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Proven Strategies and Frameworks for Effective Accounting Firm Management

accounting firm management MANAGER

There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to accounting firm management. It takes research – observing trends, studying the management styles of your competitors, and listening to employee feedback. But once you figure out the right accounting strategies and frameworks for your firm, you can increase transparency, reduce bottlenecks, and overall manage your accounting firm more effectively.

Below are seven proven strategies and frameworks for managing your accounting firm effectively.

1. Implementing the Best Possible Management Style

Generally, there are three management styles: laissez-faire, democratic, and autocratic. However, your style doesn’t have to be too rigid – you can view accounting management styles in a spectrum. As a firm owner, you can always assess, understand, and tailor-fit the management style that works best for your accounting firm.  

For instance, there’s generally a little more strictness on accuracy in auditing and taxation, but you can opt to be a little more lenient when it comes to maintaining work-life balance. If the client is a large company with firm demands, tighten your deadlines or at least give enough leeway for delays. Otherwise, avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your employees.

Remember that effective accounting firm management doesn’t necessarily mean sticking to one management style forever – your firm must be flexible and adaptable to industry changes, especially those brought about by the digital age. After all, productivity increases in your firm when technology and human capital go hand in hand.

2. Adapting an Effective Project Management Accounting Framework

For accounting giants like Deloitte and PwC, adapting a project management framework that keeps their employees productive and efficient is key. Some of the most popular project management frameworks are scrum and Kanban, which can both work for your accounting firm. 

The elements of scrum are widely used among accounting firms, like sprints. These are the short periods of time when team members complete their specific tasks. There’s also the daily scrum, where members discuss their works in progress. Meanwhile, the Kanban framework can help accounting firms with visual aids – a board that is divided into three phases: “to-do”, “doing” and “done”.  

kanban for accounting firm management

With scrum, accountants can update their team with their works in progress (WIPs), refine members for smaller tasks, hop on daily meetings as mentioned above, and evaluate the whole sprint, weighing and reflecting on the things that worked and the things that didn’t. 

On the other hand, Kanban distributes tasks more evenly among accountants. As larger companies generally have more day-to-day accounting tasks, accountants assigned to smaller companies have fewer tasks and more hours for the day. But with Kanban, accountants will be assigned other accounting tasks once they are done with their first task, making everyone in the production room equally occupied with tasks.

If you’d like to combine these frameworks for your firm, then scrumban is also a viable option. You can take the elements of both into one cohesive, integrated accounting framework. Meanwhile, there are other project management frameworks that can be utilised for accounting, like Six Sigma and critical path method (CPM), among others.

3. Choosing a Good Management Methodology for Accounting

Accounting practice management needs a suitable methodology as well. Agile is a popular management methodology that’s generally flexible when it comes to changes in plans, while waterfall involves careful and calculated planning with little room for changes.

Depending on the nuances of your management style, choose the methodology that suits it best. If you have accounting clients that are strict on deadlines and don’t really leave room for pushbacks, then the waterfall approach would work best for them.

You can also use the waterfall methodology to visualise your transactions and deliverables. With the waterfall matrix, you can input anything accounting-related onto your spreadsheet, like payroll, wages, cash balance, and closed deals.

A good example would be this one below:

accounting firm management methodology

As for clients who are more lenient, Agile can be used to break down a large project into distinct tasks. The overseer then delegates those tasks to small teams and lets the members work at the same time. As a result, there are more completed tasks in a shorter amount of time.

4. Using Specialised Accounting Software

There’s no successful accounting firm at this point that doesn’t utilise task management software. Asana,, and Trello are some examples of popular task management software, but the accounting-specific ones include Onboardible, Nifty, and FinancialCents.

As accounting software is designed for automating workflows, you reduce errors, increase accuracy and data security, speed up data retrieval, and overall boost efficiency in your workflow. Accounting software also has options that are tailored specifically for your accounting tasks, so you don’t have to modify your software for your firm’s day-to-day operations.

5. Setting Your Firm’s Mission and Vision

A 2016 study found that it was promises of an exciting and interesting workplace, growth opportunities, and a commitment to diversity that attracted younger employees to work for accounting firms.

Industry titans like EY and KPMG each have their unique strategies for better accounting recruiting processes, but what they have in common are their established values and goals as accounting firms. This alignment with the values and goals of the employees makes for higher employee retention.

To sum it up, you should market your accounting firm in ways that are appealing and attractive especially to the younger crowd while still staying true to your firm’s targets and objectives.

6. Improving Your Accounting Recruiting Strategies

To get your dream team on board, your firm needs to begin with strategic accounting recruiting methods. Running the necessary background checks and verifications, testing their accounting skills, and interviewing them to gauge their knowledge on industry best practices are some of the best ways to get started with effective accounting recruitment.

For higher employee retention, make sure that your firm offers your employees a truly competitive salary. This is beneficial to your accounting team’s job satisfaction. This decreases the desire of employees to seek better job opportunities elsewhere and ultimately reduces hiring (and rehiring) costs.

7. Outsourcing Your Accounting Teams

Proven to have benefitted accounting firms all over the world, outsourced accounting teams take the difficult and time-consuming tasks from your plate onto theirs. Australia-based firms such as Nexia Sydney, DFK Benjamin King Money, and Ashford’s Accountants and Advisory have partnered with TOA Global to work with accounting experts from around the world.

If you’re looking for a detailed and thorough case study, check out TOA Global’s client DS Audit Services and see how they grew their firm from zero to a team of 12. They have also regained a healthy work-life balance; from starting their work at 3AM in the morning to getting back their time during the day. DS Audit Services has truly utilised the power of outsourcing and strategic partnerships.

“It takes a great deal of courage to take the first step, and then not only take the first step, but also to have a great team and a great partnership.”
Dinesh Nanayakkara, SSAud
Director of Strategic Partnerships | DS Audit Services

Beginning with just one outsourced team member in the Philippines, DS Audit Services managed to expand just over the course of three years. Dinesh has structured his employees into junior and senior roles, both in reporting and leadership positions. This speedy growth has been instrumental in the company’s ability to meet client demands efficiently while still maintaining quality standards.

Will Outsourcing Really Help with Managing Your Accounting Firm Better?

Countless accounting firms around the world have outsourced their accounting teams – and all for good reasons. When you hire an outsourced team, you won’t have to stretch your firm’s capacity too thin, nor would you have to wake up extremely early to meet your deadlines. Outsourcing your accounting team boosts your firm’s overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

This allows you the time and energy to concentrate on your bottom line, grow your client portfolio, and delegate tasks as needed. You can focus on managing your capacity with whatever style, framework, or methodology you see fit. Most importantly, outsourcing your accounting team also considerably slashes costs, without sacrificing quality talent.

Elite Outsourced Accounting Teams: Experience the TOA Difference

TOA Global connects accounting firms to outsourced accounting experts. We implement management techniques that are aligned with your company’s mission and vision. Whether it be under the Kanban framework, or the Agile methodology, our professional accounting teams are driven and dedicated to executing your firm’s day-to-day accounting tasks. 

Outsourced accountants might just be what your accounting firm needs. Start your collaborative strategy session with TOA Global and get in touch with us today.

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