Accountant's Flight Plan: Best Practices for Today's Firms
Accountant’s Flight Plan is filled with practical, time-tested strategies designed to help you take your practice to a higher level while enjoying your work.
Using real-world scenarios, practice owner testimonials, and written exercises, CPA and author Brannon Poe offers keen insights for developing customized, straightforward approaches to:
- hone your focus, eliminate frustration, and grow your bottom line;
- achieve meaningful work-life balance while increasing profitability;
- add more value to your clients;
- better manage or eliminate difficult and slow-paying clients;
- improve billing rates;
- increase new business through referrals; and
- enhance the value and salability of your practice.
You’ve got to have a plan. Whether you are a prospective practice owner or seasoned veteran, Accountant’s Flight Plan will help you reach your destination with greater surety, success, and satisfaction.
About the Author:
Brannon Poe, CPA
A licensed CPA with nearly 20 years of professional experience, Brannon began his career in public accounting as an auditor with Ernst & Young before working for several years in auditing and tax preparation for the regional firm of Elliott, Davis & Company. Subsequently, Brannon became a shareholder in a privately held, family-owned business and a founding shareholder in a successful start-up manufacturing company.
This breadth of experience with companies large and small has helped Brannon excel in understanding and documenting the needs and challenges of successful practice transitions. Quarterly business coaching classes and continually investing in consultative and team building skills have helped Brannon and his team close over 100 transactions since 2003.
A graduate of the University of South Carolina with a BS in Accounting, Brannon is a senior advisor specializing in accounting practice sales, mergers, and acquisitions. He makes his home in Charleston, South Carolina with his wife and three children. Away from the office, Brannon enjoys competitive racquetball, boating, and fishing.
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“The older I get, the more I see a straight path where I want to go. If you’re going to hunt elephants, don’t get off the trail for a rabbit.”
T. Boone Pickens
You gotta have a plan.
Whether you’re hunting elephants or building a successful accounting practice, a plan for how to get to where you hope to be is essential. Long before a pilot settles into the cockpit, he or she has made the necessary advance preparations. The route is mapped out, the weather has been checked, the plane carefully inspected…you get the picture. So it is with your practice. The journey is before you. Whether you’ve just purchased a practice or partnership or are a more seasoned owner, having a sound strategic plan will get you to your final destination with greater surety, success, and satisfaction than flying by the seat of your pants ever will.
I am lucky to have developed a unique perspective about the management of accounting practices through my work in selling them. I get to talk with accountants—from around the country and representing a broad diversity—on a daily basis, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the firms they own or the firms they hope to own. These professionals have been generous with me in sharing the steps, and, yes, the secrets, to their success. I’m very thankful for the lessons they’ve imparted. The most valuable concepts presented here are just good common sense, presented in a practice-specific context. There is power in simplicity and integrity and old-fashioned hard work. I hope some of these concepts will work for you, too.
The funny thing is I never planned to write a book. (Note: The best plans are flexible!) When I got into the business of helping people buy and sell their accounting firms, I started keeping a “deal journal.” It’s a humble-looking thing—full of notes, anecdotes, rants, and raves—the scribblings of years of work and over 100 practices sold. I write in it when I’m frustrated and when something goes really well. One truth I discovered years ago as a result of this journaling is that it’s more important to focus on what works rather than to dwell on what doesn’t. As a result, I made an effort to pay particular attention to recording the successes. A deal would seal or a business owner would tell me an interesting success story, and I’d go to my journal and make an entry. Some billing-conscious owners may think that’s a waste of time, but I’ve gotten terrific insights through my writing and found it to be enjoyable. Better still, I’ve been able to share those insights with others. Nearly all of the material in this book came from my little black book. I was flipping through it one day, and it dawned on me that the information I have gathered was worth passing along.
This book is a little different from other business “how-tos” in that I have included several questions at the end of each chapter for your notes and reflections. Writing down your goals and plans will dramatically increase the odds that you will actually implement and achieve them.
So, think big, and grab a notepad and pen to begin mapping out your firm’s flight plan. Your future will no doubt change for the better if you do.
Table of Contents
1 | The Privilege of Ownership
2 | The Power of Focus
3 | The Beauty of Balance
4 | The Client of Choice
5 | The Art of the Bill
6 | Growth and Staffing
7 | Effective Client Meetings
8 | Partnership Considerations
9 | The Risk Within
10 | The Rule on Receivables
11 | The Efficiency Edge
About the Author
About the Publisher