Monday, August 8th, 2022

Be Aware of Your Lingo

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald Reagan

What is lingo? It is a way of speaking that’s shared by a particular group of people — it’s their own personal slang or jargon. CPAs and those who work for/with them have their own lingo. Think about it.

It is a number type of lingo: 1040, 1040ES, 1065, 1120, 1120s, 941 1099, W-2, W-4, and many more. There is also lingo involving letters: FASB, EBP, GAAP, and so on.

Just remember, your clients do not understand this lingo. Your new hires do not understand this lingo (at first). So, be careful and explain yourself thoroughly when communicating.

I know some tech guys who always observed International Talk Like a Pirate Day (This year, Monday, September 19, 2022) by trying to speak only pirate lingo.

Maybe you can have your own Talk Like An Accountant Day.

  • "Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language."
  • Walt Disney

Friday, August 5th, 2022

Simplify vs. Complicate

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

Here’s a Friday flashback post from 2013 that still applies today. Thoreau said: Simplify! Simplify!

CPAs tend to: Complicate! Complicate!

Have a great weekend!

  • "This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness."
  • Dalai Lama

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

Back to the Office

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Here are some random thoughts/comments for today.

A headline I read this week from The New York Times:

What Remote Work Debate? They’ve Been Back at the Office for a While. Cubicles are largely empty in downtown San Francisco and Midtown Manhattan, but workers in America’s midsize and small cities are back to their commutes.

Some CPA firms are still debating how remote they want to be. And, many small firms kept coming to the office throughout the pandemic.

Of course, progressive firms are using outsourcing so that is a form of being remote.

  • "It is far better to be alone than to be in bad company."
  • George Washington

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

Parameters

“I write the music; produce it, and the band plays within the parameters that I set.” – Sting

CPA firms have become VERY flexible and allow employees to do just about anything they want to do regarding how and where they work.

What your team members really need is simply some guidance and boundaries. Communicate to them! Help everyone understand expectations by setting some parameters.

If you do not communicate and leave them to their own devices, life at your firm could become chaotic. One mentor told me long ago: “Most people don’t do what we tell them to. They do what we let them get away with.”

I like to call it setting some boundaries. Of course, with today’s workforce, we must allow a great deal of freedom. But I also think we need to let them know there is a line they do not cross.

It goes back to the fact that young people entering your firm want to know what is expected of them. They want to know what their career path looks like and how they can advance as quickly as possible. Be sure you have defined career paths so you can talk to new hires during their orientation.

Many firms have been adopting remote work policies. These policies set some parameters for working remotely. I hope you have yours in writing by now.

  • "I don't control the movies that are offered to me, but I make choices based on certain parameters."
  • Andy Garcia

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

Opportunity & Potential

“Nothing is more common than unfulfilled potential.” – Howard Hendricks

The quote above made me think of some of the CPAs I have talked to over the years. During my presentations and advisory sessions, I have always urged CPAs to not turn a blind eye to the great opportunities awaiting them.

I challenge CPAs to be the best they can be. I try to help them reach/realize their full potential. Often, they cannot see it. They fear failure and don’t want to risk embarrassment.

If you are reading this blog post, don’t let your CPA firm be the one that always holds back. Don’t wait until many other CPA firms move forward, and then you move ahead cautiously!

You don’t have to be on the “bleeding edge.” But try to be on the leading edge. Open your eyes to opportunity and embrace it.

Winston Churchill once said: ”A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Be that optimist.

  • "If a window of opportunity appears, don't pull down the shade."
  • Tom Peters

Monday, August 1st, 2022

Are Partners Earning Their Pay?

“If you are in the world of business, that means you are in the business of making money.” – Stephen A. Smith

How do you decide if Joe Partner should get a bigger salary increase (or bonus) than Jim Partner?

To me, partner compensation should be just like compensation for your staff. If they do more and learn more, they are more valuable than those who do the same thing repeatedly, year after year. You might even have some partners who have more or less retired in place.

Why do CPA firms annually give people (partners and team members) more than a cost-of-living pay increase when they do nothing new or additional from the year before?

  • Did they attend CPE sessions that result in new ideas for the firm?
  • Do they continually learn new things or methods?
  • Did they attend more networking events?
  • Did they write an article (or more articles) for the business newspaper or the firm newsletter?
  • Did they lead a special firm initiative and guide it to success?
  • Did they bring new business to the firm?
  • Did they bring top talent to the firm?
  • Did they retain top talent at the firm?

To me, it’s simple: Pay for performance.

  • "A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that not everybody wishes you well."
  • Dan Rather

Friday, July 29th, 2022

Flashback Friday – Maister-isms

“Professional is not a label you give yourself – it’s a description you hope others will apply to you.” – David Maister

This Friday, reflect on some advice from David Maister. His comments never seem to get old, and he’s been retired for quite a few years now. Read the Maister-isms here.

Have a great weekend.

  • "If your clients aren't actively telling their friends about you, maybe your work isn't as great as you think it is."
  • David Maister

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Disconnect

“Disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other.” – Rosemary Wixom

WilkinGuttenplan is a great firm. I am honored to know Ed Guttenplan personally and am always impressed with the progressive way he manages the firm.

They have been named a New Jersey Best Place to Work, Best Firms to Work For by Accounting Today, and Best of the Best Firms by Inside Public Accounting.

To cultivate a healthy work-life balance, the firm will be providing Days of Disconnect – July 29 – August 1. See the announcement below. What are you doing for your people?

To our valued clients and members of our community,

WG takes pride in cultivating a healthy work-life balance and in an effort to acknowledge the hard work and dedication exemplified by our employees, we will be providing our staff with a well-deserved break to fully disconnect and recharge. We will be closing our offices from July 29th through August 1st. We will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, August 2nd. Staff will not be available during this time, however, if an emergency occurs, please reach out to the Partner on your account.

We appreciate your ongoing support of our team and our firm and look forward to continued success together.

Thank you,

WilkinGuttenplan

  • "Work is important, but you also need to disconnect, to unplug at times, in order to be even more concentrated when you do work."
  • Massimiliano Allegri

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

We Will Just Merge Up

“The biggest problem I shall ever face: The management of Dale Carnegie.” – Dale Carnegie

We haven’t groomed future owners. We will just work a few more years and then merge up.

The above is the succession plan that many smaller firms are embracing. Many of these firms are not managed well. Yet, the partners are still making a hefty salary. Life is good because they have stayed comfortable and ignored some significant changes.

Here’s a wake-up call: Acquiring firms want well-managed, successful firms.

They want:

  • Skilled leaders
  • Efficient processes
  • Outstanding people
  • High performance

Cruising along until you age out or get sick might not be the best plan.

  • "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."
  • Rumi

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

What Is Your Why?

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” – Simon Senek

Simply giving people more money and perks will not necessarily improve your employee engagement. To motivate, inspire, and retain employees, clearly define why you do what you do.

In many accounting firms, the staff believes they are there so the firm can earn more money and the partners can grant themselves larger salaries.

Sorry to state that fact, but I have heard this opinion from people in firms large and small over the many decades I have worked in the CPA profession.

The big issue for you is whether YOUR people think that is the reason your firm exists.

In reality, CPA partners, having many years of experience, believe that they are there to help people as a firm. Doctors help people. Lawyers help people. CPAs help people, too, in a way to secure financial success.

Sure they help business owners with accounting and tax, but they also act as a business coach and mentor to help the owners and their companies become more successful. Maybe to put it more concisely, CPAs help businesses survive and prosper. Maybe you should adopt the Vulcan greeting as a message to your clients, “Live long and prosper.”

Surveys tell us that people are leaving their current employers because they are questioning the purpose of their day-to-day job.

“An inspired employee comes to work lit up about what they’re doing because they feel they matter, their work matters, and the impact they’re having matters. What burns people out is when they don’t have a sense of the impact or contribution and that it matters,” says Stephen M.R. Covey, author of Trust & Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others. 

Has your partner group agreed on your firm’s WHY? If not, you have some work to do because you need to figure it out and share it with your team before more people leave your firm to live long and prosper elsewhere.

  • "The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have."
  • Leonard Nimoy