Archive for the ‘Millennials’ Category
Tuesday, January 17th, 2017
“Trust yourself. You know more than yu think you do.” – Benjamin Spock, M.D.
A few months ago I surveyed a small number of CPA firms across the country. I was curious about the kind of parental leave they offered as an employee benefit.
To my dismay, paid maternity leave is almost non-existent. CPA firms seem to approach it with a combination of actions. The employee (the mother) is encouraged to save and/or carry over PTO to be used and they combine it with short term disability options.
As far as any type of paid leave for new Dads, it seems truly non-existent.
Here is a good article from FAST Company – How Paid Parental Leave Changed in 2016.
Some progress has been made, in general, but 2016 was not an impressive year for paid parental leave. A quarter of new mothers go back to work just 10 days after giving birth.
Just so you know, in 2016, EY announced a new policy to expand its parental benefits to over 35,000 U.S. employees. Both new mothers and fathers are eligible for up to 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave for birth, adoption, surrogacy, foster care, or legal guardianship.
If you want to attract and retain young, top talent. An impressive paid parental leave policy might just be the answer.
"Encourage and support your kids because children are apt to live up to what you believe of them."
Lady Bird Johnson
Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” – Newt Gingrich
As you already know, nearly every CPA firm is looking for new talent. It’s truly turned into a war for talent in the public accounting profession.
It’s not just public accounting, of course. According to Glassdoor’s newest report on job trends, there is a record number of unfilled jobs – 5.85 million as of April 2016 – which represent the most since BLS started tracking job openings in 2000.
Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist, shares some 2017 job trends:
#1 HR will transform itself into “people science.”
#2 Many things get automated but we don’t lose our jobs.
#3 Nontraditional benefits will become less popular.
#4 We’ll make progress narrowing the wage gap.
#5 The Gig economy will slow down.
Read more about each trend here. I know you will be interested in #3!
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Monday, January 9th, 2017
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
It is definitely not the same old workplace where many of us “grew up” in the business world.
At my first job, in the accounting department of a major manufacturing company, we were not allowed to leave our desks except at our specified “break” time. They ran the office much like they did the manufacturing floor.
60Minutes and Vanity Fair conducted a poll in 2016 to explore the modern workplace. It has changed dramatically and is still evolving as we deal with more tech-savvy young workers who have joined our knowledge-based economy. They are demanding more.
Here are the polling questions:
What’s the most important thing to look for in a new job?
What’s the best way to keep an employee motivated?
Which business practice would you most like to bring back?
How much more than their workers should CEOs earn?
Which job perk would be the hardest to explain to your grandfather?
Which industry is the most unethical?
What is the worst thing about your job?
Check out the results here. Maybe you should ask some of these questions to your own accounting firm team. As a firm leader, you need to know all you can about your young workforce.
Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their job.
Tuesday, December 27th, 2016
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” – Albert Einstein
Recently, I posted about The Growing Area of Flexible Work Arrangements. Today, there is more news that supports the fact that YOU (CPAs in public practice) need to be prepared to compete in this area of significant growth.
FlexJobs announced 5 career categories for remote job seekers to watch for in 2017. Guess what is on the list – Accounting & Finance. It is among the five categories where remote job listings have grown more than 20 percent since January 2016.
When it comes to how people prefer to work, 65 percent of workers say they would be more productive telecommuting than working in a traditional workplace. As many as 80 to 90 percent of the workforce say they would like to telecommute at least part-time. Telecommuters are almost twice as likely to love their jobs than employees who work in traditional offices and report higher levels of productivity.
Managing partners and firm administrators, are you preparing your firm to take advantage of this growing workforce? It could be the answer to the big challenge of finding top talent to serve your clients.
CPAs are (and think) traditional. It’s time to think non-traditional relating to so many areas of firm management.
2017 is going to be an exciting year!
Change is not merely necessary to life - it is life.
Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
Someone at your firm:
- Is doing an extraordinary job.
- Never hesitates to go above and beyond to better serve the client (and make you look good).
- Never misses a day of work.
- Is the first to volunteer to guide and improve the skills of less experienced team members.
There is a very meaningful way to recognize them and thank them. Personally, handwrite a note to them.
This is a great time of year to write a note inside a Christmas card and put it on their desk. Or, buy a pack of Christmas thank-you notes and write a personal message inside and give them to people you want to recognize.
A few written words can speak volumes.
When I worked at a growing firm, I liked to use little notecards called WOW cards. If someone deserved an extra bit of recognition, I would write a brief message on the small card and place it on their keyboard or desk.
The message is appreciated but so is the fact that you actually took some time to think of them and write some personal words of encouragement.
Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G. B. Stern
Thursday, December 15th, 2016
Many firms have incorporated flexible work arrangements into their menu of offerings to employees. Some have been much slower to adapt.
Here’s an update from a non-profit organization called 1 Million For Work Flexibility. To keep your CPA firm competitive you need to learn all you can about the flexibility options available to talented professionals.
Here are some of the top moments of the year for flexibility listed below.
New Hampshire became the second state to make it legal for workers to request work flexibility. New Hampshire has an aging workforce and demographic. State Senate Bill 416 encourages younger workers to stay in (or move to) New Hampshire and work there so they can enjoy a flexible work arrangement that allows them to care for their growing families as well as their aging parents without worrying about bosses who might fire them for asking for flex. The bill’s sponsor believes that this isn’t just good for working parents and families, but for the overall state economy. New Hampshire follows Vermont with this type of “right to request” legislation, as well as the city of San Francisco.
New York City passed the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which is said to be the first of its kind protection for freelancers. It requires written agreements for the timeline and payment of freelance work, with penalties for employer violations.
More companies, industries, and occupations are now offering flexibility to their employees. These 250 companies are shining examples of work flexibility in action. This list of the top companies with the most flexible job listings since 2013 (the “FlexJobs 250”) is based on an analysis of more than 40,000 companies and their flexible job posting histories in the FlexJobs database between October 1, 2013, and October 1, 2016.
The United State of Women, a summit hosted by the White House, showcased the importance of workplace policies that work for women. The inaugural event, attended by 1 Million for Work Flexibility, highlighted work flexibility and brought together thousands of people who are working to change tomorrow for women.
Work flexibility conversation focused on fathers. It’s long been clear that flexibility is crucial for working mothers, but the issue is much more broad. As part of its mission to demonstrate the far-reaching value of flex, 1 Million for Work Flexibility teamed up with supporters to co-host a special Father’s Day-themed event featuring scholar, international lawyer, foreign policy analyst, and thought-leader Anne-Marie Slaughter. The event focused on how we can shift the work and family narrative to include men and women in both corners, by valuing both care and competition, home and career in a way that benefits us all.
Launched in 2013, the 1 Million for Work Flexibility movement now has more than 100 coalition members including advocacy groups, think tanks, academic institutions, and businesses, as well as thousands of individuals demonstrating the many types of flexible work that are not only leading to happier and healthier workers, but also improving our economy.
Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.
Wednesday, December 14th, 2016
“Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.” – Kurt Vonnegut
I must admit, I was rather shocked when I read that there is a course to help Millennials become adults. What a concept! It’s happening in Portland, Maine.
A therapist, Rachel Weinstein, and a former public school teacher, Katie Brunelle, saw the need and put together a one-day session offering presentations on subjects like time management and budgeting.
They launched The Adulting School to teach millennials how to be functioning grown-ups by showing up on time and paying their credit-card bills, etc. They followed up by hosting happy hour sessions to tackle skills like cooking and networking.
Many of you might think this is actually funny. My first reaction was OMG!
However, I can see the real need for something like this for new college graduates as they enter the world of work, especially public accounting. The organizers put it like this, “You’re smart and capable – Your education just didn’t provide you with all the skills you need.”
I have written and spoken about the fact that adulthood has been “pushed back” by the millennials. Think about it. The Baby Boomers graduated from college, got married, bought a house, started a family in their twenties. The Millennials are doing all of these things in their thirties – a ten-year delay.
It is a big transition from college to work life and building a career. Be sure to offer your new college graduates assistance on making that transition. Be open and honest about your expectations and be sure they have someone to talk to about their new life (a coach or mentor). Time management could be just the beginning course.
Maybe your CPA firm needs an Adulting School. Maybe some significantly older people need an “adulting” course!
Read the entire article, Should You Enroll in Adulting School?
I don't think I'd have been in such a hurry to reach adulthood if I'd known the whole thing was going to be ad-libbed.
Monday, December 5th, 2016
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” – Benjamin Franklin
We have been talking about the millennials for years now. Just as we talked about Gen-X when they became the youngest workers in our CPA firm offices. New generations bring change. The Baby Boomers sure brought change as they progressed through their lives, partly because of their massive numbers.
Pew Research tells us that more than 30% of American workers today are millennials. They recently passed Gen-X in becoming the largest share of the American workforce. Boomers are retiring and Millennials are filling in the gap. They range in age from 19 to 35 and those 35 year-olds are now in leadership roles in CPA firms.
With them comes some fairly drastic changes for public accounting. From a recent Inc. article by Elizabeth Dukes, the following are just some of the changes that long-time CPAs sometimes find challenging:
- Email will no longer be the primary communication tool.
- Traditional office space designs will become extinct.
- Strict office hours will no longer exist.
Read more about each one of these points here. Begin taking action on how you will deal with each one these points at your firm.
Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” – Vince Lombardi
Want a simple way to train and develop your people? Try repetition.
Think about how your new college recruits learn to become skilled accountants and CPAs. In many firms, it goes like this. You train them on basic auditing. You may send them to a 3-day training course sponsored by your firm association, state society or inside your own firm. You may do it online. But it is very focused.
Then they are assigned to engagement after engagement where they do the same thing over and over until they “get it.” Then they receive a more difficult task and they do it over and over until they become proficient, and so on. They become more and more skilled, they ask great questions and learn from others, they make mistakes and correct them and over time their confidence and skill become top notch.
People learn from repetition. It is much more effective than a one or two-day training session.
You expect your managers to bring in new business and they aren’t very good at it. This also applies to some partners, they are not able to do the basic function of a partner – perpetuate the firm. Why not apply repetition to teaching people in your firm how to sell.
You best rainmakers are the teachers. Ask them to always have a shadow (less experienced person) when they meet with a client. When they meet with a prospect. When they meet with a referral source. When they attend a business networking event. When they attend a charitable fund-raising function. When they attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting. You get the idea.
Expose them over and over again to business development situations. Have them try it on their own – over and over again. Repetition solidifies skills.
Don't join an easy crowd. You won't grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are achieve are igh.
Thursday, November 10th, 2016
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” – Colin Powell
I am very fortunate to be able to facilitate many feedback surveys for successful, growing accounting firms. What I personally learn from these surveys is extremely helpful to me as I advise my clients on preparing their firm for the future.
Something I often see as I read every single word written by survey participants is that there are several misconceptions, top-down and bottom-up, inside CPA firms.
Here’s one I will comment on today:
Staff thinks that partners should work as much as they do.
Partners think staff should work as much as they do.
Of course, not all partners and not all staff but I do see these sentiments noted in several different variations.
Some things for both sides to consider…..
Most partners work significantly more than staff. They attend civic, social and charitable events on behalf of the firm (and it’s growth). Partners tend to work many non-busy season weekends in the office with no one there to observe (or disturb) them. Their chargeable time budget is much less than staff because they have extremely important duties in marketing, selling, mentoring and management of the firm.
The current workforce (staff members in CPA firms) has changed and technology is the main reason. They can work anytime and anywhere. They PREFER to work in that fashion. Partners still often assume that if someone is not at their desk, they are not working. Also, partners tend to be in the office at odd hours. Many often return to the office later in the evening or arrive at the office very early. Many staff members prefer to have dinner at home, participate in putting the kids to bed and then work additional time, later at night, from home.
Per the Rosenberg Survey for firms in the $2M-$10M range, partners average about 2500 total hours and staff average about 2300 total hours. Partners have approximately 1200 chargeable hours and staff has approximately 1500 chargeable hours.
There is no substitute for hard work.