Posts Tagged ‘tax’

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend – Type A vs. Type B

I often hear people describe their managing partner as a “Type A” personality. I also hear people describe another partner, a tax partner for example, as a “Type B”.

Hubspot’s blog post on this topic is helpful and amusing. I know inside accounting firms, there is a real mixture of personality types and they, hopefully, all work together as a well-oiled machine. If everyone were alike, nothing would get accomplished.

So, this weekend enjoy Hubspot’s explanation of A and B.

Here’s how the two break down:

  • Type As are the “go-getters.” They tend to be more ambitious, organized, time-oriented, impatient, and tend to stress themselves out by taking on more than they can handle.
  • Type Bs, by contrast, are more relaxed and low-stress. They tend to be more patient, steadier, more creative, enjoy achievement more, and don’t get wrapped up in details.

Thanks to Blog.HubSpot.com for this graphic.

a/b personality types

  • Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.
  • Washington Irving

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Lighten-Up – – It’s March Madness – – In Two Ways For CPAs!

udDuring March, the numerical athletes that prepare your taxes, I’m talking about your all-star CPA, experiences a March madness of their own.

First, there is the March 15th due date (business tax returns). It’s a crazy time hitting that deadline – long hours and hard work. It is immediately followed by the countdown until April 15th when individual income tax returns are due. Those of us who have worked through those busy times, year after year, often call it March Madness.

However, the actual March Madness (NCAA basketball tournament) is somewhat of a relief for accountants because it diverts their attention to something more fun and exciting. When I was working full time in a firm, we always had a bracket contest. A local law firm had a two-day open house during the first Thursday and Friday of the tournament and business people could stop by for refreshments and viewing of the games – plus the camaraderie.

Check out this story from NPR: March Madness: Keeping Society Sane Since 1908. The opening picture has an amazing shot of Oscar Robertson rebounding in 1959.

Interesting facts from the article:

  • The original March Madness started in 1908 with a boys’ high school tournament in Illinois.
  • Before our current madness, a handful of teams from Kentucky high schools call the “Sweet Sixteen” drew sold out crowds.
  • A former Illinois high school coach, Henry V. Porter, first coined the term in a 1939 essay, “March Madness.” Quote: “A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel.”

This year, American Gaming Association projects that 40 million Americans will fill out more than 70 million brackets.

Now, to make you smile and lighten up for sure: Urologists reported a national increase of up to 50% in the number of vasectomies scheduled on the days preceding the tournament. (So, they can stay home and watch the games.)

I think you will enjoy the article – be sure to click it above (and lighten-up).

By the way…… I live in Dayton!!

  • Anything that I felt good about, my mom and dad felt better about. Everything that I did was supported. I think this type of sustenance had a lot to do with me being confident as an adult.
  • Mike Krzyzewski

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Tax Blogs

best-tax-blogs-700x500I hope, as a CPA working in public accounting, you are reading several blogs on a regular basis.

I also hope that your accounting firm is writing a tax-focused blog for your clients. CPA firms have so many knowledgeable tax professionals who have so much to share.

WalletHub wants to find the “best” blogs and has identified 50 finalists, from industry titans like TurboTax to one-person dynamos like the Tax Girl.

Although I do not blog about tax, I do blog about running a successful, growing, profitable tax practice. So, I have been included in the 50 finalists.

If you find value in my blog and want to vote for me, you can vote here.

If nothing else, look over the various finalists and see who you want to follow in the future!

 

  • I am proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is I could be just as proud for half of the money.
  • Arthur Godfrey

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

The After Tax Season Debriefing

EinsteinI call it the ATS (after tax season) survey, others call it the annual post-mortem, the busy season debriefing and other various names.

It is an exercise CPA firms go through to assess the good and the bad (and I guess you could add ugly) of their just completed busy season. As you might expect, firm leaders go through the exercise of gathering key people for this discussion. Some firms survey the entire team for their input. Usually an action plan is the result of this exercise. But, then what happens? Often, very little actually happens to implement the necessary changes to make busy season better next year.

Make it different and better this year.

  • Design an internal survey that is divided into sections. There are some general questions to begin with and then there is a section for audit, tax, administration, technology/software and management/miscellaneous. Under the general category add a question ONLY for the accountants asking for feedback on the administrative teams performance and a question ONLY for the administrative team to comment on the performance of the accountants. Be sure to include a comment box and ask each “side” to give an example of above and beyond performance by the other team.
  • The firm administrator gathers all of the survey input and divides it by section. The audit section (raw data) goes to the Chair of the Audit Committee, the tax data goes to the Tax Chair, the firm administrator gets the admin section, technology comments goes to the IT leader and management/miscellaneous goes to the managing partner and firm administrator. These leaders use the data to meet with their committees and/or task forces to produce an action plan.

At my firm, the tax committee would not meet after busy season until they had this data. A brief summary of the feedback was made available to all team members and then the committees/departments shared their action plan after they met and reviewed the data.

Breaking it down into segments assures that more people are involved in the solutions and action plans have a better chance of being implemented. If you need a sample, feel free to contact me.

  • Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
  • Albert Einstein

Monday, March 18th, 2013

It’s March Madness Again Inside Your CPA Firm

marchNo, I’m not talking about basketball.

By this time in March, everyone on the team has been working long and often stressful hours. They are moving from engagement to engagement, focusing on client service and responding to multiple priorities on a daily basis. Often they are eating dinner at the office and usually seeing way too little of their families.

Occasionally, tempers are short while expectations remain high and the managers and team are “mad” at someone up-the-line or down-the-line. Requests are flying around the office: “I forgot to tell you, we have a meeting with the client in 2 hours and we need the draft statements!” “Big Fred Client is leaving for Florida tomorrow, can we get his return done by noon today?” “Can we pull some of those people out of the field to help with tax?”

We certainly need less of this kind of March Madness! Here are some suggestions to stop the “madness:”

Think Positive 
Smile when you walk down the hall. Stop and briefly chat with the team, inquire how they are doing – give them lots of cheerfulness and a positive attitude.

Stop Whining and Complaining
It is so easy to get caught up in the rumor mill; you get sucked in before you know it. So, STOP it! Be aware of your words and immediately think STOP IT! If you are coming across negatively. Try wearing a rubber band on your arm and if you catch yourself complaining – snap it!

Use Positive Self-Talk
When you do something really dumb what do you call yourself? (Idiot, jerk, Dumbo). If you say it or think it often enough you might become it. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Don’t Walk Away From Negative People
RUN away from them!! Stay away from them physically and mentally.

Learn to Praise and Compliment Others Freely and Often
Some of us may have grown up with parents who were just naturally critical, so we may tend to be very critical of others, too. Do you think praise is too fake or hokey? There are two rules: Praise must be true. Praise must be specific.

  • You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one.
  • John Wooden

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Are You Aware of TaxConnections?

taxRecently, I have been talking with Kat Jennings and Tracey Glenn of TaxConnections. I am always trying to help CPAs and CPA firms become more visible and more successful. This could be a resource that will aid you in promoting your tax knowledge. Here’s some information about TaxConnections.

What is TaxConnections?TaxConnections is an interactive Worldwide Directory of Tax Professionals that connects consumers with tax professionals and tax services around the world.

What kind of tax professionals can be found on Tax Connections? – TaxConnections promotes tax professionals from corporations, law firms, public accounting firms, tax service firms, tax associations, government, independents and academia in more than 57 countries around the world. It is the very first social media site for tax professionals worldwide.

How does TaxConnections benefit consumers? – In one click, consumers can find tax professionals and tax services worldwide. Consumers can also ask tax questions and receive answers. It is all free.

How does Tax Connections benefit tax professionals? – Tax professionals who establish a media presence always have a competitive advantage. We improve tax professionals visibility nationally and internationally.

You can find lots of good tax information on their Facebook page. If you check-out the blog page, you’ll find me there, too.

The old saying, “the world is shrinking” sure applies to your tax practice these days. I like their worldwide focus.

 

  • The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.
  • Albert Einstein

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Self-Improvement From Reading Blogs

Some things haven’t changed. People better themselves by reading. Yes, books but these days it definitely includes blogs and other online business resources.

I know you want your team members to continually learn, advance, and improve – you know, “sharpen the saw” as noted by  Habit 7 from Stephen R. Covey.

blogger_logoSuggest a few bloggers for them follow. Don’t know who to suggest? I bet your team members already know several that help them with their career – ask them.

Here’s an idea – Check out a blog on HBR written by Bryan Garner, a leading authority on writing, usage, grammar and style. Most CPAs could improve their writing skills and might learn some things from a blog like this.

Here’s a listing of top tax blogs.

The resources are endless…… take advantage of them.

  • The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
  • Albert Einstein

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

Monday, May 7th, 2012

E. Lynn Nichols – Tax Guru

Lynn Nichols, is that you with Rita?

Lynn Nichols, CPA, is legendary in the world of tax CPE. I heard his name early on in my career as CPAs raved about his tax classes.  I’ve also worked on conference committees where the planners would always say:  We must have Lynn Nichols!

He has a devoted and passionate audience. He has been providing tax consulting services to accounting firms for 40+ years and presents more than 100 CPE seminars sponsored by state societies and CPAs each year, plus he is a featured speaker at most major tax conferences.

Having given you all of that information (which you probably already knew), you can imagine my excitement at having my picture taken with Mr. Nichols at the Minnesota Tax Conference last fall. Now I have a “Lynn Nichols, is that you with Rita?” gem to add to my collection.

I wanted to post this now because of Mr. Nichols’ recent article that appeared in the Ohio CPA Voice magazine and in some other states’ society newsletters.  It has a wonderful and important message and causes my admiration to continue to grow.

  • The mental stress and long hours associated with a CPA's work can be difficult to handle.
  • E. Lynn Nichols

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Raising The Kids Inside Your Accounting Firm

Growing, profitable and successful CPA firms hire young accounting graduates right out of college. I have often advised that it is usually best to “grow your own” future CPAs, client-service stars and potential owners. They don’t possess bad habits learned at other firms.

The down-side is you must teach, coach, guide and mentor these young people who are completely unfamiliar with the business world, with client accounting and tax and with putting others first (clients, of course but also the people they work with every day).

Naturally, you look for young people who are self-confident. You want those with high self-esteem. But, recent research tells us that too much high-self esteem definitely has a down-side.

The people who are currently firm owners (baby boomers and older Gen-X) were raised very differently from today’s crop of new accounting grads. When, as children, baby boomers had an outburst of high self-esteem, they were  reminded by their parents, that they were acting “too big for your britches.”

As John Rosemond, a widely-read parenting expert writes:

People with high self-esteem want to be paid attention to and served. They believe in their entitlement. On the other hand, folks with high regard for others pay attention to others and look for opportunities to serve them.

It is unarguable that culture is best served, preserved, and advanced by folks who fit into the latter category. Entitlements weaken, and a culture-wide entitlement mentality weakens the entire culture. Along these lines, every single manager, employer, and supervisor with whom I’ve talked in the last decade or so has told me that today’s young college graduates, by and large, are not looking for work; rather, they are looking for benefits packages (i.e. entitlements).

I must admit, I have heard from many CPA firm partners that they have a baby-boomer partner who is definitely on the high self-esteem wagon, demanding attention and not caring about the feelings of others. Think about the future if ALL of your partners were without humility and a sense of caring for others.

Take a minute to read Rosemond’s article here. It might help you better mentor your young workforce.

 

  • There is a difference between conceit and confidence. Conceit is bragging about yourself. Confidence means you believe you can get the job done.
  • Johnny Unitas