Archive for the ‘Client service’ Category

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Become Certified in CAS

“The longer we keep looking back in the rearview mirror, it takes away from everything that’s moving forward.” – Dan Quinn

I have written about CPA firms offering Client Accounting Services before:

I know that most of you are already fairly deep into this service. However, I still talk to many firm leaders who are taking a “wait and see” attitude. Others still do not have or know about, the technology it takes to proceed.

Now, if you are offering CAS services you can set yourself apart from others with the AICPA and CPA.com certification in CAS.

You earn the certification in two parts. One, by attending the Digital Client Advisory Services Roadmap Workshop and two, with Client Advisory Services Self-Study. It gives you a total of 29 CPE credits.

Learn more about it here. Visiting this site will also give you extensive information about the CAS Workshop.

  • Baby steps count, too, as long as you're moving forward.
  • Chris Gardner

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Sense of Urgency

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Every due date, CPAs complain that the clients are the reason for the last-minute added pressure. They are the reason the team has to work longer hours as the due date approaches.

It’s not all the clients’ fault. Perhaps you have lost your sense of urgency, especially over the summer. Those fall due dates are approaching. How much effort did you and your team spend on getting the clients to help you spread the work over the entire summer instead of the first two weeks of September?

This also applies to the winter busy season. Create a sense of urgency relating to getting the client work out the door before the last minute.

I also see a loss of the sense of urgency by partners when the firm is doing well and they are making good money. They are not hustling to bring in new business and expand services to current clients.

Some of my clients have created “keep the work flowing” initiatives this summer. They made it a priority to continually communicate with the clients to obtain their information sooner rather than later. Each partner was held accountable – it’s wasn’t deferred to the staff.

Did you lose your sense of urgency this summer? Read the quote above again.

  • We have to live life with a sense of urgency so not a minute is wasted.
  • Les Brown

Monday, July 29th, 2019

A Growth Issue

Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

Currently, we are in a time of rapid growth for accounting firms. The whole merger & acquisition scene is creating firms that are becoming larger and larger and larger.

As firms get bigger, some of the personal touch culture is in danger for both the clients and the employees.

Your mission/vision says you care, you provide the best possible service for your clients and the best possible workplace for your people.

Have you lost some of that culture? Is it much more difficult to be sure that you are “keeping your word”?

If you are at the top of one of these larger organizations have you become too disconnected to know what is really going on?

  • The only to really care is to have human beings who care (and give them the authority and resources to demonstrate that).
  • Seth Godin

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Partners Are Not Exempt

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill

The days of partners being treated to special operational perks are gone.

Don’t allow partners to by-pass duties because they can’t use the software! There are partners who cannot use the Practice Management program to look at reports or to bill a client. There are partners who use the excuse that “it saves me time” for dodging responsibilities.

There is a fine line between proper delegation and abandonment.

In this digital age, partners cannot constantly be using excuses or using other people as crutches because they haven’t kept up with the advances in software and technology.

Partners should be doing partner-level work. I’m not talking about partners actually preparing tax returns using the software. Times have changed and a lot of partner-level work involves being able to use the firm’s technology tools.

  • Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.
  • George Washington Carver

Friday, July 19th, 2019

Flashback Friday – Client Service is Your Best Marketing

“If you are doing what everyone else is doing, if you are inside the band of common, then it’s not an approach that will move you forward.”  – Seth Godin

What is your firm known for? Accuracy, understanding, caring, knowledge, maybe expensive?

Has anyone said that you have the best client service? Read more here.

Happy Friday – I hope you enjoy a wonderful summer weekend!

 

  • There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
  • Sam Walton

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

The Busyness Paradox

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter F. Drucker

I love the above quote from Drucker. It certainly applies to some of the work inside a CPA firm.

I have observed that in most CPA firms, there is a culture of busyness. It creeps into how you talk and how you act or react.

You need to do this but you get distracted by that. Just having to quickly check your email turns into an hour or two. You become focused on the immediate rather than the important.

I just read an informative article via HBR by Brigid Schulte – Preventing Busyness from Becoming Burnout.

The author states: “I largely blamed myself for not making the time to do more ambitious, high-priority work, or managing to get it all done within reasonable hours and have more time for life. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to see how I was trapped in a busyness tunnel.”

Here’s an excerpt that explains the Busyness Paradox:

Here’s how the busyness paradox works: When we’re busy and have that high-octane, panicked feeling that time is scarce — what one participant called the “sustained moment of hecticness” through the workday — our attention and ability to focus narrows. Behavioral researchers call this phenomenon “tunneling.” And, like being in a tunnel, we’re only able to concentrate on the most immediate, and often low value, tasks right in front of us. (Research has found we actually lose about 13 IQ points in this state.) We run around putting out fires all day, racing to meetings, ploughing through emails, and getting to 5 or 6 PM with the sick realization that we haven’t even started our most important work of the day.

I am sure much of this sounds all too familiar to all of us who have worked, or who are currently working, inside a “busy” CPA firm! It is a serious issue in the CPA profession and one that drives young workers away from public accounting.

Take a few minutes to read the entire article. The author gives you “3 Ways to Break Your Employees Out of the Busyness Paradox.”

Monday, July 15th, 2019

Business Getting Means Making Friends

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow Wilson

Maybe they didn’t talk about it when you were interviewed for the job. That interview might have been this year, last year or MANY years ago. Sometimes, it is even a big surprise to a Manager in a firm. If you want to be really successful, advance to owner and make a lot of money working in public accounting, you need to bring in new business.

You love accounting and making sense of it all to help clients become successful. You love tax and all the challenges and creativity that advising clients demands. You do NOT love selling.

But wait! It’s easy. The most important aspect of bringing new clients to the firm is liking people and enjoying making new friends.

It is something you should have learned in pre-school or kindergarten, meeting other people and making them your friends.

If you like people, they will like you. If you don’t really like (and enjoy) dealing with people, why are you in PUBLIC accounting?

  • Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives.
  • Alexander Dumas

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

Friday, June 28th, 2019

Flashback Friday – The Way You Talk & Write Can Be Very Powerful or Very Confusing

“The spoken word and the written — there is an astonishing gulf between them.” – Hercule Poirot 

Inside accounting firms, the team develops its own way of talking. Could it be confusing to your clients?

Emails zip out of the firm almost every minute. Have you ever been embarrassed by mistakes in spelling or grammar?

Read more here.

  • Damn the subjunctive. It brings all our writers to shame.
  • Mark Twain

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