In the light of the pandemic, an economic downturn, and an unparalleled technological upheaval across professional services, we urge firm leaders to take a careful look at their management reporting – and to invest in its maturity and future-readiness. It is, after all, one of the most essential tools for any leadership and management role.
The cost pressure is on for professional services. Shifting client demands, declining prices, new technologies, and an emerging set of fierce competitors are taking a toll on law, consulting, tax, and accounting firms. Especially in times of crisis, cash is king. Once the topline deteriorates, outlasting the competition requires superior cost management. COVID19 is surfacing which firms have successfully adjusted their business and operating models and will be able to cope with the harsher climate of a global recession – and the accelerated digital transformation of professional services. But what exactly are the cost levers when the game is no longer about utilization and hourly rates?
A few months ago, I was interviewed by Ari for his podcast on „Reinventing Professionals“, which I can highly recommend. We discussed my role at KPMG, how law firm and corporate leaders can scale and grow their businesses in the current environment, ways that technology is challenging the business model of traditional professional services firms, and how professional services firms are evolving…
Is your firm prepared for an economic downturn?
ProfessionalServices have largely flourished since the 2008/2009 recession. But how well Professional Services Firms will be able to continue to “score”, will depend on the degree of resilience within their revenue structures and their ability to grow and occupy new market space amidst an unfolding economic downturn.
Can Old Dogs still learn New Tricks? Towards the Next Gen Playbook for Managing Professional Services
The inherited recipes for growth and profitability are eroding as the input-oriented models of traditionally fuzzy knowledge-based services are being replaced by throughput- or output-based compensation for much more client focused and increasingly digital solutions. Leaders and managers in charge of professional service firms need to adjust their management playbook in order to remain relevant in the next generation of professional services. But where to begin?
In order to unlock scalable growth, professional services firms must shift management attention from dividend payouts to firm value – a fundamental and necessary shift in the financial management mindset of Professional Service Firms (PSFs).
While the term „product management” may still sound foreign and incompatible with the fuzzy and often ill-defined (lovingly called “bespoke”) professional service business, its essence is already emerging in many forms, roles and organizational setups. Embracing the role of solution managers consciously and adjusting the organization surrounding them must be a key workstream within the digital transformation journey of any professional service firm today.
The innovation engine of many firms seems to lack power… and the future readiness of many firms appears questionable. Why is that? After all, there is no lack of talent, analytical and strategic capabilities or money in this highly profitable industry.
“You can’t manage, what you can’t measure” – and the #solution view is here to stay as a key business object for #ProfessionalServiceFirms, which needs at least the same kind of management attention as the two core traditional “business objects”, clients and human resources.
Cross- and up-selling in professional service firms has become less of an art but more of a systematic method and data-driven approach that facilitates new growth and scalability.
Traditional business models for professional services are about to expire.
Both established and new players venture into new ways of delivering tangible value to clients and finding smarter ways to charge clients for their work – or rather: the value delivered.
In order to thrive as a next generation PSF, leaders and managers need to acknowledge the need to hire, grow and retain top talent outside of traditional career paths – offering alternatives to contribute to a firm‘s success, to shape its path and drive its future.