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Ask the Right Questions to Learn and Grow from COVID-19

Page Eastman

Article/blog submission: Northern Chapter VSCPA
Submitted by: Ira Rosenbloom, Optimum Strategies
Date: 7/16/20

Ask the Right Questions to Learn and Grow from COVID-19
        CPA firms, like all businesses, will be impacted by the reach of COVID-19 for quite some time. There will also be lessons we can learn to affect our future in the near term, long term—and maybe forever!
        To learn properly, we often need to ask ourselves questions, and then decide if the answers are at hand, good enough or worth further investigation.

Here are 20 questions that can help your firm create a lesson plan to shape your future:
  1. Are your “A” clients going to need to be defined differently?
  2. Should your pricing model change so that ultimately you are working with fewer clients and enjoying the same revenue or more?
  3. What kind of software and technology budget do you need to set to be more comfortable servicing clients who now like remote conditions?
  4. What modifications need to be made to your client acceptance criteria?
  5. Do you have a method for receiving quality feedback and impressions from clients?
  6. Should you have a client code of conduct? How much of it should include financial ground rules?
  7. What should the physical layout and locations for your offices be?
  8. How should you market differently? How will you be able to reduce marketing costs and improve ROI?
  9. Should you explore alternative compensation systems and new incentives for team members?
  10. What soft skills need to be revisited and how will they impact the progress and development of your personnel?
  11. What engagement and workflow tools need to be added and how quickly?
  12. What skills are vital for your support team and how much nimbleness versus specialization is necessary?
  13. Will offshoring and outsourcing be next?
  14. Should there be an acceleration of plans to merge, sell or acquire?
  15. How should partner compensation change?
  16. Is there a better way to handle and plan for partner retirements?
  17. How can you best assess the quality and sustainability of COIs?
  18. What kind of financial discipline improvements need to be introduced?
  19. What listening skills are going to be more important?
  20. Do you need a new business model that will attract more future leaders?
The answers and the priorities that you select from the list above should allow you to set the bar high. COVID-19 has forced us all to reach higher and adapt, which is vitally important for your long term business sustainability. Sometimes you need to prove to yourself you can adapt and improve—even in the most difficult of circumstances. By doing so, you can put yourself, your team, your clients and your firm in the best light.