Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Disruption of the Profession

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” – John Maynard Keynes

Last week, Daniel Hood, Editor-in-Chief of Accounting Today, wrote a great article covering a presentation by Mark Koziel, of the AICPA, at the recent ENGAGE conference in Las Vegas.

Koziel noted that technology is taking us out of our comfort zone. “We as a profession can’t wait for regulation to disrupt us, we need to disrupt ourselves,” he said. “We’re going to take our expertise and interact with our clients in new and different ways.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Among the most important ways the profession will need to change will be to move up from services and activities that rapidly being automated. “Technology could automate 49 percent of current activities,” he warned. “Data processing and bookkeeping have a higher percentage chance of being automated, versus managing others and applying expertise – and that’s what CPAs do: We apply expertise. That’s less likely to be automated. Analyzing and interpreting data is where it’s at – not the low end of data entry,” he added.

Read the entire article here and share it with your partners and team members.

  • "The key to success and change management is learning, then unlearning, and then relearning."
  • Mark Koziel, AICPA

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

It’s Easy To Understand Blockchain

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein

I came across this great explanation of Blockchain. It is a Reuters visual guide. It makes it all very understandable!

Please give it a look. It is important that you share it with all your staff.

  • "If you want the answer, ask the question."
  • Lorii Myers

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

You Will Be Receiving Performance Feedback. Are You Prepared?

“Don’t spew about your weaknesses. Affirm your aspirations.” – Dan Rockwell

It’s that time of year. Firm leaders are gathering and preparing feedback information to communicate to various team members.

You are a various team member. What are you thinking? How are YOU preparing?

I have conducted a huge number of performance feedback sessions during my decades in public accounting and I have always been surprised and impressed when the team member had actually taken time to prepare.

Be prepared to talk about the future and don’t dwell on the past. Be prepared to talk about all the good or even outstanding things you accomplished in recent months. Everyone has weaknesses. Acknowledge them and work on them but start a conversation about your career progress, what excites you about your role and your hopes, desires, and aspirations going forward.

  • "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
  • Benjamin Franklin

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Get Moving!

“A plan that starts next week is a comfort to stagnation.” – Dan Rockwell

It is past mid-June. You have conducted your after-tax-season debriefing. You made a list of things to work on for next year. Action steps were discussed.

Many partner groups have already had their retreats. You came out of that session excited about the future and with some definite action steps.

How many steps have you taken? Have you taken even one? Get moving – summer is flying by.

  • "I will prepare and some day my chance will come."
  • Abraham Lincoln

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Flashback Friday – Show Your Confidence

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

In a job interview or in a conversation with your boss or even in a conversation with a client – all CPAs need to work on showing confidence. Many of you are humble and introverted but you are also intelligent, knowledgeable and interesting.

Show that confidence. This week’s flashback is a great, short video to teach you how to have a conversation. It is directed toward women but it applies to males, too!

  • "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. "
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

You Probably Have One – A Bad Apple

“Bad apples spoil teams and healthy team dynamics, it is more important than top talent.” – Will Fleps

Over the years, I have often talked and written about bad apples inside accounting firms. A recent blog post by @leadershipfreak brought this important topic to light again.

As I always say, “One bad apple can ruin the whole barrel.” that means that the constant whiner inside your firm is doing significant damage in the long-term. Yet, CPAs are nice people and they just shy away from firing people – even bad apples.

Per the article, one bad apple lowers team performance up to 40%! Maybe that gets your attention.

Read the blog post here. Maybe it will inspire you to have a more critical look at some team members.

The first step is to let the bad apple know they are causing problems. Be honest and straight-forward. Give them a chance to change – but, don’t give them too long.

Warning! – Make sure your culture isn’t cultivating bad apples.

  • "In marketing you must choose between boredom, shouting and seduction. Which do you want?"
  • Roy H. Williams

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Changes To The CPA Exam

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

The Journal of Accountancy has a podcast titled, How Tax Reform – and Excel – Are Changing The CPA Exam. It is hosted by Chris Baysden of the AICPA.

Tax reform will have an important impact on many aspects of the accounting profession — including the CPA Exam. In this week’s episode of the podcast, we talked to Mike Decker, the vice president of examinations at the AICPA, about the changes being made to the exam as a result of tax reform — and about how Excel will now be available for use on the test.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How the AICPA’s exams team has gone about collecting feedback on the exam.
  • Why continuous testing could be on the horizon.
  • The timeline for implementing changes due to tax reform.
  • How and why a practice analysis will be initiated.
  • The changes that test takers will see to monitors and software used in the exam.

Here’s a link to the podcast (it’s only 11 minutes long). You need to know so you can advise and encourage the young accountants in your firm to take the Exam and get it behind them!

  • "Nothing happens until something moves."
  • Albert Einstein

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Grace and Radical Kindness

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Fred Rogers

You have heard it and read it over and over again. I am talking about news and conversations about arguments, disagreements, biases, hate, and lack of understanding. Like many, I am very tired of the whole thing. I’m tired of people who can’t seem to tolerate anyone who thinks differently than them.

On a smaller scale, how are things inside your CPA firm? How’s morale? Are people happy? Are there certain people you know NOT to approach at certain times because they are in a bad mood? Are there bossy people, closed-minded people and people who simply don’t want to rock the boat when it involves change? Are there egotistical people or even greedy people?

Maybe it is time for Radical Kindness. That’s the term the Director of the new documentary about Mister Rogers uses to describe him. Here’s an excerpt from a recent article I read in the Dayton Daily News about the film. The director is the filmmaker Morgan Neville:

“I’ve thought a lot about why the film moves people. Fred kind of digested his message down to what I call radical kindness, but Fred himself called it grace. And to him, grace was an idea that could be expressed as – Be good to others, even if they don’t deserve it.”

“Fred saw life as a struggle between fear and love. What we see today, rage and anger and resentment, are the byproducts of fear. What he tried to do was quell that fear in children, to keep them from manifesting those toxic emotions. Fred chose love, and that is his legacy.”

Here is a link to the trailer for the documentary. There is also a movie in the works about Fred Rogers, starring Tom Hanks. It is to be released in 2019.

For now, I hope you act with grace and practice radical kindness.

  • "There's no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are.""
  • Mister Rogers

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Technology Surprises

“Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you.” – Randy Pausch

Roman Kepczyk, CPA, CITP via the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA.org) has conducted the 2018 IT Survey to identify information technology trends in the medium and larger CPA firms representative of their membership. Many technology trends begin in medium and larger firms where their worth is proven and eventually flow through to smaller firms after adoption and best practices have been standardized.

The Top 10 Accounting Firm IT Survey Surprises has been published by CPA Practice Advisor.

The No. 1 “surprise” is very interesting:

The most significant change in the CPAFMA IT survey over the past two years was the transition from internally managed Exchange/Outlook servers to utilizing external, cloud-based solutions. While 68% of firms hosted their own Exchange Servers in 2016, this number was cut by more than half in 2018 to 30%. With 70% of participating firms utilizing an external email/groupware solution, this is a trend that every firm should be evaluating before buying new or updating their existing Exchange servers.

Follow the link, above, to read the other nine surprises.

  • "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."
  • George S. Patton

Friday, June 8th, 2018

Flashback Friday – Training Your Clients

Here’s a post from last summer. It is an ongoing challenge for CPA firms. Every year as tax season closes the biggest complaint I hear from CPAs is the fact that it is so difficult to get tax information from many of their clients.

Why keep these clients? If you do keep them, train them.

Read more here.