Friday, September 18th, 2020

Let Go of The Past

“There are better starters than me but I’m a strong finisher.” —Usain Bolt

For this Flashback Friday, I want to remind you that most CPA firm partners and managers have very long memories. If you make a mistake, as a young staff person, they seem never to forget it.

Read more here.

  • "Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle."
  • Napoleon Hill

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

A Manager’s Life

“The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.” – Warren Bennis

How are your managers coping with life during COVID? Have you wondered or even asked them recently?

Of course, firm leaders have been concerned about their entire team and how working remotely has impacted production. But how has it specifically challenged your managers?

Recently, I heard from a Manager at a very large firm express the challenges of his role. Meetings! He said that all day long it is meetings, Zoom meetings and other meetings (conference calls) and then he has to work until 9:00 p.m. to get his work done.

Now is the time to plan how working remotely will work more efficiently and effectively going into the future. A remote workforce will be part of your culture probably forever. Establish a task force, if you haven’t already, to determine how you can make it more palatable for everyone.

  • "If you are not in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?"
  • T. S. Eliot

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

The Day After

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it. ~ Henry Ford

September 15th has come and gone. As you know it is a major due date for the CPA profession.

This year the due dates have been rather unusual but you all still felt the pressure of the September due date and there is still one on the horizon – the October 15th due date for extended personal returns.

You love what you do but, like most things of value, it requires hard work. I imagine you have heard the poem, First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Milay. It just might apply to you.

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But oh, my foes, and oh, my friends-

It gives a lovely light.

  • "The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
  • Vidal Sassoon

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Your Office Space

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” – Oscar Wilde

I recently read where Sikich is planning to permanently shift its workspace model to one centered on remote work.

If you don’t know them, Sikich LLP, is a leading professional services firm specializing in accounting, advisory, technology and managed services. Founded in 1982, Sikich now ranks within the country’s top 30 largest Certified Public Accounting firms.

The Chicago-based firm plans to shrink the size of its office space and allow its more than 1,000 professionals to work from home indefinitely.

Over the next several years, the company will replace its 14 current US offices with 30 micro offices that employees can use when not working from home or at client sites. The days of shelling out for giant office spaces – such as the company’s massive 120,000 square foot office space in Naperville, Illinois – are, however, likely numbered.

Their CEO noted that they were already planning this transformation before the pandemic struck. About one-third of their workforce was already working remotely.

What’s the plan for your office? Do you really need a large, impressive office to impress your clients? How will you provide more remote options without losing the important, personal relationships that develop when everyone is working together in the same work space? Now is the time to think about all this and develop your plan. Your employees are wondering what the future holds.

Read the article here.

  • "There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come."
  • Victor Hugo

Monday, September 14th, 2020

The Journey From Manager to Partner

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.” – T. D. Jakes

The Ohio Chapter of The CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) will be hosting a REMOTE-ZOOM meeting on Friday, September 18 at 11:00a.

The presentation will be an informative one for firm administrators and managing partners. The presenter will be a “new” partner in a CPA firm and will discuss her experiences in moving from Manager to Partner.

The Journey from Manager to Partner  

Niki Doctor, CPA will be sharing her experiences in moving from Manager to Partner in a CPA firm. The purpose of this presentation is to help firms understand what the firm’s leadership should be focusing on besides just the technical skills and book of business.  Our environment is changing rapidly and the needs of our firms and our clients are changing as well. Learn how can we make the transition from Manager to Partner successful.

ABOUT NIKI DOCTOR – She has over 17 years of public accounting experience and has been at Bregante + Company LLP since 2012. Niki began her career at Bregante + Company LLP as a Manager in 2012 and became a Partner in 2018. Niki believes in providing and offering bespoke solutions to her clients and assisting them in making financially sound business decisions. She is committed to client success and strives to provide prompt and efficient services to all her clients. Niki specializes in closely-held businesses and high net worth individuals that require tax planning, tax advisory, international tax, and compliance services. She also works with businesses that require a combination of tax services and financial accounting, including compilations and reviews with vast experience in the real estate, retail/wholesale, manufacturing, distribution, architecture and engineering, high t-tech, and professional services.

Register securely on line.

  • "You’ve got to have rules to live by, and one of mine is always say yes. Put yourself in danger of something amazing happening to you."
  • Tom Bilyeu

Friday, September 11th, 2020

Who Are You Helping?

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Maya Angelou

Helping is a word to keep in mind as you advance in your career. 

Read more in this brief flashback post for this beautiful Friday. I am in the woods, in a remote cabin with my husband and two of my longtime friends from the CPA profession. I hope your weekend will be as enjoyable as mine.

  • "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another."
  • Charles Dickens

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Get Things Done

“A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.” – Peter Turla

It is planning time for CPA firms. By now, some firms have had their annual partner retreat and others have the retreat scheduled for later this Fall.

CPA partners are very good at planning. At these retreats, they have lively discussions about new ideas brought to the table by the managing partner, marketing director, technology director and especially the firm administrator.

It is the managing partner’s and firm administrator’s job to read about CPA firm management, network with MPs and FAs from other firms and attend CPA management conferences. Then it falls on their shoulders to inform and convince the other partners that to keep pace the firm must do this or do that.

Perhaps, they even leave the retreat with a strong action plan for accomplishing the new whatever. That’s when it comes to the part…. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.

They have the plan but don’t have a schedule. They fail to set hard due dates for completing internal initiatives. The retreat participants return to their daily lives, serving clients, etc.

Implementation of that great idea might even get delayed to next year (and next year, and next year). That’s why you need a strong firm administrator/practice manager, someone who can devote the time and effort to implementation.

  • "You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute."
  • Tina Fey

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Think Time

“Take a rest. A field that has rested yields a beautiful crop.” – Ovid

I recently read a tweet by Chris McClure: “Sitting quietly is the conduit for receiving a million great ideas.”

CPAs in public practice (and the people who work for them) seem to never have time to actually sit quietly and do nothing. I assume they did when they were children and maybe even teenagers but they seem to have forgotten how.

They blame it on due dates, clients, and the IRS. I hear the we-are-so busy and the we-are-slammed comments over and over again.

In this kind of work environment, it is difficult to find time to sit quietly and let your mind wander. You must take positive steps to find the time to just think. You HAVE the time, it is just a matter of how you spend it.

Think about it, do minutes or even hours slip through your fingers every day? Why not budget just 20 minutes a day to sit quietly? I do it first thing in the morning, sipping a cup of coffee. It sometimes amazes me how interesting thoughts and ideas creep through my mind when I allow time for it to happen.

  • "Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started."
  • David Allen

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

Accounting Graduates

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy

There are reports that tell us that the number of accounting graduates being hired is steadily declining. Yet, many firms are still saying that they need people.

In some firms, the “need people” has come to mean they need more non-accounting graduates, such as people with more advanced technology skills.

Per Todd Shapiro, CEO of the Illinois CPA society says, in an article via Accounting today: “Hiring of accounting graduates is down 30 percent. That’s a massive decline in hiring of accounting graduates by CPA firms. This isn’t companies that traditionally haven’t hired accounting graduates that aren’t CPAs. These are accounting firms.”

I was surprised by this statement from Barry Melancon a few years ago: Today we are a profession of CPA-led firms, not CPA firms. Two-thirds of the employees in all firms are non-CPAs.

Shapiro notes that firms are hiring more non-accounting graduates. It only makes sense to me that accounting students need to be sure that they have more advanced technology skills than at any time in the past.

If you didn’t read the article by Michael Cohn (via Accounting Today), you should.

  • "You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality."
  • Walt Disney

Friday, September 4th, 2020

The Role of The Firm Administrator/Practice Manager

“It’s going to be a rough ride, but together I just think we might be able to do it.” Buffalo Bill from the movie Pony Express

Their are many titles for the go-to administrative person in a busy CPA firm. I have been writing about how important they are for years. Even the smallest firms need to identify the person in that role and give them the title.

Here’s a flashback post about the different levels. In case you are not aware, the CPA Firm Management Association now encourages the title – Practice Manager rather than Firm Administrator.

  • "I have so much I want to do. I hate wasting time."
  • Stephen Hawking