TFYW #001: 4 Ways to Start Building The Firm You Want Today

Sep 16, 2022

When I started my accounting career, I found I was doing things I did not like but were necessary to get what I needed.

Working for a big firm, where they emphasized ‘rich and deep’ experiences, I was sometimes stuck working on the same stuff for weeks.

It was the same with my colleagues – together, we pushed through the work to get our letters and move on.

When I launched my firm, I thought it would be different. I was the boss now. I had left a big firm – however, I was still doing work I didn’t like but thought was necessary.

Despite not being satisfied, I felt it was necessary and safe to do work I did not like. Looking back, I was suffering from accounting Stockholm syndrome.

I had complete control to change the situation, but I didn’t know how to access that control.

I was busy but not making the money I wanted to.

This continued until I stepped back and looked at what was influencing my decisions.

There are three external influences that firm owners allow to determine what we do in our firm:

What We Did At A Past Job or Firm

  • Many owners are comfortable doing what they know how to do – even if it is tedious and soul-numbing.

What Our Clients Want

  • Many Firms bend to their client’s wishes because they feel they won’t generate any revenue without them.

The Tools And Apps We Use

  • Many owners are not comfortable switching technology and tools so they remain using old and broken methods. 

Letting external influences determine how you build and run your firm is the most significant source of feeling stuck.

If you don’t remember anything else, remember this:

You can run your firm differently.

You can build a firm that you want. A firm that you create around your interest, strengths and personality.

I am not suggesting pulling the plug on your existing clientele but start now to decide how you manage your firm and what influences you will let in.

Four steps to get you going in the right direction

1. Determine what you want to do and who you want to do it with. It sounds overly simple and maybe like self-sabotage, but don’t invest in building something you don’t want.

We are not all geared the same. You do not have to do what CPA firms are ‘supposed’ to do. So if you love tax returns, build your firm around that. If you hate them (like me), build your firm on another valuable service.


2. Stop accepting clients in industries you don’t want to work with. Stop accepting work that does not mesh with your skill set AND interest.

Just because you have become good at something doesn’t mean you should build for that.


3. Look for providers that you can outsource with. I know keeping some clients happy requires being a one-stop shop, so outsourcing certain services can be a win-win for everyone.

There are firms and service providers that will do everything you do not want to do.


4. Look for key people who complement your skills to promote or hire to share in the team’s management and high-value work load. This may be an expensive hire, but it will allow you to build your firm to exactly how you want.


I hope this post pushes you to look at how and what you do in your firm differently.

Build The Firm You Want,


P.S. Email with something that you want me to talk about. I’ll add it to the list. 

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