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Debunking the Myth: Why Meetings Are Not a Waste of Time for Accounting Firms

Discover why better meetings are the key to your firm's success

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Let’s face it, meetings have a bad reputation, often being perceived as a waste of time. But, at Agendali we argue that the real issue lies in unproductive meetings, not meetings themselves. Well-run meetings are the key to unlocking your firm’s full potential.

Employee Development: The Keystone of Firm Success

One of the most compelling reasons for holding regular meetings is their role in employee development. In an accounting firm, employees are not just number crunchers; they are the bedrock of the business. Meetings provide a structured environment where employees can share insights, learn from each other, and receive feedback. This collaborative atmosphere fosters continuous learning and professional growth.

Annual performance reviews are no longer fit for purpose because things are moving so fast. Instead, embracing more frequent reviews, ideally monthly or at least quarterly, is essential. Regular 1-2-1 meetings help identify areas where employees excel and where they need further development. This real-time proactive approach ensures that every member of the team continuously improves their skills, enhancing the overall quality of the firm’s services.

Building a Strong Culture

Every business has a culture, the key to building a strong culture is being intentional. Team meetings are essential in shaping the culture of an accounting firm. They provide a regular forum for communication, collaboration, and reinforcement of the firm’s values and mission. By bringing everyone together, these meetings create a shared sense of purpose and belonging among employees. Discussing successes, addressing challenges collectively, and celebrating milestones helps cultivate a positive and inclusive workplace culture.

Recognising team members who live the core values during meetings can bring these values to life. Sharing core value stories not only reinforces the firm’s commitment to its principles but also inspires others to embody these values. Moreover, adopting a more transactional approach by sharing individual, team, and company performance against targets keeps everyone aligned and motivated.

Enhancing Accountability

Regular team and 1-2-1 meetings are a cornerstone for building accountability. They create a structured environment where responsibilities and expectations are clearly communicated. During these meetings, team members can provide updates on their projects and actions, discuss progress towards goals, and address any obstacles they encounter. This regular check-in process ensures that everyone is on the same page and accountable for their tasks.

A prime example of effective accountability is the Level 10 meeting from the book Traction by Gino Wickman, where there is a target of completing 80% of actions each week. Firms can develop an accountability policy to ensure actions and projects are completed on time. This policy, coupled with regular progress updates, helps maintain momentum and ensures that tasks do not fall through the cracks.

Client Development: Building Stronger Relationships

For accounting firms, client relationships are paramount, and meetings play a critical role in nurturing these relationships. Regular check-ins with clients help in understanding their evolving needs, addressing their concerns, and providing personalised advice. This level of engagement not only enhances client satisfaction but also builds long-term loyalty.

The way meetings are run significantly impacts how your firm is perceived and what price you can command. Effective client meetings showcase the firm’s expertise and thought leadership, demonstrating value beyond routine compliance tasks. This advisory role positions the firm as a trusted partner in the client’s business journey, leading to more significant, more profitable engagements. Additionally, ensuring the firm is not overserving and incurring the cost of scope creep is essential for maintaining profitability.

A strategic approach to client development involves turning bad clients into good clients and good clients into great clients. By regularly engaging with clients and understanding their pain points and aspirations, firms can tailor their services to better meet client needs. This proactive approach can transform challenging client relationships into mutually beneficial partnerships. For good clients, consistent and value-driven interactions can elevate them to great clients who are not only loyal but also advocates for your firm.

Meetings are a key element of the client experience and the way they are conducted plays an important role in how your firm is perceived. Well-structured meetings with clear agendas, focused discussions, and actionable takeaways demonstrate professionalism and a commitment to client success. This professional approach reinforces the client’s confidence in your firm, making them more likely to refer new business and expand their existing engagements.

Ultimately, building stronger client relationships through effective meetings is not just about maintaining business—it’s about growing it. Firms that excel in client development see tangible benefits in terms of client retention, satisfaction, and profitability. By leveraging meetings as a strategic tool, accounting firms can turn every client interaction into an opportunity for growth and excellence.

Business Growth: The Ultimate Goal

When employees and clients are developing and growing, the natural outcome is business growth. Well-developed employees provide higher quality service, innovate solutions, and improve operational efficiencies. Satisfied and well-served clients are more likely to refer new business and expand their existing engagements.

Meetings are the crucible in which these growth elements are forged. Strategic meetings, such as annual planning sessions, goal-setting discussions, and performance reviews, align the firm’s objectives with its operational activities. They ensure that everyone in the firm is moving in the same direction and working towards common goals. This alignment is essential for coherent and sustainable business growth.

Overcoming Technician Resistance

Despite these benefits, technicians often resist meetings because they perceive them as a distraction from their technical tasks. This is understandable but it’s essential for firm leaders to not fall into this trap and address this resistance by making meetings more effective. The use of best meeting practices, including clear agendas, time management, and focused discussions can transform meetings from time-wasters into productive sessions.

Explaining the purpose and benefits of meetings will help technicians see the bigger picture. When they understand meeting drive their professional growth, client satisfaction, and the firm’s success, they are more likely to engage positively.

What Next?

The notion that meetings are a waste of time is a myth that needs debunking. For accounting firm owners, understanding and leveraging the true value of meetings can transform your team’s performance, client relationships, and overall business growth.

By fostering a culture that values meetings and continuous improvement, accounting firms can turn meetings into powerful tools for success. So, the next time you schedule a meeting, remember: it’s not just a discussion—it’s an investment in your firm’s future.

With that in mind, firms looking to stay ahead of the curve can have better meetings by embedding best meeting practices using Agendali.com Meeting Performance Software.

Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

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