CPA Firm Increases Efficiencies Through a Leaner, More Strategic Approach to Work

The business issue: As audit fees became increasingly competitive and the audit industry shifted its focus to a more consultative approach, Hein & Associates needed to improve efficiencies so it could gain capacity – and thus improve client service, realization and employee morale.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In many cases, this saying rings true ... and for some firms, the status quo is just fine. Sure, these firms may not be excelling to their full potential, but they’re getting by. But what if your firm could thrive in an environment where the odds seem
to be stacked against you at times? A few years ago, Hein & Associates LLP, a top 100 CPA and advisory firm headquartered in Denver, noticed that audits were becoming a commodity
again and that the industry was shifting to a more consultative environment. As was the case, the firm’s audit team found themselves up against increasingly competitive audit fees from competitors. And when the team looked at its realization on audit engagements,
especially for recurring engagements, there was no movement or improvement on their metrics.

Hein’s audit team tried to approach the situation in a variety of ways. They lowered audit fees, looked for ways to cut hours, tried to adjust employee scheduling – all so they could fit more jobs in and gain capacity. The result: stressed employees, lower morale and not much improvement on their metrics.

The Breaking Point

“Around this time, our managing partner had attended a few events where he heard about LeanCPA,” said Kenny Grace, CPA. “He encouraged our audit team to shake it up and see if the LeanCPA solution could help our audits be more efficient.”

Always a fan of due diligence, Kenny talked with two other firms that had gone through the LeanCPA program and discovered that in both cases, 80 percent of the partners at those firms were getting into the field and talking through audit issues with clients instead of just writing comments.

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