Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Professional Liability Insurance & More

img_7495You all have it but you might not love it. Yes, I am talking about professional liability insurance.

Many of you (my readers) are members of the CPA Firm Management Association and have met Stephen Vono of NAPLIA. He is the sponsor of the special night out event at the FMA annual National Practice Management Conference. Stephen was responsible for making applying for professional liability insurance easy for me and many others in the CPA profession.

Here’s some great information from Stephen and NAPLIA that was sent to the attendees of the conference in June this year. I think you can all benefit from this information.

NAPLIA’s Cyber and Data Security ebook was a popular takeaway from the conference.  If you missed it, you can download a copy here or please send me a note and I’ll be glad to mail you a hard copy. It is intended to give you guidance when preparing to safeguard your firm against the exposure to loss of client information. I hope you find it useful.

I am sending out resources in response to the many questions I received on insurance programs that NAPLIA provides.

  • A Mobile Device Usage policy can help your firm manage and mitigate exposure to client data loss.  In response to Matthew Harvey’s mention of a Mobile Device Usage Policy in his presentation“Minding the Candy Store”last Thursday, I am providing a sample of such a policy here
  • Accounting Today interviewed me on information security and cyber liability exposures for CPA firms. Watch it here: Video: CPA Firms have a target on their back
  • In keeping with the information security and cyber liability theme, I am offering other cyber liability risk management policies and best practices. Samples for your firm to use can be found below.
  • Watch the recorded version of our most recent webinar “Got claims? Just look at the tax side of your practice.”

In addition, many questions were asked about Information Security and Cyber Liability Insurance. Please take a look at our website for additional information or call me at 508-656-1330 to get the conversation started on the important topic of minimizing your firm’s exposure to litigation around client information loss.

Please consider NAPLIA for your firm’s professional liability insurance and risk management needs!

Regards, 

Stephen Vono | Principal | NAPLIA

stevev@naplia.com 

(Picture: Stephen, me and some Ohio FMA Chapter members.)

  • There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.
  • John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Get Out Of Your Office And Learn From Others

How do you become a digital CPA? It would take a while to explain all the facets. You and your firm need to get there because there is so much opportunity with client accounting services.

Watch and listen to this short video about one firm’s journey and how they learned by attending the AICPA DigitalCPA conference.

  • I'm not trying to be new school and I'm not old school - I'm classic. There's a lot of new cars and there's a lot of old cars, but I'm just classic in doing what I do.
  • L L Cool J

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Sit In The Front

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford

Over the years, I have spoken to so many groups of CPAs and groups of people who work for them.

I have to admit that I am disappointed that so many people always want to sit in the back of the room. Is it because they want an easy escape route in case I am overly boring? Is it because they actually want a place to sit and surf on their mobile device? Is it because they know it all already?

Actually, I think it is one of those weird human nature things. Just like going to church, the back pews always fill-up before the front pews.

I urge my session attendees to always set up front when they are attending CPE sessions or other learning opportunity sessions. I have actually observed some of them taking my advice the next time they are in one of my sessions.

Why sit up front? I have always done this because I want to observe the speaker up close. I want to hear every word. I want to contemplate their body language. I want to have them look me in the eye. Afterwards, I always would introduce myself to the speaker, maybe ask a question and always thank them for sharing their thoughts.

Why do I do this? Because they will remember me. And maybe if I have a question when I return to the office, they will answer my email. Maybe the next time they see me they will remember my name and face. Maybe they will enjoy having a one-off conversation with me and just maybe they will ask my opinion on some topic.

Want to be known as an expert? Hang out and get to know other experts.

Build your personal brand, one opportunity at a time. Sit in the front.

  • Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
  • Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

AICPA Engage Conference

Here’s a press release about next June’s ENGAGE conference.  It is the familiar PractitionersTECH+ with much, much more.  It should be a high priority for you to continually expand your knowledge. Here’s a great opportunity. Hope to see you there! Bring staff members with you.

AICPA ENGAGE to Feature Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary and Google Executive Abigail Posner

All-in-One Event in June 2017 is Designed for CPAs, Tax and Financial Planners, Attorneys, Marketers and Audit and Advisory Professionals

NEW YORK (Oct. 3, 2016) – With six conferences rolled into one, AICPA ENGAGE is a singular event for CPAs, financial planners, advisory professionals and the marketers who support them. Its programming is unique, too, with specialized keynotes and session panels for each conference and thought-provoking, high-level presentations from speakers designed to appeal to all attendees.

AICPA ENGAGE, sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs in partnership with theAssociation for Accounting Marketing, will be held June 11-15, 2017, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The general session keynotes include:

  • Kevin O’Leary, a pull-no-punches judge on ABC’s Shark Tank and the entrepreneur behind educational software firm The Learning Company and other high-growth businesses, who will discuss lessons learned in his career
  • Abigail Posner, head of strategic planning at Google’s think tank, the ZOO, who will talk about how to unleash our innate creativity in business for greater productivity and growth
  • Jason Dorsey, co-founder and chief strategy officer of The Center for Generational Kinetics, who will discuss the business implications of his research into Millennials and other generations
  • AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, and AICPA Vice Chair Kimberly N. Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA, who together will give an update on the CPA profession

“AICPA ENGAGE’s size and depth gives attendees incredible flexibility in creating the learning experience they want,” said Clar Rosso, the AICPA’s vice president of member learning and competency. “Whether it’s technical expertise, practice management tips, out-of-the-box leadership advice or unmatched networking opportunities, the event offers something for everyone in public accounting, tax or financial advisory services.”

The six conferences that constitute AICPA ENGAGE are the Advanced Estate Planning Conference, Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference, National Advanced Accounting and Auditing Technical Symposium, Practitioners Symposium and Tech+ Conference, Tax Strategies for the High-Income Individual, and the Association for Accounting Marketing Annual Summit. Additional keynotes for each individual conference, as well as the full conference agenda, will be announced next month.

“The Association for Accounting Marketing is pleased to be part of AICPA ENGAGE as it gives our members access to sessions beyond our marketing and business development offerings, as well as introducing CPAs to what our association has to offer,” said Lauren Clemmer, executive director of the association.  “Members appreciate the ability to attend a conference with other members of their firm, and ENGAGE has expanded that opportunity even further with the addition of the other conferences.”

AICPA ENGAGE will feature an expanded exhibit hall with hundreds of vendors, a separate, CPE-eligible track of sessions covering AICPA initiatives, and a state-of-the-art, on-site registration and CPE-tracking system.

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

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend – Is that you?

I finally updated my Is That You With Rita? Flickr page.

I had several new ones to add for 2016. I hope you can find yourself among these fun pictures. There are 227 photos dating back about 10 years.

I love this quote by Hubert Humphrey, it fits me perfectly:

“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.”

Here is a special one:

Anita Goetz, Colleen Endres, Virginia Lowery, Bill Leach, Nancy Kriner, Diana Sarkine, is that you with Rita?

Anita Goetz, Colleen Endres, Virginia Lowery, Bill Leach, Nancy Kriner, Diana Sarkine, is that you with Rita?

  • A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.
  • Walter Winchell

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Firm Administrators…. Keep Your Momentum Going

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.
  • Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

A Leader’s Mission: Create THE Culture

“Culture drives great results.” – Jack Welch

I have been stressing the culture message for years: If you don’t create, mold, re-mold and monitor your firm culture, it will form anyway and might not be something you had in mind. It might even turn out to be rather ugly!

I was pleased to read, last week, as I followed the Boomer Technology Summit via Twitter that speaker Steven Anderson addressed the topic of culture stressing, “Every organization, whether it’s your firm, your client’s company, or even your family, has a culture, by design or by default.”

Dan Hood of Accounting Today was there in person and wrote a great recap of Anderson’s presentation. It cover’s Anderson’s “natural laws” for creating a place where people will want to work.

Read all about the three “Laws” in Dan’s article here.

On my blog page, I searched for “culture” and found many additional readings you can access if you want to really WORK on your culture. You can access the search here. Do more reading, research, and soul-searching. Then talk with your partners and decide what you want your firm culture to feel like. Next step is to get busy creating it.

 

  • When you lavish praise on people they flourish. Criticize, and they shrivel up.
  • Richard Branson

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Perseverance

“If you want to change people’s minds, you need more than evidence. You need persistence.” – Seth Godin

Slide60Recently, 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.

  • If you are going through Hell, keep going.
  • Winston Churchill

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Sam Allred…. Class Act

IMG_7518Yesterday, 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.

IMG_7127I 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.
  • Sam Allred

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

CPAFMA 2016 ACE Award Winner – Jeanie Price

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.

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  • 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.
  • Alan Alda