Pain in my Side! How a Tax Season Emergency Proved That Being Radical Works

The last week in March, traditionally one of the hardest weeks of the season, I went into work on Monday with a pain in my side.

By the end of the day, the pain had worsened and I was in the emergency room.

By the following Wednesday, I was scheduled for urgent abdominal surgery with a recovery time of four to six weeks.

I will spare you the details (though I do now have photos), but I was told I would be down and out for the end of tax season. Ouch.

This is an old school’s CPAs worst nightmare. Managing partner has a medical emergency and the firm goes off the rails in frustration and despair!

Good thing I’m not an old school CPA.

My focus was on the pain in my side and whether it would stop hurting. I was not concerned about my firm. I knew it would function and I knew it would function well.  Last year I made the decision to hire a tax manager proficient in our tax system (CCH Axcess) so I could get out of the technical work and focus primarily on growth.

It has proved to be a very smart decision.

Although we only have six employees, including me, almost none of my work now is “billable.”

I spend my time on R&D, management, relationships, and marketing.   Which is where I believe all managing partners should spend their time.

Yet, I know for a fact, most do not.

According to the latest AICPA MAP Survey, some partners spend as many 1,200 or more billable hours on technical work. How are firms ever going to change with partners in the trenches?

Radical firm partners can continue to evolve because technology has increased capacity to allow for more work without more human hours and still be profitable.

When you use technology to get away from the inefficient billable hour, you have an opportunity to create more capacity and make more money. This frees up the partner, as well as team members to do other critical work.

The opportunity to continually evolve and grow my firm is more important to me than making money. But, if you wanted to make more money…you totally could!

The past couple weeks have proven why firms need a new business model.  I’m so thankful I began a Radical journey years ago. Our tax season didn’t miss a beat without me. How many firms my size or even larger could say the same thing?

That’s the best feeling ever.

I don’t just have a firm, I have a viable business which is exponentially more valuable.

What kind of firm do you want? Are you willing to make changes and get Radical? Is the viability of your firm worth it?

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