- WCOA in November is a golden opportunity to make face-to-face contact with like-minded practice owners from around the globe
- Hear insights from the big end of town and make new connections that can lead to exciting business opportunities
- Understand how small firms can outpace bigger rivals when it comes to personalised service, agility, new technology adoption, global reach and lean budgets
By Paul Meissner.
Bigger isn’t always better. Small practices can enjoy some real advantages over their larger counterparts, and World Congress of Accountants 2018 offers a valuable chance to maximise the benefits small firms can tap into. Let’s take a look at what I believe are the five key aspects of small firms that give them a lead over large practices.
1. Big branding doesn’t call for a big budget
People are always astounded to learn that my own firm – 5ways Group – is fundamentally a two-man band. We’re consistently seen as much larger and we achieve this through a strong online presence and good branding. When I first started out, I was one person sitting in a café with a laptop. But my online brand looked professional and that lets a small firm punch above its weight. The fact is, with the right online channels and an impressive virtual office, it’s possible to promote your values and demonstrate to clients that you think big, even when your head count is small.
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2. A nimble response to new technology
It’s no secret that small practices are well-placed to adapt to new technology. Rapid response times to new technology is one area where small firms are way ahead of the game. We don’t face a legacy of systems, or staff who are ingrained in what they use. So it’s possible to chase efficiencies very quickly. I’m really excited to attend WCOA to see some of the emerging technologies that can streamline work practices and help me deliver improved services to clients. And as a small firm, I know I can introduce new IT options to my practice very quickly.
3. Global reach through networks
As the world becomes more connected, small firms are enjoying greater opportunities than ever before to build global networks. This can provide scale without the investment of “boots on the ground”. Unlike large firms, which often have a direct presence in other jurisdictions, small firms can develop highly successful global relationships, which can be just as productive. In our case, 5ways Group has a network of international affiliates built up through online contacts. However, WCOA provides a golden opportunity to make face-to-face contact with like-minded practice owners from around the globe. These connections can open doors to niche markets and outbound work for small firms, while still owning the client relationship.
4. Truly personal customer service
As the owner of any small practice will know, one of the great rewards of keeping things small is the intimate relationship you develop with clients, and it’s definitely a two-way street. Clients like the reassurance of speaking with the business owner and they know they are really getting personal service. It comes back to being nimble – clients of small firms don’t have to work their way through different layers of people to speak with the person who has the answers.
WCOA provides a golden opportunity to make face-to-face contact with like-minded practice owners from around the globe.
Technology has made a tremendous impact on the ability of chartered accountants to have a very low cost business model. The ability to work remotely, from virtually anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi connection, offers flexibility and significant opportunities to enjoy work-life balance – all while still experiencing financial rewards. The bottom line is that when it comes to accounting practices, good things really can come in small packages. I’d encourage anyone who is part of a small firm to be part of WCOA in November. It’s a chance to explore new technologies, hear insights from the big end of town, and make new connections that can lead to exciting business opportunities.
Paul Meissner FCA is Director of 5ways Group and WCOA 2018 Ambassador