Scaling sustainable profitability for professional services firms

70 participants from 27 countries met for the TGS Madrid Conference 2023 with the aim of helping their firms become more profitable, attractive and socially responsible. Andrew Menzies, TGS Vice President International Development, writes.

IAB ‘Rising Star 2014’ network, TGS, celebrates its 10th anniversary. We’ve been keeping awake at night strategising about how to help our members become the professional service firms of the future. At last! We’ve moved from a compliance to an advisory mindset.

Launch of TGS Lab Process at TGS Madrid Conference 2023

Non-financial reporting requirements are becoming more demanding. In Madrid this year, TGS launched a beta-version of the TGS Lab Process, a diagnostic and advisory toolkit to upskill members to become trusted ESG advisors for their clients.

The toolkit allows firms to collect data beyond the traditional audit remit, asking about people, profit, planet and leadership activities.

The diagnostic element absorbs the stress clients experience as they prepare for ESG compliance requirements. It is also a base for two of the most value-adding conversations professional services firms can have with their clients:

Why should we continue to work with you? Could the TGS network be helping you with services beyond our current remit?

During the TGS Lab Process workshop, Niels Van Raak, Partner of TGS member firm Vermetten Accountants and Adviseurs said, “The ability to deliver ESG advisory services is not futuristic, it is a license to operate. It’s currently our biggest value-driver”.

Effective leadership is an Olympic discipline

Employees with high levels of technical expertise are often promoted to leadership roles. However, few of them are trained to excel in leadership positions and even fewer work regularly on their leadership capabilities.

Reading about how to run a 4-minute mile will not get you closer to joining your Olympic team. It’s the same with leadership. TGS Madrid 23 was a gym for developing competition-level leadership capability.

Following inspirational conference workshops with regular, short online training sessions makes sure conference takeaways become quantifiable performance improvements. TGS managers and leaders stay in medal-winning form.

“Training with like-minded firms from around the world gives us access to a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and innovative ideas. This has given us the confidence and ability to lead more complex projects and offer a broader range of services to our clients.”, said Anamaria Diaconescu, Manager in TGS Romania.

Entrepreneurial network members need ownership and freedom to succeed

In Madrid, Fabrizio Aldrighetti, Managing Director of TGS South Africa, gave a thrilling presentation of his development plans as a newly elected TGS Board member, Strategic Council member and Regional Leader Africa.

TGS members have the unique opportunity to become shareholders of the network. More than half of TGS’ members are currently shareholders and they are involved directly in the governance and strategy of the network.

Members of a traditional network can feel like frustrated passengers, following rules and constraints. That’s not a good fit for entrepreneurs like Fabrizio and the 44 other TGS network member shareholders.

TGS is run by and for its entrepreneurial members who like to own, lead and have agency in the projects they are involved in.

One-to-one is good, one-to-many is exponential

The final workshop of Madrid 23 brought the conference topics together to use the power of an international brand to gain institutional recognition. One-to-one networking at a conference is good but one-to-many networking through presentations to super-referrers is exponentially better.

In Miami, we will be showing how we took the TGS Lab Process diagnostic and advisory toolkit, created client-friendly content around it and presented this to super-referrers such as the European Commission, commercial banks and professional bodies who in turn presented the service to many potential clients.

TGS is the professional service network, owned by its members, that helps firms grow profitably and sustainably. The TGS mission was aspirational when it was created 10 years ago. Now we do what we say. It’s time to look (again) to the future for a mission statement that will guide us through the next ten years.

We’re not sure what our new mission statement will be yet, but it is clear what will be shaping its creation:

  1. TGS member/owner firms will create the new mission statement  
  2. TGS is committed to helping achieve the UNCG SDGs by 2030 so the mission will focus on equality, diversity and sustainability  
  3. The mission will be continually reviewed and modified - by TGS members stretching their advisory muscles - in light of the data collected. 

TGS members will meet again in regular online sessions and then again physically in Miami this November to decide how to set and manage development goals.

What will your firm look like in 2033 and how are you setting and managing your goals?

You are welcome to join us at our Miami conference or during one of our leadership webinars through TGS U, our online learning platform.

Andrew Menzies is a triple-accredited Open MBA and has worked in industry and broadcast media.  He works closely with the TGS president, TGS member firm CEOs and wider stakeholders to transform development strategy into sustainable action, reinforcing TGS’ status as a world-class professional services network.

Main image: All TGS members that were present at the Madrid conference.