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Professional Service Firm Assessment And Improvement Tool

By Michael VanBruaene, Guest Blogger

Challenges for professional service firms include securing and retaining clients, profitability and recruiting and retaining employees.  There is also the challenge to revise services, or develop new services, as client requirements and competition evolves.  This evaluation and improvement framework can support a review of your organization to determine your strengths and where there is a need to make improvements.  It’s structured so that you can focus on certain organizational areas or your entire organization.

Professional service firms include services provided by accountants, business consultants, financial services firms, attorneys, architects and real estate brokers; also in-house process improvement groups or internal audit departments.  And they entail several or all of these characteristics:

  • Applying synthesized information and knowledge; analysis and hypothesis testing incorporating client needs, wants and circumstances.
  • Fluid client environments.
  • Delivering work results verbally and in writing.
  • Preparing proposals describing the scope of work to be performed, pricing, qualifications (prior related experience and qualifications of employees that will deliver the service) to do the work and a work plan.
  • Extensive interaction with the client and normally more than one person at the client.
  • The specific content of the deliverable is not known at the start of your work.
  • Work performed by teams which could have multiple disciplines (e.g. technical, sales and generalist) represented.
  • A matrix organization structure and fluid work environment that is continually reacting and adapting to business opportunities and client requirements.

Our Evaluation and Improvement Framework Has The Following Categories:

  • Direction and Focus – Top Management
  • Positive Work Culture
  • Strong Understanding of Core Competencies
  • Knowing Your Strategic Environment
  • Marketing and Sales – Getting Work Opportunities
  • Directing Your Professional Services Organization
  • Client Risk Management
  • To Propose Or Not To Propose
  • Contracts
  • Managing Service and Project Delivery
  • Managing the Professional Service Team
  • Financial Operations

For details go to

Michael VanBruaene was a KPMG Director and blogs at  Michael VanBruaene Pragmatic Performance Improvement Services – Advancing Your Organization ( He can also be contacted at

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