Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Monday, February 24th, 2014

AICPA PCPS HR Forum – Key West

I made my first trip to Key West last week. It was hot and humid. Quite a change from the often sub-zero of Ohio this winter.

The AICPA HR Forum attracted an amazing group this year. The purpose is to gather a small group of HR Directors, Learning Directors, COOs and some partners that are focused on the human resource area of their firm.

We had 31 (just the right size for networking and getting to know each other) people in attendance. The largest firm represented has 7,000 people and the smallest has 8. Guess what? Many of the same challenges, issues and frustrations.  While there are challenges, these firms are focused on making their firms a place where people will want to stay and build their career in public accounting.

Thanks to PCPS for allowing me to be a part of this for the third consecutive year. Most of us attended the group dinner on Thursday evening and then enjoyed a stroll on Duval Street.

HR Forum1 HR Forum3 HR Forum2

  • I drink to make other people more interesting.
  • Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Enhancing Diversity In The Accounting Profession

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.
  • Gandhi

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Employee Engagement: A Leadership Priority

It’s time to get registered for a CPA Consultants’ Alliance Webinar that is part of our current speaker series.

On January 23, 2014, Mary Bennett of M. L. Bennett Consulting and I will be co-presenting a webinar about the importance of employee engagement and how your firm can learn more and take positive steps to build an engaged workforce. Here’s a link to Mary’s website. She is a member of the AICPA National Commission On Diversity and Inclusion and has chaired the AICPA Women’s Initiative Committee for several years. I am so honored to be co-presenting with Mary.

Here’s the information and a link to where you can register:

Join members of the CPACA Rita Keller, AAAPM of Keller Advisors and Mary Bennett of MLBennett Consulting, LLP on Thursday, January 23, 2014, from 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. (eastern) for insights and best practices to help firms build a culture of employee engagement in a web seminar entitled, “Employee Engagement: A Leadership Priority”.

Today, employee engagement and loyalty are more vital than ever before to a firm’s success and competitive advantage.  During this session, we will explore the factors surrounding engagement plus importance of pulling all leaders and future leaders into the fabric of the organization at a deeper level through engagement.  You will learn what engagement means and why it’s critical that leaders invest energy and resources in deepening the engagement within their firm.  In addition, you will gain important insights on the following ideas to build a culture of engagement, including how to:

  • Improve communication at all levels of your firm with transparency and feedback mechanisms
  • Include young professionals in the leadership and strategy of the firm so they feel like they are part of a bigger cause that can fuel their passion
  • Engage next generation leaders earlier in their careers to prepare them to take ownership as they progress throughout their career
  • Expand on-the-job engagement through increased participation of the partners and emerging leaders to develop essential leadership and management skills

Leave this session with at least one action you can take to create or further an engaging culture in your firm!

Register here.

  • Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.
  • Malcolm Forbes

Friday, December 27th, 2013

December Newsletter – CPA Firm Practice Management

Dec NL KellerSome of you might have noticed. I missed sending my November practice management newsletter. I’m usually really good about hitting my deadlines, however, I struggled during November.

Much like you, I was focusing on client engagements. I sure enjoyed my November travels – - Langhorne, PA, a full week in southern California (Orange County), a few days in Minnesota and a couple days in Georgia.

I’m back on track for December and my newsletter went out earlier this week. If you are not on my newsletter list, you can sign-up here.

If you just want to see the December issue, you can view it here.

Articles:

  • Phone Calls – New Thoughts For An Old Problem
  • Too Busy! – - Oh, Yeah? Are You Addicted To Busyness?
  • Rita Is Thinking GRAND Thoughts for 2014
  • It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
  • Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

IT Insights From Roman Kepczyk

romanThere are a great many benefits to being a member of The Association For Accounting Administration, one of which is access to Roman Kepczyk.

I met Roman over 25 years ago when he was Roman Kepczyk, CPA and the firm administrator of a firm in Arizona. Now he is Director of Consulting for Xcentric.  I notice from his latest signature that he is now Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA, CITP, LSS BB, AAAPM, holy cow!

Roman provided an article for the latest issue of the AAA newsletter – Insights, titled What to Watch in 2014.

Here are some highlights. There is more in the full article – Read the full article here.

Windows XP to 8? – Nope (see details in the full article)

Hosted Exchange: If it is time for your Exchange Server’s renewal, you might compare the cost to hosted Exchange.

Tax Scan to Form: The quality of the products that import scanned data into the tax return improved significantly this past year and are becoming standard applications in firms.

Tax Workflow Key: Integrated workflow products make firms more effective and there are a few that have an early lead with challengers coming in close behind.

Audit Suites Emerge: Both CCH and Thomson have viable audit tools that integrate the document container and work paper program/approach instead of the “best of breed” approach. Watch for highly publicized defections on both sides to determine if a single suite solution is best for your firm.

QBO and Xero Battle: QuickBooks Online will make a strong play in responding to Xero’s online accounting offering by sincerely working with accounting firms and maybe giving us a break on licensing. While QB owns the desktop accounting environment, they will have to do a major reselling effort of QB Online to keep CPA firm interested, while they retool their web version to be truly competitive.

BYOD opens Security Concerns: Bring Your Own Device is already happening in firms so it is imperative that policies are updated, training is provided and the firm should consider implementing a Mobile Device Management application.

Independent Security Review: CPA firms have a fiduciary duty to protect the information they have been entrusted with and many are easy targets for cyber theft. Work with an external IT resource to review the firm’s security infrastructure!

Post Office Acquired by Amazon: (Just wanted to see if you really read this far.) While the delivery drones are a publicity stunt for the near term, the face of retail could change dramatically to a 24 hour delivery window if Amazon pays the post office to deliver on Sundays. What could this do to the expectations of our clients?

Thank-you Roman and AAA for giving us all a heads-up on what to watch for in 2014.

  • We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
  • Carl Sagan

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Tech Companies Seem To Dominate The Best Place To Work Lists – How Is Your CPA Firm Doing?

We see the various best place to work lists on an on-going basis. There are many.

This week, Glassdoor released its “Employee Choice Awards.” One thing different about this list is that it is not one of the many where the company self-nominates itself.

The rankings was determined by taking cumulative average ratings from the half-million employees who responded to the 18-question survey between Nov. 14, 2012 and Nov. 12, 2013. The survey asks employees to rate their satisfaction with their company overall and key workplace factors, such as career opportunities, compensation and benefits, work-life balance, senior management, culture and values. You can read all about it here on the Forbes site.

What I want to stress to CPA firm leaders is the fact that what employees like and want (The 6 Secrets of America’s Happiest Places on Fast Company) goes well beyond the “warm and fuzzy” stuff (great food, personal trainers, work-out rooms, and other perks).

Glassdoor, after analyzing the data found a handful of themes among the most beloved companies:

  1. Mission: a sense of purpose in coming into work
  2. Collegiality: working with awesome people
  3. Challenging work: being stimulated by the work to be done
  4. Meaningful advancement: the promise of growth
  5. Confidence in senior leaders: a sense of trust–and transparency–with management
  6. Perks: good pay, free food, a beer cart or two

Do your CPA firm employees feel included in the partners’ purpose? Do they even know what it is? How about awesome people? – People leave people (partners & managers) not firms/companies. Do they get a “promise of growth” so that they can advance their own career?

You might want to see if your CPA firm is reviewed by employees or former employees on Glassdoor. I realize that the people who write these reviews are usually the very unhappy ones – too bad your happy employees don’t weigh-in more.

  • Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
  • Dalai Lama

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

CPA Consultants’ Alliance

Many of you already know about the CPACA. To some of you this might be your first time to hear about it.

The CPA Consultants’ Alliance is a working group of thought leaders united in their efforts to further leadership within the CPA profession. Through collaboration, we offer deliverables and solutions CPA firms can use to advance leadership in their firm.

Our twelve current members are pleased to announce the addition of two new, outstanding, high-profile, experienced consultants to our membership roster.

Welcome, Roman Kepczyk of Xcentric and Rick Solomon of Ran OneWe are so proud of our great team!

Roman-main

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  • The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.
  • Phil Jackson

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Succession Planning & Partner Retirement – Is Your Firm Ready?

Here’s some information from the Ohio Chapter of AAA:

gary-adamson-598x747Gary Adamson of Adamson Advisory will be speaking on Succession Planning & Partner Retirement at the November meeting of the Ohio Chapter of The Association For Accounting Administration on November 21, 2013 at the offices of the Ohio Society of CPAs.

His presentation explores the ticking time bomb that most firms are facing – partner succession. Gary looks at best practices and the latest information from the PCPS 2012 Succession Planning Survey: the latest trends in the profession surrounding partner retirements; what firms are paying to their retiring partners and how they structure it and how it is allocated among partners, the payout terms, client transition expectations, the concept of mandatory retirement, post retirement employment and the latest trends in partner agreements. You will learn how your firm compares and what adjustments you may want to implement.

About Adamson:

Gary Adamson is the CEO of Adamson Advisory, a CPA practice management consulting firm specializing in partner succession and retirement strategies, M&A, practice structure and management, and cohesive partner teams. He helps CPA firms and their managing partners to:

  • Build succession plans for the firm
  • Create breakthrough annual retreats and planning sessions
  • Implement the changes necessary to move rapidly through growth plateaus
  • Break your objectives down into achievable goals to move you from Point A to Point B.

As an experienced retreat and strategic planning facilitator, merger and acquisition negotiator and partner performance coach, Adamson brings over 20 years of experience as managing partner of a top 200 accounting firm.

Register here.

 

  • Retirement is not in my vocabulary. They aren't going to get rid of me that way.
  • Betty White

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Trends In Accounting Firm Marketing

IMG_2681_2Eric Majchrzak is the Chief Marketing Officer for BeachFleischman CPAs, one of Arizona’s largest locally-owned CPA firms and a Top 200 largest accounting firm in the U.S.

I have been a huge fan of Eric’s for several years and appreciate all of the sharing he does to help me, and others, understand and stay on top of current trends in marketing CPA firms.

In a recent interview on Accounting Today TV, Senior Editor Danielle Lee asked Eric about the biggest challenges and the biggest opportunities accounting firm marketers are facing.

One definite challenge is the fact that accounting firms are selling something that people do not want – tax returns and financial statements. Who has ever heard a client say, “I just love getting audited!” or “What a thrill to get my taxes done!”.

Eric explains it as the challenge of marketing commodity services and the role of the marketer involves helping the firm identify and offer specialty services like sustainability, Green and specialty taxes.

Another challenge for marketers is dealing with the multiple “masters” inside professional service firms. They must learn to deal with varying personalities and multiple decision-makers.

When it comes to opportunities, CPA firm marketers must become more proactive rather reactive. Help the CPAs with strategic planning, brand platform and pricing options, just to name a few.

Over 50% of people in the US have a smart phone and marketers must find a way to be relevant with content that is short but sweet when dealing with the complex issues that CPAs can solve for clients.

Take a few minutes to watch and listen to the full interview.

  • Marketing is too important to be left just to the marketing department.
  • Philip Almond, marketing director, Diageo

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Xero – Beautiful accounting software

Jamie“Beautiful accounting software” is the tagline you see when you first hit the Xero website. It certainly has a nice sound to it.

I have written about Xero a few times before in my efforts to keep CPAs in public practice informed of current trends. Xero has sure gained ground over the last 18 months and I continually hear really good things from practitioners across the country.

I heard directly from Jamie Sutherland, President, Xero U.S., last Friday about the good news you might have seen in lots of other CPA media releases. Xero has raised another $150 million to accelerate their growth plans.

Here’s what is going on:

  • Twenty-five of Accounting Today’s Top 100 Firms are moving clients to Xero.
  • They now have over 100 people in the US with offices in Denver, New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • They just released a Quickbooks Conversion service to help small businesses and accountants convert their files.
  • They are days away from releasing game-changing drag & drop document storage capability in Xero which will be called Files.
  • They are on track for the release of US payroll in early December just in time for peak season. Seamless payroll right inside the Xero app.
  • Lastly, they are on the road during October & November to meet with forward-thinking accountants and industry experts to share the news.  www.xero.com/roadshow

I always suggest to you (and I got it from Tom Peters) is what we believed in when I was working inside a successful, growing firm – -  W T T M S W (whoever tries the most stuff wins).

 

  • If a window of opportunity appears, don't pull down the shade.
  • Tom Peters