Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Don’t Give Up

“‘Oh well’, said Miss Marble, ‘it’s just perseverance, isn’t it, that leads to things.'” — Agatha Christie

The Agatha Christie crime sleuth, Miss Jane Marple, consistently solves murder cases by demonstrating perseverance.

The many issues that need attention inside a busy, growing accounting firm must be attacked in the same way. Simply persevere!

Firm Administrators/Practice Managers, now that October 15th has passed, are facing a formidable list of things to do.

One administrator shared a list of things that need to be addressed before year-end:

  • We need to become truly and wholly paperless.
  • We need to hire a Tax Manager!
  • We need to hire an additional administrative professional.
  • Our website needs to be updated!
  • We must upgrade our phone system.
  • We are adding a new server (we are not in the cloud yet!).

Plus, just the daily occurrences that need attention from any firm administrator.

Many of you are facing similar challenges as the year draws to a close. It won’t be easy but keep in mind Miss Marple’s quote, above. Perseverance pays off!

  • Success comes from curiosity, concentration, perseverance, and self-criticism.
  • Albert Einstein

Monday, October 11th, 2021

The Best People Work Here

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” – Jim Collins

Hopefully, you have worked very diligently on building a brand that attracts and retains clients. You have testimonials that stress the fact that your firm is knowledgeable, progressive, and meets your client’s expectations for awesome service. You have experts in many disciplines and are also very active in community and charitable organizations. All of that builds a brand that attracts quality clients.

That brand also attracts quality people but with people, you need more. How prestigious is it to work at your firm? Is it prestigious at all? Bruce Tulgan calls it the prestige factor. Per Tulgan, “Prestigious organizations send two messages: ‘Not everyone gets to work here,’ and ‘It is a privilege and an honor to work here.’”

Much of this falls on the shoulders of your managers. How much have you invested in their people management skills? When managers set high expectations for themselves and those they manage you begin to build a prestigious workplace. It is up to managers (and partners also fill the role of manager), to weed out low performers. Your “all-stars” do not like working at a firm that tolerates “falling stars.

In this era of the great resignation, you need to take immediate steps to build your firm’s prestige factor. Read more from Tulgan here.

  • The one thing that organizations with prestigious cultures have in common is a reputation for shining a bright light of scrutiny on performance.
  • Bruce Tulgan

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

Engagement Letters for CARES Act Consulting

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

It is always good to be reminded about accurately covering services you provide in engagement letters, especially those advisory services relating to the CARES Act.

Here is a good reminder and a resource from my friend Stephen Vono of McGowanPRO professional liability insurance:

CPAs need to be vigilant in advising clients affected by the pandemic regarding all programs available through the federal, state, and local government agencies. Historical claims data shows that failure to advise clients is a common potential claim against accountants. This engagement letter will assist you in describing the scope of services when performing Cares Act-related consulting and advisory services.

For further eligibility requirements, please refer to the United States Government Health and Human Services website. www.hhs.gov 

Contact: John F. Raspante – Director of Risk Management | p: 732.216.7552  jraspante@mcgowanprofessional.com 
Stephen Vono – Senior VP |  p: 732.216.7552 svono@mcgowanprofessional.com
Download E/L here.

  • It is easy to make promises - it is hard to keep them.
  • Boris Johnson

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Another View of Remote Workers

“Deep human connection is… the purpose and the result of a meaningful life – and it will inspire the most amazing acts of love, generosity, and humanity.” – Melinda Gates

Some people like working remotely and have adapted easily. We hear so much about them. But what about the many people who actually like being with other people?

I think it is human nature to enjoy being with other humans. Happy hermits are few and far between. Some comments I have heard from the younger generation lately made a lot of sense to me, as follows:

Young lady, graduated college in 2020. Has worked remotely for a year. – “I want a REAL job where I go to an office!”

Another young lady, early in her career. – “I am tired of being home all the time!”

Young mother with children in school. She was told by her employer that she would never go back to the office. She would remain remote. – “I get kids on the bus and get kids off the bus. Between those times I work at home. I feel trapped!”

Maybe it is time to rethink making your office attractive and welcoming to employees (and also to clients). I am sure many of you have offered a hybrid solution but don’t forget there are people who really want the in-office environment. It could be a real advantage when doing college recruiting.

  • The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection.
  • Robin Sharma

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

“THE” Exam

“Students are struggling to afford that fifth year of school.” – Daniel Hood 

There are a lot of discussions recently about the difficulty of passing the CPA Exam and requiring five years of education (the 150-hour rule) to become a CPA. These are the reasons college accounting majors are giving for not going into public accounting.

Accounting Today editor-in-chief, Dan Hood puts this dilemma in question form to all of you out there. He asks, “Is it too hard to become a CPA?” He notes that CPA profession leaders/consultants say that the number of students in accounting dropped from 2% in 1990 to 1% in 2000. The 90s is when the 150-hour rule became prominent in many states. The Exam itself is widely known to be very grueling. What could be the answer?

Read the article and give him your personal feedback.

In my personal opinion (and please note, I am not a CPA but have worked with them for over 40 years), the extra year of education is a waste of money and effort. I have never been able to see how that extra year made incoming recruits any better prepared than those that came before them. The CPA Exam should be on the “grueling” side. Clients rely on CPAs for their amazing expertise and advice. If they want to remain “the most trusted advisor” they not only have to prove their current knowledge, they have to commit to LIFE LONG learning to add to that knowledge.

  • The CPA profession is facing serious staffing challenges and long-term threats around its ability to attract future professionals.
  • Daniel Hood

Monday, August 23rd, 2021

Firms Are Adapting

“We look forward to this next chapter on our journey to be the Firm of the Future.” – Matt Snow, CEO DHG

There has been a lot of talk about how firms will adjust their workforce model going into the future.

Back in July, I shared some news about one large firm’s new office and how it is designed to serve future needs.

Recently, CPA Practice Advisor shared some news about DHG’s new hybrid workforce model. DHG, in September, will be unveiling something they call “DHG Anywhere”. The workforce model will create flexibility within reasonable boundaries and is being called “Freedom Within a Framework.”

Their plan makes a lot of sense to me and I expect many other firms to make similar adjustments in the coming months and years.

Be sure to read the article to get the full details.

  • The future depends on what you do today.
  • Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021

Focus On Your Remote Culture

“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, it’s deadly.” – Mark Sanborn

It is pretty much a given now that many accounting firms will continue to have remote workers. Some will be completely remote and some will be hybrid. Hybrid is what seems to be favored by most firms. Be sure to define what hybrid means for each individual.

The old firm culture seems to have disappeared. So, how do you reignite your culture and keep it healthy and vibrant with many remote workers?

The most important activity is communication. In almost every firm I encounter, feedback from staff indicates that communication is one of the firm’s biggest issues. It will be an even bigger challenge when you have permanent remote workers.

Your managers are key in building and maintaining a vibrant culture whether you have remote workers or not. Managers must be truly managing other people, something that wasn’t happening prior to COVID. Firm owners must help their managers by providing more training and ongoing encouragement from owners.

Some tips for managers:

  • Clearly set expectations when assigning work.
  • Be flexible about when the remote person does the work as long as the engagements get completed on time and accurately.
  • Communicate frequently and keep staff informed of deadlines. Use email, texts, phone calls, video chats and determine which form of communication is more comforable for the individual.
  • Managers must be good listeners. Inquire but don’t micromanage.
  • Provide opportunities for staff to engage with each other in an informal way so that they get to know each other on a personal level and realize they are part of a team.
  • Celebrate small successes and develop ways to continually show staff that they are trusted and appreciated.
  • People are more productive working at home than people would have expected. Some people thought that everything was just going to fall apart, and it hasn’t. And a lot of people are actually saying that they’re more productive now.
  • Mark Zuckerberg

Thursday, August 5th, 2021

Interesting Development

“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.” – Scott Adams

I read a press release yesterday that I thought would be of interest to you.

Rootworks (Darren Root) has acquired CPA Practice Advisor. As you probably know, Rootworks was acquired by Right Networks a while back. Rootworks is now “a company of Right Networks.”

Here’s a link to the press release via Yahoo.

  • All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, July 26th, 2021

The Latest On Accounting Firm M&A

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

If you haven’t seen the recent interview of Allan Koltin by Russell Shapiro, it’s time you took a few minutes and watched it.

CPA firm leaders need to keep current on the latest trends in M&A and there is no one more in-tune than Allan Koltin.

  • It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
  • Herman Melville

Monday, July 19th, 2021

Considering A CRM For Your Firm?

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden

When I worked at a CPA firm, I was always proud of the fact that the firm was on the leading edge when it came to new ideas, processes, and software tools. We were paperless very early on but waited several years for a Document Management System that actually fit the CPA profession.

One technology tool we never purchased and one that I hesitate to recommend for CPA firms is a CRM (Client Relationship Management). Data is only as good as what is fed into the system. I knew that our partners would simply not expend the extra effort to record important client information and conversations into the system. The old slogan applied: Garbage in, garbage out.

That is why I enjoyed a recent article by Gene Marks (the famous guy you see on TV) who is a CPA. The title: On CRM: The Best CRM For An Accounting Firm Is Probably No CRM.

He explains particular things that apply to accountants that make them poor candidates for a CRM. His company has even tried and failed to implement CRMs in a dozen firms.

Be sure to read his article. I am sure the reasons for CRM failure will sound very familiar to you!

  • The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
  • Henry Ford