Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Great Resource – New Book – Half-Price Today Only

cover-for-promotionI work with many smaller CPA firms and sole proprietors. Sometimes they need advice and resources that are not always available to smaller firms.

That’s why I am happy to let your know that my friend, Salim Omar, CPA has written a new book that is packed with excellent advice and ideas.

It is titled: The Million Dollar CPA Firm. It covers the 7 Principles for Higher Profits, Greater Impact and More Personal Freedom

Salim is one of the leading authorities on growing CPA firms to reach new levels of profits and freedom without more work.

TODAY ONLY, (midnight Wednesday to midnight Thursday) you can get the book for 50% off.

If you are distracted by new client worries, if you are distracted by unproductive staff, if you are stressed about your current state of finances or lack of free time…then you’re caught in a trap.

This book will guide you to the breakthroughs you need to escape that trap and puts you on a path only few practitioners will ever experience.

Salim is offering his “The Million Dollar CPA Firm” book for 50% OFF Today ONLY

Click here.

  • Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.
  • Walt Whitman

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

What You Do Now Will Be Automated Soon

“Before the end of this century, 70 percent of today’s occupations will be replaced by automation.” – Kevin Kelly

The most important skill you possess is the ability to learn new skills.

Read that line again.

sheridanI read it in a recent article by Bill Sheridan, via the CPA Success Blog.

Just in case you haven’t read his article, Our jobs are dead. Time to learn new ones posted on September 7, here are some highlights:

  • Moore’s Law says that computing power doubles every 18 to 24 months.
  • That computing power has given us unimaginable technological advancements that impact every field on the planet, including accounting and finance.
  • Your current job will be automated in the not too distant future.
  • YOU don’t have to become extinct, you simply have to learn new skills.
  • You will always be a newbie because of the speed of technological advancement (the average life of a phone app is 30 days).
  • There will be exciting times ahead if you take advantage of the opportunities and learn to relearn and reinvent your career.

Great article! Again, be sure to read it all here.

  • Always in motion is the future.
  • Yoda

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

A Leader’s Mission: Create THE Culture

“Culture drives great results.” – Jack Welch

I have been stressing the culture message for years: If you don’t create, mold, re-mold and monitor your firm culture, it will form anyway and might not be something you had in mind. It might even turn out to be rather ugly!

I was pleased to read, last week, as I followed the Boomer Technology Summit via Twitter that speaker Steven Anderson addressed the topic of culture stressing, “Every organization, whether it’s your firm, your client’s company, or even your family, has a culture, by design or by default.”

Dan Hood of Accounting Today was there in person and wrote a great recap of Anderson’s presentation. It cover’s Anderson’s “natural laws” for creating a place where people will want to work.

Read all about the three “Laws” in Dan’s article here.

On my blog page, I searched for “culture” and found many additional readings you can access if you want to really WORK on your culture. You can access the search here. Do more reading, research, and soul-searching. Then talk with your partners and decide what you want your firm culture to feel like. Next step is to get busy creating it.

 

  • When you lavish praise on people they flourish. Criticize, and they shrivel up.
  • Richard Branson

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

You Don’t Have Any Whiners, Do You?

During my presentations, I often ask a rhetorical question, “You don’t have any whiners at your firm, do you?” What I receive is usually a lot of snickers and sometimes outright laughter.

Yes, most of you have them, hopefully not many. The old adage, misery loves company, often applies to accounting firm teams. Dan Rockwell (@LeadershipFreak) addressed the four hidden agendas concealed in complaints in a recent blog post. Here are the four:

  1. “You should have ….” You caused the problem because you dropped the ball.
  2. “What are you going to do about this?” Whiners want – no expect – you to make it better.
  3. “I’m not happy.” Chronic complainers don’t own the real issue. They want something for themselves.
  4. “I want to look good while I talk bad.” Complainers use compassion as camouflage. They’re complaining because they “care”.

Follow this link to read Dan’s entire blog post – he tells you more than the four hidden agendas, he gives you solutions. You should follow @leadershipfreak on Twitter. I love the picture and quotation he featured on this blog post. Hopefully, you are not one of the complainers in your office!

chronic-complainers-want-to-look-caring-and-innocent-while-talking-mean-and-ugly

  • Anyone can start something new. It takes real leaders to stop something old.
  • Dan Rockwell

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Becoming A Specialist

“If your clients aren’t actively telling their friends about you, maybe your work isn’t as great as you think it is.” – David Maister

Yesterday, I wrote about making yourself and your firm unique. Becoming well-known for a specialty means you attract clients that need your expertise. It is as simple as that.

I’m an example. I completely focus on CPA firm practice management. I do not work with other professional service firms, I don’t know enough about them. Under that unique niche, I am a generalist…. I don’t limit my CPA firm consulting to just marketing, just HR, just process improvement, just organizational alignment, just technology, just administration, just mergers, etc. I know how to run a CPA firm.

You, as an auto dealer CPA, for example, should know how to run an auto dealership with all it entails. You know about their HR, sales, operational challenges, etc. You attend the same industry conferences they attend and you read the same industry blogs, periodicals, magazines and newsletters they read. You immerse yourself in the auto dealer world. Just like I immerse myself in the world of public accounting.

Ed Mendlowitz, in Accounting Today recently, gives us some great insight on Becoming a Specialist – Types of Specialties. 

You need to start the process of deciding what might lead you on a lifelong professional path and Mendlowitz recommends five different types of specialization:

  1. Industry
  2. Service
  3. Size
  4. Geographic
  5. Practice management

His article explains each one.

If you are still a generalist CPA, it’s time to begin your journey to specialization. As David Maister always said…. figure out what you want to be famous for.

  • The way you get rich is don't get sucked into doing dumb stuff for people you don't like.
  • David Maister

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend – Jim Henson

“Life is meant to be fun, and joyous, and fulfilling.”- Jim Henson

Yesterday, I blogged about getting The Right People on your CPA firm bus.

No one did that better than Jim Henson.

Each summer (spring, fall, and winter, too), I encourage you to READ. Not just CPA stuff! Read fiction and non-fiction for enjoyment and inspiration.

I am currently reading Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones. Henson had a knack, skill, aptitude, whatever you want to call it for finding and hiring the right people. He also said, “The beauty of nature has been one of the great inspirations in my life.” 

So, do three things this weekend – read, take a walk, and…. Lighten-up this weekend and enjoy The Swedish Chef making a banana split.

  • Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It’s a good life, enjoy it.
  • Jim Henson

Friday, July 29th, 2016

A Fair Retirement Benefit

IMG_2566“There are some who start their retirement long before they stop working.” – Robert Half

The Ohio Society of CPAs magazine,  CPA VOICE, featured an informative article in the May/June issue.

It is titled: A fair retirement benefit is the first key in a succession plan – Part One.

I receive many questions about what is often called partner payouts. This article by my friend, Bill Reeb, will help guide you as you tackle this important part of succession planning.

Part Two of the article will be featured in the next issue of Ohio CPA VOICE. When it is available online, I will also furnish you the link to that article.

As Reeb notes, before change is addressed, you have to first address short-term retirement issues…..

Because typically you won’t get any buy-in for change until the partners have looked at whether the current retirement system is paying at least roughly a fair market value to the near-term retiring partners.

Therefore, the first stake to put in the ground for building a succession plan is a fair retirement benefit. Generally, that is made up of two components. The first is a return of capital and the second is the retirement benefit. For small firms (one- to two-partner firms), this equates to buying the retiring partner’s book. For larger firms, it is about paying a benefit for the contribution that the retiring partner has made to the firm.

Be sure to follow the link above and read the entire article.

(Bill Reeb, is that you with Rita?)

  • If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.
  • Doug Larson

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Happy

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

I’m sure you have heard the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. It is from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack album and has been immensely popular. Here’s the lyrics to the chorus:

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

While we often moan and groan about the challenging work inside a CPA firm and the long hours (at times), I believe things have definitely changed for the better and CPA firm employees are happy. While performing my survey work for various accounting firms, I have found that most employees really are pleased with their work and proud of their firm.

Employees in most progressive CPA firms can now wear jeans on Fridays and in some firms every day. Firm leaders are involving all levels of employees in major firm decisions and if they have to work late to meet the needs of a client, they can do so from the comfort of their own home.

There is an interesting article via the Journal of Accountancy titled:  How To Increase CPAs Happiness On The Job. Happiness researcher, Marsha H. Huber, CPA, Ph.D administered a survey on happiness to 1,200 CPAs in various industries asking them questions about topics including their satisfaction at work and in life and whether they found their work meaningful.

She discovered three factors

HOPE – She found the most important ingredient for job satisfaction to be hope – the belief in a better professional future based on concrete goals and multiple paths through which to achieve them.

CALLING – It’s a sense of purpose, excitement, and passion.

AUTONOMY – Nobody wants to be stuck in a job with no freedom.

Be sure to read the entire article and assess the conditions inside your own firm. The go get Happy!

 

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

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Addicted to Work

“You shouldn’t have superhuman expectations.” – Mary Blair-Loy

Frequently, it appears to me that some experienced CPAs are addicted to their work.

I think this is a big issue when it comes to succession planning. Sure, the firm’s policy says they must “retire” at age 65. They must relinquish their stock and they do. But many of these “retirees” want to keep working, keep their office, keep their relationships with special clients and not stay at home or pursue other interests.

Most do not have other interests. They believe their career is their life, it defines them. Being a partner at the firm feeds their ego or makes them feel important. Without being affiliated with the firm they feel they have no identity.

There is a great article on this topic on the HBR site. You feel challenged by your work; you’re engaged by it; you’re learning new things; and you have the opportunity to shape other people’s careers. It is extremely rewarding but when you give all your attention to work, you eventually pay a steep price. 

Working long hours, taking few vacations and never truly being “off” (due to digital devices) is harmful to your relationships, your health and your productivity. It is also a bad example to set for your employees. No wonder many younger CPAs have no desire to become an owner.

Read the entire article here. It gives you some tips to overcome your addiction. Take an honest look at yourself, whether you are a retiring partner or a constantly busy accountant of any age working in a CPA firm.

  • There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
  • Colin Powell

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

The Importance of Your CPA Firm Employee Handbook

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” – Oscar Wilde

Your employee handbook is important to firm leaders AND it is important to CPA firm employees.

Most mid- to large size CPA firms have an employee handbook in place. Many smaller firms also have one in place, too. However, I find that firms without a full-time firm administrator or HR professional haven’t updated, or even read, their employee handbook in ages.

Recently, I reviewed an employee handbook used by one of my newer clients. I opened the pdf copy and immediately recognized something about 20 years old and probably straight out of the old MAP Handbook. It was dated to say the least.

Here’s the point of this post: Employers need to have their policies and procedures documented in writing and have it easily accessible (online) to all employees. Employees need to actually read the entire employee handbook and sign-off.

The trouble is that new employees are over-whelmed when first joining the firm, meeting new co-workers and getting up-to-speed on their duties as soon as possible. Often the reading of the employee handbook gets put on the back burner. They may even sign-off without actually reading the handbook. After all, some handbooks can be 20 to 40 pages long!

Eventually, the firm administrator, MP or HR person will be faced with a situation where an employee has violated a policy. During the ensuing conversation, the employee admits they have not read the handbook.

I recommend that during orientation, one hour be set aside for the new employee to have uninterrupted time to read the firm’s employee handbook.

 

  • Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
  • Gertrude Stein