I just read the latest entry in David Maister's "Professional Business, Professional Life" blog. It's packed with practice management material which applies to the largest of CPA firms...as well as to you and me, the solo practitioners of the world. Here are a few excerpts:
In this profession, the need for personal development is life-long. The minute you begin to cruise, to rely on skills learned last year, that’s the moment you begin your decline. All of us, from the 30-year-old’s to the 60-year old’s must constantly be asking “What new skills can I acquire?”. And the firm has the right to ask that same question of you.
My experience has taught me that success comes not to those who swing for the fences every time at bat, but those who commit themselves to a continuous program of constant improvement, base-hit by base-hit.
There are many ways to make yourself more valuable on the market: intellectual leadership, better client counseling skills, greater ability to run large projects, and so on. But one stands above all else: specialized industry knowledge. Regardless of your discipline, and your command of it, I believe that each and every partner should have one or more industries that they know in depth, to the level that the clients perceive you as up-to-date in their industry as they are. There is no better way, in my view, for each of us to succeed than for every one of us to declare a specific industry specialization.