Solving the Capacity Challenge: Embracing a Holistic Approach for Sustainable Firm Growth
When it comes to addressing the capacity challenge in the accounting industry, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It's not about getting 20 new hires tomorrow, but rather finding ways to incrementally and consistently free up your team from low-value tasks that impede productivity. Aiwyn and QX Accounting Services both offer unique solutions to the capacity challenge through automation and outsourcing. By leveraging the power of technology and people, firms can up-level the skills of their existing talent while unlocking new possibilities for growth and success. This holistic approach addresses the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the challenge, providing a path towards sustainable firm growth.
We reached out to experts across the accounting profession to provide insights and answers to some of the most common capacity questions. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the issue and offer practical solutions to help firms improve productivity, staff satisfaction, and client experience.
"Few accounting firms are solving the talent conundrum. Reasonable growth targets are being restricted by firms unable to overcome a dwindling talent pool and fierce competition for quality people. Only the most innovative approaches to capacity and talent will work when facing problems that are only going to get worse." Rob Brown, Talent Consultant & Brand Ambassador for Accounting Firms & Networks
Geraldine Carter, Business Coach for CPA's, described a common scenario she is seeing in the market today:
- Owners do not exactly know their capacity. It's more "feel". They haven't measured it.
- They do not know how much time they are giving to meet the client requirements.
- Despite being overworked and knowing they are operating beyond capacity, they still say yes to new work.
- Many accountants still operate under the (erroneous) belief that clients = money. When operating in money insufficiency or scarcity, they can't help but say yes to more money/clients to the detriment of their business.
So what comes next?
How can modern firms solve the capacity challenge?
Martin Chee, CFO at Amaka
Modern firms should have a number of options in relation to solving capacity challenges. When you’re a small business with a small staff, putting in extra time to deal with a greater volume of work is simply not possible.
First, identify any efficiency or time-saving opportunities, like making minor tweaks to the tech stack or leveraging integrations and automation. While most firms have larger systems in place to deal with standard tasks (such as integrated practice management software and workflow/task management software), sometimes we simply stop looking for opportunities — usually because we’re too busy serving our clients. Small automations can add up quickly, amounting to a material amount of time saved over the course of a day or week.
As AI continues to advance, there will be more opportunities to save time and increase your firm’s servicing capacity.
Another way to sustainably increase capacity is through outsourcing and offshoring. It’s relatively inexpensive to add an offshore resource to your team, and with adequate training, the quality of work can be very high. Just be sure to invest in the time necessary for a rapport to be developed and good communication to be fostered.
One final, often overlooked option is simply saying no to your clients. Accountants and bookkeepers are notoriously bad at this, but sometimes it’s better to say no than to jeopardize your (or your staff’s) sanity — as well as your service standards.
What advice are you giving firms looking to modernize with emerging technologies?
Pat Morrell, CRO at Aiwyn
The most “modern” thing you can do is solve long-standing problems and remove pain. It’s the most practical and profitable thing leaders can do, and the thing that will be most appreciated by their people (i.e. their greatest resource).
Every firm has challenges, no firm is perfect, and every firm we talk to knows this and wants to improve. More than ever, firms have a bevy of technologically progressive tools at their disposal. But if those technologies and initiatives don’t make life materially better for their people at work, then leaders can’t claim to really be modernizing in a practical, valuable way… it’s just tech tinkering.
To modernize is to adapt to the needs and habits of your personnel and your clients, and to improve on the status quo — modernizing is a relative concept, by definition. Ultimately, it comes down to the removal of any process, tool, or behavior that (1) disrupts the efficient and effective delivery of services to clients, or (2) makes life at work unproductive for your partners and staff.
Modernizing is logjam removal. Start there. Your efforts will be effective and well-received, and you'll earn credibility that will allow you to make more ambitious enhancements in the future.
How can outsourcing talent help firms address the capacity challenge and stay competitive in the industry?
Laurence Whittam, AVP of Sales at QX Accounting Services
Outsourcing talent has become a game-changer for accounting firms looking to tackle the capacity challenge and stay ahead in a fiercely competitive industry. By partnering with a reliable outsourcing provider, firms can delegate low-value tasks and allow their in-house teams to focus on higher-value work, such as client engagement and business strategy. This approach also opens doors to a wider pool of qualified professionals, including those with specialized skills in areas such as tax, audit, and consulting. With the right outsourcing strategy in place, firms can increase productivity, streamline operations, and gain an edge in a rapidly evolving market.
Automation and outsourcing are essential solutions to the capacity challenge facing the accounting industry. By taking a holistic approach to addressing capacity challenges, firms can achieve sustainable growth and success in the industry.
Aiwyn enhances the revenue cycle for accounting firms by integrating with existing practice management and CRM systems to unlock client and firm data, automate processes, and increase cash flow.
QX Accounting Services USA is the ultimate outsourcing solution for accounting firms seeking growth and transformation. Their team of highly qualified professionals empowers businesses by freeing up staff to focus on higher-value tasks, ultimately reducing costs and increasing profitability. With a global presence and a commitment to quality and excellence, QX is a game-changer in the accounting industry.