Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Meetings Are Important – Make Them Matter

“The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.” – Sigmund Freud

We have all thought it and probably said it out loud, “Oh no, not another meeting! I don’t have time for this.”

I recently read an interview by Skip Prichard of Paul Axtell about his new book – Meetings Matter: 8 Powerful Strategies for Remarkable Conversations. As Prichard notes, he thought it would be a snooze but he actually even re-read it. The book goes far beyond meetings, it is great advice on how to be more effective.

In the interview, Axtell explains:

  • Our time in ineffective meetings far outweighs our time in powerful meetings. No wonder we moan and groan.
  • Meetings are actually at the heart of an effective organization. They are a place and situation where clarity can be achieved, decisions made, alignment garnered and actions identified. (Don’t you wish your partner meetings and retreats could be described like that?)
  • Conversations matter. Here are the 4 C’s of a Conversation: Clarity, Candor, Commitment, and Completion. (Read more about each one in the interview.)

I’m going to read the book. I hope you read both the interview and the book. Set a 2019 goal to have more productive and interesting meetings.

  • "If I'm not happy in this time and place, I'm not paying attention."
  • Jodi Hills

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Managing an Accounting Practice Newsletter

“In case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.” – Voltaire

My October newsletter went out last week. If you did not receive a copy you can sign-up here.

Gmail - Practice Management Newsletter - Rita Keller - October 11, 2018_

 

 

 

 

  • "Live news teaches you some incredibly strong lessons: that every day is a new day, and it's never too late to fix something."
  • Nancy Dubuc

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Influencing Others

“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” – Stephen King
Per Forbes, here are some tips on how leaders can influence others. Influence is a very important aspect of getting things done inside an accounting firm. You might not have actual power but you can have an amazing amount of influence no matter what your role is at the firm.
Leadership and the 7 I’s For Influencing Others
  1. Identify the results you want.
  2. Illustrate your credibility.
  3. Invest the time in getting to know the people you wish to influence.
  4. Invite them to share their ideas.
  5. Investigate options that lead you to common ground.
  6. Intend an outcome that meets everyone’s needs.
  7. Improvise as needed.
You can read more about each of the 7 I’s here.
  • "Never mistake the power of influence."
  • Jim Rohn

Friday, October 12th, 2018

In a Hurry?

Lots of experts tell us that millennials want to know how fast they will be promoted. While I agree that you must be able to explain how a career path plays out at your firm, I wonder if a bit of reality might be in order.

Reading the following quote made me realize what a long journey it is to build relationships, learn, and keep current, on loads of technical issues, become well-known in your business community and also build a reputation as “the expert” in a certain discipline.

“It took me fifteen years to make it look easy.” – Fred Astaire

I am not saying that it should take 15 years to become a partner. I am saying that after you do become a partner you must continue to learn, grow and develop ways to make what you do look easy.

  • "Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."
  • Marie Curie

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Don’t Make Excuses

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” —Benjamin Franklin

In my consulting work, I hear about it all too frequently. In the workplace, there is a troublesome employee. I have heard many stories involving both males and females being the culprit.

This troublesome employee (often it is a partner in the firm) is well known for being difficult. He/She has been with the firm a very long time and is set in his/her ways. He/She might provide good client service but he/she is not a team player. For the people working with them, it means continually giving in to their wishes or risk their wrath. Even leaders back away from the situation.

The common excuse said many, many times over the years to a multitude of people who complain about him/her is: “That’s just the way he/she is.” Letting this go on too long will take a toll on firm morale.

Strong leadership is needed to keep an accounting firm on the track to profitability and success in the future. Quit making excuses for these renegades and take appropriate action. A lot of people will thank you.

  • "Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them."
  • John Wooden

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Simple Mission: Set A Good Example

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer

You are a partner in a CPA firm.

One of the most important things you can do as a leader is set a good example.

When I ask CPA firm citizens who, in their firm, breaks the rules, ignores the established procedures and demands special treatment, the answer is always “the partners!”

Many challenges and frustrations that happen inside a busy CPA firm would be solved if EVERY partner would set a good example.

Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  • "Example is leadership."
  • Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Firm Profitability

“If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.” – Benjamin Franklin 

I thought you would find this interesting and helpful. Thanks to Charles Hylan for providing it:

Income per Equity Partner (IPP) is one of the top measurements of overall firm profitability. Our analysis of IPP over the past 10 years is below. Take a look at the findings in the 2018 Rosenberg Survey (based on 2017 data) and see what metrics drive profitability.

 

Income Per Partner: 2008 to 2017 (Firms Over $2 Million)

  • 2008 – $354,000
  • 2009 – $365,000
  • 2010 – $360,000
  • 2011 – $366,000
  • 2012 – $386,000
  • 2013 – $382,000
  • 2014 – $392,000
  • 2015 – $406,000
  • 2016 – $430,000
  • 2017 – $441,000

This information comes from The Rosenberg Survey. It provides a lot of good information. You can order yours here.

  • "Never spend your money before you have earned it."
  • Thomas Jefferson

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Partner Buy-Out & Retirement – Webinar

“Golf is played by twenty million mature American men whose wives think they are out having fun.” – Jim Bishop 

I get so many questions about what a partner buy-out and retirement should look like. Here’s an opportunity for you to learn about the current trends presented by Gary Adamson of Adamson Advisory via CPA Leadership Institute.

October 10, 2018 – 1:00 – 1:50 pm EST – Surviving Succession – Partner Buyout and Retirement.

If you’re like most firms, your partner agreements have not been reviewed or updated in a long time. That is dangerous given the succession issues in our profession today and the number of baby boomers retiring. I will discuss best practices and latest trends in how to value your practice, how to pay out the retiring partner, building your bench, and successful client transition to the next generation.

REGISTER HERE.

 

Friday, October 5th, 2018

The Best Perks

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Dan Hood, editor-in-chief of Accounting Today has summarized for us some of the most common perks offered by The Best Firms. He notes, “The Best Firms share a long list of attributes, policies and best practices that have become table stakes for recruiting and retaining top talent.”

Here is his list of perks and extras offered by The Best. Be sure to read his post to learn more about each perk. Follow Dan on Twitter.

  • Dress for your day
  • Giving staff more time
  • Closing the office at slow times
  • Food – and lots of it
  • Including family in firm events
  • Support for individual community service
  • A true commitment to remote work

I have found that several of these are offered by many firms, large and small. The one I wish more firms would address is the last one – a true commitment to remote work.

  • "Dispirited, unmotivated, unappreciated workers cannot compete in a highly competitive world."
  • Francis Hesselbein

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Winter Weather

“It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy, we face the storm and defy it.” – Amelia Barr

It is only October but for those CPA firms in the winter weather advisory sections of the country, it means that ice and snow are just around the corner.

Many firms have snow days or inclement weather policies. I asked advice from several firms from across the country and, as I expected, most firms now expect people to work from home on those days. Firms provide remote access to all employees.

Some firms have made the leap to unlimited PTO and, of course, everyone gets paid for those days they are unable to get to the office. Other firms have put a cap on snow days, allowing one day’s pay.

I found that the firms in the areas where there is always significant snow, rarely close the office. All firms stress the safety of the employees and using common sense about tackling a rough commute.

Here’s my favorite system:

We are no longer closing our office for winter weather.  We let individuals decide if they can make it in and if they can’t they can work from home.  All members of the team have remote access.

 

  • "Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."
  • John Ruskin