Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Friday, July 27th, 2018

July Newsletter – Employee Engagement

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams

My July newsletter went out this week. The feature article was written for MNCPA and published in their Footnote newsletter for members.

Articles:

Engagement For The Benefit of All

Organizations with high employee engagement experience 22 percent higher profitability. Reprinted with permission of MNCPA,

Need to talk?

Sometimes you just need a sounding board or someone outside the firm to simply listen and offer suggestions. Read more about my personalized advisory program for management leaders in CPA firms.

You can sign-up here to receive my newsletter via email.

 

  • Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.
  • Marie Curie

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Drama at the Office

“Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all.” – Mandy Hale

Some words about drama from Seth Godin’s recent post hit home with me. I have observed SO MUCH drama inside CPA firms, when I worked at one and as I have consulted with many.

Here’s an excerpt from Godin’s post titled, Two Ways to Solve a Problem and Provide a Service.

With drama. Make sure the customer knows just how hard you’re working, what extent you’re going to in order to serve. Make a big deal out of the special order, the additional cost, the sweat and the tears.

Without drama. Make it look effortless.

Talking behind people’s backs, gossiping, cliques, whining, blaming others are just a few of the descriptors. Stop doing it. You are not in high school anymore.

If you must vent, do it outside the office. If you are tempted to send a quick, harsh reply to an email, wait an hour before you type.

Most drama could be reduced if you made it a rule to avoid triangulation. That means if you have an issue with someone, talk only to them and don’t involve a third party.

Reduce the drama inside your firm by practicing The Four Agreements.

  • What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out.
  • Alfred Hitchcock

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Invest In Your Managers – Flashback Friday

“The future depends on what you do today.” – Gandhi

Reaching the manager level inside a CPA firm is a wonderful accomplishment. However, along with the title comes the responsibility for others. It is so much more than having technical knowledge. The manager is (or should be) the first-line boss of other people.

Invest in your managers, help them learn the special skills necessary to manage and inspire others.

Here’s a flashback post on this topic.

 

  • Success in management requires learning as fast as the world is changing.
  • Warren Bennis

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