Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

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

Monday, August 24th, 2020

Want More Time?

“The really expert riders of horses let the horse know immediately who is in control, but then guide the horse with loose reins and seldom use the spurs.” – Sandra Day O’Connor

There is a very simple answer to my question in today’s title. One word – DELEGATE.

If you delegate you will have more time to focus on what you should be doing.

In so many firms I see partners doing manager work and managers doing staff work and staff stuck doing the same old thing year after year.

In the CPA firm environment, you should alway be asking yourself, “What am I doing that someone else could do?” Or, the classic CPA question, “What am I doing that someone with a lower billing rate can easily do?”

If you keep doing work for them, staff will never evolve to a higher skill level. In an accounting firm, young accountants learn by doing more difficult assignments. Short-term you may be able to do it better but where does that get you long-term?

Sad to say, your firm might end up merging up because there is no one skilled enough to replace the current partners.

If you work at it and discipline yourself to delegate much of the current work you do, your firm will grow and prosper because the partners and managers have time to market, sell and bring in new business (and mentor younger staff).

  • If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.
  • John C. Maxwell

Monday, August 17th, 2020

Adapt

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin

For so many years, CPAs in public practice have been set in their ways. I can’t say that CPAs do not adapt to change because they have always adapted to software changes and governmental changes (tax laws/audit standards).

When it comes to how the work gets done, the mindset has been, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Staff is working if they are in their seats in the office or out on an audit assignment. Each partner could rule their own roost, so to speak. If you were on a job for Partner #1 you did it this way. If you were on a job with Partner #3 you did it that way.

During the last decade, progressive firms have moved away from those old mindsets. They adapted to the new workforce. It all began with Gen-X wanting to work differently (not remotely). Next, it was driven home by the huge wave of Millennials who not only wanted to complete the work differently, they didn’t want to deal with paper and they wanted to work from places other than the firm’s office.

Then came 2020 and COVID. Progressive firms moved seamlessly to the remote work environment. The majority of firms struggled but there was no choice but to move to a remote workforce. They adapted.

The admin team was put at risk because someone had to be in the office to scan papers into the system so the remote workers could work. Now, you need to get your clients to submit all paperwork digitally. They need to adapt.

The need to adapt will not go away. Make your plan for the future be: Adapt and then move on. Adapt and then move on Adapt and then move on. It is a never-ending journey.

  • Ships never reach their intended destination apart from adapting as they go.
  • Dan Rockwell @leadershipfreak

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Plan Your Agenda – Flashback Friday

“Be strategic about productivity. Do less exceptionally well, instead of doing more in an average way.” – Laurie Buchanan

Don’t let the day-to-day issues take over your retreat.

Here’s a post from August 2019.

  • If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.
  • Yogi Berra

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

Are You Still Selling Time?

“What we care about is the work done, not how long it took to do it.” – Seth Godin

The following is one of those Seth Godin posts that I just copy and share. It is an important question for CPAs. Are you selling results?

Selling Your Time

We don’t pay surgeons by the hour.

And if the person who cuts the lawn shows up with a very fast riding mower, we don’t insist on paying less because they didn’t have to work as hard.

Often, what we care about is the work done, not how long it took to do it.

And yet, some jobs, from law to programming, charge by the hour.

When you sell your time, you’re giving away your ability to be a thoughtful, productivity-improving professional.

Sell results.

  • In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.
  • Seth Godin

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

Getting Started

“I learned a long time ago that there is something worse than missing the goal, and that’s not pulling the trigger.” – Mia Hamm

Think back to when you were a child. Part of growing up is exploring your world. A child sees a creek and wades in to cross it. A child sees a tree and doesn’t hesitate to climb it. There is no fear of failure.

Accountants have a reputation for being careful, cautious, and conservative. As a leader, do you always begin cautiously, avoiding risk at all costs? Does indecision prohibit you from action?

We are living in a bold new world. As the old saying goes, “he who hesitates is lost.”

We are going into fall. It is a time for reflection and, more importantly, a time to take action to prepare your firm for 2021. Modify that accountant reputation – – Be careful, cautious, conservative and yet, decisive and bold

  • Eighty percent of success is just showing up.
  • Woody Allen

Monday, August 10th, 2020

Learn More About M&A Trends

“Moving doesn’t change who you are. It only changes the view outside your window.” – Rachel Hollis

M&A is always a hot topic when you are talking with a group of CPAs. There are many aspects to M&A and each M&A opportunity is different from another.

This Wednesday, August 12th, Gary Adamson of Adamson Advisory will be conducting an informative webinar for CPA Leadership Institute about the CPA M&A landscape.

He will focus on the trends in valuations and the terms, and why the terms drive the multiples that we all hear so much about.

Learn more about the webinar here.

  • If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.
  • Roy T. Bennett