Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Friday, August 16th, 2019

Flashback Friday – Silence Can Be Very Powerful

“Sometimes you don’t have to say anything. Silence speaks it all.” – Disha Patani

You are stopped in the hallway and asked for your opinion on a rather important matter. Don’t feel like you have to answer right away. But, when a staff member is waiting for an answer to complete a client engagement, don’t delay for days or weeks!

Read more about silence here.

  • Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.
  • Plutarch

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Don’t Let Day-to-Day Take Over Your Retreat

“Strategic thinking starts with the end in mind.” – Pearl Zhu

If you are planning your fall retreat, plan your agenda carefully.

So many things are going on inside the firm such as issues with people and their performance, a renegade partner or secondary office, the progress on technology upgrades, the lack of new business coming in the door and so on.

Don’t let all the daily noise cloud your retreat. Put one thing on the agenda – strategic planning – then do it.

What are the big-picture items you need to address? Things that affect the future of the firm and things that will force partners to think of the firm before themselves.

Explore and discover what your firm is truly all about (vision/mission/purpose), identify (or review) your core values, uncover what needs to be done to prepare your firm for the next generation or for an upward merger. If your firm is not growing steadily, that is a huge issue to discuss. All partners must generate new business. Discuss and document the expectations for every partner. Actually talk, face-to-face, about issues within the partner group that everyone has always swept under the carpet. Address that elephant in the room!

If you don’t have a solid strategic plan to share with your team you will soon experience turnover. Talented people can easily move on to a firm that is transparent, forward-thinking, growing and creating a culture where they can see, in advance, where their career is heading.

 

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

Friday, August 9th, 2019

Flashback Friday – You Didn’t Act

How many times have you contemplated the fact that you should have done something but you didn’t?

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” – William James

Click here to read this flashback post from 2017.

  • Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.
  • Leo Buscaglia

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, August 5th, 2019

Effective Communication

“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, it’s deadly.” – Mark Sanborn

Almost every problem I encounter in working with CPA firms, whether it is a partner group issue, a procedural issue, or a people management issue, can be traced back to poor communication.

Every person working in public accounting needs to have the ability to effectively communicate.

Perhaps the partner group has discussed a certain issue so much and so long that they just assume everyone in the firm is aware of the issue. Many are not.

Managers believe they are so busy that they shouldn’t take their precious time to actually talk in-person to a team member about an issue. They use email or text and end up creating a lot of misunderstanding.

Employees are troubled about a certain aspect of their job but they are actually afraid to speak up and discuss it with the boss.

Open, honest communication should be part of your culture. Ask your team to give feedback to the leaders on the topic of communication. If you rank poorly, it is a wake-up call!

Sharlyn Lauby, @hrbartender, in a recent post gives us 4 Practical Tips for Effective Business Communication. Check out her post to read more about these four:

  1. Clarity
  2. Commitments
  3. Documentation
  4. Interaction

 

  • The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.
  • Peter F. Drucker

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

Flashback Friday – Say Things Differently

“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” – Eric Hoffer

Sometimes it is nice to phrase the way you say “thank-you” differently.

Click here to read this post from February. You might not have had time to read it then!

  • You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

Managing An Accounting Practice Newsletter

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain

My July newsletter went out this week. Did you receive your copy?  This month I feature my podcast on the topic of CPA management. I also provide information about my advisory services. If you are not on the mailing list, you can sign-up here.

July NL

  • It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.
  • Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Professional Courtesy

“When someone is there for you, has your back, that’s somebody to pay attention to because that’s a friend.” – Martin Landau

High school students are being taught to use professional courtesy.

What does that mean in the classroom? It is a call to every person in the space for their eyes and ears to

be focused on the teacher. Computers are at half-mast, headphones are out and students are completely

present with the teacher.

Watch this very short video to see what it is like.

I believe that professional courtesy could be utilized in a CPA firm. How many times have you walked into a

person’s office to talk face-to-face with them and they are constantly glancing at their computer or device?

  • Pay attention, don't let life go by you. Fall in love with the back of your cereal box.
  • Jerry Seinfeld

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

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

Managing People Means Being Visible

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” – J. K. Rowling

I know, you love to sit in the stillness of your cozy office and work on tax, accounting, audit and various client matters. It’s comfortable, but don’t forget about one of your important duties as a person responsible for managing people – MBWA – Management By Walking Around.

MBWA is the habit of stopping by and simply chatting with members of your team. The theory came from Bill Hewlett and David Packard and they practiced it at their notable company.

Here are some posts I have written on this topic. Yes, I’m still urging (nagging) you to MBWA.

The MBWA 8.

MBWA for CPAs

It’s More Than A Lot Of Warm & Fuzzy Stuff

  • To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.
  • Doug Conant