Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Parental Leave

“Trust yourself. You know more than yu think you do.” – Benjamin Spock, M.D.

A few months ago I surveyed a small number of CPA firms across the country. I was curious about the kind of parental leave they offered as an employee benefit.

To my dismay, paid maternity leave is almost non-existent. CPA firms seem to approach it with a combination of actions. The employee (the mother) is encouraged to save and/or carry over PTO to be used and they combine it with short term disability options.

As far as any type of paid leave for new Dads, it seems truly non-existent.

Here is a good article from FAST Company – How Paid Parental Leave Changed in 2016. 

Some progress has been made, in general, but 2016 was not an impressive year for paid parental leave. A quarter of new mothers go back to work just 10 days after giving birth.

Just so you know, in 2016, EY announced a new policy to expand its parental benefits to over 35,000 U.S. employees. Both new mothers and fathers are eligible for up to 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave for birth, adoption, surrogacy, foster care, or legal guardianship.

If you want to attract and retain young, top talent. An impressive paid parental leave policy might just be the answer.

 

  • ""Encourage and support your kids because children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.""
  • Lady Bird Johnson

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Focus On Your Destination

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

Think about this meaningful quote from Jim Rohn. Can you see how it applies to you and how you go about improving and growing your accounting firm?

For example, you finally agree that you need to be TRULY paperless and become a digital firm. – – That’s the destination.

You work with your people to develop a roadmap on how to get there. You start down that road. Something happens (I won’t use the other “S” word), but things do happen. You get delayed, you encounter an unexpected obstacle. Some of the things you planned don’t work well.

By all means, change your approach. Learn from those who have gone before you and adopt some different ways to arrive at your destination.

But, do not give up. Keep focused on results and reach your destination.

Then set a new destination!

  • "I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination."
  • Jimmy Dean

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend – Bohemian Rhapsody

Enjoy this January weekend by listening to Bohemian Rhapsody played on a 100+-year-old fairground organ. Quite unique.

Speaking of unique, I also shared it performed by the Muppets back in 2013. 

  • "A concert is not a live rendition of our album. It's a theatrical event."
  • Freddie Mercury

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Be An Inspiration

“Eliminate the term motivate. Adopt the term inspire.” – Dan Rockwell

You read about it all the time. How to motivate others. I blogged about it this week – Motivate By Individualizing. I blog about it often. Another example is on February 16, 2015 – Are you doing the right things or just things?

Then, yesterday, I read the above quote from @leadership freak. I think he’s identified the correct term.

In accounting firms, you do all kinds of things to motivate people. You GIVE them an extensive list of benefits. You GIVE them words of encouragement. You GIVE them flexibility. You GIVE them a cool workplace. You even GIVE them opportunity.

The question is, as a leader, do you INSPIRE them? Even if you are not officially in a leadership role, do you inspire your peers?

Don’t GIVE them things continually. Try BEING an inspiration. Be the leader who works hard but is always available to help others. Be the leader who does not complain about peers, subordinates or clients. Be the leader who is active in the community and has even been recognized for charitable and community work. Be the person who has achieved great satisfaction and success from being a professional working in the accounting profession.

  • "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."
  • Charles Swindoll

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Yes You Can

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

I have always loved the above quote. It is so very descriptive of many of us and it is a quote that I think needs to be embraced by accountants, CPAs and others working in public accounting.

For the most part, public accounting is very traditional, conservative and risk-adverse. Many times I have heard practitioners state, “We can’t do that yet. Are other firms doing it? We need to see if it works for other firms first.”

I work with a lot of smaller firms and I believe that it is much easier for smaller firms to make significant changes, more quickly, than larger organizations. However, in reality, many small firms are lagging behind.

If you think you can’t become totally paperless. If you think you cannot have virtual employees. If you think you cannot have various flexible work arrangements. If you think your less experienced staff cannot take on more challenging work. If you think one of your long-time partners cannot change their behavior.

You are wrong. Yes, you can!

  • "We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action."
  • Dr. Henry Link

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Motivate By Individualizing

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

The Golden Rule, which is a good rule, for the most part, doesn’t always apply in today’s complex workplace environment.

Not everyone wants to be treated like “I” want to be treated.

These days training and development are all about, “One size fits one.”

The Association for Talent Development explains it this way: One size fits one is a movement toward providing learning to employees, clients, or children in a way that makes sense to the learner and not to the trainer, teacher or instructional designer.

CPA firm managers are often not very in-tune with the best ways to motivate and engage the people they supervise. In many CPA firms, everyone is trained the same and it is often a very long-standing aspect of the firm culture. Also, accounting firms do not spend enough money on educating and training their managers on how to manage PEOPLE.

One size fits one, acknowledges that people are motivated by immensely different things. For example, one person loves to be recognized publicly and another dreads being the center of attention.

Qualified managers (and partners) are good at understanding people and they adjust their supervisory style accordingly.

 

  • "Don't let yesterday take up too much of today."
  • Will Rogers

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Five Workplace Trends For 2017

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” – Newt Gingrich

As you already know, nearly every CPA firm is looking for new talent. It’s truly turned into a war for talent in the public accounting profession.

It’s not just public accounting, of course. According to Glassdoor’s newest report on job trends, there is a record number of unfilled jobs – 5.85 million as of April 2016 – which represent the most since BLS started tracking job openings in 2000.

Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist, shares some 2017 job trends:

#1 HR will transform itself into “people science.”

#2 Many things get automated but we don’t lose our jobs.

#3 Nontraditional benefits will become less popular.

#4 We’ll make progress narrowing the wage gap.

#5 The Gig economy will slow down.

Read more about each trend here. I know you will be interested in #3!

  • "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
  • Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, January 9th, 2017

The Modern Workplace

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

It is definitely not the same old workplace where many of us “grew up” in the business world.

At my first job, in the accounting department of a major manufacturing company, we were not allowed to leave our desks except at our specified “break” time. They ran the office much like they did the manufacturing floor.

60Minutes and Vanity Fair conducted a poll in 2016 to explore the modern workplace. It has changed dramatically and is still evolving as we deal with more tech-savvy young workers who have joined our knowledge-based economy. They are demanding more.

Here are the polling questions:

What’s the most important thing to look for in a new job?

What’s the best way to keep an employee motivated?

Which business practice would you most like to bring back?

How much more than their workers should CEOs earn?

Which job perk would be the hardest to explain to your grandfather?

Which industry is the most unethical?

What is the worst thing about your job?

Check out the results here. Maybe you should ask some of these questions to your own accounting firm team. As a firm leader, you need to know all you can about your young workforce.

  • "Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their job."
  • Malcolm Forbes

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Skill Gap

Do we have a skill gap in public accounting? Yes, I believe we have SOMEWHAT of a skill gap in that CPAs with more longevity are not as nimble with technology. They are certainly not slugs either.

The bigger issue is that they have an aversion to change. Often forming a major roadblock to change inside their own firm. One managing partner told me, “We LIKE paper.”

With younger accountants, the skills gap seems to be mostly with communication.

Watch the short video, below, via IFAC, as Mark Koziel, Executive Vice President, Firm Services, AICPA expertly explains these gaps.

 

  • "A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That's why they don't get what they want."
  • Madonna

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

For Your CPA Firm & For Your Clients – Take Sexual Harassment Seriously

“Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.” – George Washington

Well-managed CPA firms got the sexual harassment message a long time ago. But, have you continually educated your new team members and your long-time team members about the importance of a sexual harassment policy and how it works?

Your CPAs are advising your small business clients on many topics and making them aware of the need for a sexual harassment policy should be one of those topics.

david-lewis-headshotSometimes small businesses (like CPA firms and their clients) have a very casual, almost collegiate culture. There is nothing casual about sexual harassment.

David Lewis, President/CEO of OperationsInc, one of the Northeast’s largest Human Resources Outsourcing and Consulting firms, was recently interviewed about sexual harassment policies on MSNBC.

Lewis suggests:

  • Start with awareness and training.
  • Adopt a policy and be sure it is well communicated.
  • Be sure your people understand what sexual harassment is and what is suppose to happen if it occurs.
  • Always follow your policy.

Address sexual harassment before it occurs and you must adopt a zero tolerance policy. Many small businesses don’t want to upset their casual culture and try to ease into some sort of sexual harassment policy. There is no easing in – no middle ground. Let everyone know that going forward there will be zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

If you have a policy and don’t follow it, it is a killer – lawyers love it.

Watch the brief, informative interview here.

  • "Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none."
  • Benjamin Franklin