I recently attended the Ohio Chapter of CPAFMA, hosted by the Ohio Society. To help you understand the value, I am listing the topics that were discussed in the after-lunch roundtable discussion. In the morning we had an amazing update about employment law, always an important topic for firm administrators, COOs, and HR Directors.
Practice Management Software
CCH Engagement vs. Thomson EngagementCS
Fun things during tax season
Banking verifications (confirmations)
Thomson UltraTax (problems and issues)
Helping partners find their seat on the bus
Employee time off during busy season.
If you need some answers and some quality advice from others facing the same issues – join CPAFMA.
It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.
“There is a fundamental distinction between strategy and operational effectiveness.” – Michael Porter
Do you have a firm administrator? Do you wish you had a firm administrator?
If you do have one, be sure they are a member of the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA). If you don’t have one, join the Association to learn more about how you can find one and how you could be saving your accountants a significant amount of time by having someone else take care of firm operations.
Today, I will be attending the Ohio CPAFMA Chapter meeting to learn a lot about what’s new in employment law, something all of you should be learning. Be sure to follow my tweets today.
There are many chapters around the country. If you are a managing partner or if you are responsible for any part of firm operations (what goes on behind the scenes), join CPAFMA and attend chapter meetings.
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.
I had the pleasure of meeting so many talented firm administrators, human resource professionals, and partners when I spoke at the June CPAFMA National Practice Management Conference in Baltimore.
What I most enjoy about these gatherings of “professionals managing accounting firms,” is the positive comments I hear about what the attendees would like to achieve when they return to their own CPA firm. I always advise not to try to accomplish too much right away. Just select one or two ideas and get busy implementing. Inside most firms, I find that if people try to implement several ideas, few if any of those worthwhile ideas actually get accomplished.
Here’s a great message from Jim Fahey, Past-Chair of CPAFMA about keeping the momentum going after you have returned to your office.
Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
“If you want to change people’s minds, you need more than evidence. You need persistence.” – Seth Godin
Recently, when I spoke to the 200+ people at this year’s CPAFMA National Practice Management Conference in Baltimore, I stressed to the firm management leaders that PERSEVERANCE pays off when tackling CHANGE in accounting firms. Yes, PERSEVERANCE and PERSISTENCE are the weapons of change.
Change does not come easy for traditional, conservative, risk-adverse CPAs.
That’s why I wanted to share a blog post from Seth Godin. I periodically share a complete post by Godin and I thought the following one SPOKE to those fighting the War For Change inside accounting firms.
The Flip Is Elusive by Seth Godin
For a generation after people realized that smoking would kill them, many smart, informed people still smoked. Then, many of them stopped.
After discovering that an expensive luxury good is made out of the same materials as a cheaper alternative, many people stick with the expensive one. And then they gradually stop going out of their way to pay more.
After a technology breakthrough makes it clear that a new approach is faster, cheaper and more reliable, many people stick with the old way. Until they don’t.
And inevitably, it doesn’t matter how much people discover about their favorite candidate, they seem impervious to revelations, facts and the opinions of others. For a while, sometimes a very long while. But then, they assert that all along they knew something was amiss and find a new person to align with.
Computers don’t work this way. Cats don’t have a relationship like this with hot stoves. Imaginary logical detectives always get the message the first time.
For the rest of us, though, the flip isn’t something that happens at the first glance or encounter with new evidence.
This doesn’t mean the evidence doesn’t matter.
It means that we’re bad at admitting we were wrong.
Bad at giving up one view of the world to embrace the other.
Mostly, we’re bad at abandoning our peers, our habits and our view of ourselves.
If you want to change people’s minds, you need more than evidence. You need persistence. And empathy. And mostly, you need the resources to keep showing up, peeling off one person after another, surrounding a cultural problem with a cultural solution.
I have been busy at conferences in June and I want to share some of my pictures. I will add them to my “Is that you with Rita” Flickr page but I don’t have them there yet. I made some composites to share. Maybe you will see yourself. The people I meet and have met over these many years are my greatest treasure.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
Yesterday, CPAFMA (formerly AAA) wrapped up it’s 33rd National Practice Management Conference in Baltimore. It was my 30th consecutive conference.
In all those years, I have never been disappointed in the content and educational atmosphere of this annual event. It is absolutely the best conference focused exclusively on CPA firm practice (and self-improvement). I only wish more managing partners would attend. It was such an honor this year to be one of the featured keynote presenters – thank-you CPAFMA!
The concluding keynote session this year featured Sam Allred of the Upstream Academy. If you are involved in CPA firm management you already know Sam. He began by jokingly noting that an attendee said she was “staying until the bitter end” so she could hear Sam. To me, even jokingly, Sam was not the bitter end – he was “save the best for last.”
CPAFMA asked him to focus his comments on this: If I could start from scratch to create the perfect firm, what would it look like?
Can we create a firm…….
Where there are minimal politics
That has a very low turnover
That has a very high morale and high productivity
That has strong organic growth but nobody feels pressured to sell anything
That has no artificial harmony
Where everyone is encouraged (and even expected) to speak their mind
Where all the partners are admired and respected
Where partners believe it is a privilege (not a right) to be part of the ownership group
Where everyone is helped to play to their strengths
Where there’s no parity (everyone is allowed to progress as fast and and far as they are able)
Where every discussion and decision is made with the firm’s best interest in mind
Sam elaborated on all of theses with wonderful insights and advice. I will feature more about all of this in future blogs.
For today, read this list of highlights a couple of times and give them some thought as you enjoy the long week-end.
I also had the wonderful opportunity to catch-up with Georgia Cummings of Upstream and to meet Sam’s handsome son, Jason.
Above, Sam Allred, is that you with Rita? And….. Georgia Cummings and Jason Allred, is that you with Rita?
You want to create a firm where your people think Monday is their favorite day of the week.
Jeanie Price, Partner & Director of Administration at DeLeon & Stang, CPAs received the prestigious ACE Award last night from the CPA Firm Management Association. The award went to a most deserving and amazing champion for the CPA profession.
I have known Jeanie for nearly 25 years and she is a shining example of what hard work, dedication and caring can do for a growing CPA firm and for all of us who know her. Congratulations, Jeanie!
Here’s Jeanie, second from the left, with some of her best CPAFMA friends at last night’s award ceremony.
You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself.
I always try to attend Randy Johnston‘s tech update sessions whenever our paths cross at conferences. He makes actually makes the latest trends in technology understandable for people working on the management side of a growing CPA firm. Yesterday, at the CPAFMA National Practice Management conference in Baltimore, Johnston shared some insights from his most recent survey of the profession.
He actually makes the latest trends in technology understandable for people working on the management side of a growing CPA firm. Yesterday, at the CPAFMA National Practice Management conference in Baltimore, Johnston shared some insights from his most recent survey of the profession.
Here are just a few tidbits from Randy’s comments:
-Look at focusing on niches. The most profitable firms are niche focused. Tax and collaborative accounting may not be a good long-term strategy.
-Top tech challenges: Keeping up with new software. Workflow. Security.
-Training, over and over again, is a consistent problem in nearly every firm he visits. He estimated that out of the 400 firms he has visited, only about two do it well.
-When it’s time to purchase monitors, consider going with fewer, larger monitors.
-CCH scan, SurePrep and Gruntworx have all made improvements and are working well.
-For workflow, XCM is the dominant player followed by GoFileRoom workflow.
-Every tax product has a new generation coming out within the next few years. Be prepared for major changes.
-This year, 25% of firms in his survey are looking at changing tax software. That is a high percentage and rather unusual.
-If your technology budget is 6-7% your partners will make more money, if the budget is managed.
Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible