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How to Structure your Modern Accounting Firm?

In this article, you will learn:

  • How to Structure Your Accounting Firm?
  • Key Roles For Modern Accounting Firm

Until now, staffing in accounting firms has been defined by traditional pyramid structure including the partners at the top level, managers at the middle, and associates at the bottom or entry-level.

Such a structure proved advantageous for the accounting profession for years.

However, the coming of technological advances such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, data analytics, etc, are eventually putting the accounting firms on the path of a permanent change in terms of:

  • the way they undertake business and manage the same
  • Increased emphasis on offering advisory services and strategic inputs
  • Hiring specialists such as specialists with specific industry experience, gig workers with specific technical skills, etc
  • Accommodating technology
  • Shifting to cloud-based accounting
  • Transition to online client onboarding
  • The shift towards content-driven marketing
  • Embracing remote work etc.

Thus, this would require accounting professionals to make adjustments in the organizational structure of their firms as new accounting services, functions, etc would become the new normal.

They will have to introduce staff roles and responsibilities which previously did not exist

In this article, we will look at how accounting firms today can structure their organization so as to be prepared for the future accounting profession.

How to Structure Your Accounting Firm?

Identifying New Roles and Functions

Given the dramatic changes that are going to define the future accounting profession, it is important that you identify key areas and the functional roles that your accounting firm does not have at present.

Many accounting firms are sidelining the idea of introducing new functions into their firm as they do not feel it necessary.

But before being complacent about the same, you need to ask yourself if you would be able to adapt to the changing accounting profession given the current functional roles in your firm.

For instance, client onboarding is increasingly becoming one of the most important functions. This is because you certainly want the new client to have a pleasant experience with regards to your services.

This will not only help to earn your client’s loyalty but also would increase the chances of upselling your services effectively or getting referral business from them.

For this, it is important that you have a dedicated person in the form of a client-onboarding specialist who ensures that new clients have a seamless experience.

Thus, identifying such new roles will make sure that you are able to scale your business at a much faster pace.

Working On The Problem Areas

There are a number of changes that your accounting practice has witnessed over the years.

For instance, many of you have already shifted to cloud-based tools to make your accounting practice future-ready.

Likewise, there would have been changes made in other key areas of your accounting firm.

As a part of restructuring your accounting firm, analyze each of the functional areas as well as the job roles defining such functions.

Hold one-on-one sessions with each of the team members to have a proper understanding of the problems that they are facing and what activities define their job roles.

Similarly, you can have a detailed look at the current processes and the systems in place to see if they require any changes.

For instance, the majority of marketing these days is content-driven, unlike the previous times where your team members had to make cold calls or attend face-to-face meetings.

Now, such a marketing strategy would certainly have an impact on the process and the requisite skills that are needed to undertake the same.

Customized Structure For Your Firms

It is not mandatory that an organization structure that works for your competitor firms might work for you as well.

Therefore, it is necessary that you design a structure for your accounting firm taking into consideration your team, client needs, and your vision as the owner of the accounting firm.

With a proper understanding of every facet of your team, only you would be able to tell what organizational design suits your needs.

For instance, how many associates are needed under one manager? This depends on the kind of structure that you intend to have in your accounting firm, that is, a hierarchical structure or a flat structure.

Key Roles For Modern Accounting Firm


You need a person who can formulate a strategy and give direction to your accounting firm.

Free from all the tax and accounting work, such a person plays an important role in thinking and strategizing ways in which your accounting firm can achieve its goals, vision, and execute the plans.

For instance, one of the partners can take up the role of a CEO.

Onboarding Specialists

As mentioned earlier, you would certainly want your clients to start their journey with you on a positive note.

Having a strong relationship from the beginning gives you incentives such as customer loyalty, referral business, and opportunity to upsell.

Content Specialist

Since marketing in current times is all about content, you need a content specialist who can generate valuable, search engine optimized content consistently to generate relevant leads and establishing your brand identity.

Accounting and Industry Specialists

These include managers and associates from the typical pyramid structure but with a slight change.

While associates are at the entry-level, performing the routine tasks, managers could be specialists providing specific and niche services to the clients belonging to a specific industry.

Having a background in a specific industry, these specialists can provide their expertise, thereby earning you credibility.