Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Monday, November 14th, 2022

Do This In November

“If I cut you off, chances are you handed me the scissors.” – Unknown

I have written about it often. You have talked about it often.

It is time to off-board several of your current clients. Make room for new and better clients. You do this because:

  • You can add some great clients without overloading (punishing) your staff.
  • You can finally divest yourself of those clients that are always a collection problem.
  • You can weed out those C and D-level clients who are always getting their information to you at the very last minute (again punishing your staff).
  • It gives you room to really focus on providing exceptional, unique client service.
  • It would help you identify, develop and define a true, specialized niche, something your firm can become famous for.
  • It helps you work with people (clients) you really like and enjoy, not those you just tolerate.

Now, November is a good time to notify those clients. If you want a sample of a client termination letter, let me know.

  • People inspire you, or they drain you – pick them wisely.
  • Hans F. Hansen

Friday, November 11th, 2022

If You Want To Grow Or Merge Up, You Need To Be Ready – Flashback Friday

“The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes.” – Benjamin Disraeli

When I talk to practitioners, I always stress that if you plan to merge up, you must still pay attention to the health of your firm. Acquirers want a profitable, efficient firm. They don’t want one that hasn’t kept pace with change.

Read this Flashback post to learn what you must do.

Have a great weekend!

  • I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.
  • Winston Churchill

Thursday, November 10th, 2022

What We Are

“Regardless of what we think we’re teaching, we teach what we are.” – Nathaniel Branden

I hope today you will think about the above quote. I think it says a lot about the CPA profession.

We thought Gen-X would change the way CPA firms operated. But, they were taught by the older generation and that older generation taught what they knew. “We teach what we are” certainly applied.

Those two generations taught the millennials and those three generations are teaching Gen Z.

I believe major changes have certainly happened in some firms but there are many CPA firms operating today much as they operated twenty years ago.

Many people have said, in slightly differing ways, that you become who you surround yourself with.

Have you broken this model? Are you continually acknowledging change and accepting it? Are you teaching what could be rather than what you are now?

  • Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.
  • Mark Ambrose

Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

Moving Online

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

Have you ever wondered, contemplated, or wished that you could move your CPA firm online?

It is not for everyone, but I bet you wonder how it is done. Here’s an email I received from Laura Gannon. She agreed to let me share so you can see how client communication could be framed. I have eliminated the many helpful links that she included in the communication, like email addresses, physical addresses, etc.

I hope you find this helpful. Maybe your firm is ready for this BIG step?

Dear Rita,
BIG NEWS!
We are closing our office in Chelmsford after 15 years! This community has been so supportive of us, we will be forever grateful. This is where I started my business, and it has continued to support many local businesses and employees over the years.

In these changing times, we have seen how effective our staff can be working from anywhere, and we want to be a part of this culture shift that’s happening worldwide.

While we plan to be as connected to clients as ever, this will no longer include meeting at the Chelmsford office. Instead, we will use video conferencing and flexible co-work spaces in West Concord and Salem, Massachusetts. We will continue to collaborate as a team and give you great service, as always.

To make this transition as smooth as possible, check out our FAQ’s at the bottom of the newsletter, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Thank you so much for being a valued client! We appreciate your business.

Thanks,
Laura and the team!
FAQ’s
How can I schedule a virtual meeting? Reach out to any of us individually, Barry, Laura or Hannah, to schedule a virtual meeting.

Where can we meet in person? We have two conference spaces available for meetings. West Concord – The Wheelhouse – Laura will meet clients here! Salem – Workbar – Barry has conference availability here, and he can use any of their 9 locations!

Hannah will have some ability to meet in person, but please coordinate directly with her.

Staff contact info? If you have any questions about processes or procedures, Hannah is our client administrator; feel free to reach out to her @ xxx-xxx-xxxx or click here to email her.

Where do I send physical documents? We prefer electronic documents scanned into to the portal, but if you prefer to send us the physical documents, please use our PO Box XXX in Chelmsford. Address below. Hannah will scan the documents in and return them to you when complete.

  • The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.
  • Nathaniel Branden

Monday, November 7th, 2022

The On-Going Dress Code Saga – Crop Tops

Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” – Rachel Zoe

Over the years, I have heard CPA firm administrators ask the question repeatedly – what does your dress code specify?

I thought we solved the dress code issue when we all accepted “business casual” years ago.

Soon, it became, what does business casual encompass? We fought the open-toe shoes (sandals) topic but gave in. We accepted jeans on Friday, which soon became jeans every day. Getting people back to the office after COVID we accept shorts now (but not short shorts?)

The latest is how to wear a crop top that is office acceptable. So, are you modifying your dress code once again to accept a new trend, crop tops?

I try to accept all this as simply amusing. People who are seriously building their careers know that people judge you immediately on first impressions.

  • You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.
  • Edith Head

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

Productivity

“The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.” – Benjamin E. Mays

It seems that many CPA firms have learned that people working remotely are very productive.

Yet, many CPAs want everyone to return to the office. It makes more sense to ask the individual.

Some people are happier and more productive in the office, while others are happier and more productive working remotely. Ask the individual and support them in the work style that suits them best.

Simply set the expectation for productivity and let people choose.

  • Lost time is never found again.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Someone Should Be In Charge

“If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it.” – Charles Kettering

Accounting firms operate with the partnership model. I call it the Committee Model – everyone has a voice, and nothing gets accomplished. The most progressive firms have a strong CEO who uses a few close advisors and then makes decisions to move the firm forward. If that person abuses their power, makes poor decisions, etc., they are replaced. How does your firm work? Or, why doesn’t your firm work?

I like to share a Seth Godin post in its entirety occasionally. Here’s one that applies to CPAs.

Perfect might be the enemy of good in group dynamics and choice making

When one person needs to fix a wall, adjust a cabinet or choose what to serve for dinner, they can optimize their choice. Make appropriate trade-offs. Take responsibility for the path chosen.

But when a group of people are asked to do the same thing, it’s easy to err on the side of the pursuit of perfect, or to choose to average things out.

And so the legal team weighs in, and consultants are hired. And so, “but what if?” is always considered, regardless of how rare that outcome might actually be. Entire industries are built around creating deniable, average products and services that are sure to delight no one, cost more than they might and insulate the committee from backlash.

When you find yourself creeping in this direction, it might be worth asking what the risk is of simply suspending the committee and putting someone in charge instead.

  • A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours.
  • Milton Berle

Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

Reflection

“Selling out is doing something you don’t really want to do for money. That’s what selling out is.” – Bono

It is a beautiful Fall in Ohio. The trees have been vibrant with color this year, and we have had day after day of beautiful weather, although we do need some rain.

When Fall arrives, it makes me feel like it is time for reflection. It puts me in a “winding down” mood. For CPA firms, after the October 15th deadline, it means it is time for action! November is when you have to finish all of those internal projects that make the firm more efficient and profitable. It is not a time for “winding down” it is a time for gearing up for the busy season that will arrive after the holidays.

As for my reflection, I read this morning that another well-known CPA firm has given up the ghost and merged up into one of the mega firms. It makes me sad. I think about so many firms (dozens of them) I have known and worked with over my many years working in public accounting. They have disappeared and are mostly forgotten. The local/regional mid-size firms have evidently failed to develop the next generation of owners, and they have no choice but to sell out.

  • It's not selling out, it is called making lots of money.
  • Mick Jagger

Friday, October 14th, 2022

Embrace New Tasks – Don’t Cling To Old Ones

“When I go to a party, nobody says hello. But when I leave, everybody says goodbye.” – George Gobel

This week Flashback Friday addresses a problem that I observe in so many firms. People (including partners and managers) cling to work that is familiar and easily accomplished.

At each level in the firm, you need to say goodbye to routine work and embrace new and more difficult challenges. Read this post from last year – Don’t hesitate to say goodbye.

  • To get a new job you need to leave the old job behind.
  • Seth Godin

Thursday, October 13th, 2022

Now It’s Non-Linear Work

“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they [are] at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.” – Richard Branson

All of these new terms for the workforce just keep expanding. Flexible, remote, hybrid, off-shore, on-shore, the great resignation, quiet quitting, and there are probably more!

Here’s one I just read about; maybe your team is already utilizing it. They probably are if they are fully remote.

It is called the non-linear workday. We have been so used to and comfortable with the regular 8 to 5 workday. Some employees are expected to be online and available during those hours even if they are working from home.

Remote work has given rise to all sorts of new working patterns, including the ‘non-linear workday.’ Employees in this arrangement can do their jobs outside the traditional rigid nine-to-five block, often whenever works best for them.

Some of your employees might be much more productive if they work very early in the morning and end their workday early afternoon. Another employee might prefer to work a couple of hours in the morning and return to work after dinner or after the kids go to bed. The day can be broken up in many different ways that suit the work style of the individual.

“It’s no longer really about effort and time spent, it’s about creating the best outcomes. As the nature of work has shifted, so too has the way workers want to optimize how they do that work.” – Aaron De Smet

Read more about it in this informative article via the BBC. Of course, I know that CPAs will be thinking, “How do we keep track of it all?”

  • I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
  • Thomas Edison