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CPA Advisory Services

Partner Summit preview: adopting a growth mindset for your CPA firm

Will Hill, MBA  Product Manager — Tax Professionals Advisory, Thomson Reuters

Will Hill, MBA  Product Manager — Tax Professionals Advisory, Thomson Reuters

As we look forward to what the 2020 Partner Summit season will bring, embracing change seems to be a key takeaway in order for success to follow you after the events.

How does adopting a growth mindset benefit your accounting firm?

In this episode of the Pulse of Practice podcast, “Partner Summit Preview,” Paul Miller, CPA from Business by Design, Mo Arbas, Consultant at Thomson Reuters, and Therese Witherow, Principal Trainer at Thomson Reuters, discuss what attendees can expect from this year’s events, stepping out of the comfort zone, and the benefit of walking away from the event by adopting a growth mindset.

Putting value to knowledge

One of the biggest surprises we see every year at Partner Summit is firms undervaluing themselves. Often firms, who have worked hard to be knowledgeable in the subjects in which they specialize, must learn to put a price on that knowledge. The firms may have always known this is necessary, but it is emphasized and brought to light at the events. Because of this emphasis, they receive that push into an active change of mindset.

“It really registers with them,” says Witherow regarding those that attend Partner Summit. “They have to go and find ways to get paid for all the services that they give, as we say, away for free.”

While transitioning to this new attitude may be intimidating, there is comfort in knowing firms that are adopting this growth mindset see the success that follows putting value to your knowledge.

Partner Summit 2020

Building a more progressive firm

Over the past decade, the Partner Summits have given hundreds of firm leaders a unique opportunity to learn how to build a more progressive firm. Become part of this exceptional group at one of this year’s events, where Thomson Reuters speakers will share the perspective they’ve gained from years of helping firms redefine their business model, implement technology tools, and establish workflow best practices. Learn more.

Adopting a growth mindset requires being open and accepting

While attending Partner Summit, firms are often surprised to hear the pain points and struggles they experience everyday but never had a solution for it. The events work as a wake-up call, allowing firms to take steps and elevate their business simply by tweaking little things.

“They can change their mindset simply by being open and accepting the fact that, yes, we’re struggling,” notes Arbas. “There are solutions out there they can take advantage of. There are opportunities out there they can take advantage of. All it needs is structure”.

Partner Summit opens your eyes to the possibilities. Firms may have approached the event thinking they do not have the time or resources to make changes, and they leave the event feeling rewarded.

“For me, when I’ve seen people leave, I do think the light bulb is going off,” adds Miller. “Sometimes it becomes the point of inspiration. It becomes the point of, ‘Okay, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. Here is what I’m going to do to make a change.'”

Overcoming the hesitations

Arbas, presenting this year at Partner Summit, feels excited yet frustrated when he visits with firms. After witnessing their struggles and frustration, he finds they are still hesitant to change.

“They are stuck in that place and not willing to move on,” says Arbas.

Despite the hesitations, he found he is more successful helping firms move their practice forward by leading them into adapting a growth mindset. This is accomplished through advising the firms on the benefits of different technologies, various opportunities, and tools available. These are things that are different or challenging from which they are accustomed.

“I feel happy afterwards,” adds Arbas. “This is the reason I do what I do every day, and I make sure I express that to every client, every firm I work with.”

Adopting a growth mindset beyond tax and accounting software

Witherow, also presenting this year, connects with firms in different ways. Despite having a background in software, she often thinks of other opportunities for technology outside of software.

“I think they are so stuck in the fact that we’re a tax and accounting firm, so the technology that we need to know just needs to be that software, which obviously you need to prepare your client’s deliverables,” notes Witherow. “There is so much more technology out there.”

An example of this technology is texting. While many firms do not want clients to have their personal number, Witherow encourages them to research that concept further.

“Did you just stop at that mindset that it is your personal cell phone, so you can’t implement that technology in your business? You can. There is software out there that utilizes your landline to offer that communication.”

Another factor in growing your mindset regarding technology is shifting from only using what your firm is comfortable with to implementing what your clients are comfortable with. Are your clients using different platforms, texting, or the cloud? Firms often do not think about what technology their clients are using each day, and how adapting to these new technologies can position your company as a knowledgeable and devoted source.

“I like to take those moments or feelings that clients have that they are scared about and change their mindset on them, make them not scared of that, find ways to make more of a positive impact on their firms and their clients,” adds Witherow.

“You’re going to see me challenge the clients at Partner Summit. I’m going to challenge them to implement those and not be so shy or scared.”

What is next for Partner Summit

Over the years, the common goal of Partner Summit has been how do you become the next best version of you? How is your firm of 2021, or firm of 2022, going to look?

“I’m looking forward to sharing the new insight, the new content that we have, but also sharing my experience the past year with firms,” says Arbas. “This is so important, helping them be willing to accept change, being open, and changing that mindset. This is a steppingstone going forward. We have to do it to be able to create that sustainable business and high profit margins.”

“My excitement or my challenge to myself is to know that they walk out with a complete new mindset of where they want to take their firm and their business,” adds Witherow. “I’m going to make sure they are walking out the door more than thrilled they came.”

So, when we look at what is next for Partner Summit, I believe it is growth and evolution. Adapting a growth mindset is not only the key for getting the most return on investment from the Partner Summit, but crucial for a firm’s success in the future.

Listen to the “Partner Summit Preview” episode of the Pulse of the Practice podcast on your preferred platform (Google PlayAppleSpotify, Stitcher) or here.

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