Professional practices advisory consulting
Professional practices operate in a changing, complex and regulated environment, with a unique set of challenges, including:
- Cost-aware clients, leading to a market wide focus on cost reduction, streamlining processes and outsourcing;
- Limited historic investment in technology, data and analytics, impacting operational efficiency and draining management time and project resources;
- Increased competition, leading to mergers and acquisitions for growth and differentiation;
- New ways of raising capital, creating both opportunities and threats;
- Risk and regulatory pressures; and
- A need to attract and retain the best talent and client base through cultural values and balancing profit and purpose.
Through Partner-led delivery, we advise at a strategic level to deliver the best solution for your firm. Combining industry experience with data analytics, we identify root causes and work to optimise performance.
While firms continue, in the most part, to perform well, with revenue and profit growth materially above inflation for a number of years, generating these returns appears to be getting harder, primarily due to increased competitive pressure. This drives financial pressures from technology investment in systems, data and analytics to higher staff costs, as well as cultural pressures on fee earners to increase billable hours. Although better management of lock-up is often focused on as an option to finance these investment areas, this plus wider working capital management, cost control and operational efficiency each remain persistent issues across the sector.
We combine data driven analytics with commercial acumen to enable firms to work smarter:
- Margin and operational efficiency maximisation – we conduct segmented analytical reviews of margin, pricing strategy and importantly pricing practice by team. By analysing recovery rates, utilisation and levels of billing adjustments by grade and team, we identify root causes and target realistic improvements, rather than purely pushing fee earners to increase billable hours. We can also produce live dashboards to ensure effective ongoing management of these key performance indicators.
- Cost reduction and streamlining – we combine benchmarking with bottom-up overhead cost reviews and propose areas for improvements. We also review procurement processes and practices with a focus on pricing, economies of scale and payment terms. With significant experience in post-acquisition integration support we are able to work with your firm to ensure synergies are achieved, processes are streamlined and any legacy issues are resolved. With recent sudden changes to working practices and the associated real estate cost base, our real estate experts can support transitions to leaner operating models.
- Lock-up and working capital optimisation – with our analytical lock-up review by team that can pull relevant information from both practice management software and accounting systems, we identify targeted improvement opportunities. We also go further than just lock-up, with a focus on disbursement payment cycles and overhead working capital management.
Whatever you bring us in the help with, we ensure enduring change is implemented to deliver a successful outcome.
Experience and success stories:
- Integration projects aligning processes and procedures, with a focus on regulatory requirements including GDPR, client money and billing processes
- Operational efficiency improvement combined with cost reduction reviews and implementation support
- Delivering asset-based lending facilities (such as disbursement funding) to better fund working capital cycles without utilising firm cash
- Using technology and data analysis to stratify elements of lock-up and working capital to improve the net position, including exception reporting
- Identifying and resolving cash drains and identifying cash improvement opportunities
- Reviewing and optimising integrated financial forecasting models and short-term cash flow forecasts to ensure visibility and accuracy
- Implementing live dashboards to track delivery of KPIs, with drilldowns and performance tracking by team
- Resolution projects including data cleansing/alignment, backlog clearance projects
Your firm will benefit from a co-ordinated, cross-discipline service from our specialist professional practices team. We have more than 50 partners, directors and staff, providing all-round accounting, tax, business, financial planning and investment advice tailored to your needs.
With experience of more than 100 professional practice clients across the UK, we have the expertise to help steer your management team through your firm’s unique challenges, to enable you to effect change successfully.
Our active involvement with influential trade and industry bodies such as the Association of Partnership Practitioners ensures we are closely connected to the issues and concerns of professional practices and can innovate to address them.
We seek not just to solve but anticipate the challenges professional practices face. Our insight programme condenses these issues and shines light on solutions for clients, meeting the challenges together.