Digital will be at the heart of a successful practice strategy

Excellent and well managed clients, as well as effective talent management, are the essence of a successful practice. But providing clients with a modern and high value service is more than just bringing in fresh blood to the practice. Transforming your practice requires a mindset change and a willingness to leverage technology.

Practices have traditionally been focused on partners and a limited range of services including compliance as well as, optionally, advisory services.

Client loyalty has been of paramount importance and the lifeblood of the business has been recurring fees.

Driving down prices

But compliance and accounts production, including straightforward tax, are becoming homogenous products, which is driving down prices. The overlay of advisory work is no longer optional.

And while MTD might seem daunting, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the accounting profession to change the way it operates.

It offers accountants a real opportunity to provide clients with an improved service, while also increasing the profitability of their practice. There’s no option to opt out, and firms that are not on the front foot with the changes, will suffer.

Process improvement

Moving the majority of your work onto the cloud, maximizing the benefits automation can bring you, as well as its scalability and the process improvement it brings too, will change how your practice works – for the better.

The process of change can affect all areas of practice, including how fees are billed. Again, the gulf is widening between those firms still billing on a traditional, annual basis and those adopting a regular subscription-based model (usually including the cost of the cloud software).

This second group are already seeing benefits in their cashflow and profitability figures. The value of a practice with a regular, monthly set of recurring fees will move ahead of those that stick with an annual billing model. There should be little sympathy for the practice that fails to embrace new technology.

Digital represents some real challenges, but its introduction can’t be ducked. It must be seen as an opportunity to change the way your practice works. If you do this successfully, your practice can become more attractive to clients, more agile, efficient and profitable, and consequently worth more at retirement or sale.

If practice transformation is an issue for you and your practice to resolve, then please email Julia Whistler at

Foulger Underwood is M&A and strategy consultants focused on the accounting, legal, trust and corporate service and wealth management sectors. You can find out more about our value-building and practical service offerings here.