Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Getting Things Done

“I’ve found that employing even one of these five strategies can save you hours each week.” – Elizabeth Grace Saunders

You always have so much to do. You are busy, busy, busy. There is always a new due date around the corner.

Last week as I talked with several clients about how it felt to have the September 15th due date behind them there was a common theme. They noted, “We still have twenty trusts to get done by September 30 and then there are 75 1040s still to do for October 15th!

You know how this goes in an accounting firm.

Elizabeth Grace Saunders, an internationally recognized expert on effective time management offers us 5 Strategies for Getting More Work Done in Less Time via HBR.

She notes: You’ve got more to do than could possibly get done with your current work style. You’ve prioritized. You’ve planned. You’ve delegated. You’ve tried to focus. The next frontier is increasing your efficiency so that you can spend less time and still do a good job.

The Five Strategies

  1. Clarify Actual Expectations
  2. Re-Use Previous Material
  3. Develop Templates and Checklists
  4. Make it a Conversation
  5. Time Box Your Work

Read about each of them here.

  • Without hustle, talent will only carry you so far.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Ingenuity

“It is true that I sometimes compliment myself upon my ingenuity.” – Hercule Poirot

Definition of ingenuity: The quality of being clever, original, and inventive.

I have observed that CPAs in public practice like to follow the crowd.

They call it best practices. I don’t deny that learning from others is a good thing.

But, is your firm a leader firm, the one developing ideas, implementing and setting the pace for others, or are you one of the cautious ones waiting to see what happens with other firms before you dip your toe into the cold waters?

You always start slowly and carefully doing something that you have not done before, because you are not sure if you will like it or if it will be successful.

Once in a while, I urge you, use your ingenuity.

You have a great idea about improving efficiency. You are not aware of any other CPA firms doing it. Try it. Test it. Is anyone going to die if the initiative fails? No, just explain, “Well, that didn’t work. Let’s try something else!”

  • Never tell people how to do things. tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
  • George S. Patton

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Tax Document Automation

“Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates.

In his August 2020 column for CPA Practice Advisor, Randy Johnston gives you valuable information about automating your tax documents.

Many advisors seem to recommend the same tax automation strategies no matter what the size of your firm. Johnston suggests that one size does not fit all.

Did you have to send your administrative team into the office to scan documents so the staff could work remotely? This happened at many firms and put the admin team at risk for COVID.

In the article Johnston covers:

  • What is the right tax document automation?
  • What tools are most effective, provide the highest ROI, or are easy to miss?
  • Decide the right thing for you, your firm, and your clients.

Capitalize on Johnston’s helpful guidance by reading the article here.

  • The robots of the cartoons and movies from the 1970s are going to be the reality of the 2020s
  • Alec Ross

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

A Manager’s Life

“The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.” – Warren Bennis

How are your managers coping with life during COVID? Have you wondered or even asked them recently?

Of course, firm leaders have been concerned about their entire team and how working remotely has impacted production. But how has it specifically challenged your managers?

Recently, I heard from a Manager at a very large firm express the challenges of his role. Meetings! He said that all day long it is meetings, Zoom meetings and other meetings (conference calls) and then he has to work until 9:00 p.m. to get his work done.

Now is the time to plan how working remotely will work more efficiently and effectively going into the future. A remote workforce will be part of your culture probably forever. Establish a task force, if you haven’t already, to determine how you can make it more palatable for everyone.

  • If you are not in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?
  • T. S. Eliot

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Your Office Space

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” – Oscar Wilde

I recently read where Sikich is planning to permanently shift its workspace model to one centered on remote work.

If you don’t know them, Sikich LLP, is a leading professional services firm specializing in accounting, advisory, technology and managed services. Founded in 1982, Sikich now ranks within the country’s top 30 largest Certified Public Accounting firms.

The Chicago-based firm plans to shrink the size of its office space and allow its more than 1,000 professionals to work from home indefinitely.

Over the next several years, the company will replace its 14 current US offices with 30 micro offices that employees can use when not working from home or at client sites. The days of shelling out for giant office spaces – such as the company’s massive 120,000 square foot office space in Naperville, Illinois – are, however, likely numbered.

Their CEO noted that they were already planning this transformation before the pandemic struck. About one-third of their workforce was already working remotely.

What’s the plan for your office? Do you really need a large, impressive office to impress your clients? How will you provide more remote options without losing the important, personal relationships that develop when everyone is working together in the same work space? Now is the time to think about all this and develop your plan. Your employees are wondering what the future holds.

Read the article here.

  • There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.
  • Victor Hugo

Monday, September 14th, 2020

The Journey From Manager to Partner

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.” – T. D. Jakes

The Ohio Chapter of The CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) will be hosting a REMOTE-ZOOM meeting on Friday, September 18 at 11:00a.

The presentation will be an informative one for firm administrators and managing partners. The presenter will be a “new” partner in a CPA firm and will discuss her experiences in moving from Manager to Partner.

The Journey from Manager to Partner  

Niki Doctor, CPA will be sharing her experiences in moving from Manager to Partner in a CPA firm. The purpose of this presentation is to help firms understand what the firm’s leadership should be focusing on besides just the technical skills and book of business.  Our environment is changing rapidly and the needs of our firms and our clients are changing as well. Learn how can we make the transition from Manager to Partner successful.

ABOUT NIKI DOCTOR – She has over 17 years of public accounting experience and has been at Bregante + Company LLP since 2012. Niki began her career at Bregante + Company LLP as a Manager in 2012 and became a Partner in 2018. Niki believes in providing and offering bespoke solutions to her clients and assisting them in making financially sound business decisions. She is committed to client success and strives to provide prompt and efficient services to all her clients. Niki specializes in closely-held businesses and high net worth individuals that require tax planning, tax advisory, international tax, and compliance services. She also works with businesses that require a combination of tax services and financial accounting, including compilations and reviews with vast experience in the real estate, retail/wholesale, manufacturing, distribution, architecture and engineering, high t-tech, and professional services.

Register securely on line.

  • You’ve got to have rules to live by, and one of mine is always say yes. Put yourself in danger of something amazing happening to you.
  • Tom Bilyeu

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

Accounting Graduates

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy

There are reports that tell us that the number of accounting graduates being hired is steadily declining. Yet, many firms are still saying that they need people.

In some firms, the “need people” has come to mean they need more non-accounting graduates, such as people with more advanced technology skills.

Per Todd Shapiro, CEO of the Illinois CPA society says, in an article via Accounting today: “Hiring of accounting graduates is down 30 percent. That’s a massive decline in hiring of accounting graduates by CPA firms. This isn’t companies that traditionally haven’t hired accounting graduates that aren’t CPAs. These are accounting firms.”

I was surprised by this statement from Barry Melancon a few years ago: Today we are a profession of CPA-led firms, not CPA firms. Two-thirds of the employees in all firms are non-CPAs.

Shapiro notes that firms are hiring more non-accounting graduates. It only makes sense to me that accounting students need to be sure that they have more advanced technology skills than at any time in the past.

If you didn’t read the article by Michael Cohn (via Accounting Today), you should.

  • You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality.
  • Walt Disney

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

Your Foundation

“The important thing is that you’ve got a strong foundation before you start to try to save the world or help other people.” – Richard Branson

Does your CPA firm have a solid foundation?

I often talk about the internal workings of a firm as the foundational issues. Do you have effective and efficient processes and procedures as it relates to client service and also how it relates to human resources issues? If there are many different ways to accomplish client work, it cannot be as efficient as having one way, the FIRM way. In too many firms, the way work is completed depends on the partner-in-charge of the client engagement.

Of course, there are other foundational issues relating to the services you offer and the needs of your clients. Those issues are changing. The once-solid foundation of the CPA profession consisting of accounting, tax, and audit is becoming rather shaky!

Joey Havens, CPA, CGMA, is the executive partner at HORNE LLP. He offers us a closer look at your foundation in his article, Five Ways Firms Can Solidify Their Business Foundation via the AICPA, CPA Insider. Take a few minutes to read his tips.

  • Great persons are great because of good, strong foundations on which they were able to build a character.
  • Alfred Armand Montapert

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Working From Home

“Unfortunately, most accounting firms were not ready for ‘stay at home orders.’ – – Gary Boomer

There has been so much written about how to more efficiently work from home. It involves a lot of small details and some big decisions.

The progressive firms that I know have provided the technology needed for their teams to work from home for years but they did not expect that suddenly EVERYONE would be working from home.

Recently, via Accounting Today’s Boomer’s Blueprint, Gary Boomer gives us 10 tips for working from home. Listed below are the 10 Tips titles. Be sure to read Boomer’s comments about each topic.

  • Bandwith
  • Connection
  • Lighting
  • Background
  • Microphone
  • Camera
  • Mute or Stay open
  • Interruptions
  • Use a desk
  • View

Boomer notes that the biggest obstacle is paper. For years, way too many firms have told me “we are sort of paperless.” He also notes that the biggest advantage is the cloud.

  • To collaborative team members, completing one another is more important than competing with one another.
  • John C. Maxwell

Monday, August 31st, 2020

What People Think About Working From Home

“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office.'” – Paul Tsongas

Here are some interesting stats from a recent survey of people working from home. I wonder what your accounting firm team members think about the new normal?

JDP recently surveyed more than 2,000 Americans who typically work in offices who are now working from home full-time to try and learn more about this pandemic-spurred era of remote work.

Here’s what they found:

  • 77% of those surveyed said they are working different hours from home than they would at the office. 66% said they are more likely to work nights and weekends than before. 
  • 67% of Americans surveyed said their productivity is the same or better when working from home, although 54% reported more distractions working from home. 
  • 42% said they are working less than usual from home. 33% reported working more. 25% reported working the same. 
  • Those who are working more said it was hard to keep boundaries between work and home life as the main reason why. Those working less reported having less work to do. 
  • A whopping 92% of respondents said they believe their boss trusts them working from home…and 86% say they’ve taken advantage of their freedom while working remotely. 

Learn more from the full report.

  • You will never be truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.
  • Heather Schuck