Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Help Them Understand

“Without hustle, talent will only carry you so far.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

On my mind this morning is the topic of communication. Here’s a Flashback Friday post about helping clients understand what you are saying. I think this topic also applies to conversations between generations. Gen Z might not understand certain phrases and words a Boomer might utter (and definitely vice versa)!

Have a great weekend.

  • Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
  • Maya Angelou

Friday, September 9th, 2022

Three Choices For Emails – Flashback Friday

“The email of the species is deadlier than the mail.” – Stephen Fry

Yesterday, I wrote about clutter. Today’s flashback follows a similar theme. How to deal with ALL THOSE EMAILS! There is no prize given for having hundreds of emails in your inbox.

  • How to write a good email: 1. Write your email. 2. Delete most of it. 3. Send
  • Dan Munz

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

The Daily Briefing

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

To improve communication and to help balance workloads, many firms have a quick morning briefing. Some firms call it the daily huddle. It is a quick, stand-up meeting aimed at enhancing communication. It is said that John D. Rockefeller and Steve Jobs both utilized the daily huddle.

If you have a smaller firm, everyone can meet for 15 minutes each morning. If you are a larger firm, you can do it by department. Keep it short.

Read this article – The Potent Power of the Daily Huddle – via the Growth Institute. I hope you are already doing this!

  • Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Wednesday, August 31st, 2022

Keep Trying To Engage Employees

“I’m hearing that quiet quitting is about employees setting boundaries.” – Sharlyn Lauby

I am still on the Quiet Quitting topic!

Here is an excerpt from a post by Sharlyn Lauby (@HRBartender).

To me, quiet quitting sounds like what happens when organizations don’t plan and communicate then dump work on employees. Then employees push back against how they are treated. Remember that old saying, “A lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part.”? Employees are smart. They don’t want to be taken for granted or taken advantage of.

This one paragraph describes what I have observed happening in CPA firms for years.

Per Lauby, there are some things you can do if you truly want to address quiet quitting:

  • Plan better
  • Communicate earlier
  • Ask for help
  • Be flexible
  • Say thanks and mean it

These should be easy things to do. Read her entire article (a short read) to learn more about each of these things you can do.

  • If employees aren’t meeting the performance standard, then you coach and counsel them.
  • Sharlyn Lauby

Monday, August 29th, 2022

If You Care, Confront.

“Confrontation is not a verbal hit-and-run; rather, it is used constructively to bring about change.” – Donald Collins

I have observed that CPAs are very uncomfortable with confrontation.

They will let things slide for a long time before they dare to have a crucial conversation.

Sometimes these conversations need to happen with staff members, sometimes with clients, and sometimes with their own partners. In these cases, silence is not golden.

I received this advice once, and I want to share it with you. “If you care, confront! Don’t let them piss and moan!”

You have got a lot to do this week, so you don’t have to work (or have your team work) on Labor Day. It is a holiday!

  • Remember, confrontation is about reconciliation and awareness, not judgement or anger.
  • Dale Partridge

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

Talking Points

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” – Maya Angelou

  • The partners have just returned from their retreat. Everyone is wondering what significant decisions were made if any. What new initiatives were agreed upon? Has the strategic plan been updated?
  • A new performance evaluation system has been researched, studied, modified, and will soon be unveiled to the staff.
  • Betty, a long-time manager with the firm, has decided to take a position with a competing firm across town.
  • Some new software has been selected. Everyone in the firm will need to know about it and will be expected to use it. What training will be offered? When will it go into effect?

When something happens or changes are made at the firm and the partners and other leaders have been involved in the decision or activity, and it has now been announced to the team, there will be questions. Certain people will go to certain partners and want to know all about it and what is “really” going on.

That is the time to have your talking points ready and distributed to all partners (and other leaders if they are involved). You want everyone to get the same message.

Often, in firms, Joe Tax Partner, Diane Audit Partner, Frank Long Time Partner, and Terry the Managing Partner will have different ways of communicating with team members individually when they are asked probing questions. A brief list of talking points will take a lot of pressure off the partners and help spread the message in a positive, consistent, and informative way.

  • Consistency is always the best teacher.
  • Stephon Marbury

Monday, August 8th, 2022

Be Aware of Your Lingo

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald Reagan

What is lingo? It is a way of speaking that’s shared by a particular group of people — it’s their own personal slang or jargon. CPAs and those who work for/with them have their own lingo. Think about it.

It is a number type of lingo: 1040, 1040ES, 1065, 1120, 1120s, 941 1099, W-2, W-4, and many more. There is also lingo involving letters: FASB, EBP, GAAP, and so on.

Just remember, your clients do not understand this lingo. Your new hires do not understand this lingo (at first). So, be careful and explain yourself thoroughly when communicating.

I know some tech guys who always observed International Talk Like a Pirate Day (This year, Monday, September 19, 2022) by trying to speak only pirate lingo.

Maybe you can have your own Talk Like An Accountant Day.

  • Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.
  • Walt Disney

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

Parameters

“I write the music; produce it, and the band plays within the parameters that I set.” – Sting

CPA firms have become VERY flexible and allow employees to do just about anything they want to do regarding how and where they work.

What your team members really need is simply some guidance and boundaries. Communicate to them! Help everyone understand expectations by setting some parameters.

If you do not communicate and leave them to their own devices, life at your firm could become chaotic. One mentor told me long ago: “Most people don’t do what we tell them to. They do what we let them get away with.”

I like to call it setting some boundaries. Of course, with today’s workforce, we must allow a great deal of freedom. But I also think we need to let them know there is a line they do not cross.

It goes back to the fact that young people entering your firm want to know what is expected of them. They want to know what their career path looks like and how they can advance as quickly as possible. Be sure you have defined career paths so you can talk to new hires during their orientation.

Many firms have been adopting remote work policies. These policies set some parameters for working remotely. I hope you have yours in writing by now.

  • I don't control the movies that are offered to me, but I make choices based on certain parameters.
  • Andy Garcia

Friday, July 29th, 2022

Flashback Friday – Maister-isms

“Professional is not a label you give yourself – it’s a description you hope others will apply to you.” – David Maister

This Friday, reflect on some advice from David Maister. His comments never seem to get old, and he’s been retired for quite a few years now. Read the Maister-isms here.

Have a great weekend.

  • If your clients aren't actively telling their friends about you, maybe your work isn't as great as you think it is.
  • David Maister

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Disconnect

“Disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other.” – Rosemary Wixom

WilkinGuttenplan is a great firm. I am honored to know Ed Guttenplan personally and am always impressed with the progressive way he manages the firm.

They have been named a New Jersey Best Place to Work, Best Firms to Work For by Accounting Today, and Best of the Best Firms by Inside Public Accounting.

To cultivate a healthy work-life balance, the firm will be providing Days of Disconnect – July 29 – August 1. See the announcement below. What are you doing for your people?

To our valued clients and members of our community,

WG takes pride in cultivating a healthy work-life balance and in an effort to acknowledge the hard work and dedication exemplified by our employees, we will be providing our staff with a well-deserved break to fully disconnect and recharge. We will be closing our offices from July 29th through August 1st. We will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, August 2nd. Staff will not be available during this time, however, if an emergency occurs, please reach out to the Partner on your account.

We appreciate your ongoing support of our team and our firm and look forward to continued success together.

Thank you,

WilkinGuttenplan

  • Work is important, but you also need to disconnect, to unplug at times, in order to be even more concentrated when you do work.
  • Massimiliano Allegri