Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

February Newsletter – Solutions For CPA Firm Leaders

Newsletter pictureYesterday, my February CPA firm management newsletter went out to thousands of people working in the CPA profession.

Articles included:

In The Battle For Talent: Will Denim & Other Enhanced Benefits Win Out?

CPA Firm Systems Are Driven By Culture

Feedback Is The Breakfast of Champions

You can access the newsletter (for a limited time) here.  If you want to be added to my mailing list, sign-up here.

  • 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

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Living On The Edge Of Creativity

SethGodinI hope you are a digital firm doing work on the frontier, on the edges of creativity and where answers are being found. The preceding thoughts come from a recent blog post by Seth Godin. I periodically share one of his entire posts because I think they actually speaks to the CPA profession. I love the words, “attitude trumps background”. People may tell you that you are too young or that you are too old. You are not.

It’s not your turn, is it?

If you’re moving forward and moving fast, you’ve no doubt heard it:

  • People who look like you aren’t qualified to do this work.
  • Your resume is thin.
  • You don’t know the right people.
  • You’re too young to take this one on.
  • This isn’t for someone as cute as you.
  • The thing you failed at, all those years ago, that disqualifies you from this.
  • I don’t trust the ___s.
  • You live where?
  • We were hoping for someone younger.
  • I’m not sure you’re a good cultural fit.
  • You’re particularly overqualified to do this.
  • I once knew someone your age/race/demographic and they let me down.
  • I’ll get back to you.
  • Hear these lines too many times and you might begin to believe them.

Now, more than ever, attitude trumps background, productivity defeats ignorance, particularly when it comes to the work done on the frontier, on the edges of creativity, where answers are still being found.

Too many people have told you ‘no’. And many of them were wrong. Not wrong about what they wanted–perhaps what you have isn’t for them. But wrong about what you could contribute.

Pick yourself, and keep making art until someone can’t ignore you any longer.

It’s not fair, but it’s better than the alternative.

  • Don't try to make a product for everybody, because that is a product for nobody.
  • Seth Godin

Monday, February 15th, 2016


I just finished reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erick Larson. It is the true and fascinating story of William E. Dodd who became America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in 1933.

In the end notes, Larson mentions a quote by Dodd when he was spending time at his Virginia farm. It made me think of you… CPAs.

“The old red-brick fireplace was as dignified as George Washington and the 18th century when men had time to be dignified.” – William Dodd

I may criticize you, prod you to change, poke fun at the profession and routinely nag you. BUT, I truly believe that in this crazy world we live in, there are very few people I would call dignified. Except for you, the men and women working in the CPA profession.

Make your mission to continually bring dignity to the business world!

Another wonderful book by Larson that I highly recommend is The Devil in the White City. A chilling story set in a historic time for Chicago, described as: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America.

  • The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.
  • W. Somerset Maugham

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.


  • 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