Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend – A Time For Something Off-Topic, Humorous Or Even Weird

Most of us have read the very well-known book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe. If not, you at least know about it and have probably seen movies based the the shipwrecked premise.

Per Wikipedia, the novel was first published on April 25, 1719. The first edition credited the work’s protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents.

The other day, while in a book store, I found a book that provided humor by fantasizing about what some editors of famous authors’ books might have noted for the author. I hope the following makes you smile and lighten-up this weekend.

IMG_6204

  • It is better to have a lion at the head of an army of sheep, than a sheep at the head of an army of lions.
  • Daniel Defoe

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Blogs To Follow

I am always encouraging you to read, read, read. I want you to read books, articles and, of course, blogs.

If you are trying to find some good blogs to follow. Here’s Ambir Technologies Top 10 Blogs To Follow for Accounting & Financial Tips for Your Small Biz. 

Some of them might be very helpful for your clients, too.

Take note of #10 – Thank-you Ambir!

  • If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Don’t Read Email First Thing In The Morning

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.” – – Richard Whately

You know it’s true. If you arrive at the office, get your cup of coffee and then sit down at the computer and begin reading emails, an hour will fly by before you even realize it.

I read something in a magazine recently… just a little tip to get more work done: Schedule e-mail checking blocks – – two 45-minute chunks per day. The constant checking of email and social media is the number one enemy of productivity. Yes, it is a tough habit to break.

A8AAE8C9FFLike most of you, I get a lot of email. However, when I tried NOT checking email so often (3 times per day), I began to be extremely more productive.

Here is a great article (a quick read) from Sid Savara – 7 Reasons You Should Never Check Email First Thing In The Morning.

I like the #1 Reason – Ignorance Is Bliss…Fully Productive – – When it comes to email, ignorance is bliss. That’s why if you’ve got something you want to make progress on, I have these 4 words for you: Don’t check your email.

Reason #2 – It’s Not Your Todo List – – Do you know what is most important for you to work on? Do you know the first thing you want to do this morning? Then go ahead and do it! On the other hand, by checking email, you risk doing what someone else wants you to do….

Follow the link above to read more about #1, #2 and reasons #3 thru #7.

Maybe the first thing you want to do in the morning is read this blog… Oh, yeah!

  • Obstacles are those frightful things you can see when you take your eyes off your goal.
  • Henry Ford

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Celebrating 10 Years of Blogging!

Every year when January rolls around, I take some time to reflect back on why I write this blog.

You see, I have been blogging every business day since January 2, 2006. This January is my 10th anniversary and I have rarely missed a day. I even try to post a “lighten-up” topic every weekend.

If you look on the right-hand side of this webpage, you will see an Archive widget – Click on select month and you will see a drop down of all the months since January 2006. You have the ability to read all of my past blog posts – not that you would want to do that. However, seeing all of the months in the drop down will give you a sense of how much content I have “out there”.

Click here to read “Introduction of Rita Keller Blog – CPA Firm Management” on January 5, 2006. I actually had a typo in the title and I haven’t changed it! Most of the publications listed in that blog post do not even exist anymore. You can also see how I looked 10 years ago – my how time flies!

I have strived to continually improve and expand my daily posts to address so many issues relative to the CPA profession. I never run out of ideas to share with all of you – at least I haven’t yet.

Most of all, as I reflect back, I want to thank-you for reading my daily posts. Many of you have signed up with the RSS feed to receive it in your mailbox every day. However, I still like you to visit the site because my daily quotations do not come through on the feed.

Ten years is a long time to write a daily blog post. Maybe this year I will miss a few days, maybe not…. if nothing else, I am persistent.

I have taken Churchill’s advice – see the quote below.

 

  • If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.
  • Winston Churchill

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

What Will You Do In 2016?

SethGodinI follow Seth Godin’s blog – I hope you do, too. His posts are so thought-provoking. I recommend that YOU make time for more thought-provoking activities.

This week he made some predictions for 2016. I have selected a few that I think CPAs (old and young) need to consider (and commented on some):

Opportunities will be missed. Lessons will be learned. (Many firms waste SO much potential due to complacency.)

You’ll gain leverage and the ability to make even more of a difference. (Young people unite!)

Leaps will be taken (you need to do more leaping!)

That expensive habit that you don’t even enjoy that much will continue to be expensive.

We’ll forget some hard lessons but we’ll learn some new ones.

We’ll waste more than a billion hours staring at screens. That is in total, but to some people it might feel like an individual number.

  • If you can't state your position in eight words, you don't have a position.
  • Seth Godin

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Bad Meetings Are A Reflection Of Bad Leaders

Inside your accounting firm, do you think you have too many meetings? Are they pointless in the eyes of the attendees? Are they boring? Are they unproductive?

Patrick Lencioni (author of Death By Meeting), in his helpful article, urges you to Avoid Death By Meeting. I urge you to read it if you are the leader of your firm and even if you are not the leader, you, as a firm citizen, have influence in your firm. Make others aware that properly defining meetings is what leaders do.

Bad meetings are a reflection of bad leaders and they take a devastating toll on a firm’s success. Perhaps it’s time for your firm to transform meetings into something productive, focused and even energizing.

Lencioni contends that there are two basic problems. Meetings lack drama. Which means they are boring. And, most meetings lack context and purpose. They are a mixture of trivia, administration, strategy, meandering and lack of resolution.

To make meetings more engaging means you need to encourage the drama… the conflict that should exist.

Consider movies and TV shows. The first couple of minutes grab you attention so that you will continue to be engaged.

In your firm and partner meetings rather than putting the tough discussions off until later in the meeting, put them first. Wrestle with the tough issues first and you have a better chance of engaging your attendees.

Lencioni recommends four distinct meetings:

The Daily Check-in (10 minutes – an administrative type meeting to keep team members aligned).

The Weekly Tactical (known as the Staff Meeting – 30 to 60 minutes to quickly review priorities and then decide what should actually be discussed).

The Monthly Strategic – This is the appropriate place for partners to discuss the big issues. It is a time for debate, brainstorming and pursuit of topics that have a long-term impact the firm.

The Quarterly Off-Site Review – A time to step away from the firm and  reassess a variety of issues: team performance, company strategy, morale, competition, possible threats and industry trends.

Take a few minutes to read Lencioni’s helpful article and see how it can apply to your firm. There is no escaping some meetings. Make sure your meetings are lively, interesting and engaging.

 

  • While it is true that much of the time we currently spend in meetings is largely wasted, the solution is not to stop having meetings, but rather to make them better. Because when properly utilized, meetings are actually time savers.
  • Patrick Lencioni

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Rita Keller Newsletter

Newsletter pictureAre you on my newsletter list? You can sign up here.

The October issue of my “Solutions For CPA Firm Leaders” newsletter was sent on Friday afternoon.

October featured the following articles:

  • The Difference Between A Managing Partner and A Leader
  • What Your Competition Is Doing To Recruit Top Talent
  • Young CPA Survey – Ask Your Team To Participate
  • Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

The Difference Between Managing and Leading

ZMLBPIOGTDInside CPA firms, we usually call the person holding the highest leadership position the Managing Partner. I believe you need a Leading Partner rather than a Managing Partner.

There is a big difference between managing and leading. Think about it. Does the “President” of your accounting firm lead or manage….. or neither?

Be sure your managers are managing. Truthfully, most of your partners are managers or followers, not actually leaders.

In the field of CPA firm management, many are focused on doing what other firms are doing. Partners, COOs, firm administrators, IT managers and marketing directors go to conferences where they can learn something we call best practices. Then they return and try to convince the partner group to do it – whatever “it” happens to be.

The role of Leader is about identifying a direction for the firm – – specific for your firm and that can’t happen if you are imitating someone else’s best practice. You are not leading your are following.

Successful leaders create value and drive the firm toward something new. Many managing partners fall back on the usual solutions or quick fixes. They are reactive rather than proactive.

A great leader studies their own firm. A Leading Partner listens to everyone and spends time simply thinking. They read extensively and not just tax and audit updates – they read current events and a wide variety of books and novels. Reading sparks ideas!

Leave the managing to your COO/Firm Administrator. As of today, become the LP (leading partner)!

Read more about this topic from Mark Lukens on Fast Company, click here.

 

  • True leadership is specific, substantial, and sets its own course. If you want to truly lead, following familiar patterns is rarely ever enough.
  • Mark Lukens

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

That Time Of Year – Rosenberg Annual Survey

IMG_5827Just received my copy of the 17th Annual Edition of the Rosenberg Survey. It is one of the most popular and widely respected national surveys of CPA Firm Statistics.

Read more about it and order your copy here.

  • Be careful of reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
  • Mark Twain

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Accounting Dreams & Delusions by Kristen Rampe

FullSizeRenderMy friend, Kristen Rampe, has written a wonderful, light-hearted book about the CPA profession.

It’s titled, Accounting Dreams and Delusions – Scenes from professional paradise, and what really happens in the accounting industry.

When I received a copy in the mail, it made my day. It begins with, “you’ll never believe what my client said…” – continues with “And then my CPA said to me…” closes with “What she said….”. It will make you smile.

Here’s the trailer.

  • You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.
  • Dave Barry