Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Thanksgiving Blessings

Happy Turkey Day to all my wonderful readers, followers, clients and friends. I count all of you among my many blessings! Enjoy your day with family and friends. Find some quiet time over the 4-day weekend to think about, and count, all your blessings.

ThanksgivingHappyTurkeyDayColorfulArtsyAHW_250x230Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

“As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” – Mr. Carlson, WKRP in Cincinnati

I hope you will enjoy your 4-day weekend and a special time of year with family and friends.

Have you seen Seth Godin’s Thanksgiving Reader? I hope you will use it tomorrow. Here’s a little bit about it from Godin:

I’m delighted to point you to the Thanksgiving Reader . The file you’ll find there is free, it’s printable, it’s sharable and it might give us something universal and personal to do this Thanksgiving.

The idea is simple: At your Thanksgiving celebration (and yes, it’s okay to use it outside the US!), consider going around the table and having each person read a section aloud.

During these ten or fifteen minutes, millions of people will all be reading the same words, thinking about the same issues, connecting with each other over the essence of what we celebrate. After all the travel and the cooking and the hassle, for these ten or fifteen minutes, perhaps we can all breathe the same air and think hard about what we’re thankful for.

It’s free to download and share. I hope you’ll let some people in your life know about it and incorporate it in your celebration this year. There’s no commercial element involved—after all, it’s Thanksgiving. 

Please share. 

Also, here’s a link to my Thanksgiving tradition – watching this classic clip. 

  • "Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence. "
  • Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

State Income Tax

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” – Albert Einstein

This is one of those “I thought you might find this interesting” posts. You and your clients probably have several mobile workers.

Patrick Adcock, an analyst with Tsheets, provided insight into some interesting tax news and wanted to share some research he worked on related to the Mobile Workforce and Tax Simplification Act. 

The bill would prevent states from taxing non-resident workers unless they work in that state for more than 30 days. According to the CBO, the hardest hit states will be Illinois, Massachusetts, California, and New York.

Be sure to check out The Complete Guide to State Taxes for Mobile Workers and read more interesting details about this simplification act. 

  • "Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes"
  • Benjamin Franklin

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Who Is The Leader?

“It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” – Adlai E. Stevenson

Accountants often struggle with making decisions. When they can’t make a decision, then that is a decision.

We’ve made a decision to make no decision. That will sure impress your team.

Some firms are managed by a group of partners. They decline to officially name any one partner as their managing partner, CEO or president. I hear comments like, “Joe is the president of the firm but Bob helps and so does Sue.” “We’ve been together since college so we trust each other and don’t need to have an official managing partner.”

We’ve made a decision not to have any one person in-charge, so we have no leader. That will sure impress your team!

I was talking to a client recently, the managing partner of a smaller firm in talks with a larger firm. Merging up is the succession plan for his efficiently and profitably managed firm. The smaller firm CPA explained to me that he had talked with a group of three partners from the larger (not a huge firm) several different times. His comment, “I don’t sense any real leadership. I’m not sure any one is actually in-charge of firm management.”

Do your team members (and clients) wonder who is actually in charge? Do they wonder how decisions are made? Do they get a sense that there is no one who is a strong leader, no one being held accountable?

Don’t shy away from naming and empowering a talented managing partner for your firm. If the best candidate isn’t quite ready, be sure to invest in their education and training. If they are qualified and ready, also invest in their education and training.

Here’s one great source for leadership training, Transformational Leadership Program from Convergence Coaching.

  • "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."
  • William Arthur Ward

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Winning in the Competitive Era of Disruption

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” – James Sephens

Here’s a great video from the Illinois CPA Society about enabling your CPA firm to survive this era of disruption.

Allan Koltin is featured. It’s short and informative – please take 2 minutes to watch and listen.

Winning in the Competitive Era of Disruption.

  • "In skating over thin ice our safety is our speed."
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Are You Using Technology To Do Things The Old Way?

“The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.” – Warren Bennis

I imagine that many of you have seen this quote from Bill Gates:

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” 

I believe that in many cases, inside CPA firms, you have simply taken the way that paper flowed through your office and replicated it into some wonderful, advanced software program.

For example, I was visiting with a firm recently that had simply taken the steps that they used for moving paper tax returns through the office and inserted the same exact steps into a software program that is capable of doing so much more, without even exploring all of the possible options and efficiencies now available to them.

I find this same scenario playing out in firms over and over again, year after year!

We all become comfortable with status quo, the familiar, the known. Take your firm to the next level – move out of the comfort zone – don’t be afraid! Stop settling for status quo because it is easy. As we get closer to wrapping up another year, look back, contemplate 2017. Has it been another year of just settling for status quo?

  • "Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way."
  • Edward de Bono

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Xcentric

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” – Earl Nightingale

I’m sure by now you have heard the news – Right Networks has acquired Xcentric. You can read all about it here via Accounting Today.

Xcentric has been a prominent player in helping CPA firms with cloud solutions. I know that many of you have visited with them at CPA management conferences year after year and have enjoyed presentations by Roy Keely and Roman Kepczyk of Xcentric.

Many of you are also clients of Right Networks. Last week, I enjoyed a conversation with Michael Ferrigno, Content Marketing and Channel Enablement Manager with Right Networks.

Today, I thought I would share some information from Michael – The Top 5 Reasons Right Networks Customers Cloud-Enable Their QuickBooks Desktop.

The Right Networks and Xcentric combination should be an interesting marriage.

 

  • "The power of imagination makes us infinite."
  • John Muir

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Programs to Advance Women to Leadership Roles in CPA Firms Seen as Bolstering Talent Acquisition, Survey Finds

“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” – Marilyn Monroe

Here’s a recent press release from the AICPA. Since “women in accounting” are very important to me, I wanted to be sure to share this with my readers. I have bolded some points that were important to me.

CHICAGO (Nov. 9, 2017) – U.S. CPA firms that use advancement programs for promoting women to leadership positions overwhelmingly view them as effective tools in recruiting and retaining talent, according to new research by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

Mentorship is by far the most popular advancement program, with 45 percent of firms using it, the 2017 CPA Firm Gender Survey found. Sponsorship, in which influential firm leaders take a more formal role in guiding promising employees to career opportunities, professional development and promotions, is used by 12 percent of firms.

“There are two important takeaways here: 1) firms that use these programs have seen a beneficial impact on attracting and retaining talent,” said Melissa K. Hooley, CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee. “And 2) firms that are taking active steps to promote women and minorities likely will have a competitive advantage when it comes to securing talent.”

Advancement Program

Percentage of Firms Using It

Of That Group, Those Who Say It Has an Impact on Attracting or Retaining Talent

Mentoring

45%

87%

Sponsorship

12%

97%

Gender Initiative

11%

85%

Minority Initiative

2%

90%

Combined Diversity & Inclusion

6%

90%

Women comprise nearly half of all accounting graduates entering the profession, but remain underrepresented at the partnership level and other leadership positions. The survey shows little change in this area from studies done in years past, which have typically found less than one-quarter of the partnership ranks made up of women. As was the case two years ago – the last time the CPA Firm Gender Survey was conducted – the percentage of women partners was found to be highest at smaller firms.

Firm Size

Percentage of Women Partners

Two to 10 CPAs

42% (43%*)

11 to 20 CPAs

30% (39%)

21 to 99 CPAs

26% (27%)

100+ CPAs

21% (20%)

*Results in parentheses from 2015 CPA Firm Gender Survey

Among other findings of the survey:

  • An analysis of job titles found that women maintained parity or better with men in CPA firms through the senior manager level, after which the ratio declines
  • The larger the firm, the greater the gender gap in equity ownership
  • Only 47 percent of firms have a succession plan and only two percent have a formal gender component in those plans
  • Some 89 percent of firms say they have instituted some form of modified work arrangements, with flextime and reduced hours being the most prevalent

Survey methodology:  The CPA Firm Gender Survey was conducted online by MKTG Incorporated for the AICPA’s Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee from Aug. 3 to Sept. 11, 2017. Some 492 qualified respondents, drawn from CPA firms of varying sizes and regions within the United States, participated.

For more information about gender initiatives and other resources, visit aicpa.org/womenlead.

  • "Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes”"
  • Clare Boothe Luce

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Cancel Some Meetings

“Being aware of your fear is smart. Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person.” – Seth Godin

Occasionally, I repost – word for word – something that Seth Godin has posted. He posts everyday and I encourage you to follow him.

Here’s the message I want all my CPA tribe to hear:

All those meetings you have tomorrow–they were just cancelled. The boss wants you to do something productive instead.

What would you do with the time? What would you initiate?

If it’s better than those meetings were going to be, why not cancel them?

  • "One reason I encourage people to blog is that the act of doing it stretches your available vocabulary and hones a new voice."
  • Seth Godin

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Level 5 Leaders

“The purpose of bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline.” – Jim Collins

I certainly hope, by now, you have all read Good to Great by Jim Collins. In it he introduced us to the concept of Level 5 leaders. He found that truly great companies had what he coined as Level 5 leaders.

Level 5 leaders have humility. They don’t seek success for their own recognition. They see success as necessary so that the team and the firm can thrive. Level 5 leaders share credit for success and accept blame for failures.

Something interesting to me is that Collins found that these Level 5 leaders were often shy but fearless when it came to making decisions. Level 5 leaders possess fierce resolve with personal humility. That’s something rare to find when considering your next managing partner!

The Level 5 leaders also have the the skills of the other 4 levels of leadership. Here’s a link to a short video from HBR that explains Level 5 leadership.

  • "Great vision without great people is irrelevant."
  • Jim Collins