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Secrets of successful practices revealed

May 2016: By studying more than 50 thriving accountancy firms around the world, many of them with less than 10 people, Steve Pipe has discovered what lies behind a thriving practice.

Author Steve Pipe, FCA, has written “The World’s Most Inspiring Accountants”, a new book* which sets out the results of case studies from 57 thriving accounting practices from across the world. Steve’s book focuses on maximising the positive impact that accountants make to the lives of clients and their businesses.

The 57 case study firms are representative of the global profession in terms of size, structure, client and location; 71% have one or two partners or teams of less than 10 people, they serve small and medium sized businesses, the practices are run by accountants from varied backgrounds and include recent start-ups.

Impact of accounting skills

The positive impact that accountants can make comes from their core skills such as: asking the right questions, understanding what is most important to the client, listening, building trust, communicating effectively, and being supportive and encouraging at the same time as being truthful and candid.

Impact of accounting services

The core accounting services that create the greatest impact include:

  • Accounting systems that deliver up-to-date, reliable and accurate information at all times
  • Robust internal controls to minimise the key risks of things going wrong
  • Management accounts so clients receive the information they need on a timely basis
  • Decision support so that data and information is properly understood and used
  • Virtual finance director to provide proactive high-level input when clients need it
  • Independent second opinion by acting as a sounding board for ideas, issues and challenges
  • Board/Management meeting support to help clients be focused, efficient, and effective
  • Forecasting with integrated profit and loss, cashflow and balance sheet – to ensure that clients’ plans stack up financially


Economic and personal impacts for clients in the case studies include improving clients’ work-life balance through workload reduction, restoring family harmony or restoring clients’ self-esteem, improved sense of purpose, transforming cashflow, securing financial futures, preventing business failure, lifting clients out of “special measures” and back into mainstream banking.

*The Book
LSCA members who would like a complimentary abridged version of Steve’s book “The World’s Most Inspiring Accountants” can obtain one directly from Steve on steve@stevepipe.com

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