Archive for the ‘Firms’ Category

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

It’s About Culture. How To Make Your Team Feel Special

lumsden1There are some firms that just “get it. For several years now I have admired how Lumsden McCormick, in Buffalo, appreciates their people and goes that extra step in developing a culture of inclusiveness and career advancement.

Recently, I noticed this Facebook post:

Congratulations to two Lumsden McCormick newlyweds!

Pat & Amanda (Moses) Meyers and Robert & Jillian Torella were married on the same day – September 17!

It’s a little thing, but I bet it made these two couples feel special.  Lumsden McCormick also always posts about people passing the CPA exam and other life events. Check out their Facebook page. Be sure to notice the Recruitment Open House post.

What’s your firm doing?

lumsden2

  • I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
  • Groucho Marx

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Innovation

“When all think alike, then no one is thinking.” – Walter Lippman

It makes me SO happy when I hear about innovative things coming from people working at CPA firms.

While I often lament that we don’t see very much innovation and creativity within firms and that many firms are very happy with the status quo, there are some great firms out there leading the way for others.

The following is an announcement from CPA.com about the 2016 Innovative Practitioners’ awards.

CPA.com announced this week that Caitlin Lacher and Rachael Higginbotham, both representing Louisiana accounting and business advisory firm Postlethwaite & Netterville, have been named winners of the Innovative Practitioners 2016 Award. The annual award looks to recognize innovations in process, services or technology implementation in public accounting firms.

Lacher and Higginbotham both developed Pounce, a new business development tool, this previous summer. Pounce allows CPA firms to more easily manage and match staff resumes, industry experience, and other firm materials, allowing marketing and sales teams to quickly respond to new business opportunities.

Runner up:  (One of my clients – Congratulations, Charles!)

Charles Postal of Santos, Postal & Co., Rockville, Md. Adopted Yammer.com,Slack.com and OfficeVibe.com, among other services, to his firm to improve communication amongst staff.

Honorable Mention – a tie

    • Kathy Ryan of RoseRyan, Newark, Calif. Kathy helped develop her firm’s own in-house application, the RoseRyan Dream Team System, to automate time tracking, recruiting, revenue forecasting and more.
    • Dixie McCurley of Trusted CFO Solutions, Atlanta. Dixie helps lead CPA.com workshops on client accounting services in the cloud, but also walks the walk with her firm, developing customized accounting models for clients that deliver powerful data analytics for business decision-making.

    For more on the 2016 Innovative Practitioners Award, head to CPA.com’s site here.

  • Interviewer:

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Attracting The Millennials And Others

IMG_7704“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” – Jim Collins

Everyone wants to work for a firm that “gets it.” If you can create that special culture within your CPA firm that really understands today’s current workforce, you will be a winner.

While millennials are the focus for most firms, it involves other team members, too. Experienced people will leave firms that are stuck in the past and move on to a high-profile firm with a vibrant culture.

LBMC, headquartered in Nashville, is a shining example.

Be sure you read this article from Accounting Today: The Millennial Riddle.

  • If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs.
  • Anonymous

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Going Denim Every Day? Your Team Might Need Some Help.

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent

I have always been impressed with Armanino LLP ever since I met Andy Armanino many years ago.

As with many larger firms, they have “gone denim” for every day. When they rolled out their new dress code, they provided a helpful video for all their team members.

Just a reminder… clearly communicating expectations is very important, not only to young people but to long-time employees, as well.

Enjoy!

  • Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.
  • Marilyn Monroe

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

CPA Firm Message: We Are Closed On Fridays For The Summer

“When one door is closed, don’t you know, another is open.” – Bob Marley

This week I received a notice from a CPA firm that was sent out via an email blast. I have talked with many CPA partners about this topic and it still creates a lot of lively discussions. While many firms have embraced closing on Fridays or developing some other system for a shorter summer work schedule, I have observed that the majority of firms do not embrace this practice.

It is a huge plus in hiring and retaining top talent. I hope you consider it. Here’s the message:

Dear Clients and Friends:

(Name of firm) Summer Office Hours

To allow our team the opportunity to retool and recharge after the hectic pace of tax season, we will be returning to our summer office hours. 

Effective May 27 through September 5 our offices will be open

Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

 We will be closed on Fridays during the summer months.  (However, since Uncle Sam never seems to rest, arrangements can be made to meet with you on a Friday in the event of any urgent tax matter or if it is the only day you are available to pick up returns and documents from our office.  Please contact us in advance to coordinate such arrangements.) 

 Very truly yours,

 

  • It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
  • Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

More About Flexibility

“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” – Tom Peters

Yesterday, I blogged about flexibility. Since it is such a popular topic, I wanted to continue to provide information to you today.

Isaac O’Bannon, Managing Editor of CPA Practice Advisor, in a recent post tells us that many firms really do offer flexibility. If your firm does not, it’s time to learn more about it and begin making some changes.

Here’s O’Bannon’s take on the rules:

As long as you comply with RULE #1: Get the job done. It is also recommended that you comply with RULE #2: Be damn good at your job, consistently. Oh, and RULE #3: Be responsive to your boss, your clients, and anyone else you do business with or for- so that it’s just like you were in the office.

Here’s some firms that made Fortune’s list of the 50 Best Workplaces for Flexibility. #1 was Ryan, an international tax firm. Other accounting firms on the list:  PwC at #12, Plante Moran at #27 and DeLeon & Stang at #30.

  • You absolutely must have the discipline not to hire until you find the right people.
  • Jim Collins

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Best Accounting Firms To Work For In North America

Each year Vault.com, a company that provides in-depth intelligence on what it’s really like to work within an industry, company, or profession, unveils it’s Vault Accounting 50 – a listing of the 50 best firms to work for.

See the complete 2016 list of 50 firms here.

  • If you don't build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.
  • Dhirubhai Ambani

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Keeping Good People – It Doesn’t Happen By Accident

It’s not just the Big Four; don’t go to a firm just to get a name on your resume.” – Brad Self, Dir. of Training & Development, CSH

I really enjoyed a recent article in Accounting Today featuring Clark Schaefer Hackett, an Ohio accounting firm.

I’m trying to keep my post short this week (because most of you are very busy), so I won’t ramble on. Click on the link and read the entire article when you have time. However, I want to stress some points that impressed me in the article.

CSH has done what I urge most firms to do. They have clearly defined the career paths inside their firm. Many studies have told us that young people want a clearly defined picture of where their career is going.

Here are the competencies of a Senior: Manage Work | Resolve Conflict | Assure Quality | Tolerate Stress | Coach/Develop Others | Collaborate – Each competency is described in detail for Seniors.

CSH researched and developed a cultural approach that they call “Change-80-5,” where CSH pursues cultural change to increase staff engagement; stronger employee engagement will lead to stronger client engagement with a goal of 80 percent, which should drive the 5 percent organic growth rate the firm has targeted.

I love this quote from Brad Self, Director of Training & Development:

“It was surprising as I met with other firms and talked to people in universities and the academic arena to hear the stigma that hangs around public accounting,” he said. “The academic world is saying that people should use public accounting as a stepping stone to a ‘real career.’ We need to change that. … We want to start talking to these universities about pushing more of a career opportunity — it’s not just the Big Four; don’t go to a firm just to get a name on your resume; go to a firm that aligns with your values and where you’re going to feel like you can grow the most.”

 

  • Since belief determines behavior, doesn't it make sense that we should be teaching ethical, moral values in every home and in every school in America?
  • Zig Ziglar

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Make Some Progressive Changes This Year

After busy season your thoughts will more strongly turn to your people. Of course, you continue to think about them and their well-being during busy season but probably won’t take action on any items until after April 15.

Here’s a couple of things that many progressive firms are doing:

Stand-up, Get Moving – – Standing desks reduce health risks, encourage more activity (and we all know that more activity is good for us). Accountants sit way too much! Does your firm offer to provide stand-up desks for everyone? Do you offer ways to be more active during tax season (yoga classes, Zumba, or an office basketball league)?

Here’s some tips for office workers to keep moving (from an article in the Dayton Daily News):

  • Use a printer or restroom on a different floor
  • Take the stairs
  • Leave the office for an afternoon stroll or coffee run (walk to the coffee shop!)
  • Set a notification on your computer that reminds you to move every 30 minutes
  • Get up to talk to a colleague instead of sending an email
  • Have a walking or standing meeting (these are very popular)
  • Stand while talking on the phone (I’ve seen a lot of partners do this one)
  • Pause and stretch
  • Take a quick walk during lunch break (I know a managing partner and firm administrator that often take a walk during lunch hour and talk about operational and HR topics.)

Here’s a picture of Hemingway at his stand-up desk.

The second thing to consider, that many firms are providing, is closing the office on Fridays (or half-day on Fridays) from June through August. There are a lot of variations:

  • Close for the entire day on Friday (summer Fridays are fairly “dead” anyway)
  • Stay open but allow half the staff to be off one week and the other half the next week.
  • Establish 10 hour work days from Monday through Thursday so that 40 hours are still worked.
  • Close on Friday afternoons (this one does not eliminate commuting for a day which is a big issue).

Most firms tell me that their clients don’t mind at all if the firm closes on Fridays. Check out the website of Payne Nickles. Look on the left at their hours. “Fridays from May 1 through Labor Day we close at noon.”

  • The problem is not the problem. the problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
  • Captain Jack Sparrow

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Merger Mania for CPA Firms

0 Avatar slide for blogIt seems that merger mania still reigns. It started with larger firms acquiring smaller firms and evolved to gigantic firms acquiring other gigantic firms and everything in between.

Have you recently been merged into a larger firm? Even though it is all about clients and industry niches, progressive firms still focus on the people side of things. In a merger, some people lose, especially those professional support people in the firm being acquired.

How did the acquiring firm in your situation perform relating to embracing your people into their culture? Did they orchestrate all of the on-boarding activities so that everyone felt included? Do you now have a clear sense of what is going to unfold during the next year? Or, do you feel like there is a dark cloud hanging over your head?

If you joined the right firm, they have a clear plan, well-documented and well-executed for making the people they are merging-in feel part of something extraordinary. They excel at communication.

How do you feel about going into the office this morning?

  • Nothing will work unless you do.
  • Maya Angelou