Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Trust and Making Employees Feel Valued

Inside your busy accounting firm, how do your people really feel? Do they trust the firm’s leaders? Do they feel valued? Do they feel like a team…. a family?

I was watching CBS Sunday Morning last weekend and they did a segment on the challenges faced by a supermarket chain in New England when employees walked out because the boss they liked was fired by Chairman of the Board (his cousin) who wanted more money to go to shareholders and less to employees. Guess what? The employees won the battle. One of the signs carried by employees on the picket line said, “Don’t reward greed.”

But, more than that, this segment features companies that continually make the Fortune magazine 100 Best Places to Work list. These companies are consistently more profitable than other companies.   Robert Levering, one of the creators of the list says, “too many companies are mediocre.”  The segment went go on to feature Whole Foods – a company that has made the list every year since it was created in 1998 and Radio Flyer, the maker of the little red wagons.

It’s worth your time to watch this video.

I meet and talk to representatives of many, many firms every year. There are some who really work at employee engagement and many more where it’s still about chargeable time, realization and hitting deadlines.

By the way, accounting firm Plante Moran has made the list for 16 years. In 2014, they rank #23, up from #25 in 2013.

Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses up to $550 billion dollars per year. Gallup says that only 3 out of 10 employees are engaged.

I like the story in the video about the Radio Flyer wagon company.  They ask employees to live by the Little Red Rule: Every time we touch people’s lives they will feel great about Radio Flyer.

Their employees, called Flyers, have a good time (fun and games). But, the point is to make sure that nothing gets in the way of the business of fun and games.

So, think about your firm. Do your team members think the partners are greedy? (I have heard this mentioned numerous times among groups of CPA firm employees.)  Do your team member feel like they get enough recognition? Many simply want to hear the words “thank you” more often.

I have always thought that accounting firms really are great places to work. However, I think owners need to be more open and active in engaging their workforce and focusing on positives and downplaying the negatives.

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

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

CPA Firm Practice Management Newsletter

Newsletter pictureMy newsletter went out yesterday. Did you get your copy?

It’s official name is “Solutions For CPA Firm Leaders” but I’m rethinking that.

I like to call it CPA MAP Talk (with Rita Keller).

Why? Because my newsletter, this blog (every business day for almost 10 years), my business Facebook page (and some of my personal page), My Google+ posts, my tweets, my LinkedIn posts and the message in all my in-person presentations is all about MAP.

By the way, how are you doing with Managing an Accounting Practice?

I hear stories. Oh boy, do I hear stories!! Many of you are puzzled, confused, stressed, disgusted – yet… passionate, determined, ambitious and caring.

I hope you will sign-up for my newsletter and follow me on the other venues. I lived through what you are living through. Never a dull moment when you are dealing with MAP. Believe it or not, most of what you are experiencing (successes and challenges) haven’t changed that much over my many years working in the profession – that’s what makes me sad. Use all of these free resources to help you PUSH your firm forward.

Twitter – @cpamanagement

Facebook – business page

Facebook – I have lots of personal and business FRIENDS.

LinkedIn

Google+

Instagram (mostly for fun).

Also, check out my Flickr page. Click on Albums to find “Is That You With Rita?” Maybe you will see a picture of YOU.

 

As Margaret Mead said:

quote-never-believe-that-a-few-caring-people-can-t-change-the-world-for-indeed-that-s-all-who-ever-margaret-mead-125007

  • We all agree that your theory is crazy, but is it crazy enough?
  • Niels Bohr

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

DON’T MISS THIS DEADLINE

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On behalf of my friends at AICPA/PCPS, I urge you to take part in the National MAP Survey…..

Ready…set…GO, CPAs:  This is the final push to gain the most reliable benchmarking survey data; we need to reach as many Public Accounting Firms as possible.  If you want to compare your firm’s performance to other firms like yours, take a couple hours to complete the 2014 AICPA PCPS/TSCPA National MAP Survey which is closing August 15th

Use the personalized results to pinpoint what it will take for your firm to perform “above average” in the categories most important to you. The information gathered benefits the profession as well – please participate if you haven’t already and ask your peers to do the same. 

 

  • When you control the mail... you control information.
  • Newman, on Seinfeld

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Clear The Hurdles & Win the Race – Winning Is Everything Conference

In January, I will be speaking at the Winning Is Everything Conference in Las Vegas at the beautiful Aria hotel, January 28-30, 2015.

If you are working in the CPA profession, I’m sure (at least hoping) that you are familiar with this premier practice management conference.

Winning is Everything is not just for large firms and only managing partners. The conference welcomes knowledge leaders and forward-thinking professionals who are ready to learn from other attendees and knowledgeable speakers.  Attendees include managing partners, partners, CFOs, COOs, Firm Administrators, Marketing professionals and HR professionals from firms around the globe.

Meets and Events:  Check out the Agenda.

Clearing the Hurdles: Your Coaches (the speakers)

Enter the race: Register here

I like the 2015 theme: Clear The Hurdles… And Win The Race.

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  • Finishing races is important, but racing is more important.
  • Dale Earnhardt

Friday, June 27th, 2014

OSCPA Women’s Initiative Luncheon – Dayton, Ohio

I’m still getting some negative comments and reactions from men about women. Imagine that! Actually, I think that has been going on since the beginning of time and vice versa.

No matter where you are in life, it’s always the right time for more understanding involving the people who play a major role in your life. In the home and in the workplace.

Some men in the CPA profession react defensively about women’s initiatives. “Why do they need special treatment?” Some look at the discussions as “men bashing.” I find it all very interesting.

According to Pew research: Fathers have by no means caught up to mothers in terms of time spent caring for children and doing household chores, but there has been some gender convergence in the way they divide their time between work and home.

I have spoken at several state society women’s leadership events and have seen first-hand how experienced female CPAs can give extremely valuable feedback and advice to less experienced female CPAs who are trying to stay in the CPA profession and have an enriching family life. Keep in mind…. the CPA profession needs women. More women are graduating from college with accounting degrees than men. It’s about succession.

If you are anywhere near Dayton, Ohio, please join me and others for an event sponsored by the OSCPA Women’s Initiative Committee. 

The event will take place on July 23rd from 11:30 until 1:00 at Coco’s Bistro. The presenter will be Jennifer McClure, president, Unbridled Talent, LLC and she will lead a session on “Defining and Communicating your Personal Brand for Career Growth. YES, we would love to see some men attend.

Here’s where you can register. OSCPA members and non-members are encouraged to attend.

Women stats

  • Women speak two languages - - one of which is verbal.
  • William Shakespeare

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Ohio First State to Allow 10-Minute Incremental CPE For Accountants

I think you will find this press release from the Ohio Society of CPAs interesting.

Columbus, June 17, 2014

Ohio is leading the country in allowing continuing professional education in 10-minute increments. OSCPA President & CEO Scott D. Wiley, CAE announced the change today at OSCPA’s Leadership Summit and Annual Meeting in Columbus. The Accountancy Board of Ohio approved the change at the Friday, June 13 board meeting.

Maryland and other states are working on similar initiatives.

“We are proud of the collaborative relationship we have with the Accountancy Board of Ohio, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the AICPA which helped to drive this change,” Wiley said. “Ohio is fortunate to have such strong regulators who are also innovative thinkers.”

“We are excited to work with other state CPA societies to advance the future of learning,” Wiley added. 

Pending approval by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, CPAs will be able to take self-study CPE in blocks as short as 10 minutes and accrue it toward the 120-hour CPE requirement. OSCPA is already developing on-demand CPE in incremental blocks that CPAs can take when it is convenient to them. OSCPA’s on demand library is available online and via all mobile devices, enhancing the convenience.

Wiley also announced that OSCPA is the first state CPA society to participate in a national diversity and inclusion survey, with a goal of launching resources to help CPAs drive diversity and inclusion at their organizations.

  • I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.
  • Martha Graham

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Ronda Lawson, The Henry Levy Group, Named ACE Award Winner

IMG_3912Last night, at a fiesta evening on the lawn of the Sheraton Marina Hotel in beautiful San Diego, Ronda Lawson, AAAPM, was named to the prestigious list of Association for Accounting Administration ACE Award winners.

The annual award has been awarded to some of the most experienced and respected CPA firm administrators since its inception in 1989. ACE stands for Achievement, Commitment and Excellence.

Ronda is the Director of Operations for the Henry Levy Group in Oakland, California. She is a long-time member of the Association for Accounting Administration and an active supporter of the Northern California Chapter of AAA.

Ronda Lawson, is that you with Rita!  Congratulations and best wishes to such a deserving winner! Below is a group picture of former ACE Award Winners who were in attendance and welcomed Ronda to the club. Yes, a good time was had by all. (Special thanks to John Burke of Accounting & Consulting Group, for acting as my personal photographer.)

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  • It is amazing what you can accompish if you do not care who gets the credit.
  • Harry S. Truman

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Your Are Invited To Participate In The Rosenberg Survey

A year has rolled around again and it is time for you to take part in the Rosenberg Survey – The National MAP Survey of CPA Firm Statistics.  Information about the survey is below.  Here’s the link to take the 2014 Survey.

Rosenberg Information Sheet 2014

  • The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you.
  • Rita Mae Brown

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

CPA Consultants’ Alliance Newsletter

I hope you received your copy of the CPA Consultants’ Alliance newsletter. It was mailed today.

In case you don’t know, the CPA Consultants’ Alliance is a group of management consultants focused on the CPA profession. I am proud to be a founding member and benefit greatly from the knowledge and experience of my fellow members.  Check out the members here.

The May newsletter contains the following articles:

  • Communicate to Drive Change by Jennifer Wilson
  • Delegation Missteps by Sandra Wiley
  • The Role of The Firm Administrator by Rita Keller
  • Measuring Effort (Time) vs. Measuring Results by Dustin Hostetler

You can read the newsletter here. Be sure to sign-up to receive the newsletter in the future.

  • If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
  • John Quincy Adams

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

CPAs Spend A Lot Of Time On Email

While several studies are telling us that email is dying, I certainly don’t hear that from my CPA clients and contacts. I wrote more about the topic in my blog post of May 2nd titled, Controlling Your Email Box.

In the CPA profession it is almost a bragging contest at times….. “I had 100 emails today!” – - – “Oh, yeah, I had 250!”

That’s why an email from Laura Berthiaume, co-founder of EmailStopwatch caught my eye. She suggested that her product might be of interest to the many CPA profession readers who follow my blog.

Thanks to Laura for the following information – Here’s what it is all about:

How Email Stopwatch Works

  • Tracks all the time you spend in Outlook automatically and characterizes the time by the sender or receiver (does not work with other email service providers at this point – Hotmail, Gmail etc.)
  • Sends you a simple inbox report at the end of the day/week/month with the time
  • You can also generate an on-demand report in the online web app and include only certain dates or contacts
  • There’s no contact database to update, all the info is pulled right from Outlook
  • It will stop timing if there is no activity on your computer after an amount of time that you set
  • The firm owner(s) can see a report for all the team members
  • Email Stopwatch will stop timing if the window is minimized or closed

Why Email Stopwatch is Useful

  • Make more money - Accountants almost always undercharge for emails because they’re not sure of the accurate time they spent on them. This will allow accountants to confidently charge their hourly rate if they spent the time.
  • Removes one of the hassles from your day - No more going through Outlook at the end of the day to see where your day went.
  • Happier Employees - Makes one of the most painful parts of their day easier. Using better systems to keep your office running smoothly retains your employees.
  • More Productive Staff – Know what staff are doing in their inboxes and make your staff more productive and profitable.

Security of Email Stopwatch

  • Our data center is located at 151 Front Street. Canada’s premier telecommunications hub with 24x7x365 security, trusted by, and home to companies like: Bell, Rogers, Verizon, IBM, etc.
  • We use the latest Dell servers with the latest Cisco ASA next generation firewalls.
  • We follow the latest security policies & protocols and our web server security is configured, maintained & monitored by professional engineers 24/7
  • For email, our SMTP supports Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol which is certificate-based authentication and helps provide security-enhanced data transfers by using symmetric encryption keys.

The Start of Email Stopwatch

As for how we started, it was because of a software entrepreneurship course. My job was to find a problem in an industry that could be solved with software. I wanted to work with accountants because it was much easier to communicate the value of systems and software to them.

Initially I explored other industries, like caterers, but most didn’t understand the concept of “spend money to make money”. They would rather spend 5 hours doing something by hand then pay for a $10/month solution that would make it easier for them. Accountants were more practical and were willing to invest in solutions that made their firm easier to run.

I started by meeting with local accountants and learned a lot about their business, their struggles and their day to day. After about 2 months of talking to different firm owners, the idea came about after hearing how many were swamped with email in the last few years. Accountants, being the generous people they are, had a hard time charging for that time and were always undercharging because they couldn’t track the time properly. Eventually I worked with a few companies that helped me flesh out the idea and how it should work.

We launched in February 2014 and have been growing since. – - – Laura Berthiaume

 

 

 

  • Lost time is never found again.
  • Benjamin Franklin