6 proven strategies to improve CPA firm profitability

Often, when looking for ideas to improve their CPA firm profitability, partners will focus on bringing in more clients. However, there are plenty of ways to improve profitability with the clients you already have. You just need a way to identify opportunities and streamline inefficiencies. Here are some real-life ideas from firms that have done it:

Find your most valuable clients

Even firms that do value billing need to keep track of what they spend their time on. Without accurate information about what your staff is spending time on, you’ll have no way to identify your best clients or recognize opportunities to improve relationships with less profitable clients.

“Practice will help us adjust our value billing to accurately reflect the time we’re spending on clients. Right now we think we know which clients are most profitable, but do we really? We’re going to find out. I don’t like to just ‘feel;’ I want to be able to document and now for certain.”

Julie Lepper, Principal, Lepper & Company, LLC

Get deep insight into the health of your firm

When you can track key performance indicators, it’s much easier to understand your firm’s profitability. Regular monitoring of this information will help you spot red flags in your firm before they become major problems.

“CCH ProSystem fx Practice Management contains all of the fun ratios we use to manage the firm. It shows us how efficiently we’re working, helps us track progress and how many hours are going towards a project, and how we’re doing against budgets. It does everything. We use the statistical information to compare ourselves to other firms and measure our goals. It is everything to us.”

Jeff Chandler, President/Managing Director, Borland Benefield, P.C. 

Get paid faster

Typically, clients pay faster when you send their invoices faster. Many firms send invoices electronically, with the click of a button.

“You’ve got these tools all tied together… You can tie CCH ProSystem fx Practice Management together with CCH Axcess Portal and the other software to generate and post invoiced to clients.”

Laura Sprouse, Partner, Firm Administrator, Brown Edwards & Co., LLP

Do the billing when and where it’s convenient

If billing is hassle, the temptation to put it off may be strong. Make it more convenient, so your invoices go out faster.

“The best thing it’s enabled me to do is to do my billing from home on the weekends. That’s incredible… work like I’m right at the office, same speed, same data, real-time, and I don’t have to log in through two or three different services to get there. It’s just a direct link right to the software, just as if I’m at the office working with it.”

Wesley Middleton, Managing Partner, MiddletonRaines+Zapata, LLP

Easier access to information makes billing decisions easier

Detailed notes and tracking features provide the information you need to make more confident billing decisions in less time.

“Billing is both easier and faster. We can easily get answers to the questions we ask when we’re trying to put out a bill with a tax return, financial statement or consulting job, so we can make decisions faster. Almost all bills go out when the project is complete, so the timing of the billing is more effective.“

Nancy Ekrem, Shareholder, Dewar Meeks + Ekrem PC 

Stay informed about the work going on in your firm

As more staff members request and expect flexible working arrangements, partners may be wary about the volume of work being performed outside the office. Monitoring time and billing data can put you at ease.

“Using CCH Axcess Practice and its time and billing functionality, I can see what my remote employee has been doing and what clients she’s worked on, so I know she is just as efficient at home as at the office.”

Randall L. Sansom, Principal, Randall L. Sansom, CPA, PA

To learn more about improving your firm’s profitability, including a 6-step Firm Management Action Plan, download our whitepaper, “Managing Partner’s Guide to Building a Future-Ready Firm: Translating Operational Efficiencies into Dollars.”


Aimee Hall

Product Marketing Manager at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting

All stories by: Aimee Hall

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