Friday, April 20th, 2018

Flashback Friday – Incentives For New Business

There is a lot of discussion in CPA circles about paying an incentive to team members for assisting in bringing in new business to the firm.

Here’s a flashback post on this topic – Incentive For New Business – Keep It Simple.

Have a great Friday!

  • "In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours."
  • Mark Twain

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Guidelines For Clients

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napoleon Hill

You have them. You keep them. Sometimes you shouldn’t keep them. But, if you do, figure out how to deal with them. I am talking about those clients that drive you crazy!

Talk to new clients and current clients about how to help YOU serve THEM better (How to be a better client.)

Here’s a sample that you discuss with clients and include in your new client packet.

To facilitate our efforts in providing the highest level of service, we ask the following of you.

  • You will be open, frank and honest with us at all times. You will let us know immediately of any concerns you have about our work together.
  • You will give us all the information we need to complete our assignments.
  • You will meet mutually agreed upon deadlines. In the case of circumstances beyond your control, you will notify us immediately of the situation.
  • You will pay our fees per our engagement letter. If you cannot pay, you will call and talk to us immediately.
  • You will give consideration to referring us to at least one other business that might benefit from our services.
  • "Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent."
  • Billy Graham

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Urgency

“Progressive improvement beats delayed perfection.” – Mark Twain

The heat is off. That is the way many CPAs are feeling today (even though the IRS gave taxpayers one more day).

Many CPAs working in public accounting will be taking a few days off to recuperate. I call it the after-tax-season coma. They certainly deserve some down time but often it turns into a few days off followed by a few weeks of inactivity.

During busy season, most people working in an accounting firm feel a great sense of urgency and work flows like water out the door. After mid-April, that sense of urgency dissipates.

This year it is even more important to take action on firm management matters sooner rather than later. Big change is approaching and leaders need to make decisions and outline plans for how the firm will grow and evolve into a consulting organization.

Don’t lose that sense of urgency.

  • "Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value. "
  • Jim Rohn

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Taxman – Just For Fun Today

“When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.” – George Harrison

TAXMAN – The Beatles

Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman
If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.
Don’t ask me what I want it for
If you don’t want to pay some more
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
And you’re working for no one but me.
Songwriter: George Harrison
Taxman lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Want to hear it? Click here.
  • "Gossip is the Devil's radio."
  • George Harrison

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Pretending

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

Do you ever feel yourself pretending that you love your work, your career, and your firm?

From time to time, perhaps we all feel that way. As busy season comes to a close for accountants and their teams, this might be something that enters your mind if you work at a CPA firm.

Don’t hide from it, explore it. Public accounting is a challenging profession. Even though firms have done so much to make work life more enjoyable for their employees, there are still long hours, a certain amount of stress, difficult clients, and various other challenges. If you dread going into the office and feel like you are pretending to be something you are not, don’t ignore those feelings. Decide what you really want to be doing with your life.

The good thing is most accountants working in a CPA firm tell me (via surveys and conversations) that the thing they enjoy most about their career is the work. They love working with clients and helping them succeed. They love the work but not most of the other things that surround the work. Things like keeping track of their time, the long hours, the expectation to bring in new business, the human resources challenges and other internal management issues.

Do you love the work and the firm or are you pretending?

Here’s a good article the gives you a list of the top 10 signs that you feel like an imposter at work.

  • "It's all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family."
  • Phillip Green

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Entry-Level Hiring Is Changing Quickly

“Be Prepared” – The Boy Scout Motto

Be aware. You will not need the same type of talent going into the future. Here’s a brief excerpt from an article by Dustin Hostetler via CPA Practice Advisor:

The convergence of technology (namely more artificial intelligence), along with the gig economy, is going to change the way CPA firms hire entry-level staff in the very near future. Basic compliance work will be automated through technology and what isn’t fully automated will be sourced to the gig economy. The new staff you bring in must demonstrate the ability to grow/develop into a client-facing advisor much earlier in their careers than has historically been the case. They also need to possess more skills in the areas of data analytics, financial analysis and strategic thinking.

Now is the time to plan.

  • "Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program."
  • Spencer Kimball

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Paraskevidekatriaphobics – Big Word for a Big Fear

Are you familiar with the word Paraskevidekatriaphobics?

Thank goodness for “cut & paste” because I don’t think I could even type it correctly while looking directly at it!

Here is some background – paraskevidekatriaphobia. The term was first coined in the early nineties by Dr. Donald E. Dossey, an American psychotherapist specializing in phobias and stress management, who reputedly claimed that when someone was able to pronounce the word they were cured.

I don’t have it and I hope you don’t either. It’s the fear of Friday the 13th – not the movie – the day. I’m afraid of the movie.

Like many human beliefs, the fear of Friday the 13th isn’t exactly grounded in scientific logic. If you want to know more about its origins click here.

As for today, inside your CPA firm or accounting department, why not lighten things up and do something fun for your team. How about a spur of the moment contest during lunch break. Have a spelling bee – use accounting words and then spring Paraskevidekatriaphobics on them if you can pronounce it! Of course, have a nice prize for the winner. Doesn’t have to be anything huge – perhaps a $20 bill.

As you go through the day, don’t give into the morbid and depressing. Keep with my motto, one that I have shared with you often: Life Is Good.

  • "There is something terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. One should sympathise with the colour, the beauty, the joy of life. The less said about life's sores the better."
  • Oscar Wilde

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Accountability

“Leaders inspire accountability through their ability to accept responsibility before they place blame.” – Courtney Lynch

There are a lot of conversations in public accounting firm circles about accountability. Practitioners ask, “How do we hold people accountable?” They want to know exactly what to do and what to say.

In an accounting firm, it is almost always from the top down. As leaders, you want your people to be held accountable for their performance or lack thereof.

Keep in mind, accountability is a two-way street. If you are holding your people accountable for their performance, they should also be holding you accountable for your performance.

Is that happening at your firm? Do the members of your partner group hold each other accountable? Do you welcome upward feedback so that you are accountable to everyone in the firm?

  • "Go into every interaction with those who work for you believing that you are as accountable to them for your performance as they are to you for their performance."
  • Jim Whitehurst

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Strategy and Tactics

“Hope is not a strategy.” – Vince Lombardi

Sometimes, accountants get so wrapped up in tactics that they forget about strategy and vice versa. Distinguishing between tactics and strategy sometimes get very blurry inside CPA firms.

I don’t often include an entire blog post by Seth Godin in my own blog post. But, today is one of those days because I think it is very important for you, and your firm, to clearly understand tactics and strategy. Here it is:

Why even bother to think about strategy?

There’s confusion between tactics and strategy. It’s easy to get tied up in semantic knots as you work to figure out the distinction. It’s worth it, though, because strategy can save you when tactics fail.

If a tactic fails, you should consider abandoning it.

But that doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with your strategy. Your strategy is what you keep doing even after you walk away from a tactic.

A real estate broker could decide that her goal is to get more listings.

And her strategy is to achieve that by becoming the most trusted person in town.

There are then 100 tactics she can use to earn that trust. She can coordinate events, sponsor teams, host community meetings in her office, sponsor the local baseball team, be transparent about her earnings, hire countless summer interns at a fair wage, run seminars at the local library, etc. …

It doesn’t matter if one or two or five of the tactics aren’t home runs. They add up.

But if once, just once, she violates someone’s trust and expectations, the entire strategy goes out the window.

Tactics are disposable.

Strategy is for the long haul.

  • "Strategy is about setting yourself apart from the competition. It’s not a matter of being better at what you do – it’s a matter of being different at what you do."
  • Michael Porter

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

What If You Had More Time at Work?

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

If you had more time, what would you do with it?

If you are a CPA, accountant or support professional working in public accounting, it seems that you are always very busy and have very little extra time. What if you had just a little more free time at work? Wouldn’t it be great to focus on something other than social media?

Marketing guru, Mark Schaefer, interviewed some marketing professionals and asked them what they would do with a little extra time. Many of them said they would get away from social media and talk to people in person. What a concept!

After you wrap-up tax season, why not outline a plan for all of your professionals to make more personal contacts as the remainder of 2018 unfolds? You are in the service business. Talk to those you serve, in person. It is a very natural and non-threatening way to develop additional business for your firm.

  • "Keep Your Sales Pipeline Full By Prospecting Continuously. Always Have More People To See Than You Have Time To See Them."
  • Brian Tracy