive Committee, is Chair of the firm’s Transaction Department, and is former Chair of the firm’s Compensation Committee and the firm’s Corporate Group. He incorporates this firsthand management and leadership experience into practical legal and related business advice and guidance to firms.

 

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