Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

They Like Working at The Firm BUT…..

“If you love your work, if you enjoy it, you’re already a success.” – Jack Canfield

Partners in many firms really try to provide a friendly and fun work environment. They care about providing value, offer competitive salaries and have 4-day workweeks in the summer, plus other perks.

These things are appreciated by staff. However, there are always a few things they would like to see improved:

  • Managers need to do a better job at delegating. Partners and managers are busy and staff are looking for work (this is an on-going theme I have blogged about several times).
  • Partners say they have an open-door policy but they really don’t welcome interruptions. Don’t tout it if you don’t mean it.
  • The partners are very competent but they struggle with understanding younger staff and their struggles. Things like commuting, two working parents, lack of on-going feedback on performance, etc.
  • They need to develop more work for after tax season. The firm needs to offer a wider range of services.
  • And, to me, the biggest issues in most firms – They need to improve communication, as a firm and as individuals.

There are many more positives and negatives but this is just a list that might be a wake-up call to leadership.

  • "It is highly impossible for you to be successful at what you don't love. Do what you love and love what you do."
  • Israelmore Ayivor

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

No Negativity!

“Negativity is the enemy of creativity.” – David Lynch

I love these rules from Jon Gordon:

5 Ways to transform negativity on your team:

1. The No Complaining Rule.

2. Engage in Positive Conflict: Have difficult conversations to address issues.

3. Meet and talk about the negative effects of negativity.

4. No energy vampires.

5. Discuss ways to stay positive as a team.

  • "When someone tells me "no," it doesn't mean I can't do it, it simply means I can't do it with them."
  • Karen E. Quinones Miller

Monday, August 19th, 2019

Lifelong Learning is a Must for CPAs

“As long as you’re learning, you’re not failing.” – Bob Ross

The quote from Bob Ross caused me to think about what learning really means inside an accounting firm.

So many, more experienced, CPAs continue to achieve their CPE (Continuing Professional Education) hours. But, are they really learning?

I have observed first-hand and have heard SO many stories second-hand about CPA partners rushing to obtain their CPE hours right before the deadline. Are they really learning anything in this “I’ve got to get it done” mode?

So much CPE is now online and many are taking advantage of it because it is cheaper. Some firms don’t allow younger accountants to travel out of state for CPE. Are they really learning anything new, anything that will challenge them and cause them to contemplate their current state of knowledge.

So much can be learned from interacting with peers from different firms. I hope life-long learning is one of your core values. I don’t want you to fail.

 

  • "I'm still learning."
  • Michelangelo

Friday, August 16th, 2019

Flashback Friday – Silence Can Be Very Powerful

“Sometimes you don’t have to say anything. Silence speaks it all.” – Disha Patani

You are stopped in the hallway and asked for your opinion on a rather important matter. Don’t feel like you have to answer right away. But, when a staff member is waiting for an answer to complete a client engagement, don’t delay for days or weeks!

Read more about silence here.

  • "Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech."
  • Plutarch

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Don’t Let Day-to-Day Take Over Your Retreat

“Strategic thinking starts with the end in mind.” – Pearl Zhu

If you are planning your fall retreat, plan your agenda carefully.

So many things are going on inside the firm such as issues with people and their performance, a renegade partner or secondary office, the progress on technology upgrades, the lack of new business coming in the door and so on.

Don’t let all the daily noise cloud your retreat. Put one thing on the agenda – strategic planning – then do it.

What are the big-picture items you need to address? Things that affect the future of the firm and things that will force partners to think of the firm before themselves.

Explore and discover what your firm is truly all about (vision/mission/purpose), identify (or review) your core values, uncover what needs to be done to prepare your firm for the next generation or for an upward merger. If your firm is not growing steadily, that is a huge issue to discuss. All partners must generate new business. Discuss and document the expectations for every partner. Actually talk, face-to-face, about issues within the partner group that everyone has always swept under the carpet. Address that elephant in the room!

If you don’t have a solid strategic plan to share with your team you will soon experience turnover. Talented people can easily move on to a firm that is transparent, forward-thinking, growing and creating a culture where they can see, in advance, where their career is heading.

 

  • "Be strategic about productivity. Do less exceptionally well, instead of doing more in an average way."
  • Laurie Buchanan, PhD

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Become Certified in CAS

“The longer we keep looking back in the rearview mirror, it takes away from everything that’s moving forward.” – Dan Quinn

I have written about CPA firms offering Client Accounting Services before:

I know that most of you are already fairly deep into this service. However, I still talk to many firm leaders who are taking a “wait and see” attitude. Others still do not have or know about, the technology it takes to proceed.

Now, if you are offering CAS services you can set yourself apart from others with the AICPA and CPA.com certification in CAS.

You earn the certification in two parts. One, by attending the Digital Client Advisory Services Roadmap Workshop and two, with Client Advisory Services Self-Study. It gives you a total of 29 CPE credits.

Learn more about it here. Visiting this site will also give you extensive information about the CAS Workshop.

  • "Baby steps count, too, as long as you're moving forward."
  • Chris Gardner

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

Putting On The Brakes

“Almost any decision is better than no decision – just keep moving.” – Danielle LaPorte

To actually implement a new idea, process, procedure or guideline inside your firm you have to build momentum.

You are taking some baby steps toward the new goal/idea and you are beginning to feel the momentum and support building and growing stronger.

Then someone (often just one person) complains, throws up red flags and questions your motives. You become fearful, not for any valid reason, and your momentum significantly declines and perhaps even stops altogether.

Suzanne Lucas, @RealEvilHRLady, shares her story about ziplining. Her fear and the act of putting on the brakes too soon left her stranded. She recognized how putting on the brakes too soon and losing momentum also often happens in the business world.

This summer is drawing to a close. Did you and your firm lose its momentum over the last couple of months? Did someone in your firm express doubt about a new initiative or service niche? Renew your drive and push ahead – build and sustain momentum.

  • "Commitment is the ignitor of momentum."
  • Peg Wood

Monday, August 12th, 2019

Client Accounting Services (Bookkeeping)

“Many small businesses would rather face an angry barbarian horde than tackle their cash flow statement.” -Nicole Fende

Many firms are enjoying a growing niche. It seems that the niche is new but to me, much of it is a new face on old one (bookkeeping). Yes, CAS involves so much more and can encompass many additional services for clients. It also means that much of the “work” has been automated so that it is not so labor-intensive and little time is required of partners and managers.

Dan Hood of Accounting Today has a good article that you should read if your firm provides bookkeeping services to clients (and most of you do!). The article is titled, The State of Bookkeeping in 2019.  It reports on a survey involving over 700 accountants in the AT audience.

Hood offers charts that tell us:

  • The biggest issues for bookkeepers.
  • The average number of bookkeeping clients.
  • Less time spent at the high end.
  • Less time and more clients.
  • Other services offered.
  • Segmenting the client base.
  • Top industries for bookkeepers.
  • The geographic reach of bookkeeping practices.

Hood’s article is a good one to share within your firm.

  • "Few have heard of Fra Luca Pacioli, the inventor of double-entry bookkeeping; but he has probably had much more influence on human life than has Dante or Michelangelo."
  • Herbert J. Muller

Friday, August 9th, 2019

Flashback Friday – You Didn’t Act

How many times have you contemplated the fact that you should have done something but you didn’t?

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” – William James

Click here to read this flashback post from 2017.

  • "Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy."
  • Leo Buscaglia

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Podcasts

“I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

Podcasts are becoming more and more popular within the CPA profession. Many of you listen to podcasts as you commute back and forth to the office.

Check out this infographic via Podcast Insights that gives you some interesting facts about podcasting.

If you want to learn more about CPA practice management, firm governance and trends, listen to my podcast with Brannon Poe of Poe Group Advisors.

  • "The older I get, the more I see a straight path where I want to go. If you're going to hunt elephants, don't get off the trail for a rabbit. "
  • T. BOONE PICKENS