Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

When Women Win, CPA Firms Win

sageworks-squarelogo“Intelligent people can always come up with intelligent reasons…. to do nothing.” – Scott Simon

Save the date – Thursday, November 2, 2017 – 12:00-1:00pm.

Join me and your peers for a special webinar sponsored by SageWorks, titled: Women In Accounting: Thriving Now and Into The Future.

This is not a webinar just for women. Times have changed. Flexibility and work/life balance is a societal and generational issue. Families need flexibility.

Men in the CPA profession have a huge role in attracting and retaining talented female accountants. Yes, there is a lot for females to know and understand. The same goes for males. After all, in addition to female employees, many of your firm’s new clients are, and will be, female business owners.

Times have changed. Women in accounting, prepare yourself for the future!

Learn more here and get registered.

  • Companies used to be able to function with autocratic bosses. We don't live in that world anymore.
  • Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Never Happy

During CPA firm partner meetings and retreats, there is often one partner who is never happy with whatever new thing the firm is trying to implement. They seem to want to argue about almost everything.

Every idea is challenged and the person usually qualifies their comments with words like “I’m playing devil’s advocate….”

That is why this recent, brief blog post by Seth Godin hit home with me:

Oppositional

When someone is frequently naysaying a proposal or a situation, it’s tempting to figure out how to make them happy. What can you change to find a compromise, how can you listen to their objections and respond in a way to gain their approval?

It might be, though, that being oppositional is making them happy. It may be that the best way to satisfy their objections is to let them keep objecting.

  • Dig your well before you are thirsty.
  • Seth Godin

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Use Technology, Don’t Let it Use You

“You should not confuse your career with your life.” – Dave Barry

One of my wonderful clients shared an amazing blog post with me recently. I want to share it with you.

Now, that the 10/15 due date is history, take some time to contemplate your work life. Reflect and think about how you might be creating more stress than is needed. Are some of the work/life balance issues your own fault?

I work with and talk to many people in the CPA profession. The profession has become much more flexible and less demanding. The most progressive firms are truly focused on creating a workplace that does not consume 60 to 70 hours per week.

Sure, to be successful, it takes hard work and dedication. However, in our current age of connectedness, we might just go too far.

Here’s the post by John O’Leary – Will You See It? (Tips to make technology work for you).

  • Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.
  • Stephen R. Covey

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Resource For What You Need To Know About Tax Reform

“I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

Here’s an opportunity for CPAs to learn more……

What You Need to Know About Tax Reform

AICPA’s Oct. 18 Webcast Will Cover Proposals, Politics and Prospects for Passage

Washington (Oct. 12, 2017) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is offering a tax reform webcast on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT.

The audio webcast features Edward Karl, CPA, CGMA, AICPA vice president of taxation, and Melissa Labant, J.D., CPA/PFS, CGMA, AICPA director of tax policy and advocacy.

Entitled Tax Reform: What CPAs Need to Know, the webcast is intended to brief participants about the latest tax reform developments and prospects for passage.

One CPE credit is available for the webcast.  It is $59 for AICPA members and $69 for non-members.  Group registration is also available.  Those interested may register at http://tinyurl.com/y9q9nd8n

  • Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.
  • W. B. Yeats

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

You Don’t Always Have to “Give In”

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison

Accounting firms, in recent years, have gone to great lengths to be more flexible, to be more understanding, to be more tolerant, compassionate and caring towards their valuable workforce.

All that is good. However, firm leaders, and accountants, in general, are non-confrontational so it seems like they eventually give in to almost any request.

arrow-down-4-xxlYou dumb things down, you go to great lengths to make things simple and easy. You strive to eliminate any discomfort and stress. You want people to have fun and enjoy their work.

I have observed that this fear of offending any team member leads to more work getting done by those at a more experienced level in the firm. Leaders not only fail to set high expectations, they fail to set any expectations. An environment evolves where partners and managers are doing the work and the staff are looking for work.

Many experts tell us that young people want to know exactly what is expected of them. Thus, they can judge when they are making progress on their career path.

I believe that there are still talented people working in the CPA profession who want to be challenged, who want to learn more and do better. They want assignments that are not boring and cause them to stretch to a higher level of performance.

Develop a culture of high performance and high expectations. Create a reputation of being extremely professional, well-disciplined and knowledgeable. You don’t always have to give in to lowering your standards. It is a downward spiral.

  • Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.
  • Joe Biden

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Acting

Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get. – – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.   

If you have a job, especially if you have a job in the CPA profession, acting is probably, or should be, part of your skill set.

Sometimes you get a less-than-enjoyable client assignment. If you are new to the CPA profession, you probably act like you are pleased with the assignment and are learning something meaningful from the experience.

If you are more experienced, you might not be such a good actor and tend to whine about the assignment.

No matter what your experience, you never let the client know that you dread the assignment or project.

Clients need and expect you to care about them. It is natural that you care more about some clients. But, with some clients, it takes more acting than it does with others.

Read Seth Godin’s take on “Appearing to care.”

  • If you care, that's great. If you don't, at least right now, well, it's your job. That's the hard part.
  • Seth Godin

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Sending Follow-Up Emails

“Have something to say. Say it. Stop talking.” – George Lorimer

You probably do it all the time. I often do it, too. Send an quick, easy email to communicate with someone about a project or because you haven’t heard back from someone about some thing, in a while. Your subject line simply says “Just Checking In” or “Touching base” or “Checking on Status,” or something similar.

CPAs send these kind of emails to prospective clients. You have made your pitch and they are in the decision-making mode. You haven’t heard anything for over a week, so you need to touch base or check-in.

The reason people like to send these short emails is because they are very quick – it takes less than 30 seconds. Often, you still don’t hear back. It’s probably because your “quick” communication does not provide any value.

In a post on Hubspot, Leslie Ye gives us 23 Email Subjects That Are Better Than “Just Checking In.” She also gives you some situations where you DO need to check-in or touch base!

I picked seven for you. Be sure to read her brief article to see all the others.

  1. Share an article relevant to their industry
  2. Reference a blog post or Facebook post they they published
  3. Send them a blog post your firm published
  4. Recommend a business event they might want to attend
  5. Call attention to something their competitors did
  6. Invite them to an upcoming webinar or seminar
  7. Reference a common challenge some of your other clients are facing and see if they are experiencing it

If you are going to send an email to enhance communication, make it something worthwhile.

  • There is all the difference in the world between having something to say and having to say something.
  • John Dewey

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

I’ve Been in Meetings All Day

IMG_4125I hear it all the time when I talk to people in the CPA profession.

Sorry I didn’t get back with you…

Sorry, I didn’t get to work on that initiative….

Sorry I missed our call…

—-“I’ve been in meetings all day!”

I love this line from Seth Godin’s blog post today“A $30,000 software package is actually $3,000 worth of software plus $27,000 worth of meetings.”

He talks about “crisp” meetings and what they are. “The crisp meeting is one of a series. It’s driven by purpose and intent. It’s guided by questions.” He lists the questions. Be sure to take a couple minutes to read his post.

Then – “If it’s not going to be a crisp meeting, the professional is well-advised to not even attend.”

I have observed, in CPA firms, that leaders keep the accounting staff well-focused on billable work. Sometimes they don’t have enough meetings with the entire staff.

It’s the management and supervisory staff that seem to waste a huge amount of time in meetings… partner meetings, manager meetings, scheduling meetings, marketing committee meetings, HR committee meetings, technology committee meeting and so on. Develop a management structure, a CEO and a COO, maybe an executive committee. Have fewer committees and fewer meetings with fewer people.

  • The biggest difference between great work and pretty-good work are the meetings that accompanied it.
  • Seth Godin

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

AICPA Campaign Promotes CPA Firms’ Key Role in Advising Small Business

“The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” – Oscar Wilde

I received the following press release about the latest #CPAPowered updated. Check it out and learn about new tools to help you promote your firm.

Latest #CPAPowered Update Designed to Raise Firms’ Visibility on Social Media and National TV

NEW YORK (Sept. 18, 2017) – The American Institute of CPAs today launched the latest update of its national #CPApowered campaign, an initiative designed to showcase the strengths of CPA firms as trusted tax and business advisors to consumers and small businesses.

This year’s campaign features two 30-second videos with the tagline, “Don’t Worry, I’m a CPA,” both of which allude to practitioners’ expertise in business development, tax planning, risk management, cybersecurity and more. The videos are part of a national cable television and social media buy this fall. Firms can promote themselves through paid opportunities on YouTube, Facebook and local television, as well as use the two videos and other materials for free on their website and social media channels.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, and no one is better suited to provide trusted, informed business advice to this sector than CPAs,” said Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA, executive vice president of firm services for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “With the #CPApowered campaign, we’re reminding small business owners that ‘hey, we’ve got your back.’”

Since its launch in 2014, #CPApowered has reached more than three million people through innovative digital media and content strategies. Besides the two videos in this year’s campaign – “It’s a Jungle Out There” and “Small Businesses Take a Beating” – the AICPA has created a CPA marketing toolkit for small business with promotional materials that firms can personalize with their brand. More than 130 firms and several state CPA societies have signed up to participate in the campaign this year.

Information on the videos, suggested social media postings and co-branding options for materials can be found at www.aicpa.org/cpapowered. Videos and content for small business owners on such topics as acquiring financing, succession planning, and family office considerations can be found at cpapowered.org.

  • Bad decisions made with good intentions are still bad decisions.
  • Jim Collins

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

A Culture of Learning

Jason“Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge. Let your learning lead to action.” – Jim Rohn

I was so pleased to read a recent article titled, Creating A Culture of Learning, by Jason Ackerman, CPA, CFP, CGMA. Jason is a next generation CPA setting a great example and using his influence to guide BNA CPAs into the future.

In the article, he stresses many issues that I am very passionate about, too!

  • Hire for cultural fit.
  • New hires don’t know anything about how to do their job based on what they learned in college.
  • It is management’s responsibility to teach and train new team members, starting from the ground up, if necessary.
  • Involve less experienced team members in important client meetings where complex issues are discussed. They learn so much just observing and listening.
  • Give them the freedom to make mistakes – not sloppiness, but honest mistakes.
  • Don’t embarrass them or belittle them because of mistakes. Sometimes management takes too hard a line on errors.
  • Review notes should be given in person.

Be sure to take the time to read the entire article and share it with your partners and managers. Then begin building a culture of learning inside your own firm.

I also really like the BNA website. Explore it, it’s fun!

  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
  • Gandhi