The answer to this question is not as easy as it may seem on the surface. If your initial reaction is “absolutely” then you are likely thinking of Walmart as being the 800-pound gorilla in their space. They have an exceptional national footprint; they are a household name, and customers return to buy more from them on a regular basis. These are all solid, logical reasons to want to emulate Walmart.
There is another view on the question. For those who reacted “no way” when thinking about being like Walmart, the adverse reaction was likely triggered for two reasons:
- Walmart is the low cost provider in their markets
- Walmart is the epitome of the generic, big box retailer
Before we go further let’s stipulate that Walmart is an exceptional American success story. The goal of this comparison is to generate some food for thought around how you view your firm today, and where you want to take it in the future.
Most CPA firms today do not want to compete on price. Walmart can do it because they have scale, most of us don’t enjoy that luxury.
Yet clients are increasingly pushing us on our fees – and the reason is they may be viewing us in the same vein as Walmart. The question is what are we doing to push back against this perception and increase the value customers receive from our services?
Here are a few thoughts:
- Don’t make your problems your client’s problem. Internal bottlenecks, workflow issues / bad processes, un-empowered staff, are fixable. Fix them. Don’t make them your client’s problem by having it impact your service.
- Eliminate the “generic” in your business processes and start capturing the unique mix of talent and experience that your firm brings to the table. In other words…showcase your CPA firm’s value!