Thursday, September 24th, 2020

Speak Their Language

“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.” – Oliver Wendall Holmes

I have a new family physician. I recently met with her for an annual check-up and to get acquainted.

As we talked about various health topics and she mentioned a piriformis stretch. I asked, “What is piriformis?” She noted that she was sorry and that she should have explained the term. It is a muscle that runs diagonally from the lower spine to the upper surface of the femur, with the sciatic nerve running underneath or through the muscle.

Knowing that I work with CPAs, she said that she realizes how I must have felt not knowing the term because when she meets with her CPA he talks in a language that she does not at all understand!

That conversation resulted in me writing this blog post to remind you that your clients don’t always know what you are talking about! Encourage them to ask questions and to interrupt you if they do not understand something you are saying.

Here’s a post from 2018 that also addresses this topic.

  • "Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know."
  • Jim Rohn

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

It Arrived! My Copy of the Rosenberg Survey

“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.” – Tom Peters

I always look forward to the day in September each year when my copy of The Rosenberg Survey arrives. That happened yesterday.

I have always found that public accounting is a fascinating profession. It’s challenging, interesting, never boring, and profitable (if your firm is managed properly). 

“This year, the landscape for the accounting profession changed quickly when the pandemic hit,” noted Charles Hylan, CPA and shareholder with The Growth Partnership that partnered with The Rosenberg Associates a few years ago to facilitate the annual survey.

Hylan also noted in the Forward: “As Sun Tzu famously said, ‘In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.'”

It’s up to you, the leaders of CPA firms, to take advantage of the opportunities now facing you. Order your copy of the survey here.

  • "A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
  • Francis Bacon

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Tax Document Automation

“Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates.

In his August 2020 column for CPA Practice Advisor, Randy Johnston gives you valuable information about automating your tax documents.

Many advisors seem to recommend the same tax automation strategies no matter what the size of your firm. Johnston suggests that one size does not fit all.

Did you have to send your administrative team into the office to scan documents so the staff could work remotely? This happened at many firms and put the admin team at risk for COVID.

In the article Johnston covers:

  • What is the right tax document automation?
  • What tools are most effective, provide the highest ROI, or are easy to miss?
  • Decide the right thing for you, your firm, and your clients.

Capitalize on Johnston’s helpful guidance by reading the article here.

  • "The robots of the cartoons and movies from the 1970s are going to be the reality of the 2020s"
  • Alec Ross

Friday, September 18th, 2020

Let Go of The Past

“There are better starters than me but I’m a strong finisher.” —Usain Bolt

For this Flashback Friday, I want to remind you that most CPA firm partners and managers have very long memories. If you make a mistake, as a young staff person, they seem never to forget it.

Read more here.

  • "Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle."
  • Napoleon Hill

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

A Manager’s Life

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

How are your managers coping with life during COVID? Have you wondered or even asked them recently?

Of course, firm leaders have been concerned about their entire team and how working remotely has impacted production. But how has it specifically challenged your managers?

Recently, I heard from a Manager at a very large firm express the challenges of his role. Meetings! He said that all day long it is meetings, Zoom meetings and other meetings (conference calls) and then he has to work until 9:00 p.m. to get his work done.

Now is the time to plan how working remotely will work more efficiently and effectively going into the future. A remote workforce will be part of your culture probably forever. Establish a task force, if you haven’t already, to determine how you can make it more palatable for everyone.

  • "If you are not in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?"
  • T. S. Eliot

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

The Day After

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it. ~ Henry Ford

September 15th has come and gone. As you know it is a major due date for the CPA profession.

This year the due dates have been rather unusual but you all still felt the pressure of the September due date and there is still one on the horizon – the October 15th due date for extended personal returns.

You love what you do but, like most things of value, it requires hard work. I imagine you have heard the poem, First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Milay. It just might apply to you.

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But oh, my foes, and oh, my friends-

It gives a lovely light.

  • "The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
  • Vidal Sassoon

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Your Office Space

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” – Oscar Wilde

I recently read where Sikich is planning to permanently shift its workspace model to one centered on remote work.

If you don’t know them, Sikich LLP, is a leading professional services firm specializing in accounting, advisory, technology and managed services. Founded in 1982, Sikich now ranks within the country’s top 30 largest Certified Public Accounting firms.

The Chicago-based firm plans to shrink the size of its office space and allow its more than 1,000 professionals to work from home indefinitely.

Over the next several years, the company will replace its 14 current US offices with 30 micro offices that employees can use when not working from home or at client sites. The days of shelling out for giant office spaces – such as the company’s massive 120,000 square foot office space in Naperville, Illinois – are, however, likely numbered.

Their CEO noted that they were already planning this transformation before the pandemic struck. About one-third of their workforce was already working remotely.

What’s the plan for your office? Do you really need a large, impressive office to impress your clients? How will you provide more remote options without losing the important, personal relationships that develop when everyone is working together in the same work space? Now is the time to think about all this and develop your plan. Your employees are wondering what the future holds.

Read the article here.

  • "There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come."
  • Victor Hugo

Monday, September 14th, 2020

The Journey From Manager to Partner

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.” – T. D. Jakes

The Ohio Chapter of The CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) will be hosting a REMOTE-ZOOM meeting on Friday, September 18 at 11:00a.

The presentation will be an informative one for firm administrators and managing partners. The presenter will be a “new” partner in a CPA firm and will discuss her experiences in moving from Manager to Partner.

The Journey from Manager to Partner  

Niki Doctor, CPA will be sharing her experiences in moving from Manager to Partner in a CPA firm. The purpose of this presentation is to help firms understand what the firm’s leadership should be focusing on besides just the technical skills and book of business.  Our environment is changing rapidly and the needs of our firms and our clients are changing as well. Learn how can we make the transition from Manager to Partner successful.

ABOUT NIKI DOCTOR – She has over 17 years of public accounting experience and has been at Bregante + Company LLP since 2012. Niki began her career at Bregante + Company LLP as a Manager in 2012 and became a Partner in 2018. Niki believes in providing and offering bespoke solutions to her clients and assisting them in making financially sound business decisions. She is committed to client success and strives to provide prompt and efficient services to all her clients. Niki specializes in closely-held businesses and high net worth individuals that require tax planning, tax advisory, international tax, and compliance services. She also works with businesses that require a combination of tax services and financial accounting, including compilations and reviews with vast experience in the real estate, retail/wholesale, manufacturing, distribution, architecture and engineering, high t-tech, and professional services.

Register securely on line.

  • "You’ve got to have rules to live by, and one of mine is always say yes. Put yourself in danger of something amazing happening to you."
  • Tom Bilyeu

Friday, September 11th, 2020

Who Are You Helping?

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Maya Angelou

Helping is a word to keep in mind as you advance in your career. 

Read more in this brief flashback post for this beautiful Friday. I am in the woods, in a remote cabin with my husband and two of my longtime friends from the CPA profession. I hope your weekend will be as enjoyable as mine.

  • "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another."
  • Charles Dickens

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Get Things Done

“A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.” – Peter Turla

It is planning time for CPA firms. By now, some firms have had their annual partner retreat and others have the retreat scheduled for later this Fall.

CPA partners are very good at planning. At these retreats, they have lively discussions about new ideas brought to the table by the managing partner, marketing director, technology director and especially the firm administrator.

It is the managing partner’s and firm administrator’s job to read about CPA firm management, network with MPs and FAs from other firms and attend CPA management conferences. Then it falls on their shoulders to inform and convince the other partners that to keep pace the firm must do this or do that.

Perhaps, they even leave the retreat with a strong action plan for accomplishing the new whatever. That’s when it comes to the part…. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.

They have the plan but don’t have a schedule. They fail to set hard due dates for completing internal initiatives. The retreat participants return to their daily lives, serving clients, etc.

Implementation of that great idea might even get delayed to next year (and next year, and next year). That’s why you need a strong firm administrator/practice manager, someone who can devote the time and effort to implementation.

  • "You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute."
  • Tina Fey