Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Get Motivated – Take Action

joey-havens2_18-748750-edited“We need a wake-up call.” – Joey Havens

I follow Joey Havens, Executive Partner at Horne LLP on Twitter. His tweets often lead me to his blog posts and, to put it simply, he writes really good stuff!

Here’s one of his posts I want to encourage you to read – Mind the Gap: A Wake-Up Call for Professional Services Firms.

We see it every day—automation, implemented well, reduces the amount of compliance work we perform.

We experience it every day—fierce competition from outside our profession pursuing our clients. 

We feel it every day—the market for professional services is demanding and opening the door for “higher value services.”

You know you have to become a true business advisor and consultant but for some, it is a big leap from doing the comfortable compliance work. Take a minute or two to read his blog and follow him on Twitter.

  • It is always a wake-up call to get beat.
  • Usain Bolt

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

The Truth About Your Legacy – An Important Message From Alan Weiss

“Just because you are over 50 it doesn’t mean you are finished.” – Alan Weiss

I am sure many of you are aware of Alan Weiss. If not, read his full bio here. When I began my consulting activities many peers recommended the first thing I should do is read his book, Million Dollar Consulting.

When I recently read the description of his new book, it definitely caught my attention. I believe many CPAs should definitely be building their legacy now. The title is, Threescore And More Applying the Assets of Maturity, Wisdom, and Experience for Personal and Professional Success.

Here is Alan’s message:

In our 40s, most of us are tied to a career that requires considerable investment to nurture and sustain. We overlook the legacy that we are—or are not—creating daily.

“Legacy” is not only what we leave to those we love when we’re gone. Our legacy is actually a daily contribution to others, and our duty is to keep adding to and improving it.

It’s poor planning to try to enhance our corporate performance the day prior to a promotion decision. It’s ridiculous to try to create a particular, lasting impression for others on your deathbed. And it’s insane to think that you can change your relationship with family on the eve of a marriage, divorce, or departure.

Are we all in agreement? The last minute doesn’t work.

We mistakenly look to the distant future for our “legacy” to take shape. But the fact is that each day we write a new page in our growing autobiography. The question is, how interesting and appealing is the book? Or is it filled with boring pages and repetitive chapters?

The horizon is closer. That distant line demarking the border of sea and sky has become more delineated, more visible, more imposing. We still have room between us and the horizon, but we realize every day there’s less of it. There’s less time. Because in our 40s, most of us have already lived far more than half of our productive life.

We go from thinking “there’s plenty of time” to “there’s still time, but for what?” We’re all familiar with the adage that no one on their death bed wishes they had spent more time in the office. But what we don’t acknowledge is that most people don’t fear death so much as they regret the things they never got around to doing.  

That’s why our book has to have new pages daily, new chapters monthly. We can’t stop the approach of the horizon, but we can fill the distance with meaningful productivity and contribution.

With Threescore and More, discover what you can do to create your legacy while the horizon is still in view. Here’s how to increase your power, not surrender it; how to improve your influence, not diminish it; how to utilize your experiences in the future rather than pine after them in the past.

Each day you have left is an opportunity to write a new page in your story.

Order before April 8, 2018 for special bonuses.

P.S. Remember—You can always make another dollar, but you can never make another minute.

© Alan Weiss 2018


  • Ageism is too often an accepted form of bias, even though the facts support the value of aging.
  • Alan Weiss

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Do You Listen?

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

My favorite Habit from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits is Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.

In years gone by, when I was trying to initiate change, I couldn’t understand why people just didn’t “get it” and get on board with the new idea.

I still see a lot of this type of behavior in my consulting work.

I had a coach who used much of Covey’s work and she made me see the light… and it is so simple. It is natural for you to try to get people to understand, you want to get your point across and you probably expend great effort in doing so.

You have no way of knowing what is going on in someone else’s mind and life. Try to learn more about their viewpoint, their apprehensions, and fears and it will help you understand. You do this by becoming a better listener.

How do you get better? Read some books, schedule some training and, most importantly… practice!


  • I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.
  • Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Don’t Worry About Your Competition

“Do your work with your whole heart and you will succeed – there is so little competition.” – Elbert Hubbard

I have known CPA partners who seem to be obsessed with their competition. What are they doing extra for their clients? Are they allowing their people to wear jeans every day? How much are they paying their staff?

Forget it. Worry about yourself first.

I enjoyed this quote shared by Bill Sheridan on Linkedin:

“Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who don’t support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck.” — James Altucher

  • There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.
  • Indira Gandhi

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

It’s An Important Role – DOFI

“Without hard work and discipline, it is difficult to be a top professional.” – Jahangir Khan

A key role in your firm is one that I call the Director of First Impressions (DOFI). Many firms have adopted this title because it really is very descriptive. Some firms just say it is their Receptionist or the front desk person. For some reason, and it probably goes back to the old days, team members look down on this position and no one wants to “sit at the front desk” even when that person goes to lunch!

I think you should be very selective in hiring for this position and demanding when it comes to their performance – set some high expectations. It really is NOT a no-brainer job!

Historically, this person just greeted clients and answered the phone. There wasn’t much else they could do without physically leaving their desk. Technology has changed all of that. Now, they can do a lot of what the other administrative assistants do. Plus, phone traffic has decreased in many firms because of direct phone numbers for your team.

One very important task this person should be handling in your firm is the monitoring of 8879s and releasing returns. Many firms have actually established this procedure and it is working very well. Reminding clients and following up if they don’t respond and then monitoring the release of returns is something that can be done without leaving the front desk.

Your DOFI also is an important part of your client service and marketing efforts. They make everyone feel welcome when they visit the firm, offering them refreshments and hanging up their coats. They have a smile (in their voice) when they answer the phone.

Many CPAs have told me that some clients call the firm’s main number just so they can talk to the DOFI. At my firm, we once landed a big client and in their acceptance letter, they mentioned how nice they were treated by Sonya (DOFI) when their executive team visited our firm.

If you are fortunate enough to have a top performer in this position, pay them well. They are worth more than an average administrative assistant.

  • If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.
  • Red Adair

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

It’s Great To Work In Public Accounting

Maybe you haven’t thought about it lately. Maybe it never crosses your mind January through April, but working in public accounting is pretty cool.

You work your entire career with a group of professionals, people dedicated to helping others. After all, CPAs are the most trusted advisor to small business owners across the nation.

The people that surround you are intelligent, well-educated and dedicated to giving back to their local communities. Some of the clients you get to work with are the movers and shakers in the business community.

You learn something new almost every day and you become more knowledgeable and professional with each passing year.

I noticed this hard-working young man yesterday, a chilly winter day, and it came to mind how fortunate I was (and you are) to work in public accounting.


Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Being Positive Can Be a Boost To Your Health

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

It’s that time of year inside busy accounting firms. Everyone is focused and working very hard. Some are also working long hours and even the best clients sometimes cause frustration, not to mention the frustrations emitting from your co-workers and bosses.

Let it go! Be a positive person, in thought and deed.

I have always been an optimist and a positive thinker. I never think that things can go wrong or that something terrible will happen. Of course, there are times when things do go wrong and terrible things happen! But, you simply deal with it and move on with life. I know, it sounds easy but it’s not!

Helen Sanders, chief editor at Health Ambition has written a very helpful article to put you in a positive mood and understand the benefits – 9 Positive Thinking Tips: the Power of Positivity On Your Health. 

Every time you find yourself in a new situation, what are your first thoughts?

  • Are you the kind of person that thinks, “Oh God, this is horrible!”
  • Are you the kind of person that thinks, “Awesome, something new!”

Honestly, in my consulting work with accountants over many years, I see more of the first type of person!

Let’s say you’ve just found yourself stuck at the office on a Saturday, doing extra paperwork:

  • A negative person will grumble about their boss having it out for them, and how they always get stuck with the bad job.
  • A positive person will just get the work done because it’s “something that has to be done, and I’m the one doing it”.

I would like to see you fall into the second category in this scenario. Set a good example. Positive people can make a real difference in your firm!

Read her article and you will learn about the physical symptoms of negativity and also the benefits of positive thinking.

  • If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.
  • Zig Ziglar

Monday, February 19th, 2018


“The good old days are now.” – Tom Clancy

There is a great article by Bill Sheridan via the Business Learning Institute titled, CPAs aren’t doomed … they’re transforming.

I continue to try to get the message across to CPAs in firms big and small … the good old days are gone! You must learn new skills and commit to personal change. Yes, you must transform yourself and your firm.

Here’s a paragraph (but be sure to read the entire article).

To paraphrase Daniel Burrus, your clients still need you; they just don’t need the old you. They don’t need you to manage data and fill out forms. They need your insight. They need you to anticipate the future and help them take advantage of it. They need you to be business advisors, not number crunchers.


  • Life is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfection is constant transformation.
  • Nia Peeples

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Do It Right

“I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.” – Lou Holtz

When I first joined a CPA firm and learned the many steps of proofing and reviewing to make sure the job was right, an old saying kept going through my mind.

“Do it right the first time.”

I have heard it many times from others. When I began writing this blog post, I wasn’t sure where it originated so, of course, I Googled it:

Do It Right The First Time (DRIFT) is a theory from managerial accounting that relates to just-in-time (JIT) inventory where a company only receives goods as they are needed to cut down on inventory costs and production management. The idea behind DRIFT is that management wants all of the processes that make up the JIT philosophy to be done correctly and efficiently, so there are no delays in the production process.

Before coming to the CPA profession, my work experiences were always focused on doing it right; proofing my own work before it left my desk. I soon learned that wasn’t how it was done in CPA firms. Proofers and reviewers always found mistakes!

When your team members are given a task that they are definitely qualified to complete, I hope you expect them to do it right the first time. I hope you, personally, strive to do it right the first time.


  • With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.
  • Zig Ziglar

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Are You The Silent One?

“You create your opportunities by asking for them” – Shakti Gawain

Accounting firms have a lot of meetings. Actually, I believe they have way too many meetings about things that really don’t matter that much and not enough meetings that are actually productive and meaningful to all in attendance.

Staff meetings often turn into lectures. This partner, that partner, the HR person, the firm administrator or maybe the marketing person all talk and the rest of the staff listen.

Many times I have witnessed a meeting chair almost beg for someone to speak up and ask a question. They are often met with silence and lack of eye contact.

Even in the annual tax update session – where the firm tax guru tries to impart tax wisdom about current tax changes and things they need to watch out for this year – many attendees NEVER ask a question. Some of them are hoping that someone else will ask the question that is on their mind.

In the next meeting, ask that question that comes to mind. Make a comment on a topic that is being discussed. That is how you learn, no matter how much experience you have. That is how you build a reputation for being passionate about your work. That is how you build a career.

Don’t be part of the silent majority.

  • The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.
  • Thomas Berger