Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Tracking The Time You Are At Your Desk

“Any privacy in public is a hard thing to negotiate.” – Benedict Cumberbatch

All of this technology is wonderful, right? It helps us get work done faster, it helps us shop, it helps us find places, it helps us do our banking and other chores, and it opens an amazing world of information for us.

I was with a friend recently who uses technology (Life360) to track her teenage daughter. Some people track their entire family.

Recently, Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady) wrote an article for Inc. that reported on a bank tracking the time their employees spent at their desks.

Supposedly, the bank says the purpose is to see what spaces employees use. It doesn’t track who is sitting at your desk. The information will be used for space planning.

But what if employers begin using such devices to track employees for other purposes.

It is kind of creepy but also interesting. I don’t really mind that Google knows where I am most of the time. I’m not so naive to think other entities may be tracking me. If you use a credit card, you become very public. But something about having your boss track the time you sit at your desk would be unacceptable.

Read the article, see what you think.

  • "You already have zero privacy. Get over it."
  • Scott McNealy

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Best Blogs About Accounting – Top 20

“No person writes to win awards.” – Mo Yan

From Consultants 500:

Blogs are an ideal tool to stay up to date on the latest developments and learn new insights on how to succeed and grow your business. The only problem is that there are a lot of blogs out there and they are all screaming for your attention.

We searched for 50 “Best of List”, selected and combined the 20 most valuable “Best of List” and earmarked and ranked what blogs keep up appearing on most of these recently published lists. From a total of 137 Accounting Blogs reviewed and ranked, here are the top 20 results!

Click here to see the Top 20 Accounting Blogs to Follow.

I am so thrilled to be #7! This list will also give you other great accounting blogs to follow.

  • "Awards can give you a tremendous amount of encouragement to keep getting better, no matter how young or old your are."
  • Alan Alda

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Off Topic – Thoughts About Air Travel

“Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.” – Amelia Earhart

I’ve flown a lot and on a variety of airlines. This year, I have cut back some and that makes me very happy.

Positives:

  • I have met and talked with many very interesting people.
  • Flying gets me to places far away, very quickly.
  • I enjoy the actual “flying” part.
  • I am still mystified by the fact that I am actually way above the earth and still can be fascinated by looking out the window.
  • Flying has enabled me to visit all 50 states.

Negatives:

  • Flights are delayed, changed or cancelled without any real honesty as to why.
  • There is very little of something called customer service (unless you are on a long – over the ocean – flight).
  • Planes and airports are dirty places.
  • While Americans get larger, seat space gets smaller.

Some males, as well as females, irritate me.

  • Men put the carryon item meant to be under the seat in the overhead bin, leaving less space for suitcases.
  • Men spread out – they crowd those next to them.
  • Men reading newspapers overlap into your “space” and assume that it is perfectly alright.
  • Women often ignore the 2-carryon rule – shopping bags, large purses plus the overhead suitcase.
  • It takes some women way too long to get settled in and even longer to depart.
  • It is usually women who talk too loudly and long on their phone to let relatives know they are taking off or have just landed, plus lots of other personal information – TMI.
  • People with backpacks don’t seem to notice that they hit people (who are already seated) in the head with their backpack when they stow their carryon.

This was more of a rant than a blog, I apologize, but I just had to express myself. Want to see some airline slogans? Click here.

  • "Pilots take no joy in walking. Pilots like flying."
  • Neil Armstrong

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Too Lazy?

“I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.” – Kobe Bryant

During these lazy days of summer, maybe you and your team have gotten too lazy, too comfortable, too laid-back. Now is the perfect time for everyone to get back to basics – the basics of advancing your career in public accounting.

Move the firm (and yourself) along by doing more of these things:

  • Volunteering for firm internal projects
  • Being a visible and hands-on manager of people
  • Developing a personal marketing plan and tracking progress via a marketing report
  • Attending charitable and business community events
  • Scheduling frequent lunches with referral sources
  • Picking up the phone and calling clients just to chat
  • Improving your time management and organizational skills
  • Passing the CPA exam quickly
  • Mentoring and coaching the future leaders in your firm
  • Volunteering to help with recruiting and campus activities
  • "Working hard is great, being lazy sometimes is great, but failed potential is the worst."
  • Campbell Scott

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Flashback Friday – Goals

“Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.” – Audrey Hepburn

Here’s a post from 2015 – Check-in With Your Team – How Are They Doing With Their Goals?

I hope everyone in your firm, including admin and partners, are making progress in 2017 on their self-improvement goals!

  • "They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays."
  • Ted Williams

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Using Fear as a Motivator

“Everything I’ve ever done was out of fear of being mediocre.” – Chet Adkins

There are plenty of people who argue the pros and cons of using fear as a motivator. While I can’t imagine building an organization via motivation by fear, we are hearing a lot about it in the workplace these days.

I believe, in the CPA firm world, we see very little management by fear. Not, that it never existed. I have been around long enough to remember when it did. However, it has become a thing of the past in well-run firms. We have been able to attract and keep people who have the passion for public accounting, the work they do for clients and the pride they feel in being part of a winning team – all the things I hope to bring to you, on a regular basis, with this newsletter.

As I work with accounting firms around the country, I see both sides of the coin.  Many employees want to see a little more discipline and structure in their firm.  They feel the partners let things slide and do not address issues of poor performance.  A dose of fear for some employees would be an improvement.  A lack of discipline culture can be very demotivating.

On the other side of the coin, team members in other firms tell me that partners are always looking over their shoulder and providing feedback in a very critical style.  Each partner wants things done in a different manner.  The fear from employees comes from dreading the extensive, critical review notes issued by those in charge.

Striking the right balance of discipline, structure, coaching and recognition will go a long way to inspiring employees to work a little harder, demonstrate teamwork and even be more creative and helpful to clients.

  • "One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do."
  • Henry Ford

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Performance Management

“Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.” – Anthony D’Angelo

In the world of CPA firm management, we often talk about performance reviews, performance evaluations or performance feedback. In firms, it has many names. Some call it Career Advancement Process and similar titles.

While giving feedback is an important part of the process, it is much more than that. If your firm simply gathers information and relays that information about their performance to the individual you have only taken one step in the process.

Also consider including some upward feedback or some peer-to-peer feedback.

Be sure to include:

Self-evaluations – Most people are very insightful into their own performance.

Mutual agreed upon goals – – the team member identifies goals and so does management. Then they negotiate to determine the two or three most important ones.

Periodic checking on the progress of goals. Set fewer goals with shorter timeframes. I like to see one goal for every 4-month period.

Everyday coaching. Walk around, talk to people, give them spot-checks on their performance. MBWA (Manage By Wandering Around). Today’s workforce wants feedback immediately.

 

  • "Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have."
  • Margaret Mead

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

The Importance of Your Ownership Structure

Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.” – Hugh Prather

Firm governance is a very important issue and many CPA partner groups have not taken the time and made the effort to clearly define what firm governance means to their firm. Is is not a simple task. There are many topics that need to be addressed when documenting governance.

Brannon-PoeBrannon Poe of Poe Group Advisors, in a recent blog post, addresses the issue of veto power within an ownership group. Veto power in the wrong hands can literally make change, and therefore growth, impossible

If anyone can Veto anything, at any time, it an paralyze a firm.

Make sure your governance and ownership structure will help facilitate change.

Read more via Poe’s post here.

  • "They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
  • Andy Warhol

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Focus On The Valuable Ones

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” – Colin Powell

Often, we find ourselves giving too much attention to people who do not matter.

You might be considering focusing on a new specialty niche. You get all wrapped up in something new and might just forget about the old, faithful clients you’ve had for years.

You do really care about your long-time clients but the intrigue of the hunt for new clients might temporarily over-shadow the tried and true.

I always say, don’t kill the golden goose. Take special care of your long-time loyal clients and help them become more and more successful.

 

  • "A person who deserves my loyalty receives it."
  • Joyce Maynard

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Flashback Friday – Amazing Things Can Happen

“If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.” – Michelangelo

If you work hard, amazing things can happen. This Friday I am sharing a post about hard work and success from February, 2015.

Click here for Amazing Things Can Happen.

  • "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it."
  • Thomas Jefferson