Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category
Friday, December 6th, 2013
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of doing a podcast for The Bean Counter and it’s founder Andrew Argue. Argue features various people working in the accounting profession in an effort to help young people further their careers or perhaps decide upon a career in accounting.
Be sure to check-out Episode #51 with me…. Rita Keller!
I hope you will share it with any young people you know in public accounting or students considering a career in public accounting. A foundation in accounting can lead to a variety of career paths that are not only enriching but challenging and never boring.
Here’s how the format plays-out.
If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting.
Thursday, December 5th, 2013
I am delighted to be a part of the upcoming AICPA PCPS HR Forum. This is an extraordinary opportunity and the AICPA is making it such an affordable resource for those involved in CPA firm HR issues.
About the Forum:
Is your HR function tapped into the latest professional trends that will be affecting your staffing efforts? Is your firm using all the tools that HR professionals and firm administrators can use to address their greatest challenges?
Be sure your firm is up to date on critical HR concerns by encouraging those charged with HR responsibilities to register for the AICPA PCPS Human Capital Forum and HR Networking Group, which will take place in Key West, Florida, on February 20 and 21. Specifically for professionals with HR responsibilities within their firms and firm administrators, this gathering offers participants the chance to network with peers, share best practices, gain valuable insights on trends in the profession and get an update on valuable tools they can use to tackle the toughest human resource issues.
Speakers will include:
- Mark Koziel, AICPA vice president, firm services and global alliances, who will offer an insider’s update on trends in the profession.
- Cheryl Burke, a partner and COO of DiCicco, Gulman & Company, LLPs, who will explain how those without client-facing responsibilities can pave a path to advancement.
- Bill Reeb from the Succession Institute, LLC, who will talk about critical succession concerns.
- Rita Keller of Keller Advisors, LLC, who will facilitate lively roundtable discussions.
Register today! PCPS members receive a $75 discount and an additional $50 early-bird discount if they register before December 31.
Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
Friday, November 29th, 2013
At your CPA firm, things are hectic. You have many priorities and you often find yourself running in circles.
I love this story that I learned from Tom Peters (you should follow his writings. Plus, he gives away so much great information for free!).
Here’s the story:
A man approached J.P. Morgan, held up an envelope, and said, “Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.”
“Sir,” J.P. Morgan replied, “I do not know what is in the envelope, however if you show me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.”
The man agreed to the terms, and handed over the envelope. J.P. Morgan opened it, and extracted a single sheet of paper. He gave it one look, a mere glance, then handed the piece of paper back to the gent.
And paid him the agreed-upon $25,000 …
- Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that day.
- Do them.
The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.
J. P. Morgan
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
I imagine that many of you have seen this quote from Bill Gates:
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
I believe that in many cases, inside CPA firms, you have simply taken the way that paper flowed through your office and replicated it into some wonderful, advanced software program.
For example, I was visiting with a firm recently that had simply taken the steps that they used for moving paper tax returns through the office and inserted the same exact steps into a software program that is capable of doing so much more, without even exploring all of the possible options and efficiencies now available to them.
We all become comfortable with status quo, the familiar, the known. Take your firm to the next level – move out of the comfort zone – don’t be afraid! Stop settling for status quo because it is easy. As we get closer to wrapping up another year, look back, contemplate 2013. Has it been another year of just settling for status quo?
Here’s a quote from Steve Jobs
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Be a King. Dare to be different, dare to manifest your greatness
The Prince and the Pauper
Monday, November 11th, 2013
I speak and write a lot about various topics and issues regarding women in the accounting profession. I also do the same about generations working in public accounting.
I want women to STAY in public accounting. They soon become skilled CPAs, they build relationships with people, inside the firm and with clients. They simply need flexibility, as do all people working in public accounting. It has become a generational issue.
Our society has changed, young men are much more involved in raising their children than the prior generations. Families with moms and dads building careers need flexibility.
If you are a member of the Michigan Association of CPAs, I hope you will attend the Women’s Leadership Luncheon in Grand Rapids on December 12th. I will be speaking on a Workplace Transformation…Women Thriving in Challenging Times. Here’s a link to the brochure and a link to more information on the MACPA website.
There is a huge dark cloud hanging over the CPA profession…. it’s called Succession. Women are key to successful succession.
It is better to be looked over than overlooked.
Friday, November 8th, 2013
I’ll be in Orange County on behalf of the Association For Accounting Administration for a workshop on the topic of: Building A Foundation For Success – The Key Role Of The Firm Administrator. More info here.
If you are one, have one or want to have one – join me and your peers to explore the role of a SUCCESSFUL Firm Administrator.
Here’s 18 Attributes I often share:
18 Attributes of an Effective Firm Administrator
- Technical knowledge of the area being managed. Learn the area, hone skills and stay on top of technological developments. It will earn respect from subordinates and peers.
- Cheerleader. Be adept at motivating all people.
- Educated to help deal with peers and colleagues. Begin with a good education and continue learning through seminars, webinars, trade journals, newsletters, online research, and reading Rita Keller’s Blog.
- Innate managerial mentality. This includes being alert, dependable and willing to carry out a commitment.
- Team player. Grandstanders are not allowed. A good administrator solves problems in other departments, as well as his/her own, because the objective should be collectively beneficial.
- Ability to anticipate potential problems. An administrator with vision is painfully aware of Murphy’s Law (If anything can go wrong, it will). Contingency planning is a key tool of administrators.
- Natural sense of fairness and integrity and emotionally well balanced. Natural is the key word. If he/she has to consult a manual to know what’s fair, frustration will be constant. Also, immature administrators can hurt the employees and the firm they represent.
- Courageous, resolute, strong convictions and socially conscious. Administrators work with management and staff with an overall goal of quality client service. They often deal with egotistical personalities and partners unwilling to “let go.”
- A good follower, not resentful of instructions or constructive criticism. Anyone secure enough to demonstrate mature leadership will understand the reasons for recognizing the proper chain of command. Observing protocol demonstrates respect for the system.
- Have initiative and be creative, imaginative and resourceful. Preventing problems is the most sublime form of problem solving. Good administrators act without being told to do so.
- Energetic. A good administrator sets the pace. Most work 2,300 hours or more per year (that number includes PTO, holidays, CPE, etc., working the hours required to get things done.
- Reliable, even temperament. You can’t constantly change your personality. Nothing goes right all the time, and if you care, you’re going to get upset once in a while. You don’t have to be apologetic for “losing your cool” when provoked.
- Competitive, unafraid of conflict. A competitive person is not afraid to set standards never before attained, nor is he or she afraid to fail. Such a person realizes there can be growth in failure if there is learning. In managing conflicts, the effective administrator must know how to come out on top or graciously back off.
- Positive. A positive attitude is the catalyst of creativity.
- Excellent communication skills. A good administrator should be able to write clearly and crisply, speak articulately and succinctly and listen intently.
- Logical, capable of making decisions. Administrators must make tough decisions without fear of making a mistake. Procrastination could be worse than the decision made.
- Appreciation of technology and social media. Good administrators see technology and social media as tremendous resources and continually lead the firm to advance in these areas.
- Organized, self-disciplined. Orderly thinking results in orderly living and managing.
By the way, the 18 attributes would be a good thing for all partners to also aspire to.
If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.
Thursday, November 7th, 2013
I have written and spoken about Management By Wandering Around for years. It is still such an important message for CPAs. I learned about it from Tom Peters and he says he learned it years ago from a Hewlett-Packard management practice.
This Fall, during my presentations and workshops, I have again been stressing the need for CPA partners (and managers) to get out of their office and BE VISIBLE, BE ACCESSIBLE.
People will ask you questions and actually tell you things (about what’s really going on inside your firm) if you make yourself available.
It doesn’t take a lot of time! Just use the MBWA 8.
Do one thing every ay that scares you
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
While flying this week, an advertisement in the airline magazine caught my eye. It was an ad offering a seminar to help business people become better negotiators. This tagline is valuable to all CPAs building their career in public accounting but I think it is especially important for women.
You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate
I have known a few women who just seem to be a natural negotiator. Notice I said a FEW.
If you are a woman in accounting, educate yourself or ask the firm to sponsor some training in negotiation. It will help you in dealing with clients, referral sources and people inside your own firm.
Negotiating in the classic diplomatic sense assumes parties are more anxious to agree than to disagree.
Monday, October 14th, 2013
I recently read a blog post by Dan Goleman, Author, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. After reading the blog post, I searched for another and found The Four Basic Moves to Strengthen Focus by Goleman.
By the way, Goleman is the author who “wrote the book” on Emotional Intelligence, something it seems, CPA seem to be lacking.
Being focused and keeping focused is certainly a challenge inside accounting firms. What I have found from the extensive surveys I have conducted with CPA firm employees is that interrupting is one of the most irritating and frustrating activities happening inside CPA firms. They blame the partners, managers and also each other.
I also realize that the challenge for managing partners and firm administrators (also for HR Directors, IT Managers and marketing professionals inside CPA firms) is to stay on track, to implement and to not get sidelined by clients, busy season, partners reluctant to change and staff members who are poor performers.
- Focus is the hidden ingredient in excellence
- Lacking focus, we are more likely to falter at whatever we do
That seems to be common sense, right? Why does common sense, in the CPA profession, seem to be so uncommon? What kind of example do you set for your valuable employees?
I urge you to follow the links and read these 2 blog posts by Goleman. I haven’t read Focus yet but I will soon. I’ll give you an expanded report then.
The ability to focus is like a mental muscle. The more we work it out, the stronger it becomes.
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Maybe you have heard this phrase to describe someone in a leadership position: “They think with their mouth.”
In a CPA firm this person, might be in a partner or manager, and they just blurt out whatever comes to mind. Some of these types often say dumb things, keep talking about the topic and eventually talk their way to a logical outcome. Others who often say dumb things don’t even seem to notice.
I once read about a contest where employees were asked to submit stupid comments made by management. Here’s an example:
“We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees.”
Here’s a real life quote reported to me recently: Boss says “I don’t like to have meetings for the sake of having a meeting” right before he tells us he really has nothing to discuss.
If you are a CPA or a person working at a CPA firm, people on the outside (clients) and people on the inside (employees) expect you to be professional, knowledgeable and articulate.
If you are just beginning your CPA career, keep in mind that how you talked with your friends on campus probably doesn’t translate to the way you should converse in the office.
As a professional, think before you speak.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.