Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Invest in Educating Yourself

“Never begrudge the money you spend on your own education.” – Jim Rohn

How much of your own money are you spending on educating yourself?

I find that people working in accounting firms assume the firm should pay for any and all resources to educate the staff. Yes, firms should be providing the appropriate dollars for CPE. But, have you ever decided not to read a book because the firm won’t pay for it? Have you been disappointed when the firm would not pay for a training course or for you to go to a conference?

If you want to grow your career you should continually be investing in yourself. If you need to be better at public speaking, join Toastmasters and pay for it yourself if the firm won’t. Subscribe to Success magazine. Carve out time to buy and read novels. Take a peer to lunch and pay for it yourself.

It’s your career. It’s your life.

  • "Every moment of one's existence, one is growing into more or retreating into less."
  • Norman Mailer

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Wastes To Look At In Your Firm

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey Mackay

Last week I read the tweet below from @AccountingEdit (Dan Hood). He was attending the Rainmaker Superconference in Atlanta. So much is said in just these few words. Read these few words and apply them to your CPA firm.

Wastes to look for (in your firm and at your clients):

Defects: In which areas are things not right the 1st time?

Waiting: Where can time taken be reduced?

Over-engineering: Do too much for money charged

Process: There’s no process or a flawed process

  • "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me."
  • William Shakespeare

Friday, June 21st, 2019

Flashback Friday – Young CPAs Start Sooner!

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking

If you are not a young CPA – I hope you share this blog post with young CPAs. There is so much more to becoming a successful CPA than just knowing how to do the work.

  • "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
  • John Wooden

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Keep It Simple

“Simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau

Recently, we joined a group of friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant. It was one of those restaurants that provided a menu that weighed about two pounds and seemed like a coffee table book. The hostess seemed to struggle to carry eight of them as she led us to our table. These types of restaurants always make me wonder who they are trying to impress.

This visit was different.

They have a new, simple menu that you open, lay it flat and that’s it. A front cover, two facing pages inside and more choices on the back. Most of the offerings we were used to were included.

Maybe restaurants are trying to impress people with their expensive looking menus but I was more impressed with the simplicity and ease of ordering.

How many things are you making more complicated in your firm just because you have always done things a certain way? Now is the time to simplify! Technology will make it happen.

  • "Customers require the effective integration of technologies to simplify their workflow and boost efficiency."
  • Anne M. Mulcahy

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Be Sure You Have a Plan

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” – Yogi Berra

Here is a simple message for today:

“I remember saying to my mentor, ‘If I had more money, I would have a better plan.’ He quickly responded, ‘I would suggest that if you had a better plan, you would have more money. You see, it’s not the amount that counts; it’s the plan that counts.'” – Jim Rohn

Your partner and/or management retreat is coming up. Make sure you come out of it with a plan. Don’t waste two days of your time and then not take action.

  • "A goal without a plan is just a wish."
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Continuous Testing for the CPA Exam

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”     Jack Canfield

Great news for your future CPAs. In case you haven’t heard, continuous testing for the CPA Exam has been approved.

Be sure you are constantly encouraging your new hires to take the Exam! Here’s some information released by the Ohio Society of CPAs:

Soon CPA exam candidates won’t have to wait until the next testing window to retake a section, thanks to a revised NASBA rule.

In April the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy approved the Uniform Accountancy Act Model Rule 5-7(a)(2) rule, stating “…a Candidate can retake a Test Section once their grade for any previous attempt of the same Test Section has been released.” The news was announced in the May board report.

“It’s one of those things that everyone has always wanted,” said Laura Hay, CPA, vice president of The Ohio Society of CPAs. “It’s just now the administration and technology have all caught up.”

Most states, including Ohio, will have to change their rules to permit the revision, but Hay predicted most states will be in favor, and it will be a question of resources and how quickly they are able to make the change.

For future test-takers, this means saving valuable time on that 18-month countdown that begins once candidates pass the first section. According to the AICPA website, with the current system, if you take a section of the exam on July 20, you would have to wait until October to take the next section, despite receiving your score on August 6.

The plan is to roll out continuous testing by July 2020.

  • "Exams test your memory, life tests your learning; others will test your patience."
  • Fennel Hudson

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Many Firms Are Adding An Extra Holiday – July 5th

“Holidays – any holiday – are such a great opportunity to focus on bringing the family together.” – Lidia Bastianich

Many firms do actually close their office on Fridays during the summer months. I was curious about how many additional firms were going to close this year on Friday, July 5th and treat their team to a four-day weekend.

I surveyed firms of all sizes all across the country. Replies came from Ohio, Vermont, Georgia, Connecticut, Oregon, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, California, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Dakota.

The majority of firms are closing. Several are assuming most people will take a PTO day. To me, this means someone must be in the office for calls and visitors. Some have very creative ways of handling “bonus” days and a few are very generous (allowing 2 extra days off or more).
60% of those responding are closing, 30% are not and 10% are closing but it will be charged to PTO. One firm closes for the entire week because “it is our slowest week of the year.” Another firm allows one floating holiday for each summer month (June, July, August) and assumes most people will use July 5th as their floater. And, one larger firm has unlimited PTO and assumes most people will request July 5 but the office will be open. A western firm notes that they always close the day after July 4th no matter what day it falls because most of their team will be out late watching fireworks and celebrating.
I hope this information will be helpful to you in planning for the future. This year December 23rd is a Monday (and most firms now have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as holidays). You have time to decide how you will handle that quiet business day. Being generous is never a bad thing.
  • "Liberty is the breath of life to nations."
  • George Bernard Shaw

Friday, June 14th, 2019

Flashback Friday – Do What You Love

I am very lucky. I found a career that I simply love and it has evolved into a real purpose in life for me. How do you feel about your job? Check out this post from 2017. Don’t work years at something you dread!

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Small Firms Can Also Use AI for Audit

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” – Mother Teresa

I work with a lot of smaller firms. They are always looking for ways to stay competitive and to take advantage of as much technology as possible. Sometimes small firms assume they can’t compete with what the big national and regional firms are doing.

In a recent article via The Journal of Accountancy, Samantha Bowling, CPA, CGMA tells the story of how her 15 person firm is using artificial intelligence to identify high-risk transactions as part of its auditing process.

One line caught my attention. It is an important issue for small CPA firms. Do you still have servers on site? Bowling says, “We used to have seven servers on-site. Now everything is in the cloud. We used to be able to remote in to our servers before, but it was slow. The remote access is much better in the cloud. It’s night and day. I’m excited because I’ve never had access to this much technology.”

Just because you are a small firm doesn’t mean you have to think small! Read this article!

  • "Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."
  • Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

New Internet Domain for CPAs

Here’s a recent press release from the AICPA.

AICPA to Oversee New Internet Domain for CPAs

.CPA Will Enhance Trust and Branding of Profession in the Digital World

LAS VEGAS (June 10, 2019) –The American Institute of CPAs is in the process of being awarded the .cpa domain and is currently in a contract execution phase with the Internet’s global governing body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The AICPA’s role in administering .cpa will provide a defined global domain for CPAs worldwide to connect with their clients with increased trust, security, and verification.

The Internet, like most things, is evolving. ICANN is charged with developing important future drivers for connection in the digital world. As part of this mission, it has expanded the top-level domain structure to aid navigation on the Internet and support trusted and value-based entities and communities. To supplement traditional top-level domains such as .com, .edu and .org, ICANN has approved more than 1,200 specialized domain extensions – including Amazon’s .aws, Google’s launch of .app, as well as those for other well-known businesses, governments, and institutions, such as .vanguard, .barclays, .kpmg, .mlb, and .nyc.

“By overseeing the .cpa domain in collaboration with other global CPA organizations, the AICPA can help promote CPAs’ visibility and protect their professional standing online,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, the president and CEO of the AICPA. “We also want the public to have confidence that someone using a .cpa domain address for email or a website is affiliated with the CPA profession.”

The new domain extension will be available to CPAs and their firms and will signal a clear connection to the profession. For example, Firm Name, LLC, could have a website address of www.firmname.cpa. Jane Smith, an employee at that firm, could have an email address ofjsmith@firmname.cpa.

“Today, there’s a lack of authentication and growing mistrust of online information,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, the AICPA’s technology subsidiary. “This is why many leading companies and communities, such as Amazon, KPMG, and the banking industry are moving to restricted top-level domains. We’re looking forward to bringing this important new capability to the profession.”

More details on registering a domain name will be available later this year. For additional information and the opportunity to sign up for notifications, please visit https://domains.cpa.com

  • "By overseeing the .cpa domain in collaboration with other global CPA organizations, the AICPA can help promote CPAs’ visibility and protect their professional standing online."
  • Barry Melancon