Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Flashback Friday – Dress Code Crazy

“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” – Marilyn Monroe

Over my many years in public accounting, this same topic raises its ugly head over and over again. When it came to the “no stockings” thing for females I finally just let it go! There are more important things in life.

Here’s some help for you originally posted in July 2016 – “Going Denim Every Day? Your Team Might Need Some Help.” It’s a fun and helpful one featuring Armanino LLP.

Flashback with me on Friday!

  • A woman's dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.
  • Sophia Loren

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Adulthood Pushed Back

“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” – John Maxwell

Several years ago, Rebecca Ryan warned the CPA profession that the twenty-somethings that CPAs were accustomed to managing had changed, dramatically. She noted that adulthood markers were happening during their thirties rather than in their twenties.

Just this week I found additional information on this topic that I want to share with you.

Think about it. Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) graduated from college, got a job, got married and had kids when they were in their twenties. Gen-X (born 1965 to 1976) pretty much followed this same tradition.

Millennials are different. A report from the U.S. Census Bureau compares how people born between 1941 and 1957 were living as young adults in the 1970s and how people the same age lived in 2016.

Researchers established four milestones of adulthood: 1) Moving out of your parents’ house, 2) Getting married, 3) Having a child and 4) Getting a job.

  • Younger generations are delaying marriage.
  • One in 3 people ages 18 to 34 (24 million young adults) live with their parents. In 1975, it was one in 5.
  • Women ages 25 to 34 who were out of the labor force to take care of their home and family dropped from 43% to 14% between 1975 and 2016.

So, remember many of those twenty-somethings working at your firm have not actually moved into the adult world. Keep that in mind as you mentor, nurture and supervise them.

  • You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.
  • Walt Disney

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

How Do They See You?

“Leadership has less to do with position than it does disposition.” John C. Maxwell

You are a partner in a CPA firm. Maybe you are a manager in the firm. You are responsible for taking care of clients and leading, managing, inspiring, mentoring, nurturing, encouraging, correcting, inspiring others. That’s a pretty big responsibility!

The “others” watch you. What do they see? As the quote above tells us, they notice a lot about your disposition. Those bright, young new hires can quickly assess your disposition and act accordingly.

Here’s some actual quotes I have heard during my consultations and surveys with CPA firm citizens:

About a high-profile, managing partner of a very large firm: “If you want to be inspired or talk about a problem you DO NOT go to (name of partner).”

About a long-time, successful managing partner of a mid-size local firm: “We never encourage staff to go to (name of MP) with questions, he doesn’t like to be interrupted.”

About another managing partner of a large, local very successful firm: “Most staff people don’t know (name) at all. He is out and about so much that he is rarely at the firm during normal business hours.

As a leader, do you have a welcoming, congenial disposition, one that encourages people to like and respect you? Or are you too busy to even think about what disposition you are communicating?

Be sure to read the quote below (on my blog page if you are reading this in your email).

  • I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition and not on our circumstances.”
  • Martha Washington

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Uncomfortable Things Will Often Make You More Successful

“Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not.” – W.E.B. Du Bois

I enjoyed a recent blog post by Meghan Keaney Anderson of Hubspot Marketing. She talks about the value of doing things that make you uncomfortable. I especially enjoyed her story about sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois writing a letter to his daughter when she was about to move to a new place and school.

“Don’t shrink from new experiences and custom. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bed-room. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not. Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul. Above all remember: your father loves you and believes in you and expects you to be a wonderful woman.”

Anderson offers 15 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful. I have listed them below, but be sure to read about each one in the article.

  1. Learning to take a compliment
  2. Public speaking
  3. Working with data
  4. Waking up early
  5. Taking critical feedback
  6. Giving critical feedback
  7. Fighting through conflict
  8. Exercising
  9. Unplugging
  10. Networking and making small talk
  11. Admitting a mistake
  12. Getting in over your head
  13. Disagreeing with your boss
  14. Promoting yourself
  15. Admitting you don’t understand something
  • Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.
  • Brian Tracy

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Be Active and Involved In Your State CPA Society

“The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.” – Martina Navratilova

I have met some of the most wonderful people by working with, and being involved in, The Ohio Society of CPAs.

I have also been very fortunate to have worked with and visited many of the other state societies around the country via my speaking and consulting activities.

I hope you are active in your state society and I also hope that you are encouraging the next generation of leaders in your firm to be involved.

I am especially pleased to offer my congratulations to my friend, Edward I. Guttenplan, CPA, CGMA of Wilkin & Guttenplan, the incoming President of the New Jersey Society of CPAs. Listen to Ed’s inspiring story, below. Not involved? Make a commitment to your state society today!

  • Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
  • Greg Anderson

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Flashback Friday – The Importance of Persistence

“What you have learned is never enough.” – Cher Wang

Here’s a story that explains the importance of persistence. Persistence has been a foundational piece of my career success. I hope you practice it, too.

When you have new ideas, practice persistence.

Have a great summer weekend.

  • Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.
  • John Quincy Adams

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Do What You Love

I am very lucky. I found a career that I simply love and it has evolved into a real purpose in life for me.

When I was younger, I knew many people who actually hated their job, yet they continued to work at the same place for many years. It always puzzled me. What a miserable way to spend your life!

I believe that the profession of public accounting would be an excellent choice for many young people just beginning their careers. Not every firm is alike, so I strongly warn young professionals, it may not be public accounting you dislike, it may just be the firm you are currently with.

If you are thinking about leaving your firm, please give another CPA firm a try before you leave public accounting altogether. My career growth has been a joy to me without a single boring minute. I have learned so much and, hopefully, have matured quite nicely. And, while I have been working in public accounting for decades, I still love it and enjoy the ways I can strive to help others succeed.

As Steve Jobs said:

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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.” 

I love a recent post by Rebecca Tamsen of Self Development Secrets. It is titled, Do what you love. Find your purpose in life.

Here’s an excerpt:

When you don’t know what you’re passionate about and aren’t doing what you love, your life lacks a deeper meaning. There are several other reasons why you need to do what you love:

  1. You will know no stress
  2. Your productivity will increase
  3. You will remain motivated
  4. Your work will have a touch of passion
  5. You will push yourself to be more successful
  6. You will enjoy a gratifying life
  7. You will always be ready to face new challenges
  8. You will always be learning
  9. Procrastination won’t be your cup of tea
  10. You will be an efficient leader

I feel like all of these apply to me! Be sure to follow the link, above, and read about each of these points. Then find YOUR purpose and do what you LOVE.

  • Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.
  • Aristotle

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Start Networking Now

“If you’re trying to be successful, networking is the difference between mediocre and big.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

Sure, accounting firms are getting a lot of new business via social media. Many new clients now come directly from your website. I love to see CPAs using Twitter and Instagram. There are some great blogs out there authored by CPAs.

Here comes the but. But, personal networking is still an extremely important part of career-building for CPAs working in public accounting. If you are just beginning our CPA career – begin networking now. If you have many years of experience and really haven’t been expected to bring in business up to now – begin networking now. If you are a partner who rarely brings in business – begin networking now.

I am a fan of Jeffrey Gitomer and all his writings about sales and other things. He says, “Networking is life skills and social skills combined with sales skills. It is business leisure conducted before and after work – as proposed to business frantic, which is conducted from 9 to 5 (the exception being lunch)

Here’s Gitomer’s principles of networking:

  • to get known by those who count
  • to get more prospects
  • to make more contacts
  • to make more sales
  • to build relationships
  • to make a career advancement (or just get a job)
  • to build your reputation (and be seen and known as consistent)What do you need to be a successful networker?
  • A GREAT 30-second commercial that engages and asks questions that qualify the prospect, and gets to the next step in the sales cycle if there’s an interest.
  • Your willingness to dedicate the time it takes to do it and be excellent at it.
  • A plan of where and when.To maximize your networking effectiveness, you must follow one simple rule:
    Go where your customers and prospects go, or are likely to be.

Gitomer’s recent post gives you the 21.5 BEST places to network. Be sure to read it and begin networking!

  • Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
  • Mother Teresa

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Client Service – Incoming Phone Calls

“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.” – Clarence Thomas

It’s been a while since I have written about the importance of incoming phone calls. As you might expect, I often call Certified Public Accounting firms. How I am greeted tells me a lot about the firm, the partners and the Director of First Impressions.

The DOFI’s job is to make people feel welcome, not to make them feel like they are interrupting them from something more important.

I urge you not to interrogate your callers. The first thing that enters your client’s (or prospective client’s) mind is, “When I tell them who I am it helps them decide if I am important enough for XXX to take my call.”

I urge you not to have a completely automated phone greeting process. CPAs are in the service business. The CPA profession is a word of mouth business. Potential clients call you because they have been referred by a friend, attorney, banker or by someone else they rely upon for good advice. Don’t disappoint these important referral sources.

Do you have experienced team members designated to receive potential new client calls when the caller does not have a specific name to ask for? Most firms have a few tax managers who actually don’t mind taking these calls and handling them with professionalism, care and concern. Have you considered making your Marketing Director or Director of Practice Development part of this taking-cold-calls-team?

Be sure that your team members understand that sometimes the best calls with the most potential might come at a very busy time and the manager might be inclined to say “take a message” or let the call go into voice mail. The caller will probably seek professional services elsewhere.

So, you ask, “Why do I bother when most of these types of calls go no where?”

It is about brand, image and reputation in your community; about CPAs being the most trusted advisor. Besides, that caller asking about individual tax preparation might say, “I called Smith & Company about my taxes. CPAs are sure expensive but I was impressed, they treated me so nicely and gave me the name of a smaller firm who was a perfect fit for me.”

  • Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

How Dangerous is a Handshake?

“Getting in touch with your true self must be your first priority.” – Tom Hopkins

This week I read an article about banning handshaking in hospitals.

I think I get that one. Hospital acquired infections are a serious issue.

I have observed that many people are beginning to use the fist bump as an alternative greeting and a protection from passing along so many germs.

In business, the handshake has always been important:

A handshake is more than just a greeting. It is also a message about your personality and confidence level. In business, a handshake is an important tool in making the right first impression. While the art of handshaking does vary within cultures, in the United States the “rules” are pretty universal.

In the CPA profession, we often have to teach our beginners the importance of the handshake and how to do it properly, creating a favorable first impression.

Think about all the hands you shook when you attended that recent conference or local business networking event. Did you feel like you were endangering yourself?

For me, I enjoy the connection made by a proper handshake. I am assuming that the person I am greeting has at least washed their hands in the last 24 hours… whereas, a door handle to my favorite coffee shop probably hasn’t been properly washed in months, if ever! How many public doors have you opened lately? And don’t even think about all the things you touch with your finger-tips during a trip to the grocery!

  • Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.
  • Plato