Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

The Busyness Paradox

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter F. Drucker

I love the above quote from Drucker. It certainly applies to some of the work inside a CPA firm.

I have observed that in most CPA firms, there is a culture of busyness. It creeps into how you talk and how you act or react.

You need to do this but you get distracted by that. Just having to quickly check your email turns into an hour or two. You become focused on the immediate rather than the important.

I just read an informative article via HBR by Brigid Schulte – Preventing Busyness from Becoming Burnout.

The author states: “I largely blamed myself for not making the time to do more ambitious, high-priority work, or managing to get it all done within reasonable hours and have more time for life. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to see how I was trapped in a busyness tunnel.”

Here’s an excerpt that explains the Busyness Paradox:

Here’s how the busyness paradox works: When we’re busy and have that high-octane, panicked feeling that time is scarce — what one participant called the “sustained moment of hecticness” through the workday — our attention and ability to focus narrows. Behavioral researchers call this phenomenon “tunneling.” And, like being in a tunnel, we’re only able to concentrate on the most immediate, and often low value, tasks right in front of us. (Research has found we actually lose about 13 IQ points in this state.) We run around putting out fires all day, racing to meetings, ploughing through emails, and getting to 5 or 6 PM with the sick realization that we haven’t even started our most important work of the day.

I am sure much of this sounds all too familiar to all of us who have worked, or who are currently working, inside a “busy” CPA firm! It is a serious issue in the CPA profession and one that drives young workers away from public accounting.

Take a few minutes to read the entire article. The author gives you “3 Ways to Break Your Employees Out of the Busyness Paradox.”

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Partners Doing Partner Work

“Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” –Will Rogers

Many CPA firm partners do manager work, client service manager work. Many CPA firm partners do internal management/administrative work, firm administrator/COO work.

Don’t get caught in these traps.

Some partners use management/administrative work to fill idle time when they should be:

  1. Bringing in new business
  2. Training/Mentoring/Sponsoring younger team members
  3. Building stronger client relationships

Your COO/Firm Administrator should be continually taking non-billable work away from the managing partner and the other partners.

Here’s how much money a COO could save partners annually. The BIG issue is, the partners must use the saved hours to create revenue!

Save Ptr money

  • Money often costs too much.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Don’t Complain, Do Something

“Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.” – Teddy Roosevelt

There is a lot of complaining and what I call drama going on inside accounting firms. That’s why the quote, above, inspired this post.

Most of us have learned this one: When a team member comes to you for an answer, redirect them and ask them to come to you with the question and also with a suggested solution.

When leaders identify an issue, a challenge, an idea… they often fail to act. It is the classic failure to implement. It turns into a session of whining.

whiningMaybe it is time to buy a sign. You can get one for $1.39.

 

  • You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.
  • Shirley Chisholm

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

The Importance of the Firm Administrator

The majority of people in the accounting profession operate at Levels I and II. – Gary Boomer

There is a good article by Gary Boomer via Accounting Today – Leadership, Management, and Administration: What’s the difference”

Here are some tidbits:

Boomer refers to Jim Collins’ five levels of leadership from his book “Good to Great.” He defines the levels as:

  • Level I: Capable individual
  • Level II: Contributing team member
  • Level III: Competent manager
  • Level IV: Effective leader
  • Level V: Executive

Administrative personnel are often expected to have all the skills, especially in smaller firms that have a part-time managing partner or CEO. This is a monumental task, and often people are set up to fail in the role of firm administrator. People in these positions require professional development, peer networks, and management resources to succeed. The biggest risk is they are viewed by many accountants, including some partners, as overhead, rather than as a strategic asset.

It’s a great article – Read the entire article here.

  • People leave firms because of bad managers, not because of the firm.
  • Gary Boomer

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

5 Hidden Challenges

“I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.” – Machiavelli

I followed a link via Twitter by Joey Havens, the Executive Partner at Horne, LLP. @JoeyHavensCPA

It led me to – 5 Hidden Challenges.. that are drowning the accounting profession.  – These challenges are what we call, cultural quicksand. Firms that understand and avoid hidden cultural quicksand will experience an abundance of growth and enduring prosperity. What got us here as a profession will not get us where we need to go. Do not let challenges that slow us down remain hidden.

Check it out and share it with your partners.

 

  • Pessimism doesn't grow your business or even maintain the status quo. The pessimists on your staff make the job harder for everyone around them. They make difficulties out of opportunities.
  • Harvey Mackay

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Build A Great Firm

I read the following quote yesterday and it inspired my comments for today:

“Everyone wants to DO what the great ones do but very few are willing to do what they DID to become great!” – Jon Gordon

I talk to various firm owners. Many tell me they want to grow. They want to be more profitable. They want to become completely paperless. They want to move to the cloud. They want to have a better system for providing feedback to their people. They want to attract top talent. They want to develop future leaders to take care of succession issues.

They have heard and read about some of the leading firms in the profession, firms that have accomplished all of the above. They want to be like them.

BUT…. read the quote again.

  • Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner.
  • Les Brown

Monday, July 1st, 2019

That Mystical Place…. the Cloud

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

Now that tax season is over and somewhat slower summer months are upon us, I am hearing from and talking directly to more CPA practitioners.

I continue to be amazed at the slowness with which so many accounting firms are advancing in paperless and movement to the cloud. Many firms tell me that they are paperless in that they don’t keep paper files. Yet, they admit that paper still flows around the office (client source documents, route sheets, etc.). As for the cloud, they confess that they are “somewhat” in the cloud.

That’s why a blog via Right Networks and written by Gene Marks caught my eye. He explains The Five Risks of Not Going To The Cloud. He notes, “Yes, you should be leveraging the cloud for all of your firm’s data – including your clients’ data. In fact, not doing so creates more risk than rewards.”

I hope you take the time to read the article that explains more about these five significant risks:

  1. The risk of data loss.
  2. The risk of your internal infrastructure.
  3. The risk of your IT staff.
  4. The risk of security.
  5. The client expectation risk.

Read more here.

  • For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Wastes To Look At In Your Firm

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey Mackay

Last week I read the tweet below from @AccountingEdit (Dan Hood). He was attending the Rainmaker Superconference in Atlanta. So much is said in just these few words. Read these few words and apply them to your CPA firm.

Wastes to look for (in your firm and at your clients):

Defects: In which areas are things not right the 1st time?

Waiting: Where can time taken be reduced?

Over-engineering: Do too much for money charged

Process: There’s no process or a flawed process

  • I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
  • William Shakespeare

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Keep It Simple

“Simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau

Recently, we joined a group of friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant. It was one of those restaurants that provided a menu that weighed about two pounds and seemed like a coffee table book. The hostess seemed to struggle to carry eight of them as she led us to our table. These types of restaurants always make me wonder who they are trying to impress.

This visit was different.

They have a new, simple menu that you open, lay it flat and that’s it. A front cover, two facing pages inside and more choices on the back. Most of the offerings we were used to were included.

Maybe restaurants are trying to impress people with their expensive looking menus but I was more impressed with the simplicity and ease of ordering.

How many things are you making more complicated in your firm just because you have always done things a certain way? Now is the time to simplify! Technology will make it happen.

  • Customers require the effective integration of technologies to simplify their workflow and boost efficiency.
  • Anne M. Mulcahy

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Continuous Testing for the CPA Exam

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”     Jack Canfield

Great news for your future CPAs. In case you haven’t heard, continuous testing for the CPA Exam has been approved.

Be sure you are constantly encouraging your new hires to take the Exam! Here’s some information released by the Ohio Society of CPAs:

Soon CPA exam candidates won’t have to wait until the next testing window to retake a section, thanks to a revised NASBA rule.

In April the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy approved the Uniform Accountancy Act Model Rule 5-7(a)(2) rule, stating “…a Candidate can retake a Test Section once their grade for any previous attempt of the same Test Section has been released.” The news was announced in the May board report.

“It’s one of those things that everyone has always wanted,” said Laura Hay, CPA, vice president of The Ohio Society of CPAs. “It’s just now the administration and technology have all caught up.”

Most states, including Ohio, will have to change their rules to permit the revision, but Hay predicted most states will be in favor, and it will be a question of resources and how quickly they are able to make the change.

For future test-takers, this means saving valuable time on that 18-month countdown that begins once candidates pass the first section. According to the AICPA website, with the current system, if you take a section of the exam on July 20, you would have to wait until October to take the next section, despite receiving your score on August 6.

The plan is to roll out continuous testing by July 2020.

  • Exams test your memory, life tests your learning; others will test your patience.
  • Fennel Hudson