Posts Tagged ‘accountant’

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Making Personal Decisions

When you are working inside a busy accounting firm, sometimes it is very difficult to “herd the cats” and reach important decisions.

Actually, whether you are an owner or a first-year staff accountant, personal decisions can be overwhelming.

For some thoughts on decision-making that impacts the firm, check-out yesterday’s blog post. Today, it is about you and your personal decisions.

Many young accountants face decisions, such as: Should I stay with the firm? Should I be more aggressive on seeking that promotion? Do I really want to continue to live in (name of city) for the rest of my life?

More experienced accountants may be contemplating: Should I buy that house because it’s in the upscale neighborhood? Should I talk to that executive recruiter who has been calling me? Do I eliminate my general clients and dig deeper into that specialized niche or segment? Do I seek to become partner and fight the work/life balance issue?

Susie Moore, in an article in the Huffington Post, gives us advice on making the right decision:

It’s important to make considered, well-thought-out decisions, especially when they’re life changing. But lets not confuse fear of failure and chronic over-thinking with decision-making. With some guidance laid out here, and by listening to your intuition, you can make the right choices in your life and feel confident?  Here are five tips:

Stop asking other people.

Trust that your inner voice, your intuition, has all you need to know. You are whole and have the answers, my friend!

Sleep on it.

There’s rarely a real rush to make a big decision, and 24 hours to make one (when there are external factors involved — e.g., your boss is waiting) is always a good idea. A fresh, relaxed mind in the morning is at its most clear.

Take some quiet time.

Whether you meditate, think best while running or simply tune in to your center while sitting on your couch with tea, be still and take an hour or two to connect with your inner wisdom. It surfaces when we allow it to.

Consider both clear outcomes of the decision in mind.

Write them down. Imagine all of a sudden that one of the two outcomes was taken off the table. Scratch it out on the paper. Do you feel disappointed or relieved with what remains? If it feels good, here’s your answer!

Create a personal deadline to making it happen.

No negotiating on this one!

 

  • Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

How You Become A Great CPA Rainmaker

Yesterday I was reading an article via Fast Company titled, Want To Conquer A New Skill? Do It Every Day.

Did you ever think about how you became a great accountant (CPA)? You practiced, every day. You did taxes over and over again. You did auditing and accounting over and over again. You did accounting work every day. Fact is, even if you have been an accountant for decades, you are doing accounting work every day. Thus, quantity improves quality.

Often in public accounting firms, you shield your staff and even some of your partners from taking part in rehearsals for marketing, networking and selling. Managers often say they weren’t told that they had to bring in business to become a partner until they reached manager level.

Practicing to become a rainmaker should begin as soon as a new entry-level person enters your CPA firm. Just as accountants do a huge quantity of accounting and tax work to become a skilled CPA, they should be doing marketing things to become a great marketer.

Don’t shield your people from marketing activities – push them on stage to rehearse. Partners should take staff along to every possible networking event, make writing articles part of their on-going professional development, train them in responding to client questions and being more proactive in keeping in contact with clients.

If you are an accountant and feel like you might struggle in talking to strangers at a business reception – attend more business receptions and talk to more people.

I like a phrase used in the article: Try fast, fail fast, learn fast.

Or, as your mother used to tell you: Practice makes perfect!

 

  • An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.
  • Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Xero – Online Accounting Software

I think all of you know that I try my best to keep you informed of the various products and services “out there” in the accounting world that might help you make your CPA firm a better place. I like to share topics that might help you build strong teams within your firms and also help you serve clients.

Perhaps you have been hearing about Xero – Online Accounting Software. Many firms are already using it.

Today, I just wanted to share this video because it is interesting, fun and beautifully done.

Experts tell us that we learn more and better when we are told a story. Check out this story of a small business owner, Arthur, a tree-house architect, Lucy, his bookkeeper and Charles Green, his accountant.

Are you telling stories about your firm and how you serve clients?

  • When someone is mean to me, I just make them a victim in my next book.
  • Mary Higgins Clark

Monday, March 4th, 2013

No – No – No!

no no noAs a CPA firm leader, how are you doing communicating with your staff and truly mentoring and teaching them during this critical time of year?

I like to compare it to parenting.

I have found that there are two kinds of parents (grandparents). First, there are the ones who, when their babies become toddlers, simply put all the pottery, glass vases, and other beautiful things up high or store them in a closet for a few years where young, clumsy hands can’t touch them. It just seems to be too much trouble to teach the youngster not to touch.

Then there are the ones who say (in a stern voice with a serious expression), “No, no, no. Do not touch.” They have to say, “No, no, no” about a thousand times or more. It takes time, attention and extra, on-going effort. The toddler finally gets it and you are so proud of him/her.

As an experienced accountant with great knowledge to share and the opportunity to take on the role of dedicated teacher, do you dodge the opportunity and wait for the inexperienced team members in your firm to help each other get through the growing-up years? Why not take advantage of every opportunity to say, “No, no, no, you do it this way and here is why.”

  • I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.
  • Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

A Great Celebration – 100 Years

BoysunA Google Alert caught my eye…..  Wilson Accounting Firm Celebrates 100 Years.

I know that many of you are working in CPA firms that have been around a long time but probably not quite 100 years.

Here’s a colorful description from the Great Falls Tribune about Douglas Wilson & Company.

When Douglas Wilson opened an accounting firms in Great Falls in February 1913 it was one of only six such firm in Montana. So, the senior Doug Wilson spent much of his early years riding the area on trains and horse and buggy to help businesses and farmers put together income statements.

Three generations of Douglas N. Wilsons have worked for the firm. Doug Sr., who worked into his 80s and died in 1984 at age 101 was a trailblazer. He was an Illinois native and moved to Montana in 1910. He was a founding member of the Montana Society of CPAs.

Doug Wilson III worked full-time at the firm from 1966 – 2010 and is now semi-retired. I’m sure he’ll be enjoying the firm’s Open House February 7th. The firm’s current managing partner is Randy Boysun, pictured above.

I know that some days YOU feel like you have been working for 100 years!  I just want to say to all my CPA firm friends – keep up the good work, serve your clients well and take care of your people and celebrate EVERY year for the service you bring to the business communities you serve.  I am very proud of all of you!

  • When I am traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good mean, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that ideas flow best and most abundantly.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Who Says Tax CPAs Are Boring?

Yes, they have s stigma attached to them. Tax accountants are quiet, conservative, introverted, boring and tic & tie numbers all day.

Hey, you must be thinking something different than me!

sports taxMy friend Robert Raiola is anything but boring – (see my December post). He was quoted on the ESPN site regarding the amazing shot by an average computer technician last Friday night at the Miami Heat game. It was one of those mid-court promotions to win money ($75,000).

Well, the guy made the shot. He got the honor of being tackled by LaBron James after making it. However, he doesn’t get to take home $75,000.  “A lot of people don’t realize: You don’t win what you win,” said Robert Raiola, an accountant with FMRTL in Cranford, NJ whose clients include athletes.

Follow this link to see the shot and to read about the tax liability. It is still a very valuable shot!

Robert Raiola tweets as @SportsTaxMan and has nearly 14,000 followers – not bad for a CPA. Why aren’t you tweeting?

  • You don't play against opponents. You play against the game of basketball.
  • Bobby Knight

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Rita Stars In A Christmas Story – Just For You!

As 2012 draws to a close, I have a special message and challenge for all of my clients and friends in the CPA profession. I’ve modified the dialogue (from the flagpole scene in A Christmas Story) to demonstrate some “accountant speak”  just for you!

  • Flick: Are you kidding, stick my tongue to that stupid pole? That’s dumb.
  • (Accountant: Are you kidding, start using social media to promote the firm? That’s dumb.)
  • Schwartz: That’s cause you know it will stick.
  • (Rita: That’s cause you know it will work.)
  • Flick: Your’re full of it.
  • (Accountant: You’re full of it.)
  • Schwartz: Oh, yeah? Well, I double dog-dare you!
  • Rita: (Oh, yeah? Well, I double dog-dare you!)
  • Narrator: Now it was serious, a double dog-dare.
  • Schwartz/Rita:  I TRIPLE DOG-DARE YOU!
  • Narrator: Schwartz/Rita created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat, the triple DOG-dare.
  • Schwartz: Go on, smart ass, and do it.
  • (Rita: Go on, smart ass, and do it.)
  • Flick: I’m going!
  • (Accountant: I’m going to give it a try!)

Narrator: There was no going back now.

Rita: There is no going back now  – Have a joyous holiday season and an extraordinary 2013.

  • It's a major award. I won it!
  • Mr. Parker

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Being The Best

This week I am speaking and facilitating at the Association for Accounting Administration National Practice Management Conference at the Green Valley Ranch. I’ll be visible at FIVE sessions so be sure to seek me out and attend at least one!

Yesterday, as I was flying to Vegas, I read The Dip by Seth Godin. I follow his blog, I hope you do, too.

Today’s gem from the book – for CPAs:

Is your firm the best? Sure, you are probably not the best CPA firm in the world. Reflect back on when you last visited a hotel in an unfamiliar city. Did you ask the conceirge for the name of a typical restaurant OR did you ask about the best restaurant in town?

Your firm is hiring a CPA senior accountant. Did you ask your firm administrator to sift through the resumes and give you the average resumes? Of course not, you want to see the best resumes.

Not the best restaurant in the world, not the best resume in the world but the best for your particular situation.

Many people in your city or town might be asking others, “Who is the best CPA firm in town?” Will your name be on that list?

I worked at a CPA firm for 30 years. Our BHAG was to be the best firm in the markets we served. That meant we were the most visible CPA firm brand, the most visible in the business community, the firm that bankers and attorneys recommended, the firm that college professors recommended, the firm that attracted the top talent at our local universities, etc. We achieved it in the smaller city where we were founded. We achieved it in the next larger city we expanded to.

Potential clients are looking for the best CPA firm in your city. You can be that firm if you want it bad enough. Or, will you just remain comfortable and settle for mediocre?

  • Is it possible that you are just not good enough?
  • Seth Godin

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Being A Good Manager

Inside CPA firms, the word “manager” is not very clearly defined.

For many firms it is a name they give a person who has developed solid technical accounting, auditing or tax skills over a period of time. I believe the term “manager” applies to partners, managers, supervisors and even seniors inside an accounting firm. After all, they are expected to manage the client engagement and the work of people who are more junior than themselves. They are the boss in many situations.

Google, inside their own organization, decided to explore the question, “What makes a good boss?” and called the the study Project Oxygen.

They discovered that what you might think would be the top characteristic, the ability to write computer code in your sleep, came in last. I imagine that inside an accounting firm, being a great tax mind or having extremely advanced auditing skills would also come in last as an indicator of being a great boss.

Here’s Project Oxygen‘s findings, Google’s “Eight Good Behaviors” of top managers, ranked in order of importance:

  1. Be a good coach. Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing the negative and the positive. Have regular one-on-ones, presenting solutions to problems tailored to your employees’ specific strengths.
  2. Empower your team and don’t micromanage. Balance giving freedom to your employees, while still being available for advice. Make “stretch” assignments to help the team tackle big problems.
  3. Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being. Get to know your employees as people, with lives outside of work. Make new members of your team feel welcome and help ease their transition.
  4. Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented. Focus on what employees want the team to achieve and how they can help achieve it. Help the team prioritize work and use seniority to remove roadblocks.
  5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team. Communication is two-way: you both listen and share information. Hold all-hands meetings and be straightforward about the messages and goals of the team. Help the team connect the dots. Encourage open dialogue and listen to the issues and concerns of your employees.
  6. Help your employees with career development.
  7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team. Even in the midst of turmoil, keep the team focused on goals and strategy. Involve the team in setting and evolving the team’s vision and making progress toward it.
  8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team. Roll up your sleeves and conduct work side by side with the team, when needed. Understand the specific challenges of the work.

CPA firms focus so much time and so many dollars on training their youngest team members. They are sent to Level I, II, III and maybe more for audit training. The firm funds their education in “beginning tax,” “advanced tax” and more. Managers and partners review their work and critique their skills in tax preparation, auditing and accounting. Why not invest in helping accountants become better bosses?

An idea:  Firm owners, why not consider devoting this year’s partner retreat to the topic of how you are going to spend dollars and time training yourselves, your managers and even your seniors on how to be better managers of people? Develop an action plan outlining steps you need to take to become better leaders, as partners, and how you will develop future leaders inside your firm. Some call it succession planning; I call it running a good firm.

In public accounting firms, true leadership training rarely happens. I strongly urge you, plead with you, even beg you – begin leadership training from Day One – just like you do with tax and accounting training.  Contact me if you need help.

 

  • No man goes before his time; unless the boss leaves early.
  • Groucho Marx

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Cloud Computing Means Change & Opportunity For CPAs

For some CPAs in public accounting, cloud computing is still somewhat of a mystery. But for many other progressive CPA firms, they are already living in the cloud and loving it.

I hear it over and over again at management conferences – “We have these small firms in town, and even some larger ones, who are under-cutting our fees. We simply can’t do it for what they are quoting.”

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are looking to cut expenses any way they can and accountants can offer more value-for-money services to these SMEs by being prepared to  offer interactive services rather than the traditional yearly engagement and related discussions. Cloud computing is slowly transforming the accounting industry by offering to streamline accounting processes in order to cut costs and adopt services which add value in a subscription-based scheme.

The big hurdle is that accountants must be able to view cloud computing as a big opportunity rather than a threat. They must be willing to take the lead in this new phase of business.

With this new technology, an accountant can provide timely reports and advice to SMEs so they can stay in business during these tough economic times.

Read more about How the Accounting Industry Is Being Changed By Cloud Computing in this informative article  from CloudTweaks.com.

Don’t be like Mark Twain…..

  • I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.
  • Mark Twain