Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category
Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
Some of the most successful CEOs in the country had some interesting first jobs. You can check them out in this article – Surprising First Jobs of 10 Famous CEOS - on the Fast Company site.
How about having some fun during this busy time of year inside your firm or office?
Have everyone describe in a few sentences their very first paid job. Then perhaps your firm administrator can create a matching game with the data, listing the jobs and the names of all team members.
At a group in-office lunch, those attending play the matching game with the forms supplied by the administrator. Prizes are awarded to the people making the most correct matches.
Firms across the country, during this time of year, participate in fun things like this. One year The Association for Accounting Administration compiled ideas and offered a booklet titled, The Fun-tastic Firm to the members. Be sure to share these ideas with your AAA Chapter members and at your CPA firm association meetings.
Tax season is a game. You are doing what you do best and hopefully enjoying the challenges.
Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.
Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
I have mentioned this before…. for some of the population, email is dying out. I’m not convinced it is going away anytime soon but you should be aware that your new hires might not be as adept at email as your more experienced people.
As I talk to practitioners and their teams around the country, I hear the constant lament – “I am swamped by email!” It often becomes a bragging contest: I had 100 emails today. Oh yeah, I had 200! That’s nothing, I usually get 300 per day.
Since email is a primary tool of the CPA profession, it might be helpful to learn 10 Trigger Words to Ban From Your Emails. I found them in an article on Inc. Here they are…. but follow the link to read more about them.
Unfortunately – it’s dismissive
But – it’s jarring and too informal for business
Sincerely – a common signature word has become meaningless
Regrettably – the sender doesn’t usually feel regret
Best – don’t use it if you don’t have data to back it up
Amazing – just as “best” it is better to skip such words
Statistically – be specific with statistics
Formally – what does “formally introduce myself” really mean anyway?
Interestingly – it’s a filler word, skip it.
Remotely – what does it mean to work remotely? Iceland is remote. Just say you’ll be working offsite.
I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made the right.
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
Monday, March 3rd, 2014
I really enjoyed the recent article by Andrew Argue of The Bean Counter.
He notes that as a child he would daydream about a “hero” coming along to save him from his routine life or an unknown person giving him a million dollars. Then life would be easy.
Think about Hagrid entering Harry Potter’s life and changing it forever – taking him into a life of magical mystery.
Argue notes, as he got older he realized no one was going to make his adventure for him. Sure other people might help make your dream come true. There are mentors and sponsors along the way but no one can create the life you want but you.
You have to create your own dream or adventure then take action and work hard to make it come true.
I think you’ll enjoy reading the entire article.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
Thursday, February 13th, 2014
I recently read a tweet by my son regarding his 5th grade musicians. “My 5th grade flutes and clarinets just exhaust me. They have so much energy and ask sooooo many questions.”
In case you don’t know or have forgotten, 5th grade is when children select their first band instrument and began learning from scratch. Of course they will be excited and have lots of questions. While my son might be exhausted, I know he’s very happy about their enthusiasm.
In January and February inside your CPA firm you have quite a few 5th graders. These are the new college graduates going through their very first busy season and your interns who “have so much energy and ask soooo many questions.
As an experienced CPA – a senior, a manager/supervisor or a partner – you might feel absolutely exhausted because of the attention theses newbies demand and need.
A band director invests in the 5th & 6th graders so that when they gradually become very proficient and reach high school age, the band director has a group of very impressive, skilled musicians in the high school marching and concert bands. All along the way, while they work very hard they also have lots of fun.
This is the same investment that CPA managers (at all levels) are making – answer your beginners’ questions with a smile, get them excited and educated about public accounting and 3 to 4 years down the road you will have an impressive, skilled, professional accounting team that works very hard and has lots of fun along the way.
Yes, it is exhausting.
If a baseball player strikes out two times, but hits the ball on the third try every time he goes to bat, he's still a great baseball player. But hitting the mark 33 percent of the time isn't good enough for band. In band you have to hit the mark every time you step up.
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
I received a press release this week from the Ohio Society of CPAs regarding their annual effort to help minority Ohio high school students explore accounting and business career paths through the Accounting Careers Awareness Program (ACAP-Ohio).
Are you also aware of the AICPA National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion? My friend and fellow member of the CPA Consultants’ Alliance, Mary Bennett of MLBennett Consulting made me aware of it a while back. You can view Commission members here.
If you are in Ohio and know any minority high school students, I hope you will encourage them to apply. Applications are due by April 1.
Here’s more of the press release:
The program will be held June 8-13 at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business in Columbus. The application deadline is April 1.
This all-expense paid live-in program will host 45 top-performing high school students who will explore business and accounting careers and compete for college scholarships. The week includes interactive workshops, tours of local businesses and mentoring sessions with leading minority business professionals.
“ACAP-Ohio allows students the opportunity to learn what the accounting profession is all about,” said Edwin Jones, ACAP-Ohio 2014 Executive Director. “Our goal is to inspire students while preparing them for careers as future CPAs – this is accomplished through the leadership and mentorship programs ACAP-Ohio provides.”
ACAP-Ohio is made possible through the support of corporate sponsorships and grants. Interested students must submit an application, a 200-word essay, one letter of reference and an official high school transcript by April 1. Applications can be completed online at www.FutureCPA.com. For more information about ACAP-Ohio, contact Jerad Wood at jwood@ohio-cpa or 800.686.2727, ext. 315.
Many CPAs only think of diversity in public accounting as being about retaining females in the profession. Yes, it is about that but it is also much broader.
No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.
Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
When I read a recent article (Fast Company) about the current beliefs of Millennials the phrase, “strange bedfellows” came to mind. Although these days…. strange bedfellows probably means something completely different than my thought process. According to the dictionary it means unlikely companions or allies.
Some interesting thoughts were divulged according to Deloitte’s 2013 Global Millennial Survey. They sought comments about how business can innovate and impact society from those born after January 1982.
65% of respondents, who were located in 16 markets around the world, believe that their company conducts activities that benefit society. Is this just wishful thinking?
Millennials around the world don’t agree on exactly what societal changes are most pressing. Brazilians believe resource scarcity will be the biggest issue. In the U.S. and India they are most concerned about inflation. South African and many Western European millennials are worried about unemployment.
The majority of millennials believe they’re innovative people and they want to work for innovative companies. This is where the strange bedfellows thought entered my mind. Businesses (including CPA firms) that want to attract millennials need to emphasize their innovative ways (and positive societal impact).
I find that inside many CPA firms, leaders simply want to know what other firms are doing and then follow the herd. CPA partners have told me that they discuss the same things year after year at their partner retreat. Some firms have the same retreat facilitator for 10 or 15 years.
Of course, many progressive, forward-thinking firms actually are embracing change and leading the pack. I believe the simple reason is that they are able to implement. As we always said at my former firm… we want to be on the leading edge, not the bleeding edge. How about your firm?
Are your millennials innovative? Do you even ask for their input? Please don’t squelch their innovative ideas!
Thursday, February 6th, 2014
I’ve been talking and writing a lot about MBWA (Managing By Wandering Around) over the last year or so. I think it is so applicable inside a busy CPA firm. It really doesn’t matter what time of year, although CPAs tend to be talking more to their employees during “busy” season.
- Did you call John Doe?
- Has Mary Smith given us the end of year information yet?
- Will Brown Construction be finalized this week?
- You’ll need to come in early tomorrow.
- You’ll need to stay late to get done. I meet with the client tomorrow.
Not that all this is bad. Clearly communicating your expectations is something that great bosses do on a regular basis. Don’t forget to add the MBWA 8: What do you think? How can I help?
As a CPA and a manager of people, as you are checking with your team, asking questions and communicating expectations – be sure to pause.
I wrote all of the above just to be able to share with you a passage I discovered recently while reading fiction. There really is a business case for reading novels and I urge you to do so.
As you talk your way through the day, today keep this passage in mind:
“She came to realize that silence made space for other people’s words which was important for those who needed to be listened to.”
It is a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear.
Friday, January 31st, 2014
Maybe you are not the absolute top dog but you have worked very hard at establishing your reputation and brand over many years.
In CPA circles we talk about making it to the famous “one of three” list. You know what that is, right? It’s the names of three CPA firms the bankers and attorneys recommend to their customers.
So, what happens if you feel like you “have made it” and you gradually let down your guard? Someone else will quickly take the spotlight.
A story from Fast Company about TWC (The Weather Channel) might teach us something.
TWC has freshly redesigned offices at their headquarters in Atlanta. It is an open floor plan with no cubicles in sight. 20-somethings huddle around whiteboards and there is a Foosball table. TWC says the young vibe helps with recruiting and morale. The goal is to be collaborative, like a start-up says the company president of the digital division.
The redesign comes at a critical time. TWC is being challenged by upstarts.
While their mobile app is by far the most popular, Dark Sky, SkyMotion and WeatherSphere are beginning to eat away at TWC’s dominance.
TWC’s challengers are offering things quicker and more specific to the individual and the TWC digital division leader notes, “The Weather Channel is perceived as the 800-pound gorilla in the room. We’ve allowed some of those apps to occur. We haven’t defended our space as well as I would like.”
As a CPA firm leader, you can learn from The Weather Channel story – read it here.
Even if you are one of the three firms on The List, have you let your guard down? Have your partners become complacent and continue to do what they have always done? It’s time for many CPA firms to look over their shoulder. Just like TWC, younger, different, dynamic, proactive competitors will chip away at your prominence.
It’s time to defend your space!
Defense is a definite part of the game, and a great part of defense is learning to play it without fouling.
Thursday, January 30th, 2014
The January issue of the Rita Keller newsletter was emailed to you yesterday. Didn’t get your copy? – Sign-up here.
January featured articles:
- In Baseball If The Team Does Poorly Who Get Fired?
- First Step Towards Staff Retention
- Important Opportunity For Your HR Professionals To Build A Network
- Stay In Tune With Current Trends Between Newsletters
When you sign-up I’ll send you a link to the January issue.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
The Spring 2014 National Meet The Firms Week is February 3-7, 2014.
It is an online event that connects accounting students with the firm in their state. Participation is free for both students and firms. The event is sponsored by CollegeFrog. Learn about them here.
Learn more from this short video:
The important thing is to not stop questioning.