End of year review- how was it for you?

It’s the time of year to reflect on what you have achieved in 2017 and prepare your action plan and goals for 2018.
The key to success is to write it down! Even if it’s a simple checklist you can refer to ongoing, it will make it easier to manage your time and be able to see the progress you make ongoing. Block out small amounts of time in your diary each week, even if it’s an hour, to work your way through your action plan. Put ‘quick wins’ at the top which won’t take much time and delegate wherever possible. Follow this system and you will be surprised at what you can achieve. Practitioners have a tendency to forget what actually has been done with regard practice management and business development. Success breeds success, so it is important to document and review achievements at regular intervals.

Here are the highlights of what we looked at in 2017 – how did you do?

How to plan around clients year ends and manage your production workflow and gross margin.
Hopefully you will have contacted all your December 2017 and March 2018 year end clients to agree fees, schedule the job and discuss both pre year end planning as well as their business goals for the year ahead.

How you might change your client service offering
Check you are contacting clients regularly, drawing up agendas for all meetings and following up with minutes promptly. You will have updated your Menu of Services and be using a Windows of Opportunity system to generate additional fees and ensure clients both know and want the support you have to offer.

Cash flow management
Internal housekeeping is a priority. If you are agreeing fees and budgets in advance then your work in progress will be minimal as will debtor days and fee disputes. Measure how your finance key performance indicators have improved in 2017 and set an improvement plan for the year ahead.

Are you a strong Financial Director of your own practice?
You can deliver great advice to your clients so will be able to say you also do the same on your own business. Following on from cash flow management you need to be on top of your own management accounts and internal chargeable time, recoverability ,work in progress write offs ,billing and credit control. Practitioners can be too focused on winning new business and lose sight of the basics. Healthy cash management will provide you with the working capital you need to grow your own business and be able to draw profits.

Succession planning
At some point you will want or need to exit your practice. Plan ahead on how you see that happening and work on making your business as attractive as possible to a buyer- whether that be a management buyout or selling externally. Set a date and document where you are now and where you need to be to achieve your own personal and business goals.

Workflow management- why planning and budgets are essential
The key success drivers underpinning the success and development of your practice are production and workflow management. Planning and budgets are key to guarantee strong gross margins and profit improvement. Practitioners also hold time management as being one of their ongoing challenges as well as profit and cash. Workflow management will improve efficiency and free up time.
Planning and budgets mean strong communication with both client and team members. Client service levels improve as a result as does cash flow and team happiness and improved time management.

The 6 headlines above are a good place to start when planning for 2018. Many practitioners report they feel over whelmed and don’t know where to start and therefore do nothing but carry on as before. Keep it simple with a hour a week to begin with on working on these areas. Success will follow and this time next year could be in a very different place. How would that feel?


December 2017 Copyright - Finola McManus, Practice Perfect

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