I recently went to an event with a few managing partners from some local accounting firms.
The size of the firms ranged from eight to 30 professionals. Each firm was a good local firm—nothing to distinguish between each firm in the way they would provide service to their clients.
As we had a couple of drinks and chatted about how each other’s practice was growing and new trends that these partners were seeing, one partner pointed out that his (and his partners) annual compensation had increased 30 percent due to the implementation of outsourced controller and cloud accounting solutions.
Fortunately for Adam, his professional skepticism detector was blaring:
As I sat there and listened, I started to think back to all the stories I have heard recently about 20+ percent annual growth in accounting firms. Go to any accounting conference and you will immediately hear people claiming a 15+ percent increase in revenues through the implementation of a new service. Talk to any vendor looking to sell a product and they will claim success stories whereby their product led to 25 percent growth in a firm for four years straight.
And then a light bulb went off in my head. These people are scrounging out the 3 percent increases that I am seeing. They haven’t doubled in size, they haven’t found the secret sauce, they are tooting their own horns because it feels good when others think highly of them. They are toiling with the same problems as my practice, while giving the impression that life could not be any better.
I'm sure CPAs have been boasting about their firms for decades, however in this day and age, I'm sure there's a bit of Facebook vaneer in the profession going around — in watering holes, on Twitter, wherever CPAs can be found, really.