Is having a niche as a small accountancy firm too risky?

When talking about niches for accountants and whether or not you should choose a niche, one argument that often comes up for not having a niche is that it leaves you vulnerable to change by being wiped out by a piece of legislation or new regulation. But is a niche really too risky?

We’re all vulnerable to change

I recently read an article on LinkedIn that said one of the arguments against having a niche is that it leaves you vulnerable, that small accountancy firms would be wiped out if a new piece of legislation or new regulation was to come into effect. 

I couldn’t help thinking “Yes, and…?”

When you think about it, all of us, depending on our business models, but particularly accountants, are very vulnerable to a new regulation change that is wiping us out. So why should this be a reason for NOT having a niche? It doesn’t make sense.

A few changes are already in place and affecting us as we speak. You only have to look at Making Tax Digital and how much that is forcing changes in the practice or the new rules around contractors to realise that a lot of people with a heavy core in the public sector have lost business. That’s not even mentioning the most recent regulation, GDPR, that has affected businesses across the whole world.

The point is is that we’ve had a lot of warning about these changes that would be coming into effect, so much so that we’ve had time to adjust and prepare for them.

You need to be looking towards the future

The only way that a new regulation or change would be a risk to your small accountancy firm, leaving you vulnerable, is if you weren’t looking ahead, and as a business owner, you should be doing this all the time anyway.

We’ve known for years in many cases that change is coming so if you’re not looking ahead and working out where your business needs to go and what the future landscape looks like, whether you’re an accountant or not, you are not being a good business owner and you are not leading your business.

This might sound harsh but the reality is, if you’re going to really lead your accountancy practice and grow it to fit within the modern world, you need to be looking towards the future, seeing what’s coming and making course adjustments to your strategy now to prepare for it. Not just waiting until it’s here.

When you think about it, the ‘risk’ that accountancy owners are so worried about when talking about choosing niches for accountants, is not actually about having a niche at all. The risk is themselves.

Having a Niche isn’t the risk, a lack of good business practice is

Change is going to happen. Whatever you do, different rules and regulation will come into effect and you could get wiped out any time. Every accountancy firm is vulnerable to changes like these. All you can do as a good business owner is look ahead and adjust for it. If you don’t, you might not have an accountancy practice going forward.

After reading that LinkedIn article, I realised that this isn’t an argument against having a niche, this is an argument about good business practice. So think about that when you’re looking at niches for accountants, and deciding whether to specialise, and change be a reason that you don’t make the best choices for your firm.

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