It’s no surprise that the majority of businesses prefer (or even require) their accountants to be specialists in their field. Why? Because generalism is common, and laser-focused expertise is not.
There was a time when you could open the yellow pages (remember those?), close your eyes and pick an accountant to prepare your taxes. You could choose someone different every year, and the end result would probably be pretty comparable. But, could you close your eyes and pick a guru at SaaS startup business structure planning? Doubtful. Could you randomly choose an accountant to advise on revenue recognition for a local non-profit? That may prove to be difficult.
In fact, The Sleeter Group has found that 62% of businesses prefer or require specialization, which makes sense. With products and services becoming increasingly sophisticated and nuanced, it can be expected that CPAs who are career generalists may be inexperienced in the complexities of any given industry, and may find it difficult to compete and stay relevant into the future.
It looks as if accountants looking to grow their practice, or at least maintain a client roster, are beginning to adapt to this change, with nearly 33% of accountants adopting, or planning to adopt specialization (Source: AccountingWeb).
It can be a daunting task to rock the boat of your practice status quo, but if you take a diligent and structured approach, you’ll find that opportunities can be found by mixing some combination of:
- Your knowledge and expertise
- Your interests and passions
- The needs of your market and current service gaps therein
Depending on the nature of the specialized work, you may still need to continue to offer general services (e.g. tax returns, etc.) to maintain a steady revenue stream. But seasonal and/or periodic specialized services can be an excellent way to supplement the business, and keep you engaged in the work at the same time.
For more detailed information on this topic and additional content to transform your accounting firm from a commodity into an irreplaceable partnership., download our e-book, The Value-Added Practice.