Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

Is This You?

“If in anything I have faith in something you could call the human spirit – I have faith it will always save itself at the last minute.” – Vashti Bunyan

There is a cast of characters working inside every CPA firm. You probably give them nicknames. Just maybe you are one of those famous characters yourself.

The nickname – Last Minute Larry or Last Minute Lisa might apply to more than one partner in your firm. They just simply seem to be unable to manage their clients who are also last-minute types.

Lighten-up, maybe this shirt would be a great gift!

IMG_0715

 

  • We humans appear on the cosmic calendar so recently that our recorded history occupies only the last few seconds of the last minute of December 31st.
  • Carl Sagan

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Deal With Toxic People

“If you put good apples into a bad situation, you’ll get bad apples.” – Philip Zimbardo

I am continually amazed at how many accounting firm leaders tolerate toxic employees.

Over the years, it is one of the issues that I discover inside many firms both large and small. It is the classic case where someone’s work product is fine but almost all of their peers dislike them and even fear them. In some cases, the offender ignores firm guidelines and openly belittles people.

They seem to serve the clients okay, but do you know for sure? Have talented people left your firm because you continually protect the “Attila the Hun” personality type?

Now is the time to deal with it before you get into another busy season.

I have blogged about this topic often hoping it will inspire leaders to deal with bad apples. Yet, the situations still seems to flourish. Here’s an informative article from HBR that might convince you to take action – How One Corrupt Employee Can a Whole Team.

  • Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
  • Epicurus

Friday, September 13th, 2019

Working the Weekend

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” – Rita Mae Brown

It’s Friday the 13th. The September extension due date is Monday because the 15th falls on Sunday.

In progressive, efficient and profitable firms, Friday is the final day, the due date. They won’t be delivering tax returns at the last minute on Monday.

Their valuable team will not be working this Saturday and Sunday.

If you are not in this group, you should strive to attain this practice when future due dates roll around.

 

  • As you schedule individual tasks, give yourself a cushion. Mark the due date a few days ahead of the actual deadline so you have time to deal with changes or last-minute emergencies.
  • Harvey Mackay

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

Focus On Your Career Success

“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”  Chris Grosser

Several years ago, I would speak to students majoring in business courses at a local community college. These students were typical students along with some non-traditional (older) individuals refocusing their careers. I enjoyed meeting and talking with all of them. They were always very enthusiastic.

I talked about the Seven Secrets of Career Success and elaborated on each one. After each session I would leave them with a postcard from me with the following tips:

Advice from Rita Keller

Seven Secrets of Career Success

  • Become a quick-change artist
  • Commit fully to your career
  • Speed up
  • Behave like you’re in business for yourself
  • Practice lifelong learning
  • Manage your own morale
  • Be a fixer – not a finger pointer

I requested that they put the postcard reminder somewhere on their desk, bulletin board or mirror where they would be reminded every day of what is important for career success.

Maybe you should be thinking about these Seven Secrets, too!

 

  • Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don't wish it were easier; wish you were better.
  • Jim Rohn

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Changes in Hiring and in Technology

“Every business is having to transform today, no matter the size,” Melancon explained. “It’s up to us to transform to meet those expectations.” – Barry Melancon, CEO AICPA

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have noticed that the future of the CPA profession means if you haven’t refocused your practice on consulting you won’t be successful in the future.

I don’t really believe that the move to significantly more consulting is happening (or will happen) as rapidly as the leaders of the profession predict. From my years of experience with CPAs, the majority always proceed with caution.

It is true that public accounting firms are hiring more non-CPAs and that is a current trend that will definitely continue. These non-CPAs will bring more consulting opportunities and skills into firms.

The current pyramid model in most firms will move to more of a diamond shape. The base-level tasks will be automated or outsourced. The middle level of experts an consultants will grow and the ownership group, at the top of the diamond, will still be the smaller elite.

A different kind of hiring is just one change. Another major change lies in technology. Firm leaders must be willing to invest more than ever in technology. They must also invest time in learning and relearning to keep pace with the technology available.

Read more about all this in this informative article by Danielle Lee via Accounting Today.

 

  • The ability to learn will be one of the most important skills for accountants going forward.
  • Barry Melancon

Friday, August 30th, 2019

Flashback Friday – Don’t Procrastinate.

“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin

It is comfortable to do it – to put things off. It not comfortable having to do something in a rush and at the last minute. Here’s this week’s flashback.

Fight Your Urge to Procrastinate.

  • My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.
  • Charles Dickens

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Don’t Leave Public Accounting!

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” — Steve Jobs

So many times over the years I have heard people working in public accounting say, “Public accounting is not for me. I’m going to work for local business.”

If you have only worked at one CPA firm, I implore you to think before you bail out of public accounting. Try another firm first! Not all firm are alike. Sure, they do much of the same work but leadership and culture vary greatly. Public accounting is a lucrative career. In a firm with 33 people, the average partner salary is $382,092.

Lifestyle matters, too. One of my clients is a small firm, in a smaller market in Central Ohio. They are looking to hire. If you are looking for a new opportunity where it is truly a value pricing firm and you never have to keep a timesheet, check out their ad:

CPA / ACCOUNTANT

Are you ready to join an innovative accounting firm with a solid portfolio of diverse clients and over 25 years of success?  We have a big vision, an amazing culture and are looking for that next great fit to join our growing team!  If you love taking care of clients in a meaningful way, giving them high-quality deliverables and service, and are tired of tracking every 5 (or even 15) minutes of your day, then you may be our next great addition! Snyder & Company has escaped the traditional model, leaving behind the billable hour and the counterproductive nonsense it creates. Relocation assistance is available.  Intrigued? Click for more information:  

https://www.snydercpas.com/job-opportunity

 

  • There is no passion to be found in playing small — in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living.
  • Nelson Mandela

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

Flashback Friday – Mergers 2019

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell

There are major changes ahead for M&A – read more here in this flashback post.

  • Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.
  • Jim Rohn

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

The Hiring Model Has Shifted For CPA Firms

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” – Sigmund Freud

The following is a press release I received from the AICPA. It is much longer than my normal post but I think it is important for firm leaders to read. Read it, then think about it and begin making plans.

Public Accounting Firm Hiring Model Shifts: AICPA ‘Trends Report’

  • Undergraduate accounting enrollments were second highest on record in 2017-2018
  • AICPA is working with key stakeholders on programs to strengthen pipeline of talent entering the profession

NEW YORK (Aug. 12, 2019) – Rapid advances in technology continue to impact the accounting profession. As CPA firms shift their hiring models to focus more on technology skills, non-accounting graduates now comprise 31 percent of all new graduate hires in public accounting. That’s an increase of 11 percentage points from 2016 to 2018, according to the “2019 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits,” released today by the AICPA.

The biennial report, published since 1971, provides statistical projections and expectations based upon university responses for the 2017-2018 academic year and firm responses for the 2018 calendar year. This data provides a snapshot of the profession, set against the current economy, and the ability to forecast future trends.

“Increased demand for technology skills is shifting the accounting firm hiring model. This is leading to more non-accounting graduates being hired, particularly in the audit function,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA president and CEO, and CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “CPAs have an unmatched reputation for trust and integrity, earned through decades of working in the public interest. However, to play this vital role in the future will require an increased focus on technology.  It is incumbent upon the profession to ensure accounting graduates and newly licensed CPAs have these skills and expertise needed to support the evolution of the audit.”

One of the ways AICPA is seeking to address this trend is through the CPA Evolution project, in partnership with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. This project strives to ensure that CPAs continue to have the competencies needed to support an accounting profession that plays a critical role in protecting the public interest.

The percentage of new accounting graduate hires assigned to audit-related work is increasing. This area now comprises 56 percent of new accounting graduate hires. That’s up four percentage points from 2016 and nine percentage points from 2014.

Overall CPA firms hired about 11 percent fewer accounting graduates in 2018 than they did in 2016, and nearly 30 percent fewer than in 2014. As firms continue to embrace technology and evolve their approach to the audit, they are seeking employees with data science and data analytics skills. They are largely filling those needs with non-accounting graduates, though there is anecdotal evidence from firms to suggest that some of this technology-specific hiring is occurring at the experienced hire level.

On the supply side, enrollments in undergraduate accounting programs stand at the second highest level on record after pulling back slightly from their all-time high in 2015-2016.

Nearly 208,000 projected students were enrolled in undergraduate accounting programs during the 2017-2018 school year, topping 200,000 for the fourth Trends report in a row. More than 33,000 projected students were enrolled in master’s programs in 2017-2018. This reflects a six percent decline from 2015-2016 but remains comfortably above any level pre-recession. Declines in graduate student enrollment is due largely to more students opting to enter the workforce in lieu of pursuing an advanced accounting degree.

There were nearly 55,000 projected bachelor’s and more than 21,000 projected master’s degrees earned in 2017-2018. This reflects a decline of four percent each from the previous report. However, the combined 76,542 degrees remains above pre-recession levels.

After a significant increase in the number of new CPA Exam candidates in 2016, largely attributed to the new version of the exam launching in 2017, the number of candidates and newly licensed CPAs in 2018 dipped to the lowest level in 10 years. CPA candidates fell 7 percent to 36,827, while newly licensed CPAs fell 6 percent to 23,941.

“The AICPA and other stakeholders in the profession are focused on anticipating the changes shaping our economy and ensuring newly licensed CPAs have the skills they need to serve as trusted advisors to their clients,” said Yvonne Hinson, CPA, CGMA, Ph.D., AICPA Academic-in-Residence, Academic & Student Engagement. “As the pace of change increases, the Institute has been accelerating our work on a number of profession-wide initiatives that attract, inspire, and engage the next generation of CPAs.”

In addition to CPA Evolution, some of these initiatives include:

  • A CPA Exam practice analysis focused on the impact of technology and the critical skills for newly licensed CPAs. An exposure draft and invitation-to-comment will be published in late December.
  • Accounting Accreditation Practitioner Engagement Program which places CPA practitioners on AACSB accounting accreditation teams and committees.
  • Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program provides funding for CPAs to obtain their doctorates and teach.
  • Accounting Program for Building the Profession trains high school educators to teach a college-level accounting class.

The Institute is working with organizations to increase the likelihood that racial and ethnic minority students consider accounting early in their career decision-making process. AICPA scholarships and programs such as the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop help ensure accounting students have a meaningful and successful experience as they work to earn their CPA license.

The report found that racial/ethnic diversity has increased, with the highest percentage of non-white enrollees to date. Enrollment by gender is nearly even at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

View the full Trends report

  • Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.
  • Napoleon Hill

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

They Like Working at The Firm BUT…..

“If you love your work, if you enjoy it, you’re already a success.” – Jack Canfield

Partners in many firms really try to provide a friendly and fun work environment. They care about providing value, offer competitive salaries and have 4-day workweeks in the summer, plus other perks.

These things are appreciated by staff. However, there are always a few things they would like to see improved:

  • Managers need to do a better job at delegating. Partners and managers are busy and staff are looking for work (this is an on-going theme I have blogged about several times).
  • Partners say they have an open-door policy but they really don’t welcome interruptions. Don’t tout it if you don’t mean it.
  • The partners are very competent but they struggle with understanding younger staff and their struggles. Things like commuting, two working parents, lack of on-going feedback on performance, etc.
  • They need to develop more work for after tax season. The firm needs to offer a wider range of services.
  • And, to me, the biggest issues in most firms – They need to improve communication, as a firm and as individuals.

There are many more positives and negatives but this is just a list that might be a wake-up call to leadership.

  • It is highly impossible for you to be successful at what you don't love. Do what you love and love what you do.
  • Israelmore Ayivor