From single to multidisciplinary: the crucial role of shared equity.

Shared equity is not just about shared profits; it's about shared responsibility, growth, and future.

In a recent interview, Slipstream Group Business Coach Michael Spinks, who successfully transitioned his financial planning firm into a multidisciplinary business, shared valuable insights into his journey. We explore why he made the decision to build an additional service arm in his business, and the importance of shared equity for anyone considering a similar move. 


Why Shift to Multidisciplinary? 

Michael embarked on this journey two decades ago when the business landscape differed. His vision was to combine financial planning and accounting under one roof, aligning with the vision of other industry leaders. The demand within his client base for multidisciplinary services was clear, and this was the motivation behind the transition. However, Michael acknowledges that today's regulatory environment might warrant a different approach. 


Challenges Faced

Michael highlights a common issue in multidisciplinary firms: the financial planning division often underperforms. This problem arises when financial planning is added as an afterthought, and similar issues can occur when an FP business attempts to integrate accounting without thorough prior strategic planning. In many cases, one service arm becomes a break-even operation or even worse, detracts from the overall profit of the firm. Often, symptoms present as inefficiencies, low-value work, a lack of cross referrals and little client visibility and shared data. This usually all links back to a lack of strategic planning and ownership and accountability from day one.  


Moreover, Michael points out that establishing a shared ownership structure from the outset mitigates these challenges by aligning all partners to the unified goal of business excellence. He suggests that shared equity is a catalyst for collaboration, as it encourages partners to look beyond their individual success and work towards a common business objective. 


The Three Keys to Success: Culture, Equity, and Platform 

Michael Spinks outlines three crucial elements for success in a multidisciplinary business: 

  1. Culture: A unified culture is essential. Every member of the firm, regardless of their discipline, should share a joint mission and values. 
  1. Common Equity: Shared equity across the business is vital. In a well-functioning multidisciplinary firm, equity owners should own the entire business, not just a part of it. This approach ensures that all stakeholders are invested in the firm's success. 
  1. Platform: A common platform or CRM system (single source of truth) is needed to integrate both business units seamlessly. The end client should perceive the firm as a single entity, not as separate businesses operating under the same roof. 


Shared Equity: A Critical Consideration 

Slipstream Group CEO, Sharon McClafferty emphasises the significance of shared equity, as she has seen many businesses struggle with this aspect, which often takes years to fix. For multidisciplinary firms to thrive, shared equity must be a top priority from the beginning. 


Expanding on Sharon’s point, the emphasis on shared equity also extends to risk management. When ownership is diversified across disciplines, so too is risk. This distribution can create a more resilient business structure, capable of withstanding downturns and regulatory changes with more agility. 


Transforming a financial planning firm into a multidisciplinary business is a significant undertaking.  


Next Steps: How Slipstream Can Help 

We have firsthand experience and a proven track record when it comes to the integration of financial planning and accounting firms. Our team of experienced coaches includes individuals who have not only owned highly successful multidisciplinary firms but have also guided numerous firms in this process.

If you are ready to take your business to the next level, book a complimentary Strategy Session with one of our consultants.


Check out the coaches panel at our recent client conference, Slipstream Connect, to view Michael and other coach in action here. 

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