Archive for the ‘Change’ Category
Tuesday, March 7th, 2017
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” – Malcolm S. Forbes
A very interesting topic was explored in an article via Accounting Today last week by Bill Tsotsos – – Do accountants have low self-esteem?
In his opening, he describes what I have observed, first-hand, in dealing with probably thousands of CPAs over the last 30 years.
Many male CPAs, to me, have split personalities. Or, maybe to describe it better, they have a public persona and a private persona.
Outside the firm, they project (and I think many of them force themselves to do it) a fun-loving, knowledgeable, highly intelligent professional. They have all the answers and love to help clients. They love being around people.
Inside the firm, they display many of the characteristics listed in the article:
- Poor communication skills and poor social skills;
- Don’t make/sustain eye contact with others;
- Don’t engage with others;
- Don’t take risks (risk-averse);
- Unable to discern who and when to trust;
- Fear and anxiety of making a mistake, being rejected, looking foolish or inadequate;
- Self-focused: Only viewing and thinking of what goes on around them on the basis of their own wants and needs; and,
- Rigidity: Motivated by fear of doing something wrong and receiving negative feedback. Those with LSE seem to narrow their choices to be safe from erring.
Demonstrating these characteristics does not mean they do not care about their clients, their team members or the quality of services they provide.
I like to describe it as they are not truly aware of their worth, the value they bring to the marketplace. This always comes out when it is time to bill – – they dread billing the client for the dollars revealed in WIP and usually bill them less. They can’t imagine what value pricing would be like!
I once talked with a CPA partner, very well-known and respected in his business community. He built his image up over many years and yet he disclosed that he dreaded networking and when a client came in to talk one-on-one, his stomach hurt before the meeting because he was dreading it.
I have not observed as much of this “split” in female CPAs. They need more of the outside persona.
My message: YOU are worth it! You have spent thousands and thousands of dollars getting your education and keeping current on financial and tax topics. What’s in your head is VERY valuable to others – don’t under rate yourself.
You provide your clients with peace of mind. What a great mission – enjoy it.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden
Think about it. Things that used to take you hours and hours to complete can now be mastered in a matter of minutes. The CPA’s most important tool is technology.
I shudder because I still interact with some practitioners who are not even PAPERLESS! They still cannot review a tax return ON SCREEN!
Last week I received information about a new app called TALK. TALK can now do the books for a business owner – you should pay attention to this – for no other reason than to realize that change is coming very fast. To put it briefly, your client could talk to the app and it would do the bookkeeping.
Here’s the press release and below is a link to the website where you can watch a short video.
22 Million Small Business Owners and Sales People Struggle With
Bookkeeping and Mileage Tracking. It Stops Today.
If you can take a picture of a receipt or sales order and talk into your phone, TALK does your books.
TALK Accounting of Tucson announced a new phone app today that lets anyone, regardless of their accounting skills, to stop worrying about bookkeeping or tax deductions.
Founder KC Truby says “Because of new voice recognition and artificial intelligence, the process is 10- second simple. The app codes, verifies and post your transactions right into a spreadsheet, QuickBooks or other software.”
To assure accuracy TALK automatically double checks the transaction against your current list of customers, vendors and deductions, right before your eyes. No more receipts. No more lost deductions. No more worries about IRS questions.
What if you forget to TALK in a credit card charge? No problem. TALK has partnered with Finicity to review all your credit and debit transactions daily. KC says “if we see you forgot to TALK about something, we’ll send you a notification at the end of the day asking for the missing details, long before you forget.”
Tax returns made easy. When you get a 1099 or other critical documents in the mail just take a picture and talk about it. The documents are stored online – ready for your accountant. No more ‘all-nighters’ on April 15th looking for lost documents.
IRS ready mileage logs, automatically. TALK has also partnered with Automatic.com to intercept a GPS recording of where your car has been. This is data directly from the vehicle without draining your phone’s battery. After a trip, TALK will quietly ask if you’d like to include a business purpose for the miles driven. Just answer the question in one sentence and you have an IRS ‘bomb proof’ log ready for expense reports or tax returns.
No learning curve. TALK has teamed up with Fujitsu’s ScanSnap scanner for 1 button push to upload documents whenever needed from a scanner. On the app side, the artificial intelligence codes your transactions for you – that means you don’t need accounting skills, just follow the app’s instructions and you’re left with rock-solid books.
Here’s a link to more information on the TALK site. Be sure to watch the short video at the top of the page.
Never neglect details. When everyone's mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
“We won’t recognize the vast majority of CPA firms in five to 10 years.” – Barry Melancon
CPAs working in public accounting, get ready. I’m smiling as I type this because I have been warning, pleading, asking and begging you to “get ready” for about 25 years!
As reported via Accounting Today, Barry Melancon, President/CEO of the AICPA said recently, “The number of changes facing the accounting profession will leave most practices radically altered in the near future.”
Yes, you have been hearing that for years but this time it’s different because time is truly running out.
The businesses you serve are facing changes in a quicker time frame than ever before, why should you think CPA firms would be exempt? CPAs are supposed to be showing their clients the way into the future.
Erik Asgeirsson, President/CEO of CPA.com encourages accountants to dive deep into technology and pursue how it can help them deliver higher value to their clients.
Be sure to read the full article via Accounting Today. Be sure to note the graph that shows the percent of firms implementing cloud accounting in 2017.
People evolve and it's important to not stop evolving just because you've reached adulthood.
J. K. Simmons
Monday, February 20th, 2017
“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” – John Foster Dulles
Do you shy away from challenging problems?
Certified Public Accountants are basically, nice people. They do not want to create contention or participate in confrontation. So, many challenging problems have a very long life-span inside accounting firms.
You have a renegade partner. They develop work-arounds to almost all of your processes and systems and rarely go along with the partner group’s initiatives. You even wonder what they are saying to clients.
You have a sacred cow employee. A person that apparently cannot be fired for continual poor performance. It’s someone who has been with the firm for decades and has evolved to the point where they have a very bad attitude. Even their work has become shoddy and they are beginning to drive people away from the firm.
The business world is quickly becoming digital and your firm is still not even paperless! You have a partner who absolutely refuses to move into the future. They must have everything in paper and they refuse to learn how to even review tax returns on-screen. Young, up-and-comers will soon find greener pastures.
Some partner groups are so afraid of confrontation that they pay a consultant thousands of dollars to come in and deal with the challenging problem.
Sure there is risk involved and it might feel very uncomfortable, but why not step-up to the plate and deal with your challenging problems? That’s what great leaders do.
(If you receive my blog via email, be sure to visit my website to read each days quote at the bottom of the page.)
One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment. If it doesn't turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Friday, February 10th, 2017
“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand
I was delighted to read a recent article from the Journal of Accountancy by Yasmine El-Ramly and Anita Dennis titled, Rising to the top on a reduced schedule.
The article features two female partners at Grant Thornton. Yes, partners who work a flex schedule – Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA).
The partners are Debbie Smith, CPA and Erica O’Malley, CPA. They built a thriving employee benefit plan audit practice while working a 70% schedule.
Some lessons featured in the article:
Lesson 1 – A flexible work arrangement can pave the way
Lesson 2 – A foundation built on teamwork and trust
Lesson 3 – Focus on results
Lesson 4 – With flexibility comes responsibility
Lesson 5 – Time management and organizational skills stand out
Lesson 6 – Plan to be flexible
These are great lessons for anyone struggling with working a flexible schedule or for firms contemplating implementation of an FWA that can even include partners.
I hope you read the entire article to learn more about each lesson.
Women are the real architects of society.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Wednesday, February 8th, 2017
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Cousteau
Just an observation. It seems to me that we have evolved to living a temporary life. Nothing seems to LAST.
When I grew up, my parents always stressed that we should buy something of quality. We should buy fewer but more expensive clothes because they would LAST us a long time. We bought quality furniture because it was sturdy, solid and would LAST a long time.
Maybe, when you graduated with your accounting degree, you joined a well-established CPA firm with a long, proven history of quality client service. A firm that would LAST.
In comparing life to furniture, my parents lived in an Ethan Allen world and my son lives in an IKEA world.
These days we buy cheaper stuff and when it’s flawed, we throw it away and buy another.
The well-established firm you joined, thinking you would be a partner someday, suddenly merges-up into a large regional or national firm. The firm didn’t LAST.
I still prefer things that LAST.
Lost - yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.
Friday, February 3rd, 2017
“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” – W. Edwards Deming
How are you doing with that “change” thing? I write about it over and over again and about how important it is to embrace change and keep pace with the changing world.
Today, I won’t write much but I want you to follow this link and read a great article by Jody Padar. To me, it’s a simple message: If you don’t change you will lose clients. Read it please and think about it over the weekend.
You must welcome change as the rule but not as the ruler.
Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
“We are a full-service accounting firm serving clients throughout the area, dedicated to providing our clients with professional, personalized services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs.”
“Since 1984, our Certified Public Accounting firm, has been providing quality, personalized financial guidance to local individuals and businesses. Our expertise ranges from valuable tax management and accounting services to more in-depth services such as audits of financial statements, preparation of financial statements, consulting and financial planning.”
Do the above descriptions sound like something that is on your website? They are typical of what I see as I visit CPA websites from across the country. Although I have been urging you to get creative with your website for years, I still find many that look the same way they did in 1997 (or earlier).
While your accountants are busy for the next couple of months, it’s time for your firm administrator or marketing director (coordinator) to get busy updating your website.
Make it friendly to the first-time visitor. On the home page, tell them how you can help THEM and not so much about YOU. Save the information about your firm for a subsequent page. Some things you need to convey:
- Immediate resources for the visitor
- Your energy, enthusiasm, and excitement about what you do
- The dedication of your staff to client service
- How you can solve their business problems
- How you are unique
Consider this advice from Lee Iacocca:
“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.”
You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will.
Stephen King, on writing
Friday, January 27th, 2017
People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. John C. Maxwell
Owners of accounting firms spend a significant amount of money on partner and/or management retreats. At these multi-day, off-site meetings they often update or draft their firm’s mission and vision.
People often get the two confused. To describe them simply: A mission describes why an organization exists. A vision is a description of the future.
When CPA firm owners design a vision statement it VERY often sounds something like this:
Vision: To be the most respected CPA firm in our business market providing quality services to our clients and providing careers for our people where they can grow professionally.
Keep John Maxwell’s quote (above) in mind as you approach the topic of creating a vision statement for your firm. If the leaders are not living examples of where the firm wants to go, then the team will not follow. Nor will they be inspired.
To the person who does not know where the wants to go there is no favorable wind.
Thursday, January 26th, 2017
“Paychecks can’t buy passion.” – Brad Federman
It is getting to be a rather tiring topic. To be successful, you must have employees who are engaged. You can Google the topic and find all kinds of advice.
The fact is, there is an overwhelming amount of people who are not engaged in their work. To me, that means they really don’t like what they do. Per Gallup, you have Three Types of Employees:
Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.
Not-Engaged employees are essentially “checked out.” They are sleepwalking through their workday, putting time but not energy or passion into their work.
Actively Disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work, they are busy action out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.
My motto, on this topic as it is with most things inside a busy CPA firm – – Keep It Simple
Where do your people fit? I’m sure you have some in each classification. To drive engagement, it’s simple, you have to be proactive.
- Be sure your people know what is expected of them.
- Let them know how important they are to the success of your clients and your firm.
- Make sure you explain to them how their career can, or will, advance.
- Give regular feedback so that they know how they are doing and where they are going.
- Be a caring boss.
- Over communicate
- Set a good example
- Have a sense of humor
If you do some of these things and are proactive maybe your “Not-Engaged” people will become Engaged.
For the Actively Disengaged, give them the opportunity to get a new job elsewhere.
Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.