Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Get The Right Clients On The bus

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” – Keri Russell

I have read all the books that David Maister wrote. Many, many of the things he wrote and spoke about hit so close to home for me when I was working in a busy CPA firm. One of his concepts is memorable for me.

Why do you work for clients you don’t like? As Maister says, you work for clients you don’t enjoy dealing with, but they pay you a lot of money. It becomes “you give me money, and I will do what you want. That sounds a lot like prostitution.”

Every firm is looking for talented employees. Some of my clients won’t even outplace poor performers because they need “bodies.” Scary and short-sighted.

What if you had the very best clients? What if you had clients who always paid on time without reminders? What if you had clients who were all interesting, successful and pleasant? What if all your clients appreciated what you do and realized the value you brought to them?

If you get the right clients on the bus, maybe you would attract more talent. If you get the right clients on the bus, maybe some of your top performers wouldn’t leave the firm.

Getting the right clients can’t be left to chance. You must choose only to serve the clients that fit your Type A profile. Be sure to develop systems where you only serve Type A clients. What does your Type A client look like? Not sure? Work with your partners to define it and outplace client that don’t fit. If you don’t do this, you will continue to attract and attempt to serve the wrong clients. You will end up serving clients you don’t even like.

  • It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.
  • Jim Rohn

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Top Five Concerns

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” – Abraham Lincoln

CCH released the results of their survey of firms. Here are the top five concerns published via Accounting Today:

  1. Keeping up with technological change
  2. Growing the business
  3. Meeting client expectations
  4. Data security
  5. Completing work accurately and on time

You can download the full report here.

 

  • Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than with assigning blame. Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.
  • Ralph Marston

Monday, November 5th, 2018

2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey Results Summary

CoverLast week, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC released their 2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey.

Today’s talent wants to integrate work and life. As a result, leaders must continually find ways to innovate workplace flexibility.

The goal of the survey is to collect data on CPA firm adoption of flexible work programs and the experiences firms have had with these initiatives.

Firm leaders need to thoughtfully contemplate how enhancing a more flexible workplace can be a huge benefit to the future of the firm.

Jeff Phillips, CEO of Accountingfly tell us, “On Accountingfly, we see incredible talent response to remote accounting jobs, which receive at least 8 times the number of applicants than in-office positions. The demand for remote careers in accounting is clear, and it’s such an obvious solution to the talent issues facing CPA firms.”

Download the survey summary here.

  • Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

The Problem With People

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu

I rarely repost someone else’s blog post. I have only done it with Seth Godin’s posts. His recent blog post speaks to all of us at one time or another.

Perhaps, you are new to your firm, trying to learn how to become a successful CPA. Maybe you are a new partner assessing how you can make a difference within the group. With merger mania, maybe you and your firm have been acquired by another firm and things feel very different and troubling.

The Problem With People Is That They Outnumber You

It doesn’t make any sense to spend your life proving them wrong, it’s a losing battle.

Far more effective is the endless work of building connection, forming alliances and finding the very best you can in those you engage with.

You can’t possibly know what it’s like to be someone else, but it’s also true that no one knows what it’s like to be you.

One more reason to put in the effort to find the good.

  • Life becomes easier and more beautiful when we can see the good in other people.
  • Roy T. Bennett

Friday, October 26th, 2018

You Can Get A Lot Done In Two Months!

“Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader.” – General George S. Patton

I get into some lively discussions that are focused on firm governance. It is about getting the right people on the bus and getting them in the right seats.

Do you have partners in the wrong seats? Perhaps, they are in the administrative, operations, HR seats rather than the revenue generating, nurturing future leaders and bringing in business seats?

During one of my conversations with a client, the CPA partner said, “I don’t think we have time to do anything about this now, I guess it should wait until after busy season.” That sure pushed me onto my soapbox!

It is late October. You have an entire two months to get important firm initiatives rolling along the path to completion.

Leaders, please do not waste two entire months – November and December (and there is usually time up until February) to do things that need to be done at your firm!

CPAs, thank goodness, like to be sure things are correct (and maybe even perfect). Your firm management and operations will never be perfect. It is a work-in-progress and should stay that way.

Continually focus on small changes that never cease. I call it taking baby-steps. Move from status quo (which is comfortable) to “an improved position.” – – one step at a time. Then, repeat that same process.

Need to realign governance so that your partners are more productive? Need to develop a system so that your younger team members are better mentored and trained during busy season? Begin now, in November, don’t wait until Spring.

Your systems will never be perfect – that’s the joy of it. Have fun DOING THINGS!

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

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Gen Z – What Matters to Them

“It is not what you look at that matters, it is what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

If you work in a public accounting firm, you work hard and you work long hours during certain times of the year.

That description has been around for decades. The baby boomers embraced it and thrived. Gen X rebelled somewhat because their description of “working hard and long hours” was different from the prior generation. Then the Millennials came along and had their own thoughts about working hard.

I have been studying these generations for years. I did many presentations during the mid-90s in an effort to help the Boomers cope with Gen X. In recent years, it’s been all about how to cope with the Millennials.

Now, we have Gen Z, those born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.

The birth years of each generation has varied depending on the source. Here’s how Pew Research defines the generations as of 2018:

  • The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945 (73-90 years old)
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (54-72 years old)
  • Generation X: Born 1965-1980 (38-53 years old)
  • Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (22-37 years old)
  • Post-Millennials: Born 1997-Present (0-21 years old)

The post-millennials are, of course, Gen Z.

According to a recent survey by IFAC, here’s what matters to Gen Z:

Gen Zs Top Career Priorities:

  • Stable Career Path
  • Work-life Balance
  • Competitive Salary and Benefits

Read all about the report via IFAC here.

  • In matters of style, swim with the current, in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
  • Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Within Driving Distance of Indianapolis? – Join me!

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

I know many of you are not within driving distance – but I also know that Indiana has many great CPA firms and the Indiana Chapter of CPAFMA has a great membership.

So, mark your calendar for Friday, November 16th. I will be speaking at the Indiana Chapter meeting. It is a morning presentation so you can have all afternoon to drive back home (or to the office).

My topic is “Surviving Change in the CPA Profession.” It is an exciting time to be a CPA or working in a CPA firm, but how is your firm preparing future? It is not a time for a “wait and see” attitude.

Follow this link to download a document that gives you all the information about the meeting and how to register.

The very first CPAFMA I ever attended over 30 years ago was in Indianapolis. The Indiana Chapter is near and dear to me.

  • Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
  • Albert Einstein

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Have You Been Promoted to a Leadership Position?

“You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln

Have you just been hired as a Firm Administrator? Have you just been promoted to a manager-level position in your firm?
Have you been “one of the team,” whether it is the accounting team or the administrative team, and all of a sudden you are now in a position of visible leadership?

Things have changed. You must act differently now. You can compare it to being a passenger in a car or being the driver.

Passengers have more freedom to do things that drivers can’t do. As a passenger, you can cut-up, listen to loud music, focus on the passing landscape, eat snacks and generally horse-around with other passengers. The driver has to focus on the road and not get distracted. As a driver, you no longer have the right to goof around.

The same thing applies as you become a manager. You are no longer a passenger, you are the driver. Your responsibilities increase and, yes, you lose some freedoms you may have enjoyed as a passenger.

Example: If you are the manager, you don’t have the right to join in the whining about the topic of the day with the other staff. As a manager, you do not gossip or complain about upper management. When you are the manager you no longer have the right to blame others for a problem. You no longer have the right to avoid issues or choose to not make a decision. As a manager, the buck stops with you.

You even lose control of your time because you are responsible for other people’s time (as well as your own).

The first managing partner I worked for put it very simply to me when I got my very first promotion. He was the founder and a very traditional, hard-working, old-school CPA managing partner.

He said to me, “You are now on salary and part of management. You need to work whatever hours it takes to get the job done.” I knew a change had occurred. I was no longer a passenger.

  • Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?
  • George Carlin

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Individualized Employee Engagement Improves Culture

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” – Chinese Proverb

As you know, I am always reading and attempting to keep current on a wide variety of trends in the are of employment, employee engagement and workplace culture.

I came across a very interesting article on the Modern Healthcare site titled, Individualized Approach to Employee Engagement Improves Culture.

A recently hired graduate nurse asked Bon Secours Mercy Health if she could join the labor and delivery team.

But when the organization used its psychometric evaluation tool that analyzed her likes and dislikes, stress-induced behaviors, critical thinking skills, and other characteristics, it revealed that she was hardwired more like an emergency nurse. 

They are using big data to actually make the workplace more humanizing, rather than fitting all people into a specific slot.

Managers receive data that helps them tune their leadership style to a particular employee and help them acclimate.

“How do you build culture not only within your organization but across contiguous geographies? Communication is key,” notes Jim Dunn, chief human resources officer at Atrium Health.

“Focusing on change management and the transition process is where human resource executives can add the most value, he added.”

There are more interesting trends in this article. The way you hire and acclimate people may be moving to a completely new level soon.

  • It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.
  • Steve Jobs

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Simple Mission: Set A Good Example

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer

You are a partner in a CPA firm.

One of the most important things you can do as a leader is set a good example.

When I ask CPA firm citizens who, in their firm, breaks the rules, ignores the established procedures and demands special treatment, the answer is always “the partners!”

Many challenges and frustrations that happen inside a busy CPA firm would be solved if EVERY partner would set a good example.

Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  • Example is leadership.
  • Albert Schweitzer