Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Over 60 – Under 40

40U40_logo.5417688fda47dThis morning I was thinking about the recently announced “40 Under 40” by CPA Practice Advisor. Congratulations to all of them. I was so pleased that I know several of them.

I was also contemplating how many people, probably over 60, had (or have) influence in the careers of these younger, successful people working in the accounting profession.

If you are over 60 and working in the CPA profession (and I know there are a huge number of you – yes, it includes me), why not make a special effort to mentor someone under 40?

The ones over 40 and under 60 are probably doing okay for themselves right now but think of the wonderful relationship that could be built between the over 60s and under 40s. They can learn from each other.

So today I encourage you if you are “under 40″ to seek out new mentors or enhance your current relationship with someone “over 60″.

If you are “over 60″, it’s time to give back. Identify one of those “under 40s” who have already proven they have something special and help them grow it.

  • "Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul."
  • Samuel Ullman

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Check-in With Your Team – How Are They Doing With Their Goals?

Before CPAs became so unrealistically busy in the late summer and fall, they used to use September as the month to touch base on goals. Most firms used the cycle of formal, more comprehensive performance feedback in June and set goals for the coming year to begin July 1.

Then in late September or early October, individual face-to-face conversations happened to see how progress was being made, what didn’t seem so important any more and re-align goals for the remainder of the fall and early winter.

Hopefully, you have replaced this method with simplified, direct feedback more often, mentoring conversations on-going and fewer goals with shorter timelines.

Even though you have multiple priorities, your people should be at the top of the list. How are they doing?

Star slideTalk with them soon about their goals for the next 3 months and be sure that you always include some stretch-goals for individuals.

Stretch goal – that cannot be achieved by incremental or small improvements but require extending oneself to the limit to be actualized. Expressed in the saying, “You cannot cross a chasm in two steps.”

In this time of talent shortage, it’s time to ask your current all-stars and middle-stars to STRETCH and fill the void in the all-star category!

  • "They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays."
  • Ted Williams

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

That Time Of Year – Rosenberg Annual Survey

IMG_5827Just received my copy of the 17th Annual Edition of the Rosenberg Survey. It is one of the most popular and widely respected national surveys of CPA Firm Statistics.

Read more about it and order your copy here.

  • "Be careful of reading health books. You may die of a misprint."
  • Mark Twain

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Selfie Mode

Get out your phone and put the camera in selfie mode.  (Or, simply look yourself in the eye via a mirror.)

The image is showing you an experienced CPA who owns or works in a growing, successful firm.

Look closely at yourself, study yourself. – Do it now and then come back to read more.

Who do you see? Do you see a good role model? Do you see a great role model?

Sometimes we can do more for ourselves, our firms and our peers by simply looking in the mirror and contemplating if we are truly a good example.

  • "Example is leadership."
  • Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

LIghten-Up, It’s The Weekend -The Active Wear Craze

Yes, we all have noticed it. Mostly women wearing “active wear” to the grocery, book store, to get coffee, even to go to backyard parties and fall festivals, etc.

An all-female comedy troupe have just dropped a parody video taking aim at the curious behavior of these people. Read more here.

CPA firm dress code believers…. watch-out!

  • "Elegance is the only beauty that never fades."
  • Audrey Hepburn

Friday, September 25th, 2015

PCPS Top Issues Survey Results

Not sure if you saw the release this summer, but 2015 is the year that the AICPA PCPS does their Top Issues survey.

I think it is helpful to see what the issues are in your size firm.  Here’s the summary:

top issues survey aicpa

  • "I don't like to commit myself about heaven and hell.. you see, I have friends in both places."
  • Mark Twain

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Do You Trust Your Leaders?

466709245_fdae5ac84c_zOne of the biggest issues I encounter when talking with CPA firm teams is the fact that they don’t trust the firm’s partners. Maybe they trust some of them but not all of them.

They didn’t start out working at the firm with a lack of trust. In the beginning they were excited and enthusiastic. Slowly, over time, many firm employees become untrusting because of unmet expectations.

Partners say they want you to be innovative, creative and offer ideas yet they judge your performance based on billable hours and realization.

Art Markman in a post on Fast Company says, “For people to trust what you say, it is important to recognize that you communicate in three ways: through what you say, what you do, and what you reward. And each form of communication on this list is more important that the last.”

Many CPA partner groups do a good job of “saying” things, but they fail when it comes to “doing” and “rewarding”.

Partners, take the time to work on aligning the words you use with your actions and your rewards.This would be a good topic for your next retreat.

Image: Trust from Terry Johnston’s photostream on Flickr

  • "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters."
  • Albert Einstein

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Time To Phase Out Voicemail

I know that voicemail is an important part of most CPA’s lives. Clients leave a message and you call them back. You leave a message and they call you back. Often this loop goes on and on.

I have observed that many CPAs never answer their phone. They let the call go into voicemail so they can avoid the interruption. Is that really client service?

I have blogged about the decline in voicemail at least a couple of times. Studies tell us that most people under 40 do not use voicemail. How about your clients?

Countless things become outdated every decade and it looks like voicemail is one of them. Here’s some things to consider from a blog post on yestrak:

No one leaves messages anymore. – Forbes reports that 80% of callers hang up on voicemail.

Customers don’t want to wait. – InsideSales reports that 35-50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first.

Machines are frustrating. – American Express reports that 67% of customers have hung up the phone out of frustration that they could not talk to a real person.

Phones are now smart, you voicemail isn’t. – According to Pew Research Center, two-thirds of the American population now owns a smart phone.

Voicemail is not part of a rapid-response cycle. – The New York Times reports that 30% of messages don’t get checked for at least three days and 20% never check messages.

Be thinking about how your growing firm will serve clients without voicemail.  Read the entire blog post on yestrak for more details.

  • "I should just change my voicemail greeting to: Please hang up and text me, thanks."
  • Unknown

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

How Skilled Are Your People At Business Writing

“I’m an accountant, I’m expected to know numbers!” – I bet you have heard that before or maybe even said it yourself. It’s a good excuse for poor grammar and spelling.

I have seen some amazing spelling mistakes via CPAs! I’m not an expert at grammar and spelling myself, so I am not pointing fingers. But I do try to improve and often do research on grammar and spelling because I write a lot!

LynnI like to read the business writing blog by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston. About Lynn.

Here’s an example of one of her posts. It is titled: Ignore These 10 Always-Never Rules.

She explains that sometimes we hold on to “rules” we learned in our younger years or from others in our work world. The rule usually starts with “Never” or “Always”.

Her advice IGNORE these 10 Always-Never Rules: (Read more about each one by following the link, above.)

  1. Never us a comma before and.
  2. Always use a comma before quotation marks.
  3. Always spell out numbers that are less than 10.
  4. Never start a sentence with because.
  5. Never end a sentence with a preposition.
  6. Never split an infinitive.
  7. Always include the other person’s name before using me.
  8. Never start a sentence with I in business writing.
  9. Never use a contraction in business writing.
  10. When using bullet points, always have at least two.

One of the most popular in-house CPE sessions we had at my firm was during the summer when a high school English teacher came in and did a writing workshop.

  • "Spel chekers, hoo needs em?"
  • Alan Bean

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Accounting Dreams & Delusions by Kristen Rampe

FullSizeRenderMy friend, Kristen Rampe, has written a wonderful, light-hearted book about the CPA profession.

It’s titled, Accounting Dreams and Delusions – Scenes from professional paradise, and what really happens in the accounting industry.

When I received a copy in the mail, it made my day. It begins with, “you’ll never believe what my client said…” – continues with “And then my CPA said to me…” closes with “What she said….”. It will make you smile.

Here’s the trailer.

  • "You can only be young once. But you can always be immature."
  • Dave Barry