Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Adulthood Pushed Back

“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” – John Maxwell

Several years ago, Rebecca Ryan warned the CPA profession that the twenty-somethings that CPAs were accustomed to managing had changed, dramatically. She noted that adulthood markers were happening during their thirties rather than in their twenties.

Just this week I found additional information on this topic that I want to share with you.

Think about it. Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) graduated from college, got a job, got married and had kids when they were in their twenties. Gen-X (born 1965 to 1976) pretty much followed this same tradition.

Millennials are different. A report from the U.S. Census Bureau compares how people born between 1941 and 1957 were living as young adults in the 1970s and how people the same age lived in 2016.

Researchers established four milestones of adulthood: 1) Moving out of your parents’ house, 2) Getting married, 3) Having a child and 4) Getting a job.

  • Younger generations are delaying marriage.
  • One in 3 people ages 18 to 34 (24 million young adults) live with their parents. In 1975, it was one in 5.
  • Women ages 25 to 34 who were out of the labor force to take care of their home and family dropped from 43% to 14% between 1975 and 2016.

So, remember many of those twenty-somethings working at your firm have not actually moved into the adult world. Keep that in mind as you mentor, nurture and supervise them.

  • "You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway."
  • Walt Disney

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

New Clients Will Want Cloud Services

“It takes a very long time to become young.” – Pablo Picasso

I cringe when I hear it. The sad part is that now – summer of 2017 – I am still hearing it way too often from CPA firms around the country.

Are you paperless? Are you completely digital? Are you in the cloud? Are you using a portal?

Most of the answers I hear are…. “sort of,” “not really,” “we don’t trust the cloud,” and “we haven’t pushed it with our clients.”

A recent survey by Bill.com tells us that business owners under the age of 55 prefer their accountants to handle all or most of their accounting work digitally. 78% of those 39 and under want paper-free accounting.

I believe that people, in general, are becoming very accustomed to the digital world – from their personal banking transactions to entertainment.

It’s time to give up the excuse you have used for too many years… “our clients are older and they want things in paper.”

Read more about this survey via Accounting Today – Your Next Accounting Client Wants Paperless, Mobile Services by Mary Ellen Biery.

  • "The whims of youth break all the rules."
  • Homer, The Iliad

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

How Do They See You?

“Leadership has less to do with position than it does disposition.” John C. Maxwell

You are a partner in a CPA firm. Maybe you are a manager in the firm. You are responsible for taking care of clients and leading, managing, inspiring, mentoring, nurturing, encouraging, correcting, inspiring others. That’s a pretty big responsibility!

The “others” watch you. What do they see? As the quote above tells us, they notice a lot about your disposition. Those bright, young new hires can quickly assess your disposition and act accordingly.

Here’s some actual quotes I have heard during my consultations and surveys with CPA firm citizens:

About a high-profile, managing partner of a very large firm: “If you want to be inspired or talk about a problem you DO NOT go to (name of partner).”

About a long-time, successful managing partner of a mid-size local firm: “We never encourage staff to go to (name of MP) with questions, he doesn’t like to be interrupted.”

About another managing partner of a large, local very successful firm: “Most staff people don’t know (name) at all. He is out and about so much that he is rarely at the firm during normal business hours.

As a leader, do you have a welcoming, congenial disposition, one that encourages people to like and respect you? Or are you too busy to even think about what disposition you are communicating?

Be sure to read the quote below (on my blog page if you are reading this in your email).

  • "I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition and not on our circumstances.” "
  • Martha Washington

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Those Workaholics!

“If there is such a thing as a workaholic, I’m it and that’s what passes for leisure.” – Steve Earle

I hear it from so many CPA firm owners…. “We are trying to get Ginny to work less.”

I am talking about that staff person who seems determined to work more hours than anyone else at the firm. They work late into the evening, especially during the first quarter of the year. They work almost every Saturday, except maybe during June, July and August.

They have more total hours and more chargeable hours than any other employee at the firm.

I also find that this team member is usually a long-time employee, a manager and often female. But, when I encounter a male working unrealistic hours, it is almost always a partner.

As firm leaders, you love this team member – they have lots of billable hours, they provide amazing client service, they pitch-in and help others when needed.

On the other hand, you worry. Is all of that total time necessary? You actually become concerned about their well-being. You observe them showing more stress and often more negativity than other team members.

As for workaholic partners, who would want to be a partner in a firm where the partners work 2800-3000 hours per year? I actually know some partners that get almost 3000 billable!  Oh, my.

Counsel these workaholics, help them cut back, there is so much more to a career, and to life, than the number of hours you work.

  • "I'm not driven by killer ambition, I'm not a workaholic. I'm a good team player. I don't have to be captain, but I do want to play on a winning team."
  • Jane Pauley

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Flashback Friday – David Maister

“It’s not hard to find smart people. It’s hard to find people who inspire and motivate.” – David Maister

David Maister, now retired, was a great source of valuable advice for those of us working in professional service firms.

Here’s a post from 2013 that lists: Maister-isms: Quotes From The Master.

  • "People at accounting firms are starved for appreciation."
  • David Maister

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Uncomfortable Things Will Often Make You More Successful

“Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not.” – W.E.B. Du Bois

I enjoyed a recent blog post by Meghan Keaney Anderson of Hubspot Marketing. She talks about the value of doing things that make you uncomfortable. I especially enjoyed her story about sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois writing a letter to his daughter when she was about to move to a new place and school.

“Don’t shrink from new experiences and custom. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bed-room. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not. Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul. Above all remember: your father loves you and believes in you and expects you to be a wonderful woman.”

Anderson offers 15 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful. I have listed them below, but be sure to read about each one in the article.

  1. Learning to take a compliment
  2. Public speaking
  3. Working with data
  4. Waking up early
  5. Taking critical feedback
  6. Giving critical feedback
  7. Fighting through conflict
  8. Exercising
  9. Unplugging
  10. Networking and making small talk
  11. Admitting a mistake
  12. Getting in over your head
  13. Disagreeing with your boss
  14. Promoting yourself
  15. Admitting you don’t understand something
  • "Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new."
  • Brian Tracy

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Be Active and Involved In Your State CPA Society

“The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.” – Martina Navratilova

I have met some of the most wonderful people by working with, and being involved in, The Ohio Society of CPAs.

I have also been very fortunate to have worked with and visited many of the other state societies around the country via my speaking and consulting activities.

I hope you are active in your state society and I also hope that you are encouraging the next generation of leaders in your firm to be involved.

I am especially pleased to offer my congratulations to my friend, Edward I. Guttenplan, CPA, CGMA of Wilkin & Guttenplan, the incoming President of the New Jersey Society of CPAs. Listen to Ed’s inspiring story, below. Not involved? Make a commitment to your state society today!

  • "Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it."
  • Greg Anderson

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Upgrade Your Reputation On The College Campus

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” – Red Adair

Want to hire that all-star student? It’s not always about money.

At my firm we liked to joke about a goal – hiring the President of Beta Alpha Psi. Each year, it seemed, the President of Beta Alpha Psi was hired by the Big Four.

Why did this happen? From our local firm viewpoint it was fairly obvious. The Bigs had the resources to be on campus weekly. They hosted parties, showered the students with gifts and had the professors in their pocket. Not staying that is all true, but ask any local firm and they will probably feel the same way.

Finally, one year we hired a very bright and articulate student and yes, he was the President of Beta Alpha Psi. We celebrated! How did we compete? We became more visible and involved on campus. One way was to give two annual scholarships to accounting students.

This all came to mind today when I read an blurb via Accounting Today about one of my clients, Rodman CPAs of Waltham, Massachusetts awarding a scholarship to John Tran of Suffolk University in Boston.

Way to go, Jennifer Minor! Jennifer and John Tran, pictured below (picture from Accounting Today).

Jennifer

  • "If you hire people just because they can do a job, they'll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they'll work for you with blood, sweat and tears."
  • Simon Sinek

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Big 4 and Blockchain & Bitcoin

“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” – Jack Kerouac

Last week I read an interesting article via Nasdaq titled, Big 4 Accounting Firms Are Experimenting with Blockchain And Bitcoin.

My mission is to always keep you informed, as best I can, about happenings that have an impact on CPA firm management.

So today, I simply provide you a link to the article in hopes you will take the time to read it.

The more I read, the more it all seems to be sinking in. Hope the same applies to you.

Here’s more help on Bitcoin.

(Follow me on Twitter!)

  • "Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things."
  • Isaac Newton

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Flashback Friday – The Importance of Persistence

“What you have learned is never enough.” – Cher Wang

Here’s a story that explains the importance of persistence. Persistence has been a foundational piece of my career success. I hope you practice it, too.

When you have new ideas, practice persistence.

Have a great summer weekend.

  • "Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air."
  • John Quincy Adams