Time to review your achievements in 2015.

We are rolling towards the end of yet another year with little time to think of what have we done and where did the time go!
Before we start planning for 2016 its time to stop and think about what we set out to do this year and measure our progress.

Most practitioners will have set themselves the following 5 targets;

  • Increase fees
  • Improve cash flow
  • Reduce write offs
  • Reduce working hours for partners/owners
  • Retain staff

How can you measure your progress?

  • Increase in fees- measure new fees generated from existing clients as well as new clients. Measure and log where exactly this additional fee income came from- which clients, which services, what referral sources, what marketing campaign. You need to know the source of the growth and look to focus on that in the year ahead. Measure where time was spent without any return and remove that strategy from your business plan.
  • Improvement in cash flow- Look at the position for each month of the year so far. Measure debtors’ days and work in progress movement. Analyse by client to see where any problems lie and ask yourself why? How many clients are on fixed fee agreements? How do you control extra work being completed and excluded from fixed fee agreements but unbilled?
  • Reduction in write offs- Did you succeed in improving your planning and budgetary control systems? Look at the monthly analysis by client and see where problems may still lie and ask why? Over runs on any job are usually one of two things- wrong fee or a training issue. Sometimes a bit of both. What systems are in place to deal with this and prevent write offs of time and under-recovery of fees.
  • Reduction in your working hours- how successful were you in managing your time? What systems worked well for prioritising your work, dealing with interruptions, calls, e-mails, managing staff? What was your effective hourly rate when you take an accurate measure of the hours really worked in and on your business? Are you happy with that rate of return? How many weeks holiday did you have? Does anything need to change in 2016…?
  • Retain staff- What was your staff turnover this year and how much did you spend in recruitment fees? Happy with those numbers? Are you confident that your recruitment, induction, training strategies are the best they can be for your practice? Do you know what your existing staff really think of working for you and that they will stay in the business. How do you reward people so they feel valued and want to progress in your firm?

Conclusion
After spending a few minutes answering the above and documenting the answers, you will be able to clearly see what you have achieved this year.
You need to do this exercise before you can think about how to plan for next year.
Many of you will have underestimated the positive results and now feel proud when you see the results in their entirety. Some of you may feel disappointed and if that’s the case then it’s time to plan for 2016 with new realistic targets.
Next month’s feature will look at how to draw up a sensible and achievable business plan for 2016.

November 2015 Copyright - Finola McManus Practice Perfect

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