Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

A Bit of News Today

“Jobs fill your pockets but adventures fill your soul.” – Jaime Lyn

It is a sad/happy day for me. In case you haven’t heard, this is my friend’s (Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk) last day in business as bbr marketing. 

Bonnie loves working with her clients, she is no longer passionate about running a business. Maybe all of us have had fleeting thought like that from time to time.

IMG_7499Bonnie is certainly not retiring, she is exploring other options. She states in a recent blog post:

“As my company has grown over the last eight years, a fact about which I am very proud, I get to do less of what I love and instead spend much more time running the firm. I’ve decided it is the right time for me to get back to what I am best at and love doing most, and let someone else run the show.”

Warm wishes and best of luck to Bonnie on her quest for a new adventure!

 

  • Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.
  • Bob Bitchin

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

You Didn’t Act

“You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin

How many times have you contemplated the fact that you should have done something but you didn’t?

Maybe it was passing on hiring a new college graduate and several years later that young CPA is already well-known and active in your business community.

Maybe it was procrastinating on buying document management software and then when you finally did it, you realized all the efficiencies you had been missing out on.

Maybe it was not giving enough recognition to that up-and-coming superstar and they suddenly leave to take a job with a competitor.

  • You know you should offer at least one more holiday.
  • You know you should work with your partners to provide enhanced communication inside your firm.
  • You know you should be truly paperless.
  • You know you should offer flexibility and remote connectivity so people can work from anywhere.
  • You know you should hire a consultant to help you with a specific challenge.

You know you should do more of these things, but you don’t know for sure they will work or you don’t yet feel enough pain to act.

As Seth Godin says in a great recent post… “All the good stuff happens when we act even if we don’t know for sure.”

I think I’ll go buy a lottery ticket!

 

  • Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.
  • William James

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Tracking The Time You Are At Your Desk

“Any privacy in public is a hard thing to negotiate.” – Benedict Cumberbatch

All of this technology is wonderful, right? It helps us get work done faster, it helps us shop, it helps us find places, it helps us do our banking and other chores, and it opens an amazing world of information for us.

I was with a friend recently who uses technology (Life360) to track her teenage daughter. Some people track their entire family.

Recently, Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady) wrote an article for Inc. that reported on a bank tracking the time their employees spent at their desks.

Supposedly, the bank says the purpose is to see what spaces employees use. It doesn’t track who is sitting at your desk. The information will be used for space planning.

But what if employers begin using such devices to track employees for other purposes.

It is kind of creepy but also interesting. I don’t really mind that Google knows where I am most of the time. I’m not so naive to think other entities may be tracking me. If you use a credit card, you become very public. But something about having your boss track the time you sit at your desk would be unacceptable.

Read the article, see what you think.

  • You already have zero privacy. Get over it.
  • Scott McNealy

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

The Importance of Your Ownership Structure

Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.” – Hugh Prather

Firm governance is a very important issue and many CPA partner groups have not taken the time and made the effort to clearly define what firm governance means to their firm. Is is not a simple task. There are many topics that need to be addressed when documenting governance.

Brannon-PoeBrannon Poe of Poe Group Advisors, in a recent blog post, addresses the issue of veto power within an ownership group. Veto power in the wrong hands can literally make change, and therefore growth, impossible

If anyone can Veto anything, at any time, it an paralyze a firm.

Make sure your governance and ownership structure will help facilitate change.

Read more via Poe’s post here.

  • They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
  • Andy Warhol

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Warm & Fuzzy

“You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many accounting firm owners/shareholders, in years gone by believed they were doing the right things.

  • We can get by with two monitors, no one needs three.
  • We need to stick with our professional dress code, our clients care.
  • Not everyone needs access to remote connectivity.
  • We don’t need to send more than one person to that management conference, they can come back and inform us all about what they learned.
  • We can just send one person to that leadership training, they can teach it at the firm.
  • It will be okay if we delay working on that succession plan until next year.
  • We don’t need to spend very much on Christmas gifts for the staff, they really don’t appreciate it anyway.
  • It is too hard to keep track of everyone’s birthdays, we don’t need to send a card to each person’s home.
  • It will hurt production if we close the office on Fridays in the summer.

Many partners called all of these things and other nice, little things they were expected to do for staff, “warm & fuzzy” stuff.

In the past, some of these did apply but they sure don’t now. Never be afraid to admit that you were wrong and make important changes that will guide your firm into the future.

  • We would all like a reputation for generosity and we'd all like to buy it cheap.
  • Mignon McLaughlin

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Observations on Change

“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” – Shaquille O’Neal

I have been urging CPAs to change for years. You might think I would get discouraged. Well, I sometimes do. That doesn’t mean I will quit reminding, urging and even nagging you about this important topic.

KoltinI recently looked back to see what I have written about change. Here’s something I featured in August 2008 – 9 years ago!  It was Allan Koltin’s “Dozen Observations on Change.” The sad part is they all still apply.

  1. Sometimes partners don’t want to change, but will say they do.
  2. Sometimes partners don’t want to change, and won’t change!
  3. Sometimes partners want to change, but can’t.
  4. Sometimes partners want to change and can (this is where electric shock may need to be applied).
  5. Sometimes partners want to change, but don’t know how to change.
  6. Sometimes partners can’t change due to conflicting goals/demands.
  7. Sometimes partners will change just enough to get you off their back!
  8. Sometimes partners will change, but only if another partner also changes.
  9. Sometimes partners will initially change, but are only doing it to ultimately prove you wrong.
  10. Sometimes partners won’t change, so don’t waste your time trying to change them.
  11. Sometimes partners will support the change, as long as they don’t actually have to change.
  12. Don’t forget that the value of information is not in what you know. It is in what you know that sometimes the other person doesn’t know that you know.
While some of these bring a smile to our faces, I know that we have all seen these behaviors first-hand.
  • If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
  • John Quincy Adams

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Rapid Change

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” – W. Edwards Deming

The above quote is one of my favorite and it applies to CPAs in public practice.

CPA management consultants (like me) have been asking, urging and pleading with CPAs in public accounting to change for several decades.

Enlightened CPAs paid attention, the vast majority did not. One of the first major changes I can remember was more focus on marketing. Way back, even before my time, CPAs were not allowed to market/sell – it was unethical. You had to rely on word-of-mouth via satisfied clients and referral sources. Finally, over decades, marketing and selling are just like breathing – something every CPA firm must do.

The scary thing to me, as I reflect back, is how long it has taken to begin marketing and to actually learn to sell. It has also taken way too long to begin focusing on the efficiencies with technology and to realize the importance of building a people-friendly culture.

I recently read an article (@hrbartender) about how the number one concern of CEOs right now is not recruiting and retaining, it’s the speed of change.

Of course, recruiting and retaining is still a huge issue but it has become a given and will always be a priority.

For CPAs, change has been something to do gradually. Now, they must face the challenge of rapid change. Never before has the business world moved so rapidly.

Many companies are moving away from any type of long-term planning. They are focusing on hiring the right people – those who fit their culture. Company culture has become a top priority.

From my experience, CPAs in public practice know they need to change many things inside their firm. They know they need to change, personally. They listen to me and others and they learn what must be done. They simply do not do it. My favorite description of CPA firm owners:  Good intentions.  No implementation.

Keep in mind, you are running a business. Business decisions must be made. You can’t take decades to implement changes inside your firm. You must get it done in a few months and maybe even a few weeks!

Revisit the quote at the top of this page. Consider how many CPA firms have disappeared via merger/acquisition. Many could not accomplish change so they have permitted others to do it for them.

  • Stagnation is a slow death.
  • Ellen Hopkins

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

New Clients Will Want Cloud Services

“It takes a very long time to become young.” – Pablo Picasso

I cringe when I hear it. The sad part is that now – summer of 2017 – I am still hearing it way too often from CPA firms around the country.

Are you paperless? Are you completely digital? Are you in the cloud? Are you using a portal?

Most of the answers I hear are…. “sort of,” “not really,” “we don’t trust the cloud,” and “we haven’t pushed it with our clients.”

A recent survey by Bill.com tells us that business owners under the age of 55 prefer their accountants to handle all or most of their accounting work digitally. 78% of those 39 and under want paper-free accounting.

I believe that people, in general, are becoming very accustomed to the digital world – from their personal banking transactions to entertainment.

It’s time to give up the excuse you have used for too many years… “our clients are older and they want things in paper.”

Read more about this survey via Accounting Today – Your Next Accounting Client Wants Paperless, Mobile Services by Mary Ellen Biery.

  • The whims of youth break all the rules.
  • Homer, The Iliad

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Uncomfortable Things Will Often Make You More Successful

“Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not.” – W.E.B. Du Bois

I enjoyed a recent blog post by Meghan Keaney Anderson of Hubspot Marketing. She talks about the value of doing things that make you uncomfortable. I especially enjoyed her story about sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois writing a letter to his daughter when she was about to move to a new place and school.

“Don’t shrink from new experiences and custom. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bed-room. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not. Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul. Above all remember: your father loves you and believes in you and expects you to be a wonderful woman.”

Anderson offers 15 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful. I have listed them below, but be sure to read about each one in the article.

  1. Learning to take a compliment
  2. Public speaking
  3. Working with data
  4. Waking up early
  5. Taking critical feedback
  6. Giving critical feedback
  7. Fighting through conflict
  8. Exercising
  9. Unplugging
  10. Networking and making small talk
  11. Admitting a mistake
  12. Getting in over your head
  13. Disagreeing with your boss
  14. Promoting yourself
  15. Admitting you don’t understand something
  • Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.
  • Brian Tracy

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Big 4 and Blockchain & Bitcoin

“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” – Jack Kerouac

Last week I read an interesting article via Nasdaq titled, Big 4 Accounting Firms Are Experimenting with Blockchain And Bitcoin.

My mission is to always keep you informed, as best I can, about happenings that have an impact on CPA firm management.

So today, I simply provide you a link to the article in hopes you will take the time to read it.

The more I read, the more it all seems to be sinking in. Hope the same applies to you.

Here’s more help on Bitcoin.

(Follow me on Twitter!)

  • Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.
  • Isaac Newton