Firm Operations: Spring, The End to Tax Season and New Beginnings

Spring is sincerely my favorite time of year. I live in the most beautiful part of the country, South Georgia, where you can enjoy your first sunny days, sunburns (I’m on my third) and rebirth of all that is green and lush so early! Spring is always a signal of renewal, the start of something new. Azaleas, the greening of the fountains in Savannah for St. Patricks day, the Masters Tournament in Augusta, college and professional baseball season. These are all signals that the “new year” is right around the corner. It’s a time to reevaluate your business, take the leap to something new, decide your next steps.

Courtesy of Casey Jones - Fountain at Forsyth - Greening of the Fountain

Courtesy of Casey Jones Photography – Fountain at Forsyth – Greening of the Fountain

Running a business requires a different skillset

This past weekend, I had the absolute pleasure of joining my friend Casey Jones for the opening of his gallery, The Tybee Gallery by Casey Jones. Ya’ll, I can’t tell you how proud I am of this guy. Starting his own business, taking the leap to manage the operations of his own gallery. He’s an artist, so impeccably amazingly talented, in the same way so many of you are brilliant accountants and masters of your craft. Spring was the final push he needed to make the leap and open this gallery. I am always so impressed with any talented person who wants to start their own business. Clearly they have the technical talent, but there is so much more to running a business. And seriously ya’ll, Casey is TALENTED, just check out these photos!

Courtesy of Casey Jones Photography - Snow on the Tybee Island Pier

Courtesy of Casey Jones Photography – Snow on the Tybee Island Pier

Leaping into change

Driving on a PICTURE PERFECT spring day in south Georgia, I crossed the bridge onto Tybee Island. Kenny Chesney and David Lee Murphy’s new song “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” (my personal anthem for making it through this tax season) blaring. A more perfect day couldn’t have been created. All this got me to thinking… Such a technical person, with an already perfectly stable successful business, what do they know about opening a gallery? What struggles do they face? What makes them leave the calm of a perfect spring day, and leap into a hurricane of a new business or changing up their stable business model?

Courtesy of Casey Jones Photography - Tybee Pier Preceding Hurricane Irma

Courtesy of Casey Jones Photography – Tybee Pier Preceding Hurricane Irma

As I spent the day with Casey watching all the excited customers pass through his gallery, I questioned him. I discovered so many things that he wanted to strengthen in his journey to being a more well-rounded, sophisticated business owner that translate so perfectly to the changes we are seeing in the Accounting industry. I stand by that accountants are GREAT at doing taxes, audits, compliance work – the real meaty technical work. Are they great at all the OTHER things that are needed to make a business sustainably successful? The things that make you stronger in a storm, business development, marketing, HR, technology planning, staff retention… All the components of firm operations. Are we great at that? Are we great at OPERATING a CPA firm?

Parallels to firm operations

I’ll be spending the next few weeks exploring the story of my day with my friend and drawing parallels to Firm Operations, our an important firm management theme for the Wolters Kluwer this year. We’ll talk about client service, responsiveness, and all the other “non-technical” aspects a CPA has to become a generalist in to run a successful firm. We’ll also touch on new billing models that provide predictability to customers, and lastly, KNOWING your customer so you can serve them better.

I hope you’ll come back and join me as the sun rises again on 2018. Just a few more weeks of the hurricane that was tax season 2018, friends. Then we can reevaluate and see where we want to grow next!

Don’t ignore this critical component of running your firm. To learn more about firm operations, Download our Firm Management toolkit.


Samantha Grovenstein-Deal

All stories by: Samantha Grovenstein-Deal