Sherise Mercer, Head of Client Strategy, Macquarie Wealth Management
Challenges in balancing work and personal life remains a common theme for accounting and financial services professionals, with many finding it tough to prioritise personal goals, while also growing their business.
While there are different challenges for professionals depending on the stage of their career, there are a number of factors that firms can be focusing on to ensure they are personally succeeding, growing their business and creating better efficiencies, regardless of their life stage and the maturity of their business.
Make the most of your time
According to Macquarie’s Accounting and Financial Services benchmarking report, being independent and in charge of the firm’s future is the biggest personal goal for 64 per cent of business owners, followed by health and wellbeing (45 per cent). However these goals can also create personal and business challenges.
The most challenging aspect of managing work-life balance is spending enough time with family and prioritising personal goals. Effectively managing stress and fatigue at work and home is also a key concern for principals and partners, particularly for those leading smaller firms.
To achieve the greatest outcome for any business, it’s important to know where you are best to focus your time and effort, and actively utilise the resources at your disposal. It’s about prioritising the activities that will add the most value to your business and clients.
Striving for flexibility can also lead to better results for advisers, their teams and clients. Many firms are looking to work more flexibly through the use of technology, clarity of roles, as well as team accountability. Ultimately, principals and partners need to look at ways to leverage the firm’s resources in order to find more time for the things that matter the most – more time with family, for themselves and for working on growing their business.
A professional’s life stage can impact business and personal success
Growing a business comes with a number of complexities, regardless of the stage of a firm. Not surprisingly, accounting and financial services professionals under the age of 45 say their biggest challenge is spending time with family, as they look to establish themselves as leaders within their firm. This is particularly a concern for principals and partners of larger firms, with 45 per cent of leaders at firms earning more than $2 million per year in revenue reporting not having enough time with their family as a major concern, compared to 35 per cent of smaller businesses.
With a third of respondents under 45 saying they had difficulties managing their time effectively, it’s important to look at ways to prioritise the activities that will add value to clients, as well as their business.
Growing your business
Identifying what sets your firm apart from others will help you to prioritise your time and important business decisions, such as the staff you hire, your firm’s offerings and the referral relationships you foster. Referrals play a key role in any firm’s success, and strong client and referral partner relationships are an important driver of value and financial growth for accounting and financial services firms.
For those professionals over 55, their key focus is the future sale of their business as they look to retire, with the main challenge for this group ensuring their firm maintains profitability. At this stage of their career, it’s about taking a step back and looking at where your firm sits in comparison with your competition. This will allow you to see where you can be increasing value within your firm, and where you can prioritise your efforts most wisely. This is not only beneficial for your work with current clients, it will also assist in the preparation for selling your business in the future.
Striking the right balance between business and personal life is important for any firm’s future success and sustainability to help improve efficiency, drive performance and prevent fatigue. While goals and challenges may vary at each life stage, ultimately structuring your business for efficiency, prioritising the most value-adding activities and winning back more personal time will leave accounting and financial services professionals in a good position for the future.
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