2019 predictions for Professional Service Firms

2019 predictions for Professional Service Firms

theGrogroup are experts in advising organisations on how best to improve performance by effectively executing and embedding required change – a regularly quoted phrase is that you are living today, at the slowest pace of change you will ever know” …….. the pace of change in 2019 is likely to continue  and we want to share our insights into what we think will be the key trends impacting firms in 2019 and where the focus will be in developing people and practices.

The uncertainty in relation to Brexit negotiations continues, however what is predictable is the continued pace of change in relation to technology with more firms be using AI, blockchain and other emerging technologies.

We think that the firms that will stand out will be those that really focus on what their clients want from their advisers, especially given current political and economic uncertainty. This client focus combined with absolute clarity on what their people want, especially given the changes in technology and workplace advances, is where we think firms should be focusing.

There is a need to go back to fundamentals for some, and be very clear on:

  • What clients want
  • The employee value proposition

Revenue and income will increasingly come from how firms advise and consult. We think there will be an increased sector approach in firms, with many offering specialisms and targeted, knowledge-rich, support.

Last year we predicted more firms would shift to value-based pricing as they try to become “advisers” rather than just being service providers paid by the hour, and we expect this to continue, with law firms in particular overhauling their pricing models.

The digital revolution is changing the way that work is completed, however this means there is an ever increasing need for excellent advice – as more human oversight/insight is needed, not less.

In addition to a focus on adviser skills, many firms are focussing on succession and investing in upskilling the next generation of leaders at a much earlier stage. And by succession we don’t mean a top down approach replacing existing roles, but a focus on enabling people to adapt to new roles that will be created in the future. This recent article shares more insight on this topic.

In terms of the employee value proposition, there will be a continued emphasis on flexibility and work life balance, especially with technology advances meaning people can work whenever and wherever. In order to stay competitive, firms will need to prove to employees that this is a shared value.

Cultural change is needed, as this is what typically slows down innovation and change in most PSFs. Agile leadership is critical to success, and it will not necessarily be the strongest firms that thrive in 2019 but the most adaptable and the ones embracing change.

Last year we predicted continued merger activity within the profession, the BDO/Moore Stephens is likely to complete in early 2019 and we expect to see further acquisitions and mergers in both the accounting and legal sector.

These are just a handful of our predictions for the year ahead and where we think firms should focus to continually improve performance. We all know that Brexit uncertainty and technology advances are a given, that mergers will continue and employer brand is important, however our key message is that firms need to be advising and obsessed with their clients, with the need for tight relationships across firms including increased collaboration across international networks.

theGrogroup are experts in advising organisations on how best to improve performance by effectively executing and embedding required change. We do this through our proven framework; clarifying change needs, enabling people through skills, behaviours and mind-set development and creating the systems, processes and infrastructure to lock in change as the new normal.  

Wishing you every success in the execution of your firms and personal goals in 2019. If you would like to discuss any aspect of individual and business performance, and possible solutions, please contact us here.