Archive for the ‘Partner topics’ Category

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

When Women Win, CPA Firms Win

sageworks-squarelogo“Intelligent people can always come up with intelligent reasons…. to do nothing.” – Scott Simon

Save the date – Thursday, November 2, 2017 – 12:00-1:00pm.

Join me and your peers for a special webinar sponsored by SageWorks, titled: Women In Accounting: Thriving Now and Into The Future.

This is not a webinar just for women. Times have changed. Flexibility and work/life balance is a societal and generational issue. Families need flexibility.

Men in the CPA profession have a huge role in attracting and retaining talented female accountants. Yes, there is a lot for females to know and understand. The same goes for males. After all, in addition to female employees, many of your firm’s new clients are, and will be, female business owners.

Times have changed. Women in accounting, prepare yourself for the future!

Learn more here and get registered.

  • Companies used to be able to function with autocratic bosses. We don't live in that world anymore.
  • Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Never Happy

During CPA firm partner meetings and retreats, there is often one partner who is never happy with whatever new thing the firm is trying to implement. They seem to want to argue about almost everything.

Every idea is challenged and the person usually qualifies their comments with words like “I’m playing devil’s advocate….”

That is why this recent, brief blog post by Seth Godin hit home with me:

Oppositional

When someone is frequently naysaying a proposal or a situation, it’s tempting to figure out how to make them happy. What can you change to find a compromise, how can you listen to their objections and respond in a way to gain their approval?

It might be, though, that being oppositional is making them happy. It may be that the best way to satisfy their objections is to let them keep objecting.

  • Dig your well before you are thirsty.
  • Seth Godin

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Partner Accountability

“If you are building a culture where honest expectations are communicated and peer accountability is the norm, then the group will address poor performance and attitudes.” – Henry Cloud

I hear it discussed all the time. I also hear partners debate what accountability really means. Most seem to find it very difficult to define, thus accountability is not part of the partner group culture.

I often describe accountability as simply the act of asking questions. Did you make that follow-up call to Joe Prospect? Did you schedule lunch with that disgruntled client? Did you counsel Jill Newperson about CPE that would be appropriate for her?

When you have a lack of accountability there are consequences. In Aquila Advisors recent newsletter, August Aquila skillfully answers the question, “What is partner accountability?”

  • The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability.
  • Simon Mainwaring

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Are You An Authentic Leader?

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln

I have observed that many of the performance, human resources and leadership issues inside a CPA firm could be eliminated very easily if partners (owners) would simply do what they say they will do.

If you are an owner/leader of a firm, you need to be authentic.

Here’s what Seth Godin has to say about being authentic:

We call a brand or a person authentic when they’re consistent, when they act the same way whether or not someone is looking. Someone is authentic when their actions are in alignment with what they promise.

Showing up as a pro.

Keeping promises.

Even when you don’t feel like it.

Especially when you don’t.

 

  • I define authenticity as 'consistent emotional labor.'
  • Seth Godin

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Afraid

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

Accountants are going to be replaced by robots. That’s not a fact.

13Some or even many of the things that accountant do now will be computerized (or robotized, as it is sometimes referred to now). That probably is a fact.

Don’t be afraid of the changes to come. Embrace them.

Yes, I am old enough to remember “the old days.” Certified Public Accountants used:

  • 13-column columnar pads
  • Lead pencils
  • Mechanical pencils (an expensive one, you bought yourself was a status symbol)
  • Lots of lead and eraser replacements for those mechanical pencils
  • Large pink erasers
  • Adding machine tape
  • Staples
  • Staple pullers
  • Paper
  • White-out
  • Desk top and handheld calculators
  • Green-bar paper for the one printer in the office

Accountants embraced computers – moving from the single-operator mainframe type to the PC (introduced over 35 years ago).

They embraced software – Lotus 1-2-3 and later the Microsoft suite. Tax software (and all the other extensive list of softwares used by accountants), replaced much of the manual work. Yes, accountants changed how they worked and what they used to get the work accomplished. They no longer filled-out manual time sheets.

CPAs had to hire people with the appropriate technology skills, different kinds of people. Someone who could only prepare a tax return by hand or complete accounting work on a columnar pad was no longer needed.

Now, CPAs are facing another, more-rapid change into an expanded world of technology. You will need to hire different kind of people and current employees will have to learn new skills.

It’s been done before. Don’t be afraid.

  • Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
  • Marie Curie

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Understanding Blockchain

“Blockchain is the foundational technology of transactions.” – Karim R. Lakhani

You have been reading about it, hearing about it and probably wondering about it.

I continue to be curious about blockchain and want to know more. If you want to know more and to understand it better, here is a great video to watch:

HBR Whiteboard Session: How Does Blockchain Work? The session is conducted by Karim R. Lakhani, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. He makes it understandable!

I found it very interesting and valuable. It’s nine minutes long and gives you five points to help you understand how blockchains work. Time well spent for you as a CPA.

 

  • Transactions were always private. Now, we are going to make them open and public.
  • Karim R. Lakhani

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Some Are Still Buying Servers

“The great myth of our times is that technology is communication.” – Libby Larsen

It is very difficult to convince some CPA firm partners that they need to move their technology to the Cloud. They feel very strongly about maintaining client data inside their firm. Often, they get that information from their one internal technology person. Having all your firm’s technology knowledge invested in one person is risky.

I urge you to read a recent article by Roy Keely of Xcentric – The Last Server You Will Buy. 

Thousands of CPA firms have already bought their last server. Keely predicts that for some, the last server they are going to buy will be in 2020 and those will be the absolute laggards.

Why quit buying servers?

  • The world has changed
  • You can’t find a capable person to manage it.
  • IT people will choose something else
  • Security
  • It adds zero value to your business to do it in-house (and waste valuable partner time determining purchase decisions, hiring/firing IT people, etc.)

Be sure to read more about each bullet point and think about when you will buy your last server.

  • Common sense and nature will do a lot to make the pilgrimage of life not too difficult.
  • W. Somerset Maugham

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Partner Development Program

“As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.” – Albert Einstein

What’s it take to be an effective, successful CPA firm partner? This question is often undefined inside many firms, it’s a mystery!

I believe each firm should have a well-documented partner-in-training program that they adhere to inside the firm. Part of that program should be an outside leadership or partner development program. Current partners also need some outside training and inspiration. Invest in your success!

The Growth Partnership offers an exceptional partner training program, The Partner Institute. Registration for the 2018 class is now open. It is an extensive 3-year program. The curriculum includes five categories of development.

  1. Leadership
  2. Productivity
  3. Communication
  4. Practice Development
  5. Practice Management

Who in your firm needs to attend?

  • If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.
  • Margaret Fuller

Monday, September 25th, 2017

Received My Copy! – The Rosenberg Survey

“There is strength in numbers, but organizing those numbers is one of the great challenges.” – John C. Mather

Have you ordered yours? Order it here.

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It is loaded with helpful and interesting statistics plus observations from top CPA profession consultants.

 

 

 

  • If you have a dream, you can spend a lifetime studying, planning, and getting ready for it. What you should be doing is getting started.
  • Drew Houston

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Disruption, Future-Ready and All That Jazz

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy

I enjoyed a recent post by Gail Perry, Editor-in-Chief of CPA Practice Advisor, titled, CPA Tomorrowland.

Gail talks about the word disruption and how often it is included in CPA conversations. As she notes, it is not disruption in small letters, it is DISRUPTION in capital letters and it is happening SO fast. Changing FAST is not something most CPAs are not used to.

  • A McKinsey study suggests that 49% of work currently being done by accountants is likely to be automated.
  • Accenture reports that 21% of organizations have blockchain in production and that 40% of basic accounting work will be automated or eliminated by 2020 – in 3 years!
  • The AICPA and state society leaders are pushing members to quickly move from personally doing compliance work (let AI and bots do that) and evolve into business consultants.

What makes all of this very interesting and puzzling to me is the fact that so many consultants, media and profession leaders are strongly advising that the older CPAs need to get out of the way because they are not suited for this new world of CPA-ing.

In my work consulting work with firms, I have observed that automation has been increasing inside firms for years. Sure, there might be a bigger and quicker leap in the coming years but most well-managed practices with savvy (and usually mature) leadership will make that leap.

Successful, older CPAs do not love grinding out compliance work. In fact, many older CPAs (partners), don’t even know how to use the elaborate software and automated systems the firm has now.

I have observed that in multiple partner firms, the more experienced CPAs (older) are the ones ALREADY consulting with clients. The next generation (managers and “next” partners) have been groomed to be production units. They don’t network, they don’t bring in business, they don’t go to management conferences or keep on top of current trends – they are too busy grinding.

I recently asked a CPA how many of their eight partners were already spending the majority of their time consulting. The answer was two! The others have become complacent and comfortable doing compliance work.

Before you push your older, more experienced partners out the door, identify which ones are already consultants. Be sure they are working very hard at training younger partners and next leaders on how to really consult with, and advise, clients. They need to develop the skills necessary to help their clients become more profitable and successful.

We want retiring partners to transition the client relationships. It is a whole lot more than getting the client to call Joe Young rather than Bob Old, when they have a problem.

As for the automation part, here’s what Nick Chandi notes in his article on Forbes – How AI Is Reshaping The Accounting Industry: “..since accounting professionals will still remain as the final approvers of all the tasks performed by the AI, they will keep control of any sensitive information they want. As long as they have everything backed up to the cloud, they are good to go.”

CPAs are going through some very exciting times. The CPA profession is interesting and challenging and unlike many outside the profession believe, it is never, ever boring.

  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • Robert C. Gallagher