Friday, June 14th, 2019

Flashback Friday – Do What You Love

I am very lucky. I found a career that I simply love and it has evolved into a real purpose in life for me. How do you feel about your job? Check out this post from 2017. Don’t work years at something you dread!

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Small Firms Can Also Use AI for Audit

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” – Mother Teresa

I work with a lot of smaller firms. They are always looking for ways to stay competitive and to take advantage of as much technology as possible. Sometimes small firms assume they can’t compete with what the big national and regional firms are doing.

In a recent article via The Journal of Accountancy, Samantha Bowling, CPA, CGMA tells the story of how her 15 person firm is using artificial intelligence to identify high-risk transactions as part of its auditing process.

One line caught my attention. It is an important issue for small CPA firms. Do you still have servers on site? Bowling says, “We used to have seven servers on-site. Now everything is in the cloud. We used to be able to remote in to our servers before, but it was slow. The remote access is much better in the cloud. It’s night and day. I’m excited because I’ve never had access to this much technology.”

Just because you are a small firm doesn’t mean you have to think small! Read this article!

  • "Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."
  • Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

New Internet Domain for CPAs

Here’s a recent press release from the AICPA.

AICPA to Oversee New Internet Domain for CPAs

.CPA Will Enhance Trust and Branding of Profession in the Digital World

LAS VEGAS (June 10, 2019) –The American Institute of CPAs is in the process of being awarded the .cpa domain and is currently in a contract execution phase with the Internet’s global governing body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The AICPA’s role in administering .cpa will provide a defined global domain for CPAs worldwide to connect with their clients with increased trust, security, and verification.

The Internet, like most things, is evolving. ICANN is charged with developing important future drivers for connection in the digital world. As part of this mission, it has expanded the top-level domain structure to aid navigation on the Internet and support trusted and value-based entities and communities. To supplement traditional top-level domains such as .com, .edu and .org, ICANN has approved more than 1,200 specialized domain extensions – including Amazon’s .aws, Google’s launch of .app, as well as those for other well-known businesses, governments, and institutions, such as .vanguard, .barclays, .kpmg, .mlb, and .nyc.

“By overseeing the .cpa domain in collaboration with other global CPA organizations, the AICPA can help promote CPAs’ visibility and protect their professional standing online,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, the president and CEO of the AICPA. “We also want the public to have confidence that someone using a .cpa domain address for email or a website is affiliated with the CPA profession.”

The new domain extension will be available to CPAs and their firms and will signal a clear connection to the profession. For example, Firm Name, LLC, could have a website address of www.firmname.cpa. Jane Smith, an employee at that firm, could have an email address ofjsmith@firmname.cpa.

“Today, there’s a lack of authentication and growing mistrust of online information,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, the AICPA’s technology subsidiary. “This is why many leading companies and communities, such as Amazon, KPMG, and the banking industry are moving to restricted top-level domains. We’re looking forward to bringing this important new capability to the profession.”

More details on registering a domain name will be available later this year. For additional information and the opportunity to sign up for notifications, please visit https://domains.cpa.com

  • "By overseeing the .cpa domain in collaboration with other global CPA organizations, the AICPA can help promote CPAs’ visibility and protect their professional standing online."
  • Barry Melancon

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Merging Up? Get Ready For Some New Rules

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” – Albert Einstein

Have your merged up? Are you considering merging up? Here’s something to think about and understand.

It comes from a post by @SkipPrichard about a book written by Kevin Kruse – Great Leaders Have No Rules: Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business. Read the reviews on the book. It might be one you should have on your summer reading list if you are a leader or aspire to be one.

Yes, this whole book came from a crazy Post-It Notes story. About 20 years ago I had sold my company and joined the new company as a partner, VP, and I reported to the CEO. He had me very excited and committed to the future of the new combined organization and how we would build it together. But then the CFO docked my first expense check by about four dollars. He told me they won’t reimburse my Post-It Notes because it was a wasteful expense. It was a rule—no Post It’s—that I didn’t know about. In that moment, that one rule, suddenly made it clear that this was “their” company, not mine. They were in control, not me.

Many practitioners have learned the hard way that a so-called merger is not what they thought a merger would be like. For the most part, I believe CPA firm mergers work out well. But, not always. Just be prepared for a new way of life.

  • "Highly successful people take immediate action on almost every item they encounter."
  • Kevin Kruse,

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Partner Compensation & Performance Webinars

“Do your job and demand your compensation – but in that order.” – Cary Grant

Compensation and performance issues for the partner group in a CPA firm are always topics that CPA firm leaders want (and need) to know more about.

This month you have the opportunity to learn more about these topics via CPA Leadership Institute. Gary Adamson of Adamson Advisory will conduct the following three webinars in June:

Partner Compensation Methods and Trends – June 12, 2019 – 1:00 to 1:50p

Partner Compensation – How it Can Be Linked to and Help Create a Culture of Accountability and Unity – June 19, 2019 – 1:00 to 1:50p

How to Maximize Performance of Best Practices in Partner Admission, Transition and Buy-out – June 20, 2019 – 1:00 to 1:50p

  • "Do what you love and the money will follow."
  • Marsha Sinetar

Friday, June 7th, 2019

Flashback Friday – Does Your Firm Have a Motto or Tagline?

“It has been a motto of mine my whole life – just be yourself.” – Patrick Kane

Most firms have them. Many firms have them prominently displayed on their website. I am referring to the firm motto or tagline. Most are rather boring.

Read more here.

  • "Concentration is my motto - first honesty, then industry, then concentration."
  • Andrew Carnegie

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

The People Around You

You are working in a firm. Take a look at the leadership group.

You are the leaders in a firm. Take a look at the people you have hired.

Sometimes the following applies for a while but not for the long term. If you feel like you might be in a cage, do something about it.

I saw the following on Facebook. Also, ask yourself, “Am I in the right circles with my social media?”

CircleCage

  • "Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings and emotions."
  • Will Smith

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Are You Really Excellent?

“Excellence is a way of life that sustains us and inspires us day in and day out. There is no ‘long term.’ There is only the way we act when we step out into the corridor after a meeting—or, yes, the quality of your next four-line email.” – Tom Peters

The above quote from Tom Peters got me to thinking.

Firm leaders will always declare, “we provide excellent client service.” They will also tell me that excellent could be used in describing how they treat and train their employees.

Is it true at your firm?

Think about the above quote. Do you act in an excellent manner day in and day out? Do you maintain excellent behavior after a heated partner meeting? Do respond in an excellent manner when you avoid a call from an unhappy client? And, what about when you are writing an email?

  • "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit."
  • Aristotle

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

You Cannot Avoid Selling

“Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her to solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service.” – Brian Tracy.

I have heard it repeated for years and years by accountants of all ages and genders – “I didn’t go into accounting to be a salesperson!”

Get over it. Everyone has something to sell. Sales is a fundamental skill. Selling is not pushing people to buy something they don’t want. Selling is moving somebody else to action. No matter what your role, you are continually selling yourself!

Firm leaders should not wait to introduce young accountants to marketing and sales. Teaching and including them at the very beginning of their career makes it a natural part of their career advancement.

Too many managers have told me that they didn’t realize the importance of marketing/sales until they were almost ready to become a partner.

In an accounting firm, the secret to practice development (bringing in clients) is to simply like people. People are naturally drawn to CPAs because they realize the knowledge you possess. Selling is also all about understanding what you are selling. Do your young accountants know?

Read this article via HBR – How to Improve Your Sales Skills Even If You’re Not a Salesperson by Rebecca Knight. Send a link to all you young accountants

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

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

Avoid the Trivial

“A good memory is one trained to forget the trivial.” – Clifton Fadiman

There are some people who might be surprised by your actions/decisions (as a boss) but they pick their battles and don’t make a fuss about trivial matters.

Then you have some people who tend to make a fuss about everything. They delight in the trivial and demand more information about almost every decision.

I hope a majority of your team members fit into the first category.

As a boss, you are the one who mentors, coaches and teaches people how to advance in their careers. Are you doing a great job?

  • "Of course it is trivial, but then most things are."
  • John Malkovich