Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow….

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin

I bet you have heard that quote many times.  It was one I often heard as a child.

It is my observation that many accountants have never, in their entire life, heard this quotation. Just kidding, I know they have heard it but just ignore it.

This came to mind as a read an article via HBR titled, How To Beat Procrastination.

My CPA clients and friends do a great job at making to-do lists. They are great list makers, in general. However, the easy things (like answering email) get crossed off the list and the more important, complex things go untouched – sometimes for months!

Then late October rolls around and firm partners all of a sudden get in a hurry to get BIG things done.

The article stated that the problem is our brains are actually programmed to procrastinate. We struggle with tasks that promise future upside in return for efforts we take now.

The article gives us some tips on how to make the benefits of action feel bigger and more real, such as:

  • Visualize how great it will be to get it done.
  • Pre-commit, publicly. (This works with weight loss!)
  • Confront the downside of inaction.

My advice…. take baby steps. Most of the big changes you need to make to help your firm become future ready can be broken down in smaller steps.

What’s important is to take the first step.

  • You may delay, but time will not.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Are You Cruising Or Learning?

Joey Havens writes some great stuff. I really like his recent blog post titled, “Have You Stopped Learning?”

joey-havens2_18-748750-editedHere are some tidbits:

  • Change is happening so rapidly and it creates a steep learning curve for CPAs in public practice.
  • We haven’t seen a strong sense of urgency within our profession to embrace a faster rate of learning, a bigger time commitment to learning or the need to learn new skills and competencies.
  • If we rely on our technical abilities, we will fall short of our full potential.
  • Are we cruising or learning?

Follow the link, above, and read his entire blog post. Share it with your partners. Then, start the climb up that learning curve. If not, you’ll be left behind.

  • I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.
  • Eartha Kitt

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!


  • 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


“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