Archive for the ‘Partner topics’ Category

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Enable Your Firm To Grow

Katie“Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.” – Bruce Lee

I enjoyed attending the CPAFMA Ohio Chapter meeting last week in Columbus. Katie Tolin of CPA Growth Guides enlightened the attendees about the importance of product development, something missing from most CPA firms.

Here are some bullet points from Tolin’s remarks. I hope you find them very thought-provoking!

  • For a CPA firm to grow, they need 3 things: marketing, business development, and product management.
  • In most firms, product management is missing – you need all three.
  • Accounting is a mature profession and compliance work has hit its peak.
  • We are in a sea of sameness. Starbucks elevated the cup of coffee. How have we changed the tax return? About the only thing is e-filing, now everyone does it.
  • Technology is speeding things up and that kills billing by the hour.
  • We have mature products and a mature industry, how do we innovate? It can’t only be about new products (services), we need to innovate things we already do.
  • You must always challenge the status quo. Make it part of your culture.
  • Employees need to be empowered to please clients. You need two things, happy clients and happy employees.
  • Katie Tolin

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Don’t Discount Older Workers

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” – Aldous Huxley

This is a reprint of an article I received and was given permission to use. I think it is important. Accounting firms are always looking for talented people but most hesitate to even consider an older person.

3 Reasons Why Hiring Older Employees Is A Smart Decision

In the 2015 movie The Intern, Robert DeNiro starred as a 70-year-old widower who returns to the workforce as an under-appreciated and seemingly out-of-step intern working for a young boss played by Anne Hathaway.

Initially, Hathaway’s character can’t quite relate to this baby boomer who ditched retirement out of boredom, but by the film’s finale, she comes to appreciate his skills and experience.

In real life, you’re unlikely to encounter many septuagenarian interns, but it’s not unusual for people to re-enter the labor market or launch new careers when they are well into what was once considered retirement age.

And that can be good for businesses that are willing to take advantage of all those decades of hard-earned experience, says Andrew Simon, a partner in Simon Associate Management Consultants (www.simonassociates.net) who himself is in his 70s.

“Starting a new career after 60 is not for everyone,” Simon says. “But it can be rewarding for those with energy and commitment levels that are high, and who are willing to learn new skills and keep up with the constantly evolving technology.”

The question is whether businesses will balk at hiring workers who, in many cases, are old enough to be the parents of the people supervising them. Sure there are downsides, Simon says, but the upsides can be tremendous when it’s the right fit for the right person.

He says a few things businesses should keep in mind as they weigh whether to hire older workers include:

  • Experience counts. Baby boomers come to the table with a whole set of experiences, including 30 or 40 years of interpersonal people skills that make them more adept at dealing with unique situations or different types of people. “On the flip side,” Simon says, “some of them could lack the technical skills that we take for granted in today’s workforce. So, be careful what you are asking them to do.”
  • Self-motivation. The odds are older employees will be self-motivated. “If these potential workers would like to join an organization or start a new career after 60, they probably like the idea of work,” Simon says. “They need to do something every day. Perhaps they view their job as intellectually stimulating.” You do need to make sure of their motivation, though, he says. If they’re just working for a paycheck, that might not cut it.
  • Different age groups have their own behaviors. Baby boomers often have a very different set of values than millennials. “Different things motivate them,” Simon says. “The culture of an organization is very important and can be tricky. You want to make sure these older workers have an opportunity to thrive in your new environment.” While it’s best to avoid stereotyping the generations too much, in general, baby boomers tend to be productive, loyal to the company, willing to put in long hours to get the job done and prefer to have conversations in person.

“Companies that pass on hiring older workers risk missing out on people who could become some of their most valuable employees,” Simon says. “Age shouldn’t be the issue. Instead, as with any hire, the issue is what skills and experiences each of these people can bring to the workforce.”

About Andrew Simon

Andrew Simon, a partner in Simon Associate Management Consultants (www.simonassociates.net), has had a 50-year career as a senior executive. He founded and ran Questar Assessment Inc., the fifth largest K-12 summative assessment company in the U.S. As a serial entrepreneur, Simon also developed and ran businesses in real estate development and did start-ups inside larger corporations, such as Citibank, Bankers Trust, Norcliff-Thayer and Lederle Labs. Earlier in his career, he was part of a team that launched L’Oréal into the consumer products arena. Simon also is a trained and certified Innovation Games® facilitator and has conducted more than 50 client engagements using Innovation Games methods.

 

 

  • I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.
  • Francis Bacon

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Different – Bold – Fast!

Lisa Simpson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” – Mario Andretti

Thank-you to Lisa Simpson, Associate Director – Firm Services AICPA for posting this picture from the AICPA Digital CPA Conference back in December.

If there is any other advice for CPA practitioners right now, it pales in comparison to these three statements.

Many of my clients are smaller firms. I think “Move fast” especially applies to them.

That doesn’t let the larger firms off the hook. My larger, multi-partner firms need to also take these three statements to heart.

I see “Think different” happening in many firms right now. But, being bold and moving quickly are lagging behind.

Adopt these three statements as your firm’s internal motto, a motto that will take your firm into the future. Make posters and put them up around the office. Make a screensaver using these three. Discuss the three statements at each partner meeting.

Most importantly, ask your team members:

  • Are we thinking differently enough?
  • Are we making bold decisions and taking bold steps?
  • How can you help us move faster?
  • Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.
  • Mark Zukerberg

Monday, February 5th, 2018

There is No One to Replace You

“Leadership Tip: Develop leaders or your vision will die when you die.” – Dan Rockwell

On my mind today. CPA partners have been saying it for several years now, “There’s no one to replace me.”

When I hear it I cringe. When I hear it, I usually ask, “Whose fault is that?”

Have you really been that deficient in training and mentoring your employees? Or, are you telling yourself that there is no one qualified to replace you because you are going to merge up, get your pay-out and don’t want to feel guilty about disappointing some key employees?

  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
  • Will Durant

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Reading For Workaholic Partners

“I’ve heard that hard work never killed anyone, but I say why take the chance?” – Ronald Reagan

Yesterday, I read an article via Harvard Business Review that certainly made me think of many of you (partners in CPA firms around the country).

I personally know many who work WAY TO MANY hours. I know just a few partners who actually work too few productive hours, meaning they work a significant number of total hours but not nearly enough hours that are productive (or billable).

The article is titled, If You’re So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours a Week? The author is Laura Empson, a professor in the Management of Professional Service Firms at Cass Business School, University of London, and Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Law School.

If you are not a partner you will probably enjoy the article more than the partners.

  • Either you run the day or the day runs you.
  • Jim Rohn

Monday, January 29th, 2018

Top Five Business Challenges

“What you are tomorrow begins with what you do today.” – Tim Fargo

Hinge Research Institute recently surveyed 801 professional services firms of varying sizes and was able to determine the top five business challenges facing these firms.

  1. Attracting & Developing New Business – 75% of respondents cited this as their top challenge.
  2. Finding & Keeping Good People – As boomers retire, it’s increasingly urgent for firms to secure strong talent.
  3. Leadership & Internal Change Issues – You need high visibility experts.
  4. Technology Issues – Technology can be a challenge and an opportunity.
  5. Commoditization of Services – What sets your firm apart from competitors offering similar solutions and great service?

Read the entire article. Do these apply to you? How are you addressing your own top business challenges? Rapid change in the profession makes procrastination very dangerous.

Check out some of the Guides offered by Hinge.

Tomorrow, I will give you my insights about No. 1 – Attracting & Developing New Business.

  • Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.
  • Sam Ewing

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Your Firm Budget For 2018

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” — Warren Buffett,

The AICPA Roundtable 2018 is happening this week in New York City. You can follow the comments on Twitter #AICPAroundtable2018.

Just one comment from yesterday that I think is important to you: 75% of accountants will increase technology spend in 2018

Did you significantly increase your tech budget for 2018?

  • A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.
  • Dave Ramsey

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Four Important Questions

rob-nixon-blogprofile2copy“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett

Today, I want you to read an insightful and empowering post by Rob Nixon, founder of Panalitix, titled The 4 Most Important Questions to Ask

Here’s an excerpt to lead you in….

Let’s park the issues and reasons why you should not be a time selling business and focus on the intellectual capital business. That’s what you really sell so let’s focus on that.

 

  • Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
  • Helen Keller

Friday, December 29th, 2017

Next Year

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

How many times have you said those two words, “next year”?

Maybe to your kids, “You’ll be old enough to do that next year.”

Maybe to your spouse, “Honey, we’ll take that special vacation trip next year.”

Maybe to yourself, “I’m going to lose 25 pounds next year!”

How about inside your firm?

“We will work on it and become COMPLETELY paperless next year.”

“We can’t do it this year, but next year we will out-place those five clients that drive our staff nuts.”

“We promise to be more timely with our feedback process next year.”

“We will add a few more employee benefits next year.”

“We have to update our website next year.”

“We will look into all this new digital stuff like blockchain and artificial intelligence, next year.”

“I’ll pass the CPA exam next year.”

For all these “next years” relating to your firm: Monday is NEXT YEAR.

For NOW – have a happy and safe New Years’ weekend!

  • It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises.
  • Chief Joseph

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

The Different Lives of Managing Partners

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” – Muhammad Ali

In his December blog post, Gary Adamson (Adamson Advisory), a former managing partner himself, talks about the different lives a managing partner lives. 

The inside the firm life.

The outside life, representing the firm in the business community.

And, of course, their personal life.

If you are a CPA firm partner, are you living all of these lives, too? You probably act differently in your role as partner inside the firm than you do at home with your family.

What I observe is that while the MP must represent the firm outside – being involved in  civic and charitable organizations, some of the other partners don’t quite live up to that “outside” role.

Young people just building your career in public accounting, start living that outside-the-firm life now.

Take a minute to read Adamson’s blog post.

  • The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
  • Oscar Wilde