The Business of Public Accounting – Volume 1

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This is the first volume of a collection of blog posts I have written over several years. I have slightly edited some of them and have deleted a few that are not relevant to the theme of the book which is reflected in its sub-title: Random thoughts, insights, observations and suggestions for building a better accounting business and creating a better life for your clients, your team and yourself.

My primary interest has always been in the way accounting firms create, deliver and capture value but much of what I’ve talked about in this volume would apply to any business and certainly any knowledge-based service business. I believe accountants are in a perfect position to make a real and significant difference to the lives of their clients and their team members and through that to their own lives.

I also believe that most accountants in public practice have been drawn into the vortex of compliance and in the process have forfeited the opportunity to achieve their full potential. In saying this I do not want to denigrate the value of the compliance work but regrettably it is not, for the most part, work that is highly valued by your clients and to the extent that most of it is relatively straight forward it has become a commodity and is treated as such in the market.

Commodity markets are typically highly competitive and in such markets short term competitive advantage is sought through the pursuit of operational efficiency but because this diffuses so rapidly it does not give you a sustainable competitive advantage. The end result of a single-minded pursuit of “efficiency” is downward pressure on margin.

My various thoughts, insights and observations in these posts are my way of inviting you to think outside of the box for a while and to consider alternative practice possibilities. I know this sounds terribly cliché but it is my purpose nonetheless.

Throughout the book I have referred to books, websites, videos and other resources that are available in the public domain or that we have created and which are available to members of the Principa Alliance. These references are all identified by red text. If you have downloaded a copy of this book and have registered to get the resources, you will have access to them unless they are strictly Principa Alliance member-only resources.

I hope you get value from what I have written and I always welcome feedback.

Ric Payne