I work with many CPA firms on strategic planning. Often, there is confusion about the dedication and focus it takes to carry out a strategy.
Here is a brief passage from David Maister’s book, Strategy and the Fat Smoker that helps clarify strategy.
To be different in the eyes of the marketplace, you have to be known for something in particular. It’s not enough just to be known. (That’s name awareness, which is not the same thing as being seen as differentiated). And you can’t have a reputation for being something specific if you only to it occasionally.
The very essence of having a strategy is being selective about choosing the criteria on which a firm wishes to compete, and them being creative and disciplined in designing an operation that is finely tuned to deliver those particular virtues.
If you are charged with leadership of a CPA firm or want to be in the future, read Maister’s book on strategy.