Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Flashback Friday – What’s In It For Me?

“You have to water the flowers you want to grow.” – Stephen Covey

If you are considering taking on the role of Mentor. Or, if you are a Mentee looking for a Mentor – what’s in it for you?

Here’s a post from 2016 that explains the benefits of both roles.

Have a great weekend!

  • To add value to others, one must first value others.
  • John Maxwell

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

We Are Like Family – Maybe Not

“What people really want advice on is the interpersonal weirdness that comes with having a job.” – Alison Green

As I read an article via The New York Times – Your Workplace Isn’t Your Family (and That’s Ok!), I definitely thought about how the article should be read by many of you working inside accounting firms.

The article is an interview with Alison Green, author of a book titled: Ask a Manager: How to Navigate Clueless Colleagues, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work.

I have heard it over and over from firms of varying sizes over many years – “we are like family.” I have always struggled with this topic. I have seen it used to avoid difficult conversations and to justify continuing to employ a poor performer over a long period of time. I have also seen it used to make unreasonable demands like working unreasonable hours and even seven days per week.

As you work at your accounting firm, always remember that this is business, not family, no matter what some people might think.

From the author: I want people to know it’s all right to treat work like work. We’re being paid to be there, and most of us wouldn’t show up otherwise. We don’t need to pretend that’s not the case.

Employment, underneath it all, is a contractual situation. It is a transaction:  I pay you and you do the work. You pay me and I do the work.

Be sure to read the article/interview.

  • There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
  • Colin Powell

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Outsourced Accounting

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” – Anton Chekhov

CPA firms are seeing amazing growth in the area of outsourced accounting services. It not only is of immediate value to clients, it also provides the accountant with the ability (and information) to become even more of a trusted advisor.

Recently, Bill.com released the results of a survey they did regarding the use of outsourced accounting services. They have furnished a report on their findings – What Businesses Really Think of Client Accounting Services. You can download the report here.

In the introduction, Bill.com founder, Rene Lacerte, notes:

We are a nation of outsourcers.

In our personal lives, we outsource both simple and complex tasks—everything from grocery shopping to planning for retirement. We aren’t lazy or incapable, but we know that if we let the experts handle these tasks, they will be done right and allow us time to focus on what matters most. Outsourcing reinforces our priorities.

Businesses, too, are well acquainted with outsourcing. Disciplines ranging from IT to customer support to HR have all found their ways to hire experienced professionals outside of the corporate structure. Now, outsourcing all accounting is gaining traction.

The accounting profession has talked about client accounting advisory services (CAS) for a decade, speculating on the best ways a firm can solicit and handle all of a company’s accounting and finance department needs. For accountants, holding the reins to the company’s financial performance gives them unparalleled insight into the business and the ability to surpass a transactional state in favor of strategic advice and planning. It creates the platform for impactful contributions.

While accountants understand the benefits of CAS, what do businesses think about outsourcing their accounting? If you’re considering starting or expanding your CAS practice, it is good insight to have before you begin.

In this survey with CPA.com, we asked more than 1,700 small and medium-size businesses to share their opinions on outsourcing accounting. The results are summarized in the following pages. Respondents told us how much they’re outsourcing today, what they’d like to outsource, what they appreciate about it, and how it benefits their customers.

The survey data underscores just how important CAS can be to both firms and their business clients and how it will continue to grow and gain even greater value in the accounting world.

  • Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
  • William Shakespeare

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

A Learning Opportunity

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Don’t hesitate to invest in the success of your new partners and your future partners.

My good friend, Jeff Pawlow of The Growth Partnership, reminded me that it is time to register for The Partner Institute. Here’s the scoop:

Announcing The Partner Institute™ 2019

The Partner Institute™ is a three-year, multidisciplinary program designed to develop the needed skills and attributes for successful firm leadership. Session 1 starts January 16-18, 2019 at the Boardwalk Inn at Walt Disney World. Learn More

Our Curriculum 

The Partner Institute™ offers participants a robust, in-classroom curriculum led by facilitators who are experts in their particular topic and have a deep pedigree rooted in the accounting profession. This sets The Partner Institute™ apart from other offerings.

View the Full Three Year Curriculum Map

Don’t Take Our Word For It…

You can hear it from our graduates first hand!

Since its inception in 2004, The Partner Institute™ has developed future leaders in the profession. We are proud to have a proven track record of success. View Testimonials

Sign Up Today!
Reserve your spot in The Partner Institute™ by submitting your registration and a deposit of $500. Attend the initial course and then decide if the program is right for you. If you elect to continue, we will invoice you accordingly.

Register Now!

  • Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
  • Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

CPA Firm Best Practices Network

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” – Benjamin Franklin

I received the following press release yesterday. Another good resource for practice management ideas and trends.

CPA Leadership Institute and Adamson Advisory announce the formation of the CPA Firm Best Practices Network™ 

Effective July 15, 2018–The CPA Firm Best Practices Network™ is a ground-breaking initiative dedicated to CPA firms that would like to reach a higher level of performance. 

The Resources of the CPA Firm Best Practices Network™include the CPA Firm Self-Assessment Tool™ the CPA Firm Self-Assessment Survey,™ and the Best Practices Focus Group Program. 

The CPA Firm Self-Assessment Tool™ is an inventory of generally accepted best practices employed in virtually every segment of the business of CPA firms. Each best practice is accompanied by a description of what it means to be performing at a high level with respect to that best practice. 

Firms use the CPA Firm Self-Assessment Tool ™ to guide them in rating their performance. They submit their ratings to the Network, which periodically publishes the CPA Firm Self-Assessment Survey,™ for member firms to compare themselves with their peers. 

The CPA Firm Self-Assessment Tool™ helps develop insights into the strengths and weaknesses in firm operations– in their own view—to begin the process of developing the initiatives to move from good to great. 

The Best Practices Focus Groups are online sessions that help firms prioritize and work on best practices. They will expand on the answer to the question–what does it mean to perform at a high level with respect to each best practice?

The Panel of Advisors:
Gary Adamson, Adamson Advisory

Joel Sinkin, Transition Advisors
Lisa Tierney, Tierney Coaching and Consulting
Marc Rosenberg, The Rosenberg Associates
Randy Johnston, Network Management Group, Inc.
Bryan Eberle, Haydenrock Solutions
Joel Shiffrin, CPA Leadership Institute

  • Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
  • Abigail Adams

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Top 50 Accounting Blogs

“Reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay where we are.” – Mason Cooley

I was thrilled to receive notification that Crush The CPA Exam has named my blog one of their Top 50. I am Number 12. Read more about it below and also check out the entire list. There may be several blogs that you should be reading. Of course, read mine first. I post every business day.

Blogs are a fantastic and severely underrated method of staying up to date on all kinds of interesting subcultures and industries. Sure, social media such as Facebook and Twitter can provide faster updates and hotter takes; however, the fact remains that if you want to read long-form articles of substance on a niche topic, you want to look on a blog.

Accounting is no different. While a lot of interesting news and op-eds can be read through publications like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, or Bloomberg, these are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finance-related written works. To help you find the best of the best, we’ve cultivated a list of the top 50 accounting blogs in no particular order.

No two blogs are created equal, and these accounting and finance-related blogs are no exception. Some of these blogs are great for individuals without any professional accounting experience who are looking for advice, some of them are geared toward students looking to become CPA’s, and some are perfect for seasoned professionals looking for an expert’s take on the latest developments.

These blogs were chosen based on their popularity, post quality, and post frequency. All of these blogs are also actively posting new content as of June 2018.

  • Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
  • P. J. O'Rourke

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

Asking For Salary History Might Be Illegal

“You can’t teach employees to smile. They have to smile before you hire them.” – Arte Nathan

If you are the typical CPA firm, you are doing a lot of interviewing of potential new hires on a regular basis. Be sure the people in your firm involved in interviewing know what to ask and what not to ask.

Per an article by Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady:

Many states and cities have made it illegal to ask a candidate for salary history, making basing their current offer on a previous salary difficult (but not impossible). Keep in mind, none of these laws prevent employers from asking what salary someone is looking for. A person who currently earns $50,000 is most likely going to say she is looking for a lower salary than someone who currently earns $80,000. The best way is for companies to state a salary range up front: “This job pays between $75-$85,000. Does that work for you?”

Here’s a link to her full article on the Inc. website.

  • When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.
  • Simon Sinek

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Left Standing At The Altar

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi

Your accounting firm has several partners in their late 50s or early 60s. You don’t have enough young partners or future partners to take the firm into the future and still pay-out a significant amount of retirement dollars.

What do you do? The popular choice is to seek a larger firm to acquire your firm.

In a recent article for Accounting Today, Terry Putney and Joel Sinkin have shared ways to make your firm more attractive to acquirers. It used to be a seller’s market but it has now become a buyer’s market because so many smaller firms are looking for succession assistance.

A large firm is “looking at” your firm and another firm of similar size. The other firm has embraced technology and you are still not completely paperless. They choose the other firm and leave you standing at the altar.

Here are the Five Ways to Beautify Your Firm For M&A. Follow the link to read helpful descriptions about each of the five ways.

  1. Embracing technology
  2. “Brand” versus “partner” loyal
  3. Good clients and staff
  4. Niches
  5. Realistic terms

Thanks to Terry and Joel of Transition Advisors for this helpful information.

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

Friday, July 6th, 2018

Flashback Friday – Provide Guidance On How To Enter Time

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” – Albert Einstein

If you are a value pricing firm, disregard.  Good for you and I bet you have a lot of happy team members. I also imagine that you have well-trained managers who mentor and guide them through client engagements.

If you are not a value pricing firm, like most of the firms I talk to and work with, I bet you get the questions, “How do we enter our time for traveling to a client location? Is it chargeable or not?”

Here’s a flashback post to help you help your team.

  • No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.
  • Andrew Carnegie

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Billing For Administrative Time

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy

One practice management question that has been asked many times over the years is whether administrative team members should charge their time to a client.

If your firm is still billing by the hour, all employees whether admin team or accounting team should record any time expended on behalf of a client. Whether it is billed or not is up to the discretion of the biller, usually a partner. I have observed that in many firms, most, if not all, of this time is billed.

The accounting firm administrative team spends a great deal of their time on client work. They are providing service on behalf of a client. Serving the client is a valuable and important activity.

Some clients are more “needy” than others and often much of that neediness for service falls to the admin team.

I have also observed that administrative team members focused on client work are usually only about 30-40% chargeable.

 

  • Time has more value than money. You can get more money but you cannot get more time.
  • Jim Rohn