Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Essential Questions

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy

You have gathered all of your partners for the annual partner retreat. You are not going to discuss day-to-day issues. You are all going to focus on strategic issues that will take your firm into the future.

You work diligently for one or two days and document a strategic plan. Allow time at the end of the retreat to discuss one more thing. It is David Maister’s essential questions of strategy (from his book Strategy and the Fat Smoker). Consider these questions, discuss these questions because they are the questions that are often avoided in strategic planning:

“Which of our habits are we really prepared to change, permanently and forever? Which lifestyle changes are we really prepared to make? What issues are we really ready to tackle?”

 

  • Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
  • Nelson Mandela

Monday, July 16th, 2018

Six Habits of Mind

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden

Alan Wurtzel, the former CEO of Circuit City, spent three years exploring the rise and fall of his company. He offers some important Habits of Mind. He wrote a book titled, Good to Great to Gone. Here are his Habits of Mind:

6 Habits of Mind:

1. Be Humble; Run Scared. Constantly doubt your understanding of things. Say, “I may not be right.”

2. Curiosity Sustains the Cat: Answers end curiosity. Keep curiosity alive by saying, “That’s a great answer are there other options?”

3. Confront the Brutal FactsIf you don’t confront the brutal facts now, they’ll confront you later.

4. Boldly Follow Through: Big ideas require bold leadership and attract loyal followers.

5. Mind the Culture: Create a caring and ethical culture where employees can make mistakes without fear of adverse consequences.

6. Encourage Debate: Encourage and learn from dissent.

  • There is no failure except in no longer trying.
  • Chris Bradford

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Talk With Your Team About Purpose

“The purpose of your business should be as clear as the name on your building, not another page in your HR handbook.” – William Vanderbloemen

Yes, talk to your team about the firm’s purpose. However, the ownership group better talk about it first!

Have you really given any thought about the purpose of your firm?

A recent study from Korn Ferry showed that companies with teams focused on their organization’s purpose had annual growth rates nearly three times the annual rate for their entire industry.

The survey also showed that 90% of people who worked in a purpose-driven organization reported feeling engaged in their work.

Forbes.com contributor, William Vanderbloemen, CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group (an executive search firm focused on churches) discusses the great impact of focusing on purpose. Read his Forbes article here.

Do CPA firms have a strong purpose? You bet they do! I talk to a lot of CPAs and the thing they love the most is their clients. When I ask managers and staff of public accounting firms what they like best about working at a firm they almost always name “the clients” first.

CPAs are the most trusted advisor. They help businesses and individuals become more successful. They help family businesses survive. They help transition businesses from generation to generation. They help clients better understand tax issues and accounting practices. The healthier the business community, the healthier the community. CPAs play a huge role in that.

I know you can add to this list of what you do but do you talk about it? Do you identify your purpose and keep it in front of your employees? Are you persistent in pushing the importance of your core values? Are the core values meaningful and understandable? I admire the values of Mr. Vanderbloemen’s firm:

  • Broadband Love
  • Unusual Servanthood
  • Wow-Making Excellence
  • Ridiculous Responsiveness
  • Solution-Side Living
  • Ever-Increasing Agility
  • Stewardship of Life
  • Constant Improvement
  • Contagious Fun

Learn more about each value by visiting the website. It is under the “About” tab. For example, Solution-Side Living means:  The Vanderbloemen team members are problem solvers, always having a solution mentality and not a victim mentality.

They actually all nine of their core values them painted on a wall in their staff meeting room – covering the entire wall in big letters of different styles and sizes.

Take steps this summer to better define your culture. Make it a purposeful culture. Identifying your core purpose is not enough. It requires a deep and abiding commitment from the top. Your purpose needs to be visible in all your actions and activities from hiring people to serving clients.

 

  • The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

The Best Way to Train New Staff

“The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.” – Michael Jackson

Several years ago I heard Dustin Hostetler, Chief Innovation Officer at Boomer Consulting, talk about a method of training that he thought would be greatly beneficial to the CPA profession.

It is a simple, 4-step method but seems to make so much sense for interns and new hires working in accounting firms.

  1. I do – You watch
  2. I do – You help
  3. You do – I help
  4. You do – I watch

Here’s a short video with the complete explanation.

  • Learning is not watching a video, learning is taking action and seeing what happens.
  • Seth Godin

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Top Firms For Women – 2018

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Each year I look forward to the release of the Accounting MOVE Report. In conjunction with the report, the names of the top accounting firms for women are also announced.

Here’s the 2018 list:

  • BPM (San Francisco)
  • Brown Smith Wallace (St. Louis)
  • Clark Nuber PS (Bellevue, Wash.)
  • CohnReznick LLP (New York)
  • Kerkering, Barberio & Co. (Sarasota, Fla.)
  • Lurie LLP (Minneapolis)
  • MCM CPAs and Advisors (Louisville, Ky.)
  • Moss Adams (Seattle)
  • Novogradac & Company LLP (San Francisco)
  • Plante Moran (Southfield, Mich.)
  • Rehmann (Troy, Mich.)
  • The Bonadio Group (Pittsford, NY)
  • When a woman is talking to you, Listen to what she says with her eyes.
  • Victor Hugo

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

It’s Easy To Understand Blockchain

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein

I came across this great explanation of Blockchain. It is a Reuters visual guide. It makes it all very understandable!

Please give it a look. It is important that you share it with all your staff.

  • If you want the answer, ask the question.
  • Lorii Myers

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

You Will Be Receiving Performance Feedback. Are You Prepared?

“Don’t spew about your weaknesses. Affirm your aspirations.” – Dan Rockwell

It’s that time of year. Firm leaders are gathering and preparing feedback information to communicate to various team members.

You are a various team member. What are you thinking? How are YOU preparing?

I have conducted a huge number of performance feedback sessions during my decades in public accounting and I have always been surprised and impressed when the team member had actually taken time to prepare.

Be prepared to talk about the future and don’t dwell on the past. Be prepared to talk about all the good or even outstanding things you accomplished in recent months. Everyone has weaknesses. Acknowledge them and work on them but start a conversation about your career progress, what excites you about your role and your hopes, desires, and aspirations going forward.

  • By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Changes To The CPA Exam

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

The Journal of Accountancy has a podcast titled, How Tax Reform – and Excel – Are Changing The CPA Exam. It is hosted by Chris Baysden of the AICPA.

Tax reform will have an important impact on many aspects of the accounting profession — including the CPA Exam. In this week’s episode of the podcast, we talked to Mike Decker, the vice president of examinations at the AICPA, about the changes being made to the exam as a result of tax reform — and about how Excel will now be available for use on the test.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How the AICPA’s exams team has gone about collecting feedback on the exam.
  • Why continuous testing could be on the horizon.
  • The timeline for implementing changes due to tax reform.
  • How and why a practice analysis will be initiated.
  • The changes that test takers will see to monitors and software used in the exam.

Here’s a link to the podcast (it’s only 11 minutes long). You need to know so you can advise and encourage the young accountants in your firm to take the Exam and get it behind them!

  • Nothing happens until something moves.
  • Albert Einstein

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Grace and Radical Kindness

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Fred Rogers

You have heard it and read it over and over again. I am talking about news and conversations about arguments, disagreements, biases, hate, and lack of understanding. Like many, I am very tired of the whole thing. I’m tired of people who can’t seem to tolerate anyone who thinks differently than them.

On a smaller scale, how are things inside your CPA firm? How’s morale? Are people happy? Are there certain people you know NOT to approach at certain times because they are in a bad mood? Are there bossy people, closed-minded people and people who simply don’t want to rock the boat when it involves change? Are there egotistical people or even greedy people?

Maybe it is time for Radical Kindness. That’s the term the Director of the new documentary about Mister Rogers uses to describe him. Here’s an excerpt from a recent article I read in the Dayton Daily News about the film. The director is the filmmaker Morgan Neville:

“I’ve thought a lot about why the film moves people. Fred kind of digested his message down to what I call radical kindness, but Fred himself called it grace. And to him, grace was an idea that could be expressed as – Be good to others, even if they don’t deserve it.”

“Fred saw life as a struggle between fear and love. What we see today, rage and anger and resentment, are the byproducts of fear. What he tried to do was quell that fear in children, to keep them from manifesting those toxic emotions. Fred chose love, and that is his legacy.”

Here is a link to the trailer for the documentary. There is also a movie in the works about Fred Rogers, starring Tom Hanks. It is to be released in 2019.

For now, I hope you act with grace and practice radical kindness.

  • There's no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are."
  • Mister Rogers

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Lack of Sleep

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

If you are working for a CPA firm, you are working hard. Often, it is fast-paced, challenging, stressful and frustrating – but not all the time. Sometimes, it is slow and boring – but that is rare (my opinion).

You get up early so you can get to the office early so you can have some quiet time before the crowd arrives. Then, you also often stay late for the same reason. You still have home duties and want to spend time with your family so you probably stay up later than you should. You rise at 4:30 or 5:00 and get to bed at 11:00, 11:30 or 12:00. You are definitely not getting enough sleep.

All of this affects your productivity. Some experts have actually noted that showing up for work sleep deprived can be the equivalent of showing up to work intoxicated!

Experts also tell us that you should be getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. I know when I worked in a growing firm, I usually got about 5-1/2 to 6 hours of sleep – for years. Now that I work from home, I can attest that getting 7 hours sleep per night makes a big, positive difference.

Lack of sleep not only affects your productivity at work, it affects your health.

Here’s a good article to share with your team via Fast Company: Why We Can’t Sleep And What It’s Doing to Our Work.

 

  • Sleep is the best meditation.
  • Dalai Lama