The final 'Ask Finola' of the year!

In these difficult times how can I make sure I am making the best profit margin I can whilst providing a high standard of client service.....sometimes it is difficult to get the two to go together!

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The final 'Ask Finola' of the year!

'Whether you are a sole practitioner or a partner in a larger firm, every accountant and advisor faces challenges in how to keep clients happy and provide advice to help their clients' often struggling businesses. Clients welcome all the support they can get but of course getting paid for that advice can prove difficult if you don't go about it in the right way.

Every practitioner and partner also has to have their eye on the clock and somehow find the time to provide this level of support to clients when they already have a heavy workload to deal with themselves in practice.This is increasingly relevant as we approach the dreaded tax return deadline season and suffer a shortfall in resources at the peak flu season!

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Accountants suffering toxic debts

  • Poor cash flow and extended debtor days are affecting practices
  • Clients are taking longer to pay or sometimes not paying at all
  • How can clients take business advice from someone who doesn't manage their own business well?
  • Read on for tips on managing these issues

Bad debts are on the increase among accountancy practices, but it doesn't have to be like this, argues practice consultant Finola McManus.

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How do I plan for the future?
 

Finola's Story - Part 1

Let me set the scene going back nearly 15 years when I bought Landers, a small practice in Toddington just off the M1, from a retiring Sole Practitioner. The business had a good client base along with lots of issues to sort out. This is what we were faced with;

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Finola's Story - Part 2

In Part 1 I explained how at our little practice, Landers, we were able to reduce our workload to just 4 shorts days a week at et same time as eliminating WIP and achieving a 250% profit growth per partner. In this the second part I will explain exactly how we did it.

It wasn't all plain sailing that's for sure ! There were plenty of challenges along the way and days when both I and my fellow partner, Robert Brown, wanted to throw the towel in and run for the hills.

After buying Landers we spent 5 years sorting out our own housekeeping issues and had achieved a moderate degree of success. Progress however was slow and we felt we needed some extra resources and support to help us as a small firm punch above our weight.

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The other side of an amazing story...

On 9 to 10 October 2007 I went to an AVN Conference (Landers are founder members since the year 2000) with my then business partner, Finola McManus. We had an excellent 2 days and began sketching out new and exciting things we were going to do to strengthen our practice as a result of what we had heard and been prompted to think about. Exactly one week later my business partner of 12 years announced to me and our team that she had just been diagnosed with a very serious cancer which would require an intensive course of treatment over the coming 2 months. She passed her in-tray across the desk and to make a long story short, never returned to Landers. Finola went on to fight and win her own battle with typical resolve and success. You may have seen her article previously published on Accounting Web. We were at that stage a team of 12 people. I effectively found myself in the position of being a sole trader. I have no issue with sole traders, in fact I have the utmost respect for them, but I know it isn't for me!

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Finola Speaks at
Business Seminar

Finola recently spoke about her ideas and methods during a presentation in November 2008.

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