Several years ago Glenn Harper was running Harper & Company like many other CPA firms. The business was filled with accountants. Tax season was their bread and butter. He was doing business.
Fast forward to today, and his CPA firm has transitioned to more advisory work while bringing on some non-accountants to the team, increasing profitability and creating a positive workplace culture.
Seeing the need
As Glenn looked at several of his clients who had shifted from doing business to building a business, he noticed that they all had one thing in common: a really strong operations manager. It didn’t matter whether the title was COO or practice manager.
Glenn realized that he didn’t have the necessary skills to fill this role – and another accountant wouldn’t be able to do it either. In order for his firm to make the shift, he needed someone with a strong background in managing teams who was organized and process-driven.
The original JULIE™
Enter Julie Smith. Julie was hired by Glenn to do what he couldn’t – oversee the implementation of the firm’s vision. Glenn jumped right in and empowered Julie to create the processes that would make his vision a reality.
Using her expertise, Julie matched roles with individual team members, creating a culture where every piece is vital to the whole. This empowered the team to step into those roles and execute them with excellence.
But this process wasn’t without bumps in the road. It became clear very early on that communication could be a potential roadblock. With different communication styles and needs, they were engaging in conversations without really hearing the other person. This had to be addressed, and it took someone to recognize this was happening in order to address it.
When they learned to communicate in ways the other could understand, they were able to create a solid foundation that was bigger than the parts. Julie was empowered to move the team toward the firm goals while helping to keep Glenn accountable to his vision.
A new role
With Julie honing the processes, helping to shape the brand, and taking ownership of seeing the company vision accomplished, Glenn was able to shift his focus. No longer encumbered by the day to day processes and operations, he could lead his team and build his business.
In a few short years, with the right processes and the right people, Glenn and Julie saw the business transform from a CPA firm that focused primarily on tax returns to one that focuses on advising clients on tax strategy and how to build profitable businesses.
They formalized their systems and processes to share with other CPA firms across the country. If Glenn could hire a JULIE™, why couldn’t other firms as well? They had found a shortcut: a different way of doing things that freed up bandwidth to allow them to focus on building the business.
The partnership between the firm owner/leader and the practice manager is crucial for success. The 2 roles work in harmony and balance each other. Without a JULIE™, it’s easy for business owners to get stuck in the weeds, doing business the way they’ve always done it.
Glenn and Julie have proven that there is another way. Business owners don’t have to be stuck on the hamster wheel.
When you as the firm owner recognize that you are also an entrepreneur who can’t do it all, you open up the door to get to the next level. Getting the right people in the right positions with the right systems will transform your business. And it all starts when you find the person for your JULIE™ role.