In typical Advisory Board style, our members will open up the conference discussing what all of the fuss is about! Each brings a different perspective to the topic of firm growth...
Why is it such a big topic now?
What trends are they seeing in M&A and organic growth?
How do the various strategies compare?
What are firms doing right? Wrong?
Who should be responsible for driving development?
What areas are seeing the biggest upswing?
... and much more!
"Building a Referral Engine"
by John Jantsch, marketing consultant and best-selling author
Referrals are the lifeblood of most practices and often the driver of the most profitable business and yet few firms focus the appropriate attention on systematic referral generation.
In this session John Jantsch will teach participants the key elements required to build your very own referral engine. John is a speaker, marketing consultant, award winning social media publisher and author of two Wall St. Journal best-selling books - Duct Tape Marketing - The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide and "The Referral Engine - Teaching Your Business To Market Itself".
Participants will learn how to:
If you're in a firm that is fully functional, the partners always agree and work as a team, the staff happily complies with any new initiative, and you are taking in more business than you know what to do with, well.... you're in the minority. Odds are you want to grow the firm, and you may have a plan to get there, but there are seemingly impossible obstacles in your way. Allan Koltin has spent countless hours working with firms to address partner and cultural issues head-on. He'll outline:
The common cultural barriers to firm growth.
The partner traits and behaviors that hamper growth.
If you're a leader, odds are that you are great at developing new business. But what happens when you're suddenly in charge of organizing & managing everyone else's sales efforts? How do you change your mindset from focusing on your own network to training and motivating everyone else? How do you track and institutionalize it all? Do you hire a professional developer or rally the troops for a grass-roots effort? Then, how do you instill the same passion in them that you have yourself? It's not easy, but it's been done. Join these managing partners as they share their processes for bringing everyone together and taking a truly strategic approach to their firms' business development efforts across the board.
When you're the smaller firm in the mix, what advantages do you have? How do you approach things that will make you stand out in a positive light against larger competitors with more resources and a bigger network? It turns out that winning opportunities has less to do with firm size, and more to do with understanding pursuit techniques and competitive winning strategies. Gale demystifies pursuit, and delves into surprising territory on what buyers really want from you and why they really buy!
Megatrends are happening in the areas of social, mobile and global. Keeping up with the changing landscape in these areas is challenging. However, the more you understand these changes the more equipped you are to leverage them and create a competitive advantage for your firm. Most firms are conservative by nature and tend to be reactionary rather than innovative. To be innovative in these areas, firms must focus on faster, better, cheaper and easier solutions and establish steps for achieving these solutions. This session will highlight some of the megatrends we are seeing in the industry in the areas of social, mobile and global and what steps your firm can take to leverage them.
Innovation Track: "Today's Hottest Services and Niches"
by Gary Shamis, SS&G
Public accounting isn't typically a trendy business, but market demands still fluctuate based upon the market, legislation, the economy and many other factors. What's hot & profitable right now? What should your firm be considering or doing for 2013? Gary will provide a rundown of what is heating up and cooling down in firm services.
For many firms, the loss of a large long-standing client is a significant blow to the top and bottom lines. While many firms talk a great game in terms of client retention, few are putting in place formal steps to create relationship breadth and depth, making strategic introductions that grow relationships, and are adding value that boosts loyalty, longevity and profitability. Attend this session and learn (or re-learn) strategies and tactics that will help to maximize your current client relationships - beyond your next invoice:
Unique Service Strategies
Business Development vs. Eat What You Kill
Relationship Depth and Breadth
... and more!
Marketing Track: "Increasing the Overall Value of Your Firm Through Marketing"
by Marc Busny, CBIZ Tofias
In this interactive season we will explore the integration of marketing and business development, firm governance that supports firm growth, improving new business close rates, targeting prospects that will make profitable long term clients, the use of market research to determine how your firm is different, sales techniques and communications to attract and keep clients.
We all hate it when, after hours of putting together a comprehensive proposal package, you hand it to a prospective client and they immediately flip to the price on the last page. Is price the only differentiator? The answer is no. It takes time, positioning and development... and maybe an overhaul in how you approach your niches, services and engagements. In this session, Gary will cover:
How to package services so that they provide additional value and avoid the apples to apples price comparison.
Ways to enhance your services and niches to add value.
Unique and competitive ways to price engagements.
How to approach a business opportunity by outlining the greatest value.
Breakout Session III
These roundtable discussions are grouped by general topic and led by our faculty experts - providing attendees with the opportunity to network and share ideas.
A conference about Winning Clients can't be complete without talking about serving them. Your firm may have everything set right now, but how do you control client service as you grow? How do you add capabilities, make referrals and cross sell services when you're terrified that someone else will screw up the account? Rebecca and Steve will discuss the facets of client retention without complacency, and provide insight on how to surround yourself with the right colleagues and partners.
"CPAs that Dont Sell are CPAs that Dont Work: Keeping Your Firm Alive by Getting Your Successors to Embrace Selling"
by Bob Lewis, Visionary Marketing
One of the biggest challenges firms face is creating a sales culture and business development process. Firms often have only one or a few partners or staff capable of bringing in the new business, so what happens when they retire? A growing problem is the inability of the next level of potential partners having no ability to bring in new business. This is a hard core session to help partners get non-selling professionals more capable selling. With the goals of teaching you to analyze your firms current sales skill set and develop a benchmark to help team members create additional revenue and move forward in their career path, this session will address:
· The Fear Factor Inside Firms - Motivation and Management
· Understanding Your Firms Selling Capabilities
· Developing Your Succession Team
What matters most to clients? According to CPAs its reputation, expertise and professional service. Unfortunately according to entrepreneurs, these responses dont even make the top 3. Well share results from an INC. Magazine study as well as our own survey responses of more than 13,000 entrepreneurs and what they mean for your firm. Firms need to take these results into consideration when they establish and monitor their key performance indicators and critical success factors. The result is a firm that is both high performing and more client centric.
October 19, 2012
Special Bonus Sessions
"Benchmarking Your Firms Growth & Service: Results & Analysis from 2011/2012 Market Surveys" by Lauren Prosser, Sageworks
You use benchmarks for your clients and for your niches, but how much strong data do you use to benchmark for your own firms operations? You hear rumors, but what are your peers really doing across the country? Sageworks has surveyed hundreds of CPA firms over the past year in the areas of marketing, business development, staffing, client service, pricing/billing and partner compensation and has some interesting results to share. Join Lauren as she reveals the true information and data behind firm growth and operations.
Service growth isn't always traditional - and it doesn't have to come only by merger or new hire. Gary and Eric will discuss the various services that are working in CPA firms across the country and the many ways that organizations that are ready to grow can add to their capabilities.
With the prevalence of smartphones, tablets, and Internet access from anywhere, we know mobile technology is quickly changing how we operate and interact with each other. But what does the mobile revolution mean for the accounting firmand how can you make mobile work for your firm? Fortunately, there are a variety of timesaving tools that can help firms take advantage of mobile conveniences while maintaining tight security on client data. In this session, well discuss some of the technology that will help your firm go mobile.
"Organizing, Managing & Prioritizing Your Firm's Marketing & Growth Strategies"
Presented by Gary Shamis, SS&G
Show us a firm with 20 different partners (or niches or service areas), and we'll show you 20 different ideas on what's the most important to firm growth. However, to accomplish any substantial gains, you need to focus your efforts on a common goal. Gary Shamis runs a top 50 CPA firm with 60 partners, 8 offices, and has dealt with leading growth initiatives for the last 25 years. In this session, he'll discuss:
Determining priorities and developing a strategy.
Getting buy in on a plan, and sticking to it.
Encouraging support and participation in the plan.
Unique services and innovative methodologies can generate great results. Thanks to some true pioneers, firms are breaking the mold and developing personalities, relationships, services and promotions that relate to the organizations that they serve on a whole new level. Not only does it give them a strategic advantage, but it puts them in a whole different category. One of the most "out of the box" thinkers we know, Rebecca Ryan, will interview these innovators on their use of technology, client meetings, social media and product extension to stand out and move ahead of the competition.
For as long as we can remember, there have been the tried and true ways of operating a CPA firm. Everyone fell in line with the next. Thanks to some true pioneers, firms are breaking the mold and developing personalities, relationships, services and promotions that relate to the organizations that they serve on a whole new level. Join one of the most "out of the box" thinkers we know, Rebecca Ryan, and a panel of firms that have used technology, client meetings, social media and product extension to successfully woo, serve and befriend their clients.
This session will explain what it means to be global as well as the strategy and structure that must be put in place to make it happen. We will traverse the many issues that affect an organizations ability to win clients globally. This session will include discussion on the importance of communication, collaboration and standard processes on the success of a strategy to win clients globally.
"Putting Your Plan in Motion:Using the Practice Growth Model to Develop & Execute Your Strategy"
Presented by Gale Crosley, Crosley+Company
You might think that you've seen Gale Crosley speak once and you've seen it all. You might even think that you're DOING it all. But, in this session Gale will outline the "Practice Growth Model" and take it to the next level so that it can be applied for maximum results. She'll touch upon implementing a professional business developer, transitioning from a marketing focus to a practice growth focus, developing your current clients for profitability and longevity and much more. This session will take all of the pieces and tie them together to help you created a solid, integrated strategy.