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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 23 January 2012
I have been carrying out some informal research into the role of the Accountant as professional advisor to small and medium sized businesses.

A really useful source of information has been Steve Pipe's 'The UK's best accountancy practices'. Pipe provides case studies of over 40 UK accountancy practices, each of which provide fascinating insights as to how our best accountancy practices are serving the business sector. Most of the practices service small and medium-sized businesses and are, themselves, small businesses.

In seeking to help us learn lessons from successful businesses, Pipe is following an approach adopted by some very influential books, such as Peters and Waterman's 'In Search of Excellence' and Collins' 'Good to Great'. The scope of the book may be narrower than these predecessors - while Pipe states that he hopes that the examples of excellence will inspire, he makes it clear "there is no theory in these pages - just example after example of what real UK accountancy practices have done ... to generate better results for their clients, their communities and theselves". Some common themes are identified, but it is left up to us to decide which of the diverse range of examples might inspire us to do things differently. By letting us draw our own conclusions, Pipe will avoid the criticism that followed both 'In Search of Excellence' and 'Good to Great' when some of the quoted exemplars in those books failed to deliver exceptional financial performance over a sustained period.

Reading the case studies, I got the impression that many of the practices may have been following (directly or indirectly) the approaches advocated by Michael Gerner in 'E-myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It' - a book that, though very different in style, I also think is of great valuable. But if you are looking for a book that is specific to the business of Accountancy, I find Pipe's work much more useful than the rather light-weight (in my opinion) 'The e-Myth Accountant: Why Most Accounting Practices Don't Work and What to Do About it' by Gerber and Darren Root. Indeed, 'The UK's best accountancy practices' provides examples of excellence that should inspire anyone who works in a small service business - the lessons can be applied far more widely than just in accountancy practices.
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on 9 June 2013
Much of the content seems to be unrealistic and I am not convinced that all of the claims are genuine, so it would be interesting to know if the claims have been independently verified.

It is also interesting to note that almost all of the accountants included in the book are members of AVN, an organisation which Steve Pipe founded.

Very few of the accountants in the book are not members of AVN, so was the book written in an independent and unbiased manner?

I have tried one of the solutions mentioned in the book (not an AVN solution I might add) and despite putting in a lot of effort and resources and using the solution to the full extent, found it to be a complete waste of time (and money).

I also did not see any mention of cloud applications (correct me if I am wrong - I might have missed it) which is clearly a bandwagon that any forward thinking accountant would have been looking to jump onto at the time this book was being written, so I would have expected this area to have been mentioned by many of the accountants.

To me, this book just looked like an advertisement for AVN!
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on 17 November 2011
Well Done, Steve Pipe.

You have demonstrated that accountants can (and often do) delight their clients..., deliver legendary service and offer incredible value for money.

This book is not for the old school accountant; they will be terrified by the customer-focused, service-obssessed case studies/research that Steve has assembled for the book. Stunning businesses that deliver stunning results for their clients, staff and owners - what could be a better story than that!

When I wrote Grow Your Service Firm I focused on all manor of service-based buisnesses, including accountants. Steve's book, on the other hand, has a razor-sharp focus on how to run a great accounacy practice. This is not a one-size-fits-all prescriptive formula.

This book throws out a challenge to all accountants. Do you want to be average, run-of-the-mill, ordinary, dull and beige? Or do you want to do something that you can be proud of? Create a legacy... create something worthy of being talked about... It is a no-brainer to me.

Robert Craven
Author [...]

(sent via my account which insists my name is Anthony!!!!)
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on 25 July 2011
I read this book cover to cover in one session.

It's a fascinating and insightful read and contains a lot of practical insights about how to identify and deliver what clients really want from their accountants. But it's not a one-way street. These accountants have found that what they're doing increases their job satisfaction, earns them more cash, and gives them longer holidays. That's got to be good news.

As an accountant who trained in practice a great deal of this resonated with me and made me resolve that if I ever go back into practice this book will be straight down off the shelf.

But it's not just accountants who'll benefit from this book. Anyone running a service-based business can pick up useful nuggets and tips here, such as tools for collecting customer feedback, and suggestions to create wows for the customer.

A highly recommended read.

M
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on 23 June 2011
I have the pleasure of knowing Steve Pipe personally and am also extremely proud to be mentioned in his book.

What Steve doesn't know about the accounting profession really isn't worth knowing, and the many ideas in this book should help you put a plan together to totally transform your practice.

I know, as that's exactly what I did, and this book contains a massive bank of information, hints & tips to start creating the practice you want, and ultimately the life you want.

It can be done, these are all true stories, served up by a true giant of the accounting profession...
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on 1 March 2012
It's not often that a read a book cover to cover in one sitting. It's even rarer that it is a book focused around 40+ case studies of small accountancy practices who have truly excelled in part of their business; which has lead to greater profitability and high levels of employee satisfaction.

Steve needs to be congratulated on writing 'The UK's best accountancy practices', and gaining permission to share the insight of these 40+ practices. Although the majority of the case studies are from within Steve's AVN's network, just implementing one or two ideas from the book will help most small practice owners, of which the professional is predominantly composed, grow their revenue and profitability, whilst having more fun and spending less time at work.

This book has given me lots of ideas to implement with my own clients who are small professional practices.

This book should be required reading for you if:
* You are a junior partner in a professional services firm (legal as well as accountancy) who wants ideas on how to grow the practice sustainably and profitably
* run your own 1-10 partner professional services firm
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on 9 August 2011
This has to be the best book published in 2011 so far. I do know Steve personally and have had the pleasure to work with him and the AVN team for several years now. Their pro-active approach to modern day accountancy firms, up and down the country, large & small is totally refershing. I took this book and 6 others on a recent 3 week cruise and came back with so many ideas, I need another 3 weeks just to implement them and train up the team. This book IS A MUST READ, for any UK accountancy firm wishing to take advantage of the opportunities we have in 2011, amidst all the doom and gloom around us today.
If we dont add another 25% clear profit over the next 12 mnonths , straight to our bottom line, as a result of implementing the ideas that I have flagged up on my 2nd reading of the book, then I'll be very surprised. I would hasten to add that as a result of being AVN memebers for several years, a lot of the modern day practices have already been implementeed by us and are echoed in the book by fellow firms, who I have also got to know personally.
In short, DON'T MISS OUT!
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on 8 September 2011
OK, once you're past the immediate thought that this might be a rather self-indulgent personal account of how the author has added value to his clients, that frees the way to immerse yourself in a torrent of practical and powerful tips and ideas to potentially transform the mediocrity of the average accounting firm.

As an advisor specialising in professional service firms myself, I felt each story in he book resonating strongly with the sort of guidance that I have been advocating for 15 years. Some got it long ago, some have recently embarked on the trip. Some will never listen. That's entirely normal for anything innovative, as we know.

If you sit comfortably (or so it seems) in the peloton of the average firms in the UK (which I believe is an inordinately dangerous place to be right now) and want to stay as you are, I suggest you don't read this book. In fact, don't even allow it anywhere near your office. On the other hand, if you want some inspiration to make the transition to a firm that clients are really looking for, it will give you energy for the journey.
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on 25 July 2011
I started of being highly cynical of Steve Pipe and the company he formed - AVN.

More recently I attended Steve Pipe's seminar called Proactivity. I was totally blown away by Steve and his ideas on way to change the world of complacent accountancy practices. He was spot on in what he way saying.

I then read Steve's book. This gives clear evidence of how much success accountancy practices have achieved through implementing Steve's ideas. His book shows case by case how successful accountancy practices have been through embracing Steve's ideas and using the exceptional tools that he and his team have made available.

Due to massive improvements in technology, accountancy practices can no longer rely on compliance work as their main source of income. We as accountants need to change. The book gives clear evidence of how implementing Steve's ideas you can improve your income, your quality of life and more importantly help your clients improve their business.

Just reading a few cases studies from the book more than pays its covers price.
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on 6 September 2011
Steve Pipe has produced a book that is both inspiring and practical. It provides 42 case studies which demonstrate not only that innovation and exceptional results are possible, but very achievable even in the smallest of practices. I've attended the RANONE (Paul Dunn) Bootcamp, sat through numerous seminars and webinars, but found this book to be the single most inspiring and practical 'manual' I've ever come across. It is full of ideas and tools that have been proven to work in the real world, many of which could be implemented with a little effort (and a positive attitude!). For those of us who have 'failed to implement' in the past, there is even a section which deals with the excuses which gave us cause to procrastinate.
If you run, or work, in an accountancy practice buy this book.
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