Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Tuesday, December 7th, 2021

The Reason Your Firm Is Stuck

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

The reason your firm is stuck in the past is fear.

I talk about it with my clients and hear about it from many of my contacts working inside CPA firms.

A small group of partners or even one specific partner is afraid of the future. They are consumed by fear and prohibit the firm from:

  • Adopting new software
  • Truly becoming a digital firm (being completely paperless)
  • Admitting that staff can be effective and efficient working remotely
  • Stop the firm from combining offices because they have their own small kingdom/queendom
  • Entering into merger discussions because they know they would not be successful in the larger firm
  • Exposing some staff members to experiences that will broaden their career because the partner want them devoted solely to them
  • And, many more…

It is up to the managing partner, to address these issues and these individuals. It is not fair to the firm to simply wait for the individual(s) to retire.

  • Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
  • Jim Rohn

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

Don’t Hold Back

“Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” – Seth Godin

Occasionally, I simply reprint an entire post by Seth Godin. Today is one of those days because I believe his message fits CPAs and their teams.

THE LIFEGUARD HACK

Who am I to walk up to someone at a party and introduce myself?

Who are you to start a new project?

Who are they to give a talk on the main stage?

Don’t raise your hand–someone else might have a better question. Don’t ship that work, it’s not ready…

There are endless excuses, comparisons, and reasons to hold back.

Unless…

Unless you’re on lifeguard duty and someone is drowning. In that situation, even if you’re not the best lifeguard in the world, and even if the water isn’t the perfect temperature, and even if you don’t quite remember how to do the latest version of the cross-chest carry… you jump in the water.

Because it’s not for you. It’s for them.

Generosity unlocks doors inside of us.

  • Anxiety is experiencing failure in advance.
  • Seth Godin

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Pause

“Take a long pause, breathe and know that things are happening for you, not to you.” – Ashton Kutcher

You are in a management position in an accounting firm. You might be the managing partner, COO, firm administrator, office manager, practice manager, HR director, marketing director, or technology director.

So many of you are so busy that you rarely find time to pause and consider what you are doing and why you are doing it. It’s possible that you have gone through your whole career just working and living and adopting other people’s ideas as your own.

During the holiday season, it is a wonderful time for reflection. Pause and find time to come to some conclusions about yourself, your life, and your career.

Of course, it is better if you do this early in your career but it is never too late. Accounting can be a wonderful career where you are continually challenged with helping other people. But, is it the right career for you? It has been for me.

  • The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
  • Mark Twain

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

So Much To Do Before Year-End

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates

I have covered the topic of being too busy many times over the years in writing this blog. Why? Because it is the term I continue to hear over and over again from partners, firm administrators, and others working inside a growing CPA firm.

It seems you are always too busy to actually think, plan, reflect and even enjoy a beautiful Fall day. When you dig deep into why you are too busy it usually uncovers the fact that it is because of the choices you make.

Maybe it is time you examine those choices you have been making.

Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” What did he mean by that? Here’s an explanation:

Socrates‘ claim that the unexamined life is not worth living makes a satisfying climax for the deeply principled arguments that Socrates presents on behalf of the philosophical life. The claim is that only in striving to come to know ourselves and to understand ourselves do our lives have any meaning or value.

In your CPA work life, if you are always saying you are so busy or too busy, why would clients and referral sources refer others to you? Make it a rule to never say the “B” (busy) word in the office. Anyone caught saying BUSY must drop $1.00 into the money jar in the break room. Soon you will have enough money (and maybe enough time) for a great party!

  • It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?
  • Henry David Thoreau

Monday, November 8th, 2021

Working Harder Won’t Fix It

“Without changing our patterns of thought, we will not be able to solve the problems that we created with our current patterns of thought.” ~Albert Einstein

In public accounting, working long hours and achieving chargeable hour goals is considered the way to providing quality client service.

You believe that your client service (your work) is better than your competitor. Your competitor thinks the same about you.

So, to provide the best service you ask your team to show more effort and work more hours. You will never accomplish your goal of great service by expending more effort.

Instead, look at your systems. Providing the most timely and accurate work means continually changing, updating, and modifying your processes and procedures.

Are you still inputting data rather than having it done through technology? Are truly paperless? Are you delivering your product digitally? Are all of your admin team members highly skilled in using technology to streamline their work? The same applies to your staff. Are they continually finding ways to expend less effort and still end up with the most accurate final product?

Think about this comment from Seth Godin: “How do we do this work?” is a much better question than, “Who isn’t trying hard enough?”

  • Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing… layout, processes, and procedures.
  • Tom Peters

Friday, November 5th, 2021

Flashback Friday – Managing Remote Workers

“Space isn’t remote at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away if your car could go straight upwards.” – Fred Hoyle

We have been doing it for nearly twenty-one months now, trying to successfully manage a remote workforce.
It looks like the challenge will lessen somewhat as many of your team members come back to the office because they actually enjoy working in the office. You still have those who demand and appreciate the option of working from home.
Here’s a flashback post from last December that addresses the possibility of having an actual “Head of Remote Work”.
  • Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the every day things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon.
  • Booker T. Washington

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

The Clock Is Ticking – Flashback Friday

“I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.” – Woody Allen

The major due dates have passed. Now, you have two months to get a lot done.

Read this flashback post about not wasting valuable time!

  • The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.
  • Stephen Covey

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