Archive for the ‘AAA’ Category

Monday, July 4th, 2016

Lighten-Up, It’s The Long 4th Of July Weekend – Is That You With Rita?

I have been busy at conferences in June and I want to share some of my pictures. I will add them to my “Is that you with Rita” Flickr page but I don’t have them there yet. I made some composites to share. Maybe you will see yourself. The people I meet and have met over these many years are my greatest treasure.

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  • Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
  • Ronald Reagan

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Sam Allred…. Class Act

IMG_7518Yesterday, CPAFMA (formerly AAA) wrapped up it’s 33rd  National Practice Management Conference in Baltimore. It was my 30th consecutive conference.

In all those years, I have never been disappointed in the content and educational atmosphere of this annual event. It is absolutely the best conference focused exclusively on CPA firm practice (and self-improvement). I only wish more managing partners would attend. It was such an honor this year to be one of the featured keynote presenters – thank-you CPAFMA!

The concluding keynote session this year featured Sam Allred of the Upstream Academy. If you are involved in CPA firm management you already know Sam. He began by jokingly noting that an attendee said she was “staying until the bitter end” so she could hear Sam. To me, even jokingly, Sam was not the bitter end – he was “save the best for last.”

CPAFMA asked him to focus his comments on this: If I could start from scratch to create the perfect firm, what would it look like?

Can we create a firm…….

Where there are minimal politics

That has a very low turnover

That has a very high morale and high productivity

That has strong organic growth but nobody feels pressured to sell anything

That has no artificial harmony

Where everyone is encouraged (and even expected) to speak their mind

Where all the partners are admired and respected

Where partners believe it is a privilege (not a right) to be part of the ownership group

Where everyone is helped to play to their strengths

Where there’s no parity (everyone is allowed to progress as fast and and far as they are able)

Where every discussion and decision is made with the firm’s best interest in mind

Sam elaborated on all of theses with wonderful insights and advice. I will feature more about all of this in future blogs.

For today, read this list of highlights a couple of times and give them some thought as you enjoy the long week-end.

IMG_7127I also had the wonderful opportunity to catch-up with Georgia Cummings of Upstream and to meet Sam’s handsome son, Jason.

Above, Sam Allred, is that you with Rita? And….. Georgia Cummings and Jason Allred, is that you with Rita?

 

  • You want to create a firm where your people think Monday is their favorite day of the week.
  • Sam Allred

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

CPAFMA 2016 ACE Award Winner – Jeanie Price

Jeanie Price, Partner & Director of Administration at DeLeon & Stang, CPAs received the prestigious ACE Award last night from the CPA Firm Management Association. The award went to a most deserving and amazing champion for the CPA profession.

I have known Jeanie for nearly 25 years and she is a shining example of what hard work, dedication and caring can do for a growing CPA firm and for all of us who know her. Congratulations, Jeanie!

Here’s Jeanie, second from the left, with some of her best CPAFMA friends at last night’s award ceremony.

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  • You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself.
  • Alan Alda

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Randy Johnston, What’s New?

Randy Johnston, is that you with Rita?

I always try to attend Randy Johnston‘s tech update sessions whenever our paths cross at conferences. He makes actually makes the latest trends in technology understandable for people working on the management side of a growing CPA firm. Yesterday, at the CPAFMA National Practice Management conference in Baltimore, Johnston shared some insights from his most recent survey of the profession.

He actually makes the latest trends in technology understandable for people working on the management side of a growing CPA firm. Yesterday, at the CPAFMA National Practice Management conference in Baltimore, Johnston shared some insights from his most recent survey of the profession.

Here are just a few tidbits from Randy’s comments:

-Look at focusing on niches. The most profitable firms are niche focused. Tax and collaborative accounting may not be a good long-term strategy.

-Top tech challenges: Keeping up with new software. Workflow. Security.

-Training, over and over again, is a consistent problem in nearly every firm he visits. He estimated that out of the 400 firms he has visited, only about two do it well.

-When it’s time to purchase monitors, consider going with fewer, larger monitors.

-CCH scan, SurePrep and Gruntworx have all made improvements and are working well.

-For workflow, XCM is the dominant player followed by GoFileRoom workflow.

-Every tax product has a new generation coming out within the next few years. Be prepared for major changes.

-This year, 25% of firms in his survey are looking at changing tax software. That is a high percentage and rather unusual.

-If your technology budget is 6-7% your partners will make more money, if the budget is managed.

 

 

  • Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible
  • Frank Zappa

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Take Them Along

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” – Winston Churchill

Throughout the summer and fall, it is conference season for accounting firms. It is the time when CPA firm leaders attend various types of conferences to obtain CPE credit. While much of the CPE sessions for team members is now obtained online, management of an accounting practice is still learned via attending management conferences and networking with others in the profession.

What I observe is that a firm usually has ONE representative at any such conference that contains a management track. That one person goes back to their firm and does their best to convince others of the trends, changes and challenges the firm is, or will be, facing.

I heard this same story last night as I attended the CPA Firm Management Association opening reception. “It is difficult to convince my partners of what I think we should do after I return from this conference.” “My firm would only send me.” “My managing partner wouldn’t attend with me.” “I was lucky to be able to convince the partners to even just let me attend.”

Managing partners attend their firm association MP sessions but go alone. Please, this year, take one, two or three other partners along. Allow your COO to also attend with you. If it is another conference like CPAFMA’s national practice management conference or AICPA Practitioners’ TECH conference – take others with you and your firm will move forward faster.

Here’s a shining example. My friend, Benito Tagle, attends AICPA PCPS Practitioners’ TECH every year. In recent years, he has included some representatives of his staff. During the conference, they meet and strategize about who will attend the various sessions. They break apart to cover topics and then come together in the evening to discuss what they learned and what the next day will bring.

Below is a picture of Benito and his team going over the next day’s schedule at this year’s PSTech. Guess what? Their firm is making great progress!

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  • Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

How You Learn All About CPA Firm Management

“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.” – Hubert H. Humphrey

Next week I will be in Baltimore for the CPAFMA (formerly the Association for Accounting Administration) National Practice Management Conference.

If you are a partner in a CPA firm and your firm administrator or COO is not attending, shame on you. You must invest in the education, skill-building, and knowledge of this key role in your firm. The payback is phenomenal.

Notice that the title includes National and Practice Management. It is rare to find a conference, national or otherwise, that is completely devoted to the improved management of an accounting practice (MAP).

This conference is targeted to those responsible for the efficient, profitable operation of an accounting firm. That includes managing partners.

This year, we are seeing many more transitions from long-time managing partners to the new, less experienced managing partner. There is no other place to obtain SO MUCH firm management knowledge and support.

Whether you are attending or not, check out the agenda. One of the best and most appreciated sessions is the break-out by firm size. You don’t get to talk to people working inside a similar size firm from across the United States very often.

Now, firm administrators, shame on you. I have heard many of you say, “I’m not going the conference, it’s expensive and the partners wouldn’t pay it.” I asked, “Did you ask them and provide a value proposition?” The answer, “Well, no, I didn’t ask because I knew they wouldn’t send me.” This situation makes me very sad. BUT, at the conference next week, sure I will speak but I will also learn AND, I will have so much fun doing it!

This is a good example of why I write and speak about the need for improved communication inside accounting firms!

Here are just a fewIMG_3911 pictures of fun and life-long friends!photo (1)IMG_1727 - Version 2IMG_2619

 

HC my friends

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  • One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Technology Fly-In For CPA Firms – Recap

Roman-mainIn November, the CPA Firm Management Association hosted it’s annual technology fly-in. It is an opportunity for firm technology managers/directors and firm practice managers to learn the most current trends and threats to their firms from a variety of CPA profession technology experts.

Sessions were conducted by Roman Kepczyk, Eric McMillen and Christian James.

Here are the topics:

  • CPA Trends: Strategic IT Response
  • Your Security Response
  • CPA Digital EcoSystem
  • IT Infrastructure/Data Center

Read the entire recap by Roman Kepczyk on the CPAFMA website here.

  • Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.
  • Thomas Edison

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Educate and Inspire Your CPA Firm Tech Team

CPAFMA_Name_PantoneCPAFMA is offering a fantastic opportunity for your firm’s valuable tech team (or tech person). The 2015 Technology Fly-In will be held in Chicago on November 10-11, 2015.

There is an elite list of speakers:

  • Eric McMillen, CEO and Chief Security Architect, The McMillen Group.
  • Christian James, Co-Founder, Xcentric
  • Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA, CITP, CGMA, Director of Consulting, Xcentric

Here’s a quote from a past-attendee:

“Great information was shared at the Technology Fly-in in Chicago. While my role has changed, I always learn so much at this event. All of the speakers are exceptional; it is so evident that each loves what he/she does. The exchange of information is invaluable.”

Topics for this year:

  • CPA Trends: Strategic IT Response
  • Your Security Response
  • CPA Digital Ecosystem
  • IT Infrastructure Update/Data Center
  • Tech Take Aways
  • IT Hot Topics and Open Brain Share Networking

Get all of the details here.

  • Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it is useless.
  • Thomas Edison

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Changing & Evolving – Positive Actions For Everyone

We should all be changing and evolving into something more than where we started. For me, I am never content – I want to continually get better.

I am delighted to see that the Association For Accounting Administration continues to change and evolve! The Association was founded on January 1, 1984. I believe I joined in 1985! It has provided me with an absolute wealth of information, knowledge and enabled me to develop my skill at CPA Firm Management. That’s why I love the new name. It is about so much more than administration. Every new partner should be required to attend at least one of the CPAFMA National Practice Management Conference.

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The CPA Firm Management Association, its leaders and members are committed to:

  • Expertise and Learning – Developing and honing our unique expertise in firm practice management, conducting research and providing members access to expert thinking, education, guidance and resources in CPA firm strategic planning, operations, finance, technology and human resources.
  • Professionalism – Attracting members who manage their firms with the utmost professionalism and adhere to a set of guiding principles when executing their roles.
  • Lasting Relationships and Collaboration – Providing our members meaningful collaboration and networking opportunities and encouraging them to develop deep and long-lasting relationships.  These relationships allow members to truly collaborate by identifying areas of similarity, sharing best practices, supporting and encouraging each other to learn and grow.

Check out the news and the new website.

  • Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.
  • Thomas Henry Huxley

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

LinkedIn – A Chance To Learn More

If you are a CPA firm in Ohio, southern Michigan, eastern Indiana, northern Kentucky, western Pennsylvania or West Virginia, the Association for Accounting Administration OHIO Chapter is providing a timely and affordable learning opportunity to leverage the power of LinkedIn for your firm. If you cannot attend, you should send at least one representative from your firm.

Here’s the information from the Chapter:

Leveraging LinkedIn to Grow Your Accounting Firms Business and Influence

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for sales and business development…when you know how to use it correctly! Both the inherent features of LinkedIn as well as the paid advertising features provide many options to help companies of all shapes and sizes generate new business leads. However, used incorrectly and you can find yourself banned from access to your most prized prospect pool or possibly kicked off LinkedIn all together.
We’ll discuss:
  • The power of LinkedIn and leveraging everyone in the firm for visibility and business growth
  • Firm control and management of social media – i.e.   policy and capture software
  • Building profiles for business development vs. job seeking
  • Increasing visibility to target market via status updates and other communications
  • Finding prospect opportunities an introduction away
  • The LinkedIn Company Page and Sponsored Status updates
It all comes down to knowing how to use the Right Strategy, at the Right Time, and in the Right Circumstance.
Date:  July 17, 2015
9:00a Registration and Continental Breakfast
10:00 – 12:00 Presentation (2.0 CPE)
12:00 – 3:00 Lunch and Roundtable (the roundtable discussions are a wonderful benefit)
Price $35
Location: Ohio Society of CPAs, 535 Metroplace South, Dublin, OH

 

  • Active participation on LinkedIn is the best way to say, 'Look at me!' without saying 'Look at me!'.
  • Bobby Darnell