When you finally opt for practice after coming out of the dilemma of “whether to opt for practice or job”; another big question that comes to your mind is “How to grow practice”. As advertisement and other means of soliciting clients are prohibited for Chartered Accountants, only words of appreciation from existing client can bring you the new clients, however there are few other ways by which you can grow your practice without violating the code of ethics as laid down by the ICAI. In this article, I will share with you few ways to grow your practice in good and efficient way.
1. Increase partners in your firm:
Partnership and LLPs are need of the hour; many new members who are working solely are constantly facing the problem of “whether to focus on work in hand or to scout out in search of new work”. Hence it is better to add new partner so that one partner can look after the work and others can scout for new work. Firms must review on periodical basis, the strength of partner they require to expand their revenue base. However it is easy to talk about “Adding the new partners” than implementing it, because of various reasons mentioned below:
a. Lack of mutual understanding.
b. Unclear revenue/ profit sharing models.
c. Ego clashes between Junior and senior members.
d. Demand of fixed pay from the new partners irrespective of the work they bring on the board.
Before entering new partner(s), you must get clarity on at least on these points and get them documented in order to avoid any future disputes that may arise.
2. Get work on referral basis from Seniors:
Institute have no problem if one Chartered Accountant gives some work to other on referral basis, hence members who newly entered into practice must request senior members they already knew to refer some work to them on revenue sharing basis. Generally seniors keep the major share of revenue for the work executed solely by the junior member but it is necessary for junior members not to focus much on money during initial days instead they should focus on getting the knowledge and exposure. These referral works will give you better understanding about the assignments and slowly you can get assignment of similar nature from others.
3. Network to get work:
Networking is must for chartered accountants to get new work, however that doesn’t imply that one must keep on attending all social events and seminars, all you need is to kill your hesitation about breaking the ice in every social gathering or seminars that you are attending. Use tea break to talk to other members, don’t hesitate in exchanging cards. Also if possible write a thank you mail describing the meeting and how you look forward to future interactions with them. Do networking keeping in mind the code of ethics laid down by institute.
4. Meeting with potential clients:
Generally new members waste their precious time with meeting potential clients and ends up wasting time, efforts and money. This happens because of not setting the clear agenda about the meeting. It is must to understand the requirement of client before you go out to meet them, if you are not well prepared for their requirement, the outcome of whole exercise will be zero.
5. No substitute for expert knowledge:
If you want to achieve professional success in true terms, you must gain expert knowledge in the area of your practice. Expert knowledge comes with time, exposures and experience, till then you must keep on reading and updating yourself with the latest developments. Make reading a daily habit irrespective of your busy schedule. Try to write articles on the topics you learnt on various platforms available to you. Also don’t hesitate to clarify your doubts with the senior members who are well versed with subjects and procedures.
6. Delay in getting the fees:
It happens with many that even after finishing the assignment we don’t get the fees on time which leads to working capital crunch during initial years of practice. Members must keep proper billing system as well follow up mechanism to overcome this. Sometime you can also ask for advances from clients.
7. Focus on the cities where there is scarcity of chartered Accountants:
There is no dearth of chartered accountants in bigger cities; however there are many small cities or towns in the India where there are no Chartered Accountants working or very few Chartered Accountants are working. You can open a branch office there as per the regulations of institute or visit regularly to those places to get good work exposure. In smaller cities due to lack of competition, you can easily make a name for yourself.
8. Focus on the quality:
Irrespective of the fees, one must never compromise with the quality. Once you start the habit of compromising with quality of work, it is very difficult to break it afterwards. Quality work always command respect from your clients and other professional colleagues. Work quality review checklist must be developed for all type of routine works you handle, so that there is no scope of compromise in quality of work executed.
(The author of this article is practicing at Indore city and can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)