Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

Are You Still Selling Time?

“What we care about is the work done, not how long it took to do it.” – Seth Godin

The following is one of those Seth Godin posts that I just copy and share. It is an important question for CPAs. Are you selling results?

Selling Your Time

We don’t pay surgeons by the hour.

And if the person who cuts the lawn shows up with a very fast riding mower, we don’t insist on paying less because they didn’t have to work as hard.

Often, what we care about is the work done, not how long it took to do it.

And yet, some jobs, from law to programming, charge by the hour.

When you sell your time, you’re giving away your ability to be a thoughtful, productivity-improving professional.

Sell results.

  • "In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible."
  • Seth Godin

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

Getting Started

“I learned a long time ago that there is something worse than missing the goal, and that’s not pulling the trigger.” – Mia Hamm

Think back to when you were a child. Part of growing up is exploring your world. A child sees a creek and wades in to cross it. A child sees a tree and doesn’t hesitate to climb it. There is no fear of failure.

Accountants have a reputation for being careful, cautious, and conservative. As a leader, do you always begin cautiously, avoiding risk at all costs? Does indecision prohibit you from action?

We are living in a bold new world. As the old saying goes, “he who hesitates is lost.”

We are going into fall. It is a time for reflection and, more importantly, a time to take action to prepare your firm for 2021. Modify that accountant reputation – – Be careful, cautious, conservative and yet, decisive and bold

  • "Eighty percent of success is just showing up."
  • Woody Allen

Monday, August 10th, 2020

Learn More About M&A Trends

“Moving doesn’t change who you are. It only changes the view outside your window.” – Rachel Hollis

M&A is always a hot topic when you are talking with a group of CPAs. There are many aspects to M&A and each M&A opportunity is different from another.

This Wednesday, August 12th, Gary Adamson of Adamson Advisory will be conducting an informative webinar for CPA Leadership Institute about the CPA M&A landscape.

He will focus on the trends in valuations and the terms, and why the terms drive the multiples that we all hear so much about.

Learn more about the webinar here.

  • "If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down."
  • Roy T. Bennett

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Putting Out Fires – Flashback Friday

“Really, most of us just focus on what’s in front of us. We’re too busy putting out the fires of everyday life.” – Aidan Quinn

This week’s flashback is focused on a recurring challenge that faces managing partners and, especially, firm administrators.

Have a great weekend.

  • "You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don't decide, others will decide for you. "
  • Tony Morgan

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

2020 Turnover

“Turnover can be one of the most expensive problems at a company.” – Shawn Achor

As usual, within the CPA profession, there is no one answer to a management question. Recently, on the topic of turnover, I am hearing lots of stories.

We are all reading about firms, especially the larger firms, who are taking the opportunity related to COVID to downsize their workforce to save money and to get rid of people not meeting the firm’s expectations.

On the other side of this story, I am hearing directly from some practitioners that they have been able to hire some experienced (and skilled) CPAs who are in the job market right now for various reasons.

Recently, one firm shared with me that they have had no turnover and another firm reported that they have experienced several departures.

Here are just a few reasons people leave:

  • CPAs of all ages have no difficulty obtaining another job.
  • In many firms, team members are awaiting salary increases and other perks that were cut-back during COVID.
  • Some are tired of the long hours with few rewards and recognition.
  • Your clients are also looking for good people and they know you have them.
  • Many accounting firms are not embracing the new workforce, the partners exclude them rather than include them. Communication is an issue.
  • The pay is better elsewhere.

Some reasons people stay:

  • Firms have generously rewarded their entire team because they went above and beyond during an unusual and challenging busy season.
  • The transition to work-from-home (WFH) was easy because the firm was already completely paperless and the firm was very supportive in meeting the needs of establishing a home office.
  • Communication from the partners has actually improved in recent months. Team members are well-informed even when remote.
  • WFH will be an on-going option for many team members.
  • Team members are thanked and recognized for their contributions.

Another good reason to retain top talent – Some studies (such as SHRM) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.

  • "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant."
  • Max Depree

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Rejection Letters

“To the old, the new is usually bad news.” – Eric Hofer

I often get requests from my clients (and others) for samples of various types of letters. I have observed that CPAs are much more open to new ideas, processes, etc. if they can see samples.

That’s why a recent article via HBR seemed an important one to share. It is titled, Writing a Rejection Letter (with Samples).

I am sure there are many instances where you must turn someone down. You know, let them down gently. I believe it is the proper thing to to when you have interviewed a job candidate and decided they were not the best fit for the job. It can often be an unpleansant task so do not put it off!

Keep in mind that you don’t have write a long or detailed explanation. The article suggests four steps:

  1. Say thanks.
  2. Deliver the news.
  3. Give the main reason.
  4. Offer hope.

Read the entire article. The samples are very helpful.

  • "Bad news isn't wine. It doesn't improve with age."
  • Colin Powell

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

No Big Surprise – DIGITAL CPA Conference Will Be Virtual

‘It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning.’ –Claude Bernard

DIGITAL CPA has become one of the most popular and helpful AICPA conferences in recent years. It is always held in December. No surprise that this year the event will be virtual. Here’s the scoop from the AICPA:

AICPA and CPA.com Announce All-Virtual Digital CPA Event This Year

Acceleration of Change is Overarching Theme of Dec. 8 Forum

NEW YORK (Aug. 3, 2020) – Digital CPA, an event hosted by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and its business and technology arm, CPA.com, will focus this year on change management, successful deployment of distributed teams and technological innovation in the accounting profession.

The all-virtual event will be held Dec. 8 and will be complemented by a Nov. 12 pre-conference session on remote work.

“We’re living through a year defined by uncertainty, disruption, complexity, but also opportunity,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. “Businesses need guidance and insight from trusted advisors like no time in history. Market dynamics are accelerating technology adoption timelines and the bonds between CPAs and their clients will be a critical component of economic recovery. We want to make this discussion the hallmark of Digital CPA 2020.”

Conference keynotes at this year’s event include:

  • Jeffrey Rogers, a moderator of executive education programs and international summits for Singularity University, who will speak about change dynamics, managing complexity and transformation in a period of continuous, accelerating change,
  • Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA, who will give an in-depth professional issues update on accounting and finance
  • Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, who will discuss trends in firm management, advisory services and technology.

The pre-conference session, “Distributed by Design: A Framework for Future Forward Organizations,” will be led by Radical Ventures cofounder Pascal Finette. It will provide a framework and toolkit for CPA firms to conduct strategic planning and decision-making on remote work, decentralization, and the opportunities and challenges that arise from them. Participation is limited and will be on a first-come. first-serve basis.

Digital CPA is designed for CPA firm partners, managers and staffers responsible for implementing cloud solutions and practice management innovations, as well as business development, firm marketing and human resources directors within firms.

  • "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
  • Harry Truman

Monday, August 3rd, 2020

Act Upon Your Ideas

“Without hustle talent will only carry you so far.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

It is so exciting to go to a conference (or attend virtually) and obtain all kinds of ideas that spark your own ideas. You are invigorated, enthused, and committed to meeting with others on your team and sharing your ideas and intentions.

Then you get sidelined. The phone rings and a client or two or three need something and that seems more important than your idea. You will take care of these clients needs and then work more on that great idea.

Then you get sidelined. Your partners remind you that you have to get that selection of a new software finalized. You have to deal with performance feedback sessions and then you will work more on that great idea.

Someone else in thee firm talks about a great idea that is similar to yours. They work on getting others involved and soon that great ideas is becoming reality.

They found the time to get it done. You did not. They made it a top priority. You did not. You intended to do it but they made the time and succeeded.

Have you ever, in a meeting, a class or a training session, whispered a great comment to the person sitting next to you, and then they raise their hand and vocalize the great comment? It happened to some of us in high school or college. It happened to some of us in a staff meeting. It makes you feel sad and resentful.

Next time, raise your hand, speak up, and take action. You have the time, you just did not make it a top priority. Intending to get it done someday is no longer an option.

  • "The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately."
  • Steve Harvey

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Are You Talking?

“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something.” – Plato

If things are not going so well at a firm, if the partner group is not on the same page and there are undercurrents of discord, it is usually a lapse in communication. The partners have skipped or canceled their partner meetings.

Read this Friday Flashback post. Partner communication is key to the success of the firm.

  • "Most people talk too much, and what they do say is often just noise or irrelevant gibberish designed to keep themselves entertained."
  • Stuart Wilde

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

Lack of Communication

“Communication works for those who work at it.” – John Powell

July is winding down. Maybe you aren’t as inspired and invigorated as you were a few weeks ago. You have relaxed after the July due date and maybe taken a few days off.

It seems really difficult to focus on what to do next. Don’t let this temporary lag result in a lack of communication. Your team and your peers still need to hear from you and see you (via video).

When communication disappears or lags, a positive culture can quickly turn into a negative one. Guard against this at your firm. Communicate and inspire your team. Give them some good news. Compliment them. Thank them. Challenge them. Inspire them. And, never stop doing it.

  • "Communication is your ticket to success, if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively."
  • Theo Gold