Friday, August 17th, 2018

Flashback Friday – What’s In It For Me?

“You have to water the flowers you want to grow.” – Stephen Covey

If you are considering taking on the role of Mentor. Or, if you are a Mentee looking for a Mentor – what’s in it for you?

Here’s a post from 2016 that explains the benefits of both roles.

Have a great weekend!

  • "To add value to others, one must first value others."
  • John Maxwell

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

You Have Dual Responsibility

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” – Albert Einstein

I have been thinking about it more lately. I have been rereading some of my old blog posts on the topic. I have always believed it is one of the most important things one person can do for another. Yes, mentoring is on my mind. It is SO important in the career growth of accountants.

Immediately, you probably agree. Mentoring is important to young accountants as they begin their career in public accounting, You are right but it doesn’t stop there.

At your firm, you might have managers and partners filling the roles of Mentor and Sponsor. You have staff members acting as Guides for recent college graduates and Seniors and Managers being Coaches for new hires. But, what about partners and other very experienced professionals at your firm? Mentoring is something you never outgrow.

If you are an experienced professional, you have a dual role – mentor and mentee. Never stop taking steps to improve yourself.

If your program needs an update, if you are just drafting a mentoring program for your firm or if the person championing your mentoring program needs advice, I offer mentoring program advisory services. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter to learn more about MAP – Managing an Accounting Practice.

  • "I am not a teacher, but an awakener."
  • Robert Frost

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

We Are Like Family – Maybe Not

“What people really want advice on is the interpersonal weirdness that comes with having a job.” – Alison Green

As I read an article via The New York Times – Your Workplace Isn’t Your Family (and That’s Ok!), I definitely thought about how the article should be read by many of you working inside accounting firms.

The article is an interview with Alison Green, author of a book titled: Ask a Manager: How to Navigate Clueless Colleagues, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work.

I have heard it over and over from firms of varying sizes over many years – “we are like family.” I have always struggled with this topic. I have seen it used to avoid difficult conversations and to justify continuing to employ a poor performer over a long period of time. I have also seen it used to make unreasonable demands like working unreasonable hours and even seven days per week.

As you work at your accounting firm, always remember that this is business, not family, no matter what some people might think.

From the author: I want people to know it’s all right to treat work like work. We’re being paid to be there, and most of us wouldn’t show up otherwise. We don’t need to pretend that’s not the case.

Employment, underneath it all, is a contractual situation. It is a transaction:  I pay you and you do the work. You pay me and I do the work.

Be sure to read the article/interview.

  • "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."
  • Colin Powell

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Skilled Leaders Know How to Delegate

“The really expert riders of horses let the horse know immediately who is in control, but then guide the horse with loose reins and seldom use the spurs.” – Sandra Day O’Connor

It is a common problem inside accounting firms. As people gain experience and move up the ladder – staff to senior, senior to manager, manager to senior manager, senior manager to partner – they often cling to familiar work and hesitate to delegate.

It is a big step to move from doing to leading. You want to develop successors. You need future leaders for your firm. Delegate.

I have observed that in many accounting firms, partners are doing manager work and managers are doing senior work, seniors are doing staff work and staff are looking for work.

Why not reverse this long-time tradition? Adopt a different long-time tradition used at the large national firms – push work down to the lowest skill level. Staff members are super busy, seniors are pressing managers for more challenging work and managers are managing seniors and staff and asking partners how they can lighten their load. Partners are doing consulting work, maintaining client relationships, mentoring young people and most importantly, bringing in new business.

As you gain more experience and get promoted if you don’t delegate you will soon find yourself coming in earlier, staying later and feeling like the firm cannot survive without you.

I like this passage from an HBR article – How to be a great leader, you have to learn how to delegate well.

While it may seem difficult, elevating your impact requires you to embrace an unavoidable leadership paradox: You need to be more essential and less involved. When you justify your hold on work, you’re confusing being involved with being essential. But the two are not the same — just as being busy and being productive are not necessarily equal.

As you address your workload this week, take a moment and ask yourself – How can I be more essential and less involved?

  • "Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships."
  • Stephen Covey

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Cul de sac

“If your job is a cul-de-sac, you have to quit or accept the fact that your career is over.” – Seth Godin

Cul de sac is a dead-end street. It goes nowhere. Seth Godin talks about cul-de-sac jobs in his book The Dip.

If you are working in a CPA firm, no matter what your title, you might find yourself in a cul-de-sac job. You work and you work and nothing much happens. It doesn’t get better, it doesn’t get worse. It just is.

Get off the cul-de-sac – why invest your life in something not getting any better.

Some of you work in cul-de-sac firms. There is a lot of talk about how things will get better but nothing much seems to happen. Years pass by.

Some of you are in cul-de-sac partner groups. Same as above, lots of talk but not much really happens. Years pass by.

Move your firm and/or yourself out of the cul-de-sac.

 

  • "People settle. They settle for less than they are capable of."
  • Seth Godin

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Flashback Friday – Do You Have a Dream?

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powel

At your next strategic planning meeting talk about your dreams. Think big! Have everyone describe the career dreams they had when they were beginners.

Here’s a flashback post from 2015.

  • "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
  • Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Outsourced Accounting

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” – Anton Chekhov

CPA firms are seeing amazing growth in the area of outsourced accounting services. It not only is of immediate value to clients, it also provides the accountant with the ability (and information) to become even more of a trusted advisor.

Recently, Bill.com released the results of a survey they did regarding the use of outsourced accounting services. They have furnished a report on their findings – What Businesses Really Think of Client Accounting Services. You can download the report here.

In the introduction, Bill.com founder, Rene Lacerte, notes:

We are a nation of outsourcers.

In our personal lives, we outsource both simple and complex tasks—everything from grocery shopping to planning for retirement. We aren’t lazy or incapable, but we know that if we let the experts handle these tasks, they will be done right and allow us time to focus on what matters most. Outsourcing reinforces our priorities.

Businesses, too, are well acquainted with outsourcing. Disciplines ranging from IT to customer support to HR have all found their ways to hire experienced professionals outside of the corporate structure. Now, outsourcing all accounting is gaining traction.

The accounting profession has talked about client accounting advisory services (CAS) for a decade, speculating on the best ways a firm can solicit and handle all of a company’s accounting and finance department needs. For accountants, holding the reins to the company’s financial performance gives them unparalleled insight into the business and the ability to surpass a transactional state in favor of strategic advice and planning. It creates the platform for impactful contributions.

While accountants understand the benefits of CAS, what do businesses think about outsourcing their accounting? If you’re considering starting or expanding your CAS practice, it is good insight to have before you begin.

In this survey with CPA.com, we asked more than 1,700 small and medium-size businesses to share their opinions on outsourcing accounting. The results are summarized in the following pages. Respondents told us how much they’re outsourcing today, what they’d like to outsource, what they appreciate about it, and how it benefits their customers.

The survey data underscores just how important CAS can be to both firms and their business clients and how it will continue to grow and gain even greater value in the accounting world.

  • "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."
  • William Shakespeare

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

A Learning Opportunity

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Don’t hesitate to invest in the success of your new partners and your future partners.

My good friend, Jeff Pawlow of The Growth Partnership, reminded me that it is time to register for The Partner Institute. Here’s the scoop:

Announcing The Partner Institute™ 2019

The Partner Institute™ is a three-year, multidisciplinary program designed to develop the needed skills and attributes for successful firm leadership. Session 1 starts January 16-18, 2019 at the Boardwalk Inn at Walt Disney World. Learn More

Our Curriculum 

The Partner Institute™ offers participants a robust, in-classroom curriculum led by facilitators who are experts in their particular topic and have a deep pedigree rooted in the accounting profession. This sets The Partner Institute™ apart from other offerings.

View the Full Three Year Curriculum Map

Don’t Take Our Word For It…

You can hear it from our graduates first hand!

Since its inception in 2004, The Partner Institute™ has developed future leaders in the profession. We are proud to have a proven track record of success. View Testimonials

Sign Up Today!
Reserve your spot in The Partner Institute™ by submitting your registration and a deposit of $500. Attend the initial course and then decide if the program is right for you. If you elect to continue, we will invoice you accordingly.

Register Now!

  • "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
  • Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

You Are Good With Numbers But Can You Write?

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac

I have observed that many CPAs in public practice do not like to write articles. They seem to love numbers more than words.

I have also observed that there is usually one or two partners who do have a talent for writing. The best ones are those who can explain complex tax and accounting issues so that their average client can better understand the topic and actually appreciate the information.

Many CPA firm marketing directors have voiced their great frustration with the “write an article for our newsletter” dance. The partner promises to write an article for the next issue. The Marketer begins nagging about two weeks before the deadline and continues to nag right up until the drop-dead date for publication. The partner always has a good excuse…. “give me one more day” is the battle cry.

CPAs who write for their firm newsletter – when you volunteer to write an article, write it immediately and side-step the drama.

Offer your articles to your local business newspaper. They are often looking for tax and accounting articles. Articles can be repurposed. Use them for blog posts!

If you want to build your personal reputation – write, write, write.

  • "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
  • Benjamin Franklin

Monday, August 6th, 2018

The Bus

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” – Oprah Winfrey

You’ve heard it many times – get the right people on the bus and get the wrong people off the bus. You have probably been working on that for a while and perhaps making slow progress.

Today, I am sharing a complete post by Seth Godin. I want you to ask yourself something. Is your firm the right bus? Is it the right bus for high-performers, people wanting to get somewhere, somewhere in the future, people who are not satisfied with the status quo and implementation that moves at a snail’s pace?

The Wrong Bus

Your first mistake was getting on the A53 bus, the one that goes crosstown instead of to where you’re going.

Mistakes like this happen all the time.

The big mistake, though, the one that will cost you, is staying on that bus.

I know it wasn’t easy to get on the bus. I know you got a seat. I know it’s getting dark outside. But you’re on the wrong bus, and staying on the wrong bus won’t make it the right bus.

If you really want to get where you set out to go, you’re going to have to get off the wrong bus.

  • "On a bus, your eyes, ears, and pores are open absorbing in the variety the wonder, and the magic of the city. It's a wonderful way to get to know the city."
  • George Takei