Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Friday, June 8th, 2018

Flashback Friday – Training Your Clients

Here’s a post from last summer. It is an ongoing challenge for CPA firms. Every year as tax season closes the biggest complaint I hear from CPAs is the fact that it is so difficult to get tax information from many of their clients.

Why keep these clients? If you do keep them, train them.

Read more here.

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Only You Can Do It

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” – Eleanor Roosevelt

You are working inside a busy accounting firm. It is the busiest time of the year. Everyone is working very diligently and working lots of extra hours.

Perhaps:

  • You made a mistake and received an extensive list of review notes.
  • A group of your peers decided to go down the street for a quick lunch and didn’t invite you.
  • You emailed one of the partners with a couple of questions about a client engagement you are trying to complete. The partner has not replied and it’s been three days.
  • The shift key on your keyboard keeps sticking and tech support has not gotten back to you.
  • You know you are expected to work this Saturday but it’s your nephew’s birthday party.

Why doesn’t someone help you? Why can’t people be more responsive? Why do the partners expect SO much this time of year? Why don’t you get a larger pay increase? Why don’t you get to go to out-of-town CPE classes? Why don’t people ask you to go to lunch more often?

Here’s the thing: You want other people to improve your life but really, you know, nobody can do that but yourself.

  • People won't have time for you if you are angry or complaining.
  • Stephen Hawking

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

If You Still Don’t Think Things Are Rapidly Changing – Take a Look at TALK

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden

Think about it. Things that used to take you hours and hours to complete can now be mastered in a matter of minutes. The CPA’s most important tool is technology.

I shudder because I still interact with some practitioners who are not even PAPERLESS! They still cannot review a tax return ON SCREEN!

Talk_logo_bright_green-07663d94ffbd16b53ca1e60cd21c721aLast week I received information about a new app called TALK. TALK can now do the books for a business owner – you should pay attention to this – for no other reason than to realize that change is coming very fast. To put it briefly, your client could talk to the app and it would do the bookkeeping.

Here’s the press release and below is a link to the website where you can watch a short video.

22 Million Small Business Owners and Sales People Struggle With
Bookkeeping and Mileage Tracking.  It Stops Today.

If you can take a picture of a receipt or sales order and talk into your phone, TALK does your books.

TALK Accounting of Tucson announced a new phone app today that lets anyone, regardless of their accounting skills, to stop worrying about bookkeeping or tax deductions.  

Founder KC Truby says “Because of new voice recognition and artificial intelligence, the process is 10- second simple. The app codes, verifies and post your transactions right into a spreadsheet, QuickBooks or other software.”

To assure accuracy TALK automatically double checks the transaction against your current list of customers, vendors and deductions, right before your eyes.  No more receipts.  No more lost deductions.  No more worries about IRS questions.

What if you forget to TALK in a credit card charge?  No problem.  TALK has partnered with Finicity to review all your credit and debit transactions daily. KC says “if we see you forgot to TALK about something, we’ll send you a notification at the end of the day asking for the missing details, long before you forget.”

Tax returns made easy.  When you get a 1099 or other critical documents in the mail just take a picture and talk about it.  The documents are stored online – ready for your accountant.  No more ‘all-nighters’ on April 15th looking for lost documents. 

IRS ready mileage logs, automatically. TALK has also partnered with Automatic.com to intercept a GPS recording of where your car has been. This is data directly from the vehicle without draining your phone’s battery. After a trip, TALK will quietly ask if you’d like to include a business purpose for the miles driven. Just answer the question in one sentence and you have an IRS ‘bomb proof’ log ready for expense reports or tax returns. 

No learning curve. TALK has teamed up with Fujitsu’s ScanSnap scanner for 1 button push to upload documents whenever needed from a scanner. On the app side, the artificial intelligence codes your transactions for you – that means you don’t need accounting skills, just follow the app’s instructions and you’re left with rock-solid books.

Here’s a link to more information on the TALK site. Be sure to watch the short video at the top of the page.

 

  • Never neglect details. When everyone's mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant.
  • Colin Powell

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Ring Those Bells

“My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.” – Jim Henson

The ringing of bells can be associated with the holiday season and other special occasions – church bells, choir bells, sleigh bells, wedding bells and so on.

Bells, in many instances, signify joy, happiness, and even success.

I hope you have lots of reasons to ring bells as 2016 comes to a close.

I read twenty-one books this year (something to celebrate) and one of them was Jim Henson’s life story.  So, I thought I would share Ringing of The Bells from the Muppets to help you smile over this holiday weekend.

  • I don't care what you think of me, unless you think I'm awesome. In which case you are right.
  • Miss Piggy

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Are You Prepared For Feedback?

“Everything depends upon execution; having just a vision is no solution.” – Stephen Sondheim

We hear it all the time. Younger people want feedback and lots of it. They want feedback at the push of a button. They want recognition daily.

In accounting firms, many people will be receiving some feedback on their performance as the year closes out and we enter into busy season 2017.

When I was responsible for the performance of about twenty people, one person stands out in my mind. The one who was better prepared than I was!

If you will be talking about your performance with someone soon (and this applies to partners discussing their performance for 2016 with the managing partner), please be prepared. It’s so much more meaningful if it is a two-way conversation.

  1. Look over your goals and be prepared to discuss the ones you accomplished and the ones you did not.
  2. Think about your job description and your role in the firm. Are you meeting expectations? Have suggestions ready on what it will take to improve your skills (no matter how much experience you already have).
  3. Reflect upon your own performance. Do a self-evaluation.
  4. Be prepared with specific examples of where you did something really well and also where there is an example of something you could have done a lot better.
  5. Be sure to have some goals already identified for the coming months.
  6. Be prepared with a list of questions about things that have been on your mind.

Are you bored with the same old performance feedback system? Is it too labor intensive? Does the firm need to update the system? Don’t hesitate to give your opinion during the performance conversation. Maybe you can help the firm make changes to keep pace with current trends.

  • I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Unappreciated, Low-Value Work

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

I have coached many managing partners and firm administrators, the two people usually charged with “running” the firm properly.

I have often found that they try very hard, almost desperately hard, to please others. Often they end up doing many tasks that no one really appreciates or even needs.

“I run so many month-end reports out of our practice management system and I doubt if anyone even looks at them,” a statement I have heard from multiple firm administrators over the years. Do you wonder if your partners look at the month-end, miscellaneous reports you furnish them?

Simply stop producing reports that you think no one looks at. The sad thing that usually happens is that no one even notices you stopped producing the reports!

You can also develop a one-page recap of important KPIs at the end of the month and eliminate furnishing all the detailed reports.

This also applies to all the individual tax organizers you might still be printing and mailing (I hope you aren’t still doing this but….). The organizer comes back to you, unopened, with their year-end paper documents. Consider establishing a rule that only clients that ask for (or opt-in for) a printed organizer will receive one. The default is “no organizer.”

If you want to work at a higher level and take on more important work with more responsibility, get rid of the “busy work” no one cares about.

  • If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
  • Dale Carnegie.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Now Is The Time For A Client Survey

“A man’s feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.” – Craig Kilborn

Busy season is over. You worked long hours. You focused on clients and probably ignored important things at own firm. You have served your clients well.

Did you, really? How do you know?

There is an easy solution to this important question. Simply ask them.

This is a perfect time to do a client survey. Find out how they really feel and if you are meeting their expectations. Find out what you can do to exceed their expectations. Find out what other services they need from your firm. Find out if they are even aware of all the services you can provide.

If you don’t do a full-blown survey, at least call your “A” clients and ask them if you met their expectations. Thank them for their business. Show them some love!

Here’s some information about my Survey Services.

  • USA Today has come out with a new survey: Apparently three out of four people make up 75% of the population.
  • David Letterman

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Long Holiday Weekend – Kick Up Your Heels & Lighten Up

It’s Christmas Eve. Some of you are working but many of you have the day as a holiday. I’ll be posting today but will also take the long weekend off.

For the weekend – be sure to lighten-up and think plenty of happy thoughts and enjoy family and friends. I hope you’ll take some time to watch this “happy” video – people dancing.

What is different is that it is 1940s famous dance stars dancing to 2015 music. Perhaps your parents or grandparents watched these talented people way back then. It is also something good to share with the young dancers in your family – for inspiration. (I know many of us have sat through those very l o n g spring dance recitals.) This one is only about 5 minutes long but worth it.

  • You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like there's nobody listening, and live like it's heaven on earth.
  • William W. Purkey

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Secrets to Happiness In Your Accounting Career

IMG_1041I hope that you are not in the office today, it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving a paid holiday for almost all citizens of an accounting firm. I know, some of you sneak in to the office to avoid the Black Friday hassles but I hope many of you are taking a walk in a park or woods, reading a great book or writing an article of your own.

It’s a perfect 4-day weekend to think about some secrets to happiness as you build your career in public accounting or elsewhere.

Live and let live – – Don’t micro manage. Don’t gossip and worry about what other employees are doing.

Be giving of yourself to others – – but some structure around your mentoring activities. Mentoring happens naturally inside CPA firms – enhance it and help others.

Sundays should be holidays – – When I began my career in a CPA firm, no one EVER worked on a Sunday. It had nothing to do about religion, specifically, it was just that our founder believed that everyone needed a day of rest, a time to recharge. The more hours you work in a week the bigger chance you will make errors or poor decisions.

Stop being negative – – I see this all the time.  I continually say to people working in CPA firms – STOP WHINING!  Public accounting is an honorable, prestigious career, you work with intelligent people, you work in beautiful offices, you make friends with other top-quality professionals, you get to see businesses grow and prosper (with your help), you become admired by others in the business community for your expertise – – focus on the positive!

Focus on the positives during this holiday season and carry it through until Spring!

  • Be different if you want to make a difference.
  • Leadership Freak

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

What Works For You… Not Everyone Else.

I was reading an article on Fast Company about how Uber approached their markets differently. What would work in NYC wouldn’t necessarily appeal to someone in Seattle or Washington, DC.

When you are branding your firm, serving your clients and hiring talented people, are you trying to do it like “a firm you know” in a completely different part of the country? Perhaps, it is even a very different size firm?

It’s not that any one firm is right and another wrong. You must know your market.

I get so many questions about starting salaries. It depends on where you are located.

What about what your clients like, why they come to you? A lot of it could depend on your geographical location.

Figure out what works for you and then do it.

  • Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
  • William Sprague