CPA Growth Trends, Marketing

Beginner’s Guide: How to Begin Developing KPIs for Your Firm

Developing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is an essential part of measuring marketing success and aligning your efforts with business objectives. KPIs are critical in helping marketers and business leaders track progress, improve results, and achieve their organization’s goals. But with access to so much data at our fingertips, getting lost in information overload is easy. Here are a few tips beginner marketers can implement to help when developing KPIs for their accounting firms.

Define your firm’s goals

Your KPIs should be linked directly to your firm’s strategy, so it’s critical to understand the company’s objectives. Speak with partners, managers and other key stakeholders to understand your firm’s mission, core values and vision, and then work together to determine your most critical business goals. All firm goals are different and subject to change as the business evolves. A newer company’s goals could be related to brand awareness and customer acquisition, while a more established firm may focus on the lifetime value of a customer or the cost per acquisition. If you don’t already have a strategic marketing plan for your firm, now is a great time to develop one to help you home in on what’s most important.

Develop SMART KPIs and metrics

KPIs should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Consider the following questions when developing your KPIs:

Specific: Are your KPIs specific, clear and focused enough to be easily understood by anyone in your organization? Make sure your objectives have concrete outcomes and avoid vague statements. For example, instead of setting a goal to increase brand awareness, consider a specific target, such as increasing website traffic by 15% in the next six months. Ensure your goals are as straightforward as possible so there’s no room for miscommunication or ambiguity.

Measurable: Can your KPIs be measured easily, either quantitatively or qualitatively? Most KPIs are quantitative and measure numerical data, such as annual revenue or customer acquisition cost. Qualitative KPIs measure non-numerical data such as insights, characteristics and perceptions about your firm that are usually subject to opinion, such as customer satisfaction or brand perception. When choosing which metrics to measure, remember that not all will be relevant for your firm or help drive the bottom line. Focus on measuring just a few key KPI metrics that will impact your firm the most.

Achievable: Are your KPIs realistic and appropriate based on your firm’s operational performance, size, budget, etc.? Setting unrealistic goals can strain resources and hurt your team’s morale, while goals that are too easy won’t lead to growth, so it’s essential to strike the right balance.

Relevant: Do your KPIs support the firm’s strategy, vision and goals? Focus on adding firm-wide strategic value rather than looking at less critical, localized objectives. Just because you can track something doesn’t mean you should. Marketers must educate partners and firm leaders on what is most crucial and how it’s driving business.

Time-bound: Can your objective be achieved within a specific timeframe? Projects without a timeline can often drop on the priority list and may get left in the dust. Set deadlines to present your reports and collaborate with firm leaders to communicate progress, gain input and align expectations.

Review your KPIs regularly

It’s essential to regularly review your KPIs to evaluate their performance, assess ROI, adapt to market changes and ensure your efforts still align with the firm’s goals. You may have to adjust your KPIs based on performance and any changes in the business to ensure you’re always focusing on the metrics that matter most.

Partners and firm leaders often have limited time and want to concisely see how your marketing efforts are impacting the bottom line. Selecting the right KPIs for your firm saves time, keeps your high-level goals in mind, converts abstract ideas into manageable targets, and cuts down on information overload so you can offer critical insights that help drive long-term growth.

About Megan O'Donnell


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