Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Thank-you to the large tribe of followers of my daily blog. You are what keeps me going! Stay tuned for lots more as we enter a new year. Best wishes for a successful, changing, dynamic and enjoyable 2018.
Holiday slide 2017 jpg

  • Sometimes we spend so much time and energy thinking about where we want to go that we don't notice where we happen to be.
  • Dan Gutman

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Sanity Time

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” – Edgar Allan Poe

This morning, I had 50 minutes of sanity time. Here’s the official definition of sanity:

San·i·ty:  the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner; sound mental health.

For the last few weeks, and especially the last several days, I have been more in a panic mode than a sanity mode.

I’ve been rushing around trying to get EVERYTHING done. As many of you know, my husband broke his leg in October and he is still not allowed to put any weight on it… so he needs quite a bit of care plus, he has always done SO much around the house. Yes, I actually have to cook now! Then it is the normal demands of the Christmas season… shopping, baking, wrapping, mailing – some of which got dropped this year.

This morning, I had to take my car to the dealership for a recall notice repair. Had to be done before December 31st. So, I just waited (about 50 minutes) for them to complete the work. I sat in the waiting room, helped myself to a cup of coffee and just glanced at my phone and looked out the window at the sunny day. I couldn’t jump up and get something for my husband. Couldn’t load the dishwasher, couldn’t do laundry, couldn’t do shopping – my online shopping was complete. I did not answer emails from my clients (who also seem frantic and needy right now). I just relaxed and it was wonderful.

Maybe you can find some sanity time over this long holiday weekend. Sneak away if you have to and find a quiet place with no one else you know near you (and don’t talk to strangers like I usually do). You might find a coffee shop, a library or the waiting room of a dealership and do nothing worthwhile for an hour. Of course, I did a lot of THINKING during that 50 minutes – I hope you will include that activity in your sanity time.

  • Sanity is a madness put to good use.
  • George Santayana

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

My December Newsletter

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain

My CPA firm management newsletter went out this week. It goes to thousands of you working in the CPA profession.

IMPORTANT – If you have merged and your email address has changed, please let me know. You can use my contact page or simply email me.

This month’s articles:

Keep Fighting That Procrastination Habit (The classic CPA procrastination cycle.)

Follow Through (I directed you to a Seth Godin post.)

My Christmas greeting to you!

These links will be active for only a few months.

  • I've got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.
  • Larry Bird

Monday, December 18th, 2017

Frustrated With The Annual Performance Review?

“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.” – Tom Peters

I am so pleased to be part of the lead article for the December issue of the Journal of Accountancy. The article is by Anna Reitman.

It is titled: Want to jettison the annual performance review? – Here’s how some organizations are making the change.

As I have often stated, in many CPA firms, the reviewers and those being reviewed have come to dread the annual ordeal. This article examines changes that firms have made, the pitfalls they have encountered, and the results of their efforts.

I hope you find it helpful if your firm is considering making a change. Contact me if you need help.

 

  • I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.
  • Elon Musk

Monday, December 11th, 2017

I’m On My Reading Soapbox Again

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

A suggestion from Seth Godin, instead of having 20 valuable employees spend an hour in a meeting that’s only vaguely related to their productive output, why not have them spend one hour reading?

That suggestion made me think about some things you can do at your CPA firm.

Rather than having a “lunch & learn” that about half of your employees dread, why not have a “read & learn”?

One of my clients is having their management group read a chapter a week in a selected popular business/leadership book and then discuss it briefly at their weekly management meeting.

Another client is establishing a leadership/management library by collecting (and buying) well-known business books and asking the leadership group to read one per quarter.

I also believe you can learn a lot from and be inspired by simply reading novels.

Thinking about the goals you will set for 2018? Commit to reading at least 12 books.

Wondering what should be on your team’s reading list? Here’s a list of twenty books. 

  • I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns one on, I go into the other room and read a book.
  • Groucho Marx

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Maybe You Are Lazy

“I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.” – Kolbe Bryant

I often refer to Seth Godin and some of his amazing blog posts. I hope you are following him, too.

Today, he posted about “modern laziness.” I have observed modern laziness inside so many CPA firms. I bet you have, too!

From Godin: “The original kind of lazy avoids hard physical work. Too lazy to dig a ditch, organize a warehouse or clean the garage. Modern lazy avoids emotional labor.”

As a team member in a CPA firm:

  • During a training session, do you refrain from raising your hand and asking a question? Do you wait on someone else to ask?
  • Do you follow what was done last year (SALY) on a client engagement rather than discuss with your supervisor something that confuses or puzzles you?

As a CPA firm leader:

  • Do you dodge those tough phone calls from clients about their recent invoice?
  • Do you hide out in your office and hope no one bothers you with questions?
  • Do you ask someone else to discuss an issue of poor performance with a team member rather than doing it yourself?

These are the kinds of things that require emotional labor. To me, it falls under the category of Emotional Intelligence. Accountants have a reputation of NOT having it!

Whether your are a recent accounting graduate or a long-term partner in an accounting firm, work on your EQ and don’t be lazy!

  • People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals - that is, goals that do not inspire them.
  • Tony Robbins

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

What’s Ahead For 2018

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.” – Neil Armstrong

As the new year approaches, Accounting Today asked a panel of industry thought leaders and experts to paint a picture of what accountants can expect from the next 12 months in terms of important trends, big surprises and key initiatives to undertake.  

Thanks to Dan Hood and Accounting Today for including me in this group of thought leaders!

The question: What trends should accountants keep an eye out for in 2018? 

Read the entire article here with my comments and great insights from: Jim Boomer, Angie Grissom, Steve Mankowski, Erik Asgeirsson, Gary Bolinger, and Joel Sinkin.

  • There's always something in the game you wish you would have done different. That's why players improve, because they learn from what they did before. They might have been guessing before, but now they know.
  • Gordie Howe

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Is Your Holiday Greeting Inspiring?

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” – Muhammad Ali

Year after year, CPA firms struggle with what kind of Christmas card or holiday message they should send to their clients. Some spend quite a bit of money on prestigious holidays cards and gifts. Then, the question comes up – how do we top that next year?

Why not live your holiday message? Do kind and helpful things for your community then share your story with your clients and business associates.

I recently received my holiday greeting from a law firm (Ice Miller). Sure, they send it out to hundreds or even thousands of people, but it made me feel good about them.

You could do the same. Check it out here.

  • It's not about giving back if you're successful or a celebrity or how much money you have. It's about your responsibility as an adult to help others.
  • Trisha Yearwood

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

A Short Trip To The Near Future

“Making predictions is very hard, especially about the future.” – Yogi Berra

There is a great article in the Ohio Society’s magazine, Voice, about blockchain. It is titled, The blockchain transformation of accounting and auditing by Jack Shaw (and reprinted with permission from The Missouri Society of CPAs).  Please, please read it. Share it with your entire team.

Jack Shaw is the executive director of the American Blockchain Council. He leads Blockchain Executive Seminars for CPA firms and their clients. Jshaw@AmericanBlockchainCouncil.org

Here is an excerpt, just to stress how important it is for you to educate yourself sooner, rather than later.

If you think we’ve seen a lot of changes in our world in the 10 years since the first smartphones were introduced, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Driven by a host of emerging technologies, most importantly blockchain, we’ll see more change in the next 10 years than there’s been in the past 50.

To keep up, you’re going to have to change. You’ll have to change your mindset. You’ll have to change your organizational culture. You’ll have to change your business processes. You’ll have to change your business models. You’ll have to change your business ecosystems. That’s a lot of change!

  • Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.
  • Carol Burnett

Monday, November 27th, 2017

Year-End Tax Checklist

“Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

Well-managed CPA firms have, for a long time, supplied their individual income tax clients with some sort of year-end tax checklist. It is meant to be a helpful tool to encourage the clients to consider significant (and some insignificant) events that might affect their tax return.

At my firm, we used to include the tax checklist with the tax organizer. Many clients, as you can imagine, never bothered to look at their organizer, so they also missed the tax checklist. Then, we stopped providing tax organizers. Our default setting was “No organizer” unless a client specifically requested one. A few did.

Things are so much better now. You can simply send an email to your clients with a link to the annual tax checklist. They can quickly scan through the questions and provide you with information that affects their return.

Last week I received an email from one of my clients that included the year end tax checklist link (just because I am on their mailing list). It was quick to read, easy to review and made me think about pertinent information. That’s exactly how you want your clients to feel about how you provide services – quick, easy and pertinent!

Make 2018 a year when you become a proactive advisor to your clients and get away from always being in reactionary mode.

  • The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
  • Hans Hofmann