Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

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.

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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

Transformation!

“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

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Don’t Waste Your Vacation

“A vacation is what you t ake when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” – Earl Wilson

So many people in CPA firms do not take the vacation they have been awarded. I hope you are not one of them!

According to an article, I read recently, every year more than half of Americans fail to use all their time off, creating a stockpile of 662 million unused vacation days.

I bet if you counted all the unused vacation days of your entire team (including partners), it would be a significant number.

DSC03008Most firms allow you to carry over a certain number of hours but few allow you to carryover all of it.

Studies show that “planners” have an advantage over non-planners. If you plan your vacations in advance you will more than likely use more of your allotted vacation time and take longer vacations.

Winter is a perfect time to think about warm beaches, national parks, mountain retreats and cruises. Rather than going home at night and venting about your day at work, talk about and plan your vacations for 2018.

I took the picture on one of our trips to Hilton Head. Nothing like watching the sun come up out of the ocean.

  • Laughter is an instant vacation.
  • Milton Berle

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Reading For Workaholic Partners

“I’ve heard that hard work never killed anyone, but I say why take the chance?” – Ronald Reagan

Yesterday, I read an article via Harvard Business Review that certainly made me think of many of you (partners in CPA firms around the country).

I personally know many who work WAY TO MANY hours. I know just a few partners who actually work too few productive hours, meaning they work a significant number of total hours but not nearly enough hours that are productive (or billable).

The article is titled, If You’re So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours a Week? The author is Laura Empson, a professor in the Management of Professional Service Firms at Cass Business School, University of London, and Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Law School.

If you are not a partner you will probably enjoy the article more than the partners.

  • Either you run the day or the day runs you.
  • Jim Rohn

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Blockchain – The Future of Accounting

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

I am always searching for ways to better explain blockchain to accountants and accounting students. This infographic from Maryville University and the accompanying article are very informative.

 

Blockchain: The Future of Accounting? Infographic

Maryville University

 

  • The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Does It Make Business Sense?

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker

In the profession of public accounting, the basic format for staffing has been the same for years.

You hire great talent, we invest in them, train them well and assign them to certain types of work. Their first year on the job is definitely a learning experience. The second year they get better, more efficient and even seem to enjoy what they are doing more because they are comfortable with the work.

The third year, they could be really efficient and profitable but you promote them and they are assigned work that they are not familiar with nor good at and the inefficiencies are reflected in their work.

Would it make more sense to leave them alone for another year or two and let them become even more proficient at their assigned duties? I know! Young talent wants to advance quickly. But, does that mean EVERY person should be treated the same? Why not try managing a person based on their individual abilities, skills, and desires? Some move on more quickly and some don’t, based on what they want. Do you even know what each individual team member wants from their career? It wouldn’t mean that those people who repeat the work they do for another year or two is less valuable. Actually, they might be more valuable when it comes to efficiency and profitability.

All this might not mean much right now since all the experts tell us that the entry-level work is going to be done via artificial intelligence. But, for many firms, that is going to take a while.

Most firms are doing something like this but higher up the food chain. They permit partners to stay at the same level of expertise and performance for decades. Does that make business sense?

  • Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.
  • Peter Drucker

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Take Notes

“Take note. If you don’t take notes your idea will get lost.” – Sir Richard Branson

I was so pleased when I read a recent post from Richard Branson, Why Everyone Should Be Taking Notes.

I am a note taker! I have taken notes all of my adult life. Of course, one reason is that I will forget to do something if I don’t write it down. Actually, I have been forgetful all of my adult life – not sure what that will mean as I get even older!

Each time I talk to a client, I take detailed notes. When someone suggests a wine that I might like, I make note of it. When someone mentions a great book or movie, I make note of it. When I get an idea for a blog topic, I make note of it immediately.

As Branson says, “No matter how big, small, simple or complex an idea is, get it in writing. But don’t just take notes for the sake of taking notes, go through your ideas and turn them into actionable and measurable goals.”

He also mentions that in his opinion, 99% of people in leadership roles don’t take notes.

  • Many people think writing notes is below them - but everyone should be doing it as it can greatly improve what you do.
  • Sir Richard Branson