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How to Spotlight Issues in Your Firm Using Strategic Data Analytics

March 1, 2022

Series Introduction

by Steve McDonald, CPA

We’ve all heard about the cobbler’s children—how they’re the ones who go shoeless. But all too often we see this story play out in real life: We get so wrapped up in solving our clients’ challenges we neglect the ones afflicting our firm. Thankfully, there are tools that can help us avoid this plot line.

One such tool that allows our firm to proactively identify issues and stay on track is called “Compass”—a strategic data analytics solution for CPA firms we designed and built in 2019. Simply put, it’s a one-click data visualization, updated twice a day, that gives us a window into our firm’s operations.

Compass has drastically streamlined our reporting process by eliminating the need for spreadsheets. Most important, it gives us objective data that keeps everyone on the same page.

But here’s the thing: A CPA firm—or any business, for that matter—generates an incredible amount of data each day. How do you know which data points to focus on? And what do you do with the information you glean?

In our experience, we’ve found that focusing on the following key data points ensures our firm stays aligned with its vision:

  • Productivity
  • Capacity
  • Employee performance
  • Client growth (and where it’s occurring)
  • Client performance by line of business or industry niche
  • Employee development

How can you harness the power of data to solve your firm’s challenges?

In this article series, I’ll share how digging deeper into these data points has transformed the way we function as a firm. In addition to getting a clearer picture of our operations, we’ve been able to improve utilization and address the root cause of issues—before they cause problems.

Since implementing our strategic data analytics solution, we’ve seen an estimated $200,000 benefit through increased realization and rates per hour, plus we’ve reduced the number of hours staff members spend on tedious reporting activities.

In our next article, we’ll highlight what strategic data analytics can reveal about your firm’s productivity. In the meantime, if you’d like to explore how a strategic data analytics solution could benefit your firm, contact us today.



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