I received my accounting degree in 1982 and six years later purchased the firm I had been working at since my college days. By the end of 2011, I was burned out and ready to give up. I’d had enough of employee problems. I’d had enough of too many hours of work. I just didn’t see any end in sight, so the easiest thing to do was sell my practice and try something else.
Over the years, I had sought the assistance of a couple of consulting firms. They had some good theories but not the solid, practical help I needed to get things moving in the right direction. One told me that we were running a country club for our employees. This was an astute observation, but they didn’t then provide the help we needed to improve staff productivity. Another conducted a communication workshop in our office. The workshop made us more aware of how poor the communication was in our office, but it didn’t give us any tools to help us communicate any better.
Rather than getting rid of the practice in a fire sale, my wife and I decided to give it one more try. We sent off for Sterling’s free video and then spoke with the owners of a nearby accounting firm. They had nothing but good things to say about the Sterling program so we decided to give Sterling a try.
After attending a few of their classes and some training, things immediately began smoothing out in the office. Staff started taking more responsibility for their own jobs instead of dumping their problems on me. With the new organizational structure, and by improving individual productivity, we were able to get more work out the door. There was less stress that first tax season and every year since.
With the increased productivity, our revenues have shot up 30% even though we have now have three fewer accountants. The best part is that I don’t have to work longer hours and we have increased our vacation time from three to six weeks. My wife and I just got back from three weeks in China and we still have plenty of time to visit our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchild (with one more on the way). It is a very fun part of our life.
After three years with Sterling, I am no longer talking about walking away from the practice. Being an accountant is fun and exciting again. We are now planning on hiring some more people, freeing me up to use my securities license to help clients build stronger financial positions. When I am finally ready to retire, the firm will be much more marketable and I can do an orderly transition of ownership rather than a fire sale.
Sterling doesn’t just have good ideas about how a practice should be run, it has the expertise and skills to help you put those ideas into action. I think you will find, as we have, that the Sterling program is an excellent investment.
Nelson Murri, CPA