Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Build A Great Firm

I read the following quote yesterday and it inspired my comments for today:

“Everyone wants to DO what the great ones do but very few are willing to do what they DID to become great!” – Jon Gordon

I talk to various firm owners. Many tell me they want to grow. They want to be more profitable. They want to become completely paperless. They want to move to the cloud. They want to have a better system for providing feedback to their people. They want to attract top talent. They want to develop future leaders to take care of succession issues.

They have heard and read about some of the leading firms in the profession, firms that have accomplished all of the above. They want to be like them.

BUT…. read the quote again.

  • Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner.
  • Les Brown

Monday, July 1st, 2019

That Mystical Place…. the Cloud

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

Now that tax season is over and somewhat slower summer months are upon us, I am hearing from and talking directly to more CPA practitioners.

I continue to be amazed at the slowness with which so many accounting firms are advancing in paperless and movement to the cloud. Many firms tell me that they are paperless in that they don’t keep paper files. Yet, they admit that paper still flows around the office (client source documents, route sheets, etc.). As for the cloud, they confess that they are “somewhat” in the cloud.

That’s why a blog via Right Networks and written by Gene Marks caught my eye. He explains The Five Risks of Not Going To The Cloud. He notes, “Yes, you should be leveraging the cloud for all of your firm’s data – including your clients’ data. In fact, not doing so creates more risk than rewards.”

I hope you take the time to read the article that explains more about these five significant risks:

  1. The risk of data loss.
  2. The risk of your internal infrastructure.
  3. The risk of your IT staff.
  4. The risk of security.
  5. The client expectation risk.

Read more here.

  • For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Wastes To Look At In Your Firm

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey Mackay

Last week I read the tweet below from @AccountingEdit (Dan Hood). He was attending the Rainmaker Superconference in Atlanta. So much is said in just these few words. Read these few words and apply them to your CPA firm.

Wastes to look for (in your firm and at your clients):

Defects: In which areas are things not right the 1st time?

Waiting: Where can time taken be reduced?

Over-engineering: Do too much for money charged

Process: There’s no process or a flawed process

  • I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
  • William Shakespeare

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Keep It Simple

“Simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau

Recently, we joined a group of friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant. It was one of those restaurants that provided a menu that weighed about two pounds and seemed like a coffee table book. The hostess seemed to struggle to carry eight of them as she led us to our table. These types of restaurants always make me wonder who they are trying to impress.

This visit was different.

They have a new, simple menu that you open, lay it flat and that’s it. A front cover, two facing pages inside and more choices on the back. Most of the offerings we were used to were included.

Maybe restaurants are trying to impress people with their expensive looking menus but I was more impressed with the simplicity and ease of ordering.

How many things are you making more complicated in your firm just because you have always done things a certain way? Now is the time to simplify! Technology will make it happen.

  • Customers require the effective integration of technologies to simplify their workflow and boost efficiency.
  • Anne M. Mulcahy

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Continuous Testing for the CPA Exam

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”     Jack Canfield

Great news for your future CPAs. In case you haven’t heard, continuous testing for the CPA Exam has been approved.

Be sure you are constantly encouraging your new hires to take the Exam! Here’s some information released by the Ohio Society of CPAs:

Soon CPA exam candidates won’t have to wait until the next testing window to retake a section, thanks to a revised NASBA rule.

In April the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy approved the Uniform Accountancy Act Model Rule 5-7(a)(2) rule, stating “…a Candidate can retake a Test Section once their grade for any previous attempt of the same Test Section has been released.” The news was announced in the May board report.

“It’s one of those things that everyone has always wanted,” said Laura Hay, CPA, vice president of The Ohio Society of CPAs. “It’s just now the administration and technology have all caught up.”

Most states, including Ohio, will have to change their rules to permit the revision, but Hay predicted most states will be in favor, and it will be a question of resources and how quickly they are able to make the change.

For future test-takers, this means saving valuable time on that 18-month countdown that begins once candidates pass the first section. According to the AICPA website, with the current system, if you take a section of the exam on July 20, you would have to wait until October to take the next section, despite receiving your score on August 6.

The plan is to roll out continuous testing by July 2020.

  • Exams test your memory, life tests your learning; others will test your patience.
  • Fennel Hudson

Friday, June 14th, 2019

Flashback Friday – Do What You Love

I am very lucky. I found a career that I simply love and it has evolved into a real purpose in life for me. How do you feel about your job? Check out this post from 2017. Don’t work years at something you dread!

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Small Firms Can Also Use AI for Audit

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” – Mother Teresa

I work with a lot of smaller firms. They are always looking for ways to stay competitive and to take advantage of as much technology as possible. Sometimes small firms assume they can’t compete with what the big national and regional firms are doing.

In a recent article via The Journal of Accountancy, Samantha Bowling, CPA, CGMA tells the story of how her 15 person firm is using artificial intelligence to identify high-risk transactions as part of its auditing process.

One line caught my attention. It is an important issue for small CPA firms. Do you still have servers on site? Bowling says, “We used to have seven servers on-site. Now everything is in the cloud. We used to be able to remote in to our servers before, but it was slow. The remote access is much better in the cloud. It’s night and day. I’m excited because I’ve never had access to this much technology.”

Just because you are a small firm doesn’t mean you have to think small! Read this article!

  • Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
  • Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Merging Up? Get Ready For Some New Rules

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” – Albert Einstein

Have your merged up? Are you considering merging up? Here’s something to think about and understand.

It comes from a post by @SkipPrichard about a book written by Kevin Kruse – Great Leaders Have No Rules: Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business. Read the reviews on the book. It might be one you should have on your summer reading list if you are a leader or aspire to be one.

Yes, this whole book came from a crazy Post-It Notes story. About 20 years ago I had sold my company and joined the new company as a partner, VP, and I reported to the CEO. He had me very excited and committed to the future of the new combined organization and how we would build it together. But then the CFO docked my first expense check by about four dollars. He told me they won’t reimburse my Post-It Notes because it was a wasteful expense. It was a rule—no Post It’s—that I didn’t know about. In that moment, that one rule, suddenly made it clear that this was “their” company, not mine. They were in control, not me.

Many practitioners have learned the hard way that a so-called merger is not what they thought a merger would be like. For the most part, I believe CPA firm mergers work out well. But, not always. Just be prepared for a new way of life.

  • Highly successful people take immediate action on almost every item they encounter.
  • Kevin Kruse,

Friday, May 31st, 2019

It’s Time Again For Flashback Fridays!

More and more CPA firms are embracing the practice of closing the office on Fridays in the summer – Memorial Day to Labor Day. It is a very popular and appreciated employee benefit.

So, for the summer months, I am once again providing you with Flashback Fridays – a post each Friday that was written in the past. Usually, it is one from the past 12 months but sometimes it’s older but still relevant.

This week: Busy vs. Busyness. – You are busy but are you productive?

  • I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Computers Are In Control or Are They?

“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.” – Winston Churchill

In your accounting firms, software and computers have taken over many of the duties that were formerly done manually, preparing tax returns, figuring depreciation, etc. We have been warned that computers (robots, AI, etc) will take over even more of the routine accounting work. Never fear…

I was with a group recently, dining at a local restaurant. Several of the ladies had various coupons for discounts on their dinners and also wanted to take advantage of a “special” the restaurant was featuring.

The question was asked, “Can I use my coupon and also take advantage of the special?” The friendly, helpful server replied, “I can’t tell you for sure until we put it into the computer. The computer will tell us.” Interesting. So, I took from this that the computer was the ordering police allowing some orders and refusing others. I thought to myself, “Robots are in control!”

As it turned out, the friendly, helpful server informed us that my friends could take advantage of both “deals” because she had input the meal they ordered as a different meal and the computer allowed it!

So, you can now sleep at night knowing you can always resort to fooling the robots.

  • Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.
  • Lord Byron