Caldwell Consulting Coaching Training logo

The Answer to “How Are You Doing?” for Accounting Firms

Paula recently decided after a long hiatus from the work force to start doing some bookkeeping from home. So far she has brushed up on her accounting skills but hasn’t spent any time working on a business plan. She says, “I just figure once I print some business cards and hand them out to some friends, clients will start rolling in and I’ll be full-time in no time!”

Phil has worked hard at a large accounting firm for over 20 years. Recently his boss has decided to retire soon and in preparation, he wants to make Phil a partner in the firm. Phil is sure that he could handle the accounting aspect of the job, but he’s never thought much about the business side of the accounting firm. Phil figures, “as long as we keep doing what we’re are doing, the firm will be around for a long time.”

The truth that Paula and Phil need to hear is that whether you are part of a large accounting group or you work on your own, your accounting firm is a business and you need to run it that way.

It’s not enough to be a good accountant. Successful accounting and bookkeeping businesses spend time evaluating the business’s current state and dreaming about what it could be in the future.

That’s not always easy. How do you know if things are going well? What should you take into account when evaluating your firm? What possibilities exist for the future of your firm? How can you know if your dream is achievable?

The SWOT Analysis provides four simple evaluation questions so you can know how your business is really doing.

SWOT Analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths: What makes your firm better than any other accounting or bookkeeping firm? For this, you may need to peruse the websites of other firms in the area. Note what your firm offers that the other guys do not.  Be sure to consider customer service levels, experience, cloud experience, etc.

Weaknesses: What could you do specifically to better serve your clients? With an open mind, ask your current clients what additional services they would like to have or how you could adjust your current services to help them.  Or maybe there is something internally that could help you better serve your clients. Ask your employees what you could do to help them serve the clients. Ask for feedback and be ready to listen without defending yourself.

Opportunities: What is a specific service that you could do for clients to add more value? Perhaps it would be best to look at why previous clients have left your company. Was there a service that they wanted that you did not offer?

Threats: Name one obstacle that is keeping you from being where you want to be. This could be internal within yourself or within your office or could be external with your location or your online presence.  Familiarize yourself with successful business practices so you can recognize what may be holding you back.

Once you have answered the SWOT Analysis questions, use the information to create objectives and goals for the future of your firm using the OGSM model.


My greatest joy is to work alongside businesses who are evaluating and making plans for the future of their firm. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like me to come alongside you in evaluating your business adventure.

More News