Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Being Positive Can Be a Boost To Your Health

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

It’s that time of year inside busy accounting firms. Everyone is focused and working very hard. Some are also working long hours and even the best clients sometimes cause frustration, not to mention the frustrations emitting from your co-workers and bosses.

Let it go! Be a positive person, in thought and deed.

I have always been an optimist and a positive thinker. I never think that things can go wrong or that something terrible will happen. Of course, there are times when things do go wrong and terrible things happen! But, you simply deal with it and move on with life. I know, it sounds easy but it’s not!

Helen Sanders, chief editor at Health Ambition has written a very helpful article to put you in a positive mood and understand the benefits – 9 Positive Thinking Tips: the Power of Positivity On Your Health. 

Every time you find yourself in a new situation, what are your first thoughts?

  • Are you the kind of person that thinks, “Oh God, this is horrible!”
  • Are you the kind of person that thinks, “Awesome, something new!”

Honestly, in my consulting work with accountants over many years, I see more of the first type of person!

Let’s say you’ve just found yourself stuck at the office on a Saturday, doing extra paperwork:

  • A negative person will grumble about their boss having it out for them, and how they always get stuck with the bad job.
  • A positive person will just get the work done because it’s “something that has to be done, and I’m the one doing it”.

I would like to see you fall into the second category in this scenario. Set a good example. Positive people can make a real difference in your firm!

Read her article and you will learn about the physical symptoms of negativity and also the benefits of positive thinking.

  • If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.
  • Zig Ziglar

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Innovate

“Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.” – Victor Pinchuk

I have often written about the need for CPA firm leaders to be more innovative and creative. So many firm leaders are very happy with just following the pack. Their continuing question is, “What are other firms doing?”.

Forget what other firms are doing and work on developing a culture of innovation inside your firm. If you want your firm to grow you must be able to educate your market on your unique approach to public accounting. To the outside world, all CPA firms look alike!

I recently read an article by Jeffrey Gitomer titled, “Still trying to think outside the box? What are you thinking?”

The article is about an artist who wants to create a communication program using art and imagery. It is an interesting concept and I especially like steps he outlines for a creative session. I think they could definitely be used in an accounting firm.

  • It's impossible to explain creativity. It's like asking a bird, 'How do you fly?' You just do.
  • Eric Jerome Dickey

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Make Background Checks Part of the Hiring Process

“People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” – Jim Collins

You are working in the CPA profession. You are honest, trustworthy and dependable. You sometimes take it for granted that everyone in the profession or entering the profession is the same.

That’s why so many CPA firms make a background check a routine part of the hiring process. I have observed that CPA firms use a variety of vendors and there are a lot of reputable ones out there.

Here’s a good article about hiring nightmares from Sharlyn Lauby – HR Bartender.

If you need some information about background checking companies to use, contact the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA).

  • Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can't tell you whether someone will fit into a company's culture.
  • Howard Schulz

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

What Recruiters Are Seeing

“Human Resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business.” – Steve Wynn, Wynn Las Vegas

I follow Sharlyn Lauby (@hrbartender). She covers HR topics, of course, but she also writes about general workplace topics.

Sharlyn recently was facilitating a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) seminar and discovered that recruiters wanted to vent. Imagine that! They are frustrated because candidates are not prepared for an interview.

Here are just a few things on their list of things they want to see from candidates. If you are recruiting people for your CPA firm, maybe you can relate to these.

  • Cover letters are not dead. They can serve a purpose.
  • Research the company (firm) – know something about them before you arrive. Simply visit their website.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Be prepared to talk about your future.
  • Ask questions.

Read the entire article here.

  • Time spent on hiring is time well spent.
  • Robert Half

Friday, January 5th, 2018

Attention Bookkeepers!

“If you’re a bookkeeper, it’s time to embrace evolution.” – Mary Ellen Biery

I would guess that almost every CPA firm has provided bookkeeping services. It has become quite in vogue now. They are calling it CAS (Client Accounting Services). It is needed and it has become very lucrative due to technology.

In the “old days” – not that many years ago, we called it write-up and in some firms it was regarded as low-level, non-profitable work. All that has changed. In CPA firms you don’t even call them bookkeepers (or paraprofessionals) any longer (that title always amazed me…. not quite professional?). They are called Client Accounting Specialists or some other unique title.

Something that also needs to change is how bookkeepers might think of themselves. They are no longer just bookkeepers – they are business consultants. They really know what is going on inside the client’s business and can take action to help business owners.

Check out this important article via Accounting Today – The evolution and changing role of bookkeepers.  Share it with your Client Accounting Specialists.

  • There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.
  • Aldous Huxley

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Time

If time is flying, you are likely doing a good thing.” – Alan Burdick, author of Why Time Flies

Time is an over-whelming part of CPA firm culture. Sometimes we place way too much importance on it and sometimes we waste it. No matter what, whether you are value pricing or billing by the hour – someone above you in the office food chain, one of your peers or a subordinate will be asking… “How long did it take you to do that?”

Even more important is your personal time. Do you treasure it, save it or waste it?

People who are more engaged, interested, having fun and immersed in what they are doing will say, “Wow, time sure flew.”

I leave you with this:

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” – Henry David Thoreau

  • There are no secrets that time does not reveal.
  • Jean Racine

Monday, December 18th, 2017

Frustrated With The Annual Performance Review?

“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.” – Tom Peters

I am so pleased to be part of the lead article for the December issue of the Journal of Accountancy. The article is by Anna Reitman.

It is titled: Want to jettison the annual performance review? – Here’s how some organizations are making the change.

As I have often stated, in many CPA firms, the reviewers and those being reviewed have come to dread the annual ordeal. This article examines changes that firms have made, the pitfalls they have encountered, and the results of their efforts.

I hope you find it helpful if your firm is considering making a change. Contact me if you need help.

 

  • I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.
  • Elon Musk

Monday, December 11th, 2017

I’m On My Reading Soapbox Again

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

A suggestion from Seth Godin, instead of having 20 valuable employees spend an hour in a meeting that’s only vaguely related to their productive output, why not have them spend one hour reading?

That suggestion made me think about some things you can do at your CPA firm.

Rather than having a “lunch & learn” that about half of your employees dread, why not have a “read & learn”?

One of my clients is having their management group read a chapter a week in a selected popular business/leadership book and then discuss it briefly at their weekly management meeting.

Another client is establishing a leadership/management library by collecting (and buying) well-known business books and asking the leadership group to read one per quarter.

I also believe you can learn a lot from and be inspired by simply reading novels.

Thinking about the goals you will set for 2018? Commit to reading at least 12 books.

Wondering what should be on your team’s reading list? Here’s a list of twenty books. 

  • I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns one on, I go into the other room and read a book.
  • Groucho Marx

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Linchpin or Hurdle

Linchpin jpegA few years ago, I read one of Seth Godin’s books that really hit home with me. since then I have talked about it often during my presentations to CPA groups around the country. The reason being, I see two types of people working in accounting firms at opposite ends of the spectrum.

On the leading end are the Linchpins. On the opposite, following along, dragging their feet, are the Hurdles.

The book is titled Linchpin. Here is an excerpt of a review of the book written by Chris Bailey in 2013:

Occasionally a book comes along that completely changes the way you work. For me, a couple of years ago, that book was Linchpin by Seth Godin. I’d wager a bet that it will shake your work up too.

Linchpin is a book about how to “become indispensable”. In the book, Godin makes a distinction between what he calls “factory workers”, workers who mostly follow instructions, and “linchpins”. A linchpin is an employee who doesn’t need a rule book, and delights others because that’s what they love to do. Every day a linchpin creates art, which Godin defines as “the intentional act of using your humanity to create a change in another person”, and they overcome big mental hurdles (like fear) which come from your “lizard brain”.

Fit jpeg

  • The secret to being wrong isn't to avoid being wrong! The secret is being willing to be wrong. The secret is realizing that wrong isn't fatal.
  • Seth Godiin

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