Saturday, March 8th, 2014
I always enjoy the various Google Doodles that appear on various days throughout the year. This morning I was pleased to note that it is International Women’s Day.
It’a a good excuse to pause and consider our wonderful women in accounting. They make such a positive difference for their profession, their firm and for other women in accounting.
Read this article on Forbes about today’s Google Doodle.
Friday, March 7th, 2014
My good friends at prominent New Jersey firm Wilkin & Guttenplan (managing partner Ed Guttenplan and firm administrator Janine Zirrith) never cease to amaze me. They are truly focused on listening to their people, engaging them and including them in decisions.
This year, along with many other interesting and fun activities, they have tweaked their exercise program by offering T25 classes twice per week.
Janine was kind enough to send me a picture, that’s her on the far right and yes, they are holding the managing partner, Ed Guttenplan.
Having fun at your CPA firm right now?
- "The secret of getting ahead is getting started."
Thursday, March 6th, 2014
CPA firm partners, managers, and other inside focused professionals have lots of interactions with people working at the firm. Often a firm administrator alone has the opportunity to answer dozens of questions per day.
These firm leaders are sometimes going to get it wrong. They are going to be curt and short with people – often unaware of how they come across. If they are lucky, they will receive feedback from those who care about them to help them adjust.
If this is you and you are facing a somewhat embarrassing situation – receiving the feedback graciously is important. If you are part of management avoid using “we” when acknowledging such personal feedback – - if you did it, say “I’m sorry” not “We’re sorry.”
Keep in mind that people giving you feedback are taking a risk. They don’t deserve excuses or sarcasm.
- "Feedback is the breakfast of champions."
Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
Some of the most successful CEOs in the country had some interesting first jobs. You can check them out in this article – Surprising First Jobs of 10 Famous CEOS - on the Fast Company site.
How about having some fun during this busy time of year inside your firm or office?
Have everyone describe in a few sentences their very first paid job. Then perhaps your firm administrator can create a matching game with the data, listing the jobs and the names of all team members.
At a group in-office lunch, those attending play the matching game with the forms supplied by the administrator. Prizes are awarded to the people making the most correct matches.
Firms across the country, during this time of year, participate in fun things like this. One year The Association for Accounting Administration compiled ideas and offered a booklet titled, The Fun-tastic Firm to the members. Be sure to share these ideas with your AAA Chapter members and at your CPA firm association meetings.
Tax season is a game. You are doing what you do best and hopefully enjoying the challenges.
- "Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game."
Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
I have mentioned this before…. for some of the population, email is dying out. I’m not convinced it is going away anytime soon but you should be aware that your new hires might not be as adept at email as your more experienced people.
As I talk to practitioners and their teams around the country, I hear the constant lament – “I am swamped by email!” It often becomes a bragging contest: I had 100 emails today. Oh yeah, I had 200! That’s nothing, I usually get 300 per day.
Since email is a primary tool of the CPA profession, it might be helpful to learn 10 Trigger Words to Ban From Your Emails. I found them in an article on Inc. Here they are…. but follow the link to read more about them.
Unfortunately – it’s dismissive
But – it’s jarring and too informal for business
Sincerely – a common signature word has become meaningless
Regrettably – the sender doesn’t usually feel regret
Best – don’t use it if you don’t have data to back it up
Amazing – just as “best” it is better to skip such words
Statistically – be specific with statistics
Formally – what does “formally introduce myself” really mean anyway?
Interestingly – it’s a filler word, skip it.
Remotely – what does it mean to work remotely? Iceland is remote. Just say you’ll be working offsite.
- "I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made the right."
Monday, March 3rd, 2014
I really enjoyed the recent article by Andrew Argue of The Bean Counter.
He notes that as a child he would daydream about a “hero” coming along to save him from his routine life or an unknown person giving him a million dollars. Then life would be easy.
Think about Hagrid entering Harry Potter’s life and changing it forever – taking him into a life of magical mystery.
Argue notes, as he got older he realized no one was going to make his adventure for him. Sure other people might help make your dream come true. There are mentors and sponsors along the way but no one can create the life you want but you.
You have to create your own dream or adventure then take action and work hard to make it come true.
I think you’ll enjoy reading the entire article.
- "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do."
Saturday, March 1st, 2014
It is “busy” season. It is truly a stressful, fast-paced and challenging time for CPAs in public practice. For skilled CPAs, it is also a time of of doing your best work and actually enjoying the challenges. These smart people grow and bloom as they build their career as a CPA.
Maureen Schwartz, Executive Director of BKR International offers spouses The 10 Simple Rules of Caring For Your CPA this busy season.
Lighten-up, smile and relax, at least for a little while, this weekend.
- "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans."
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
The CPA profession is facing a very challenging talent shortage. There is no end in sight. With each passing day it becomes more and more important to retain your valuable employees.
Here’s some great ideas I picked up at the annual CPA Consultants’ Alliance meeting yesterday in Nashville. The meeting continues today.
- There are different generations working inside your firm but please don’t put them in a box! There are some Boomers who think like Millennials and vice versa. There are Gen-Xers who act like millennials and so on. People are people and breaking down the walls between generations is a valuable step to take.
- Be sure to communicate! That is one of the biggest issues inside CPA firms. Many leaders think they have communicated but in reality they haven’t. Make use of Stay Interviews – - What would have to happen for you to commit to staying at our firm and building your career?
- Have your managers form groups for communication. Suggest each manager form a Table of Eight (or if you are a smaller firm a Table of Three). These groups get together periodically just to talk about issues and about their careers. A manager leads the discussion and it could be a manager that people rarely work with. Be creative with these groups.
Before you leave this page, look to the right. I have added two new pictures to – Is That You With Rita? Terry Putney of Transition Advisors and Carrie Steffen of The Whetstone Group. We are having a great time in Nashville.
- "I come from this really small town near Nashville, Tennessee where everything was la-di-da and normal."
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
At the AICPA HR Forum last week, we asked the attendees what topics they wanted to learn more about while attending the forum. Here’s the list:
- Some were new and just wanted to learn more about the CPA profession
- Software & technology to support training.
- Tips on hiring experienced people.
- Restructuring the compensation system.
- How to cope with rapid growth
- Best practices in retaining people.
- Building infrastructure to support growth.
- Training to aid in succession.
- Partners retire but they don’t leave.
- During growth and expansion how can we meet the needs of all offices?
- Mentoring programs
- Flexible work arrangements – we need more stability.
Quite a list! Perhaps your firm is facing some of the same issues. Don’t wait until after April 15th to begin planning on how to address these challenges. Make the plan now and be ready to move quickly on implementing solutions beginning in early May.
- "The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it."
Monday, February 24th, 2014
I made my first trip to Key West last week. It was hot and humid. Quite a change from the often sub-zero of Ohio this winter.
The AICPA HR Forum attracted an amazing group this year. The purpose is to gather a small group of HR Directors, Learning Directors, COOs and some partners that are focused on the human resource area of their firm.
We had 31 (just the right size for networking and getting to know each other) people in attendance. The largest firm represented has 7,000 people and the smallest has 8. Guess what? Many of the same challenges, issues and frustrations. While there are challenges, these firms are focused on making their firms a place where people will want to stay and build their career in public accounting.
Thanks to PCPS for allowing me to be a part of this for the third consecutive year. Most of us attended the group dinner on Thursday evening and then enjoyed a stroll on Duval Street.
- "I drink to make other people more interesting."