Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

Lighten-up, It’s The Weekend – What You May Have Missed This Week

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates

I know you are busy and maybe didn’t have time to read some of my blog post this last week. I hope you save the link to this post and review it when you have more time later this month. There were two post this week you should definitely read.

Perhaps you missed:

Monday – I was attending the New Horizon Group meeting and did not post this Monday (I apologize, I rarely miss).

Tuesday – A VERY important post – I urge you to learn more about blockchain and how it will affect the future of your firm.

Wednesday – You should have already learned this…. advice on NOT writing LONG emails.

Thursday – Another IMPORTANT topic – Can what you are doing be done by artificial intelligence?

Friday – Are you too distracted to see what is happening around you? Pay attention!

Many of you are working today (Saturday) but I hope most of you are not working tomorrow!

  • Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.
  • Jane Austen

Monday, March 27th, 2017

Yes! Reading Can Make You More Successful

FullSizeRender“Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” – P.J. O’Rourke

I am a firm believer in the fact that reading is an invaluable career-building and character-building activity. I read for education and for pleasure. Last year I began keeping a log of the books I read (mostly I read on my Kindle). I read 20 books in 2016 and I am already on my 9th book for 2017.

It helps me have a broader understanding of the world – the whole world and the business world. I also read many blogs, articles and newsletters. I always recommend – read, read, read.

If you select the category “Reading” on the right-hand side of my webpage, you can read the many blog posts I have done about reading.

Recently I read a blog post on Self Development Secrets site, titled 10 Reasons Why Reading Is Important. 

Here are the 10 reasons:

Sharpens Your Mind (I certainly can benefit from this one.)

Increases Your Vocabulary (I love the Kindle feature where you can press on a word and it gives you the definition. I also love to read books that challenge me in this area. An example is Lincoln at the Bardo.)

Lowers Your Stress (Almost every day at 4:00 or 4:30pm, I stop working and spend an hour reading. It relaxes me.)

Decreases Your Depression (In my case, it “lightens my spirit”.)

Improves Your Memory and Focus (I need all the help I can get here.)

Strengthens Your Writing Abilities (Oh yes, I have learned so much about writing by reading.)

Enhances Your Imagination (Harry Potter, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, 11/22/63 sure helped my imagination. I also love ones that are mildly creepy – Stephen King, Dean Koontz. My favorite detectives are Harry Hole and Kurt Wallander.)

Boosts Your Sleep (On an airplane, I begin to read and keep nodding off.)

Enjoy Your Entertainment and Peace (Quiet time. Reading enhances expanding thoughts.)

Reading Can Brighten Your Day (I cannot read Dave Barry books on an airplane because I laugh out loud.)

Click here to visit the article and read their reasons for each of the ten (they are quite a bit more informational than my ramblings).

  • There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Practice Management Software

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire

I often receive questions about the pros and cons of practice management software. Which one should we be using? Is one better than the rest? What’s the best one for a small firm? What’s the best one for a large firm?

Recently, Accounting Today published A Comparison Guide To Vendors’ Offerings.

Per the article accompanying the Guide…. Looking at the accompanying comparison chart, you will notice that different vendors have taken very different approaches with their application. That’s a good thing, as it offers a wider variety of capabilities that will hopefully sync up with your firm’s needs without providing lots of unneeded functionality.

You will find the article here and from it you can access the Comparison Guide.

  • No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.
  • Warren Buffett

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Georgia Society of CPAs – March Madness

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“The key is not the will to win, everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” – Bob Knight

Many thanks to the Georgia Society for featuring my article, Lessons Learned: Two Kinds of March Madness, in March/April 2017 issue of their magazine, Current Accounts.

I hope all of you who are members of the Georgia Society will read the magazine or access it online.

If you are a non-member, I will be using the article in my upcoming newsletter. You can subscribe here.

Hint: There is the AFMM March Madness and there is the NCAA March Madness. Of course, AFMM stands for Accounting Firm March Madness.

  • Once you are labeled - the best - you want to stay up there, and you can't do it by loafing around. If I don't keep changing, I'm history.
  • Larry Bird

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Expand Your Learning – Read More!

“The book you don’t read won’t help.” – Jim Rohn

Maybe your learning is too narrow.

CPAs must obtain Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits in order to continue being a CPA. It’s a rule.

Many CPAs just get the minimum and often accumulate their CPE credits in the easiest possible way. Technical CPE keeps you current and you get better at the technical topics, but that is not enough. Life-long learning is a must if you want a successful career.

Think about broadening your reading menu this year. History is full of great leaders who were avid readers. Read business books (not about tax and audit!). Read great literature.

If you want to get it done you have to set a goal. How about reading 12 books this year? I prefer you read 24, but 12 would be a good start.

  • Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.
  • John Green

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

It’s The Weekend. What Did You Miss This Week

Maybe on Saturday, you will find more time to read. Here’s a listing of my blog posts from this past week. Hopefully, you will find one of interest to you.

Monday:  Positive Vibes. What do you like about the people around you?

Tuesday:  I Can Do It Faster. You all know that you can, but don’t!

Wednesday: Women In Accounting. There is so much opportunity!

Thursday:  Employee Engagement Matters. How to drive engagement… keep it simple.

Friday:  Buying Into The Vision. People have to buy-in to the leader first.

Have a great weekend.

  • When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes.
  • Erasmus

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

To Begin This New Year – Be Kind

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

This week, I am celebrating completing ELEVEN years of blogging every business day on the topic of CPA firm management. Here’s an introduction I did on January 5, 2006 – my third blog post. Notice how many of the publications I recommended no longer exist.

My theme, behind all of the practical information I share, began in 2006 and will continue into 2017:  Be kind and practice civility.

From his book, Choosing Civility, Pier Massimo Forni says:

“Civility means a great deal more than just being nice to one another. It is complex and encompasses learning how to connect successfully and live well with others, developing thoughtfulness, and fostering effective self-expression and communication. Civility includes courtesy, politeness, mutual respect, fairness, good manners, as well as a matter of good health.”

  • Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
  • Mark Twain

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Client Accounting Services (CAS)

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

Have you expanded and branded the CAS you are offering to clients? Many firms are finding this area to be a rapidly growing source of revenue.

The percentage of net client fees provided by CAS, which includes outsourced finance and accounting services and other back-office support for clients, more than doubled for firms in the largest revenue segment tracked by the 2016 National Management of an Accounting Practice Survey.

Client Accounting Services is no longer just a small firm revenue source.

Mark Koziel, the AICPA executive vice president-Firm Services, credits automation and other technologies with helping to fuel the growth of client accounting services.

I find that many firms are doing a great job of branding the service and making clients aware of the benefits of outsourcing this type of work (which they usually hate doing themselves). For businesses, including CPA firms, it’s becoming an outsourced world.

Read the full article from The Journal of Accountancy, written by Jeff Drew, senior editor.

  • The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.
  • Pearl S. Buck

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

The Growing Area of Flexible Work Arrangements

Many firms have incorporated flexible work arrangements into their menu of offerings to employees. Some have been much slower to adapt.

Here’s an update from a non-profit organization called 1 Million For Work Flexibility. To keep your CPA firm competitive you need to learn all you can about the flexibility options available to talented professionals.

Here are some of the top moments of the year for flexibility listed below.

  1. New Hampshire became the second state to make it legal for workers to request work flexibility. New Hampshire has an aging workforce and demographic. State Senate Bill 416 encourages younger workers to stay in (or move to) New Hampshire and work there so they can enjoy a flexible work arrangement that allows them to care for their growing families as well as their aging parents without worrying about bosses who might fire them for asking for flex. The bill’s sponsor believes that this isn’t just good for working parents and families, but for the overall state economy. New Hampshire follows Vermont with this type of “right to request” legislation, as well as the city of San Francisco.

  1. New York City passed the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which is said to be the first of its kind protection for freelancers. It requires written agreements for the timeline and payment of freelance work, with penalties for employer violations.

  1. More companies, industries, and occupations are now offering flexibility to their employees. These 250 companies are shining examples of work flexibility in action. This list of the top companies with the most flexible job listings since 2013 (the “FlexJobs 250”) is based on an analysis of more than 40,000 companies and their flexible job posting histories in the FlexJobs database between October 1, 2013, and October 1, 2016.

  1. The United State of Women, a summit hosted by the White House, showcased the importance of workplace policies that work for women. The inaugural event, attended by 1 Million for Work Flexibility, highlighted work flexibility and brought together thousands of people who are working to change tomorrow for women.

  1. Work flexibility conversation focused on fathers. It’s long been clear that flexibility is crucial for working mothers, but the issue is much more broad. As part of its mission to demonstrate the far-reaching value of flex, 1 Million for Work Flexibility teamed up with supporters to co-host a special Father’s Day-themed event featuring scholar, international lawyer, foreign policy analyst, and thought-leader Anne-Marie Slaughter. The event focused on how we can shift the work and family narrative to include men and women in both corners, by valuing both care and competition, home and career in a way that benefits us all.

Launched in 2013, the 1 Million for Work Flexibility movement now has more than 100 coalition members including advocacy groups, think tanks, academic institutions, and businesses, as well as thousands of individuals demonstrating the many types of flexible work that are not only leading to happier and healthier workers, but also improving our economy.

  • Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.
  • Tony Robbins

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Set Expectations For Your Clients

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

In my November newsletter, I wrote an article titled, “Let Clients Know Your Expectations.”

I covered a favorite topic of mine, training your clients. I continually hear a lot of moaning and groaning about clients who are always late with their “stuff,” clients who don’t respond to requests and clients who provide their information in a shoebox or shopping bag. We all know who they are!

I even outlined some steps you can take. You can read the article here.

img_1250In response to that article, my good friend, and client, Mike Shost sent me a copy of his Year End Letter to clients and agreed that I could share it.

Shost clearly outlines “2017 filing season dates to help you personally plan for the preparation of your 2016 individual income tax return.”

Notice he states…. to help you. He is helping the client but he is also helping himself and his valuable team members.

The letter also contains a detailed listing of Important Dates for the 2017 Filing Season. How clearly are you communicating with your clients?

You can view the sample here. Thank-you so much, Mike!

  • Write to be understood. Speak to be heard. Read to grow.
  • Lawrence Clark Powell