Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Wednesday, September 28th, 2022

Practice

“Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practicing, our work will become natural, skillful, swift, and steady.” – Bruce Lee

You might know the old saying, “Practice Makes Perfect.” Growing up, I heard it from my teachers and parents. The same applies to your work in the accounting profession. A first-year team member knows very little about tax (and audit). But, they are repeatedly assigned to various engagements, and with guidance, they become proficient. Practice makes perfect applies to all generations in your firm.

Read Adamson Advisory‘s September blog post about coach John Wooden. Wooden believed in old-fashioned practice. Click here to read the post and learn what things Wooden did to increase efficiency and skill.

  • Nothing will work unless you do.
  • John Wooden

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

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

September 15

“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” – Edmund Burke

I bet it’s been crazy at your accounting firm leading up to September 15. Some progressive firms don’t allow clients to string them out. If clients don’t “bring in their stuff” until September 13, 14, or 15, the client knows the CPA will not put his/her people through a massive fire drill.

If you are working at a CPA firm that continually allows clients to punish you and the other staff members, it is your own fault.

Someone gave me some advice once, and I will pass it along to you. If you stay in a nut house, you are nuts.

  • Abused patience turns to fury.
  • Thomas Fuller

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

It’s On Your Shoulders

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

I have noticed that many firms, during the last few months, have announced the promotion of several new partners. Those new partners might be thinking, “Wow, I finally made it, now I will have people who will help and support me and do what I ask!” That way of thinking, as a partner, couldn’t be more wrong.

Instead of being at the top of the pyramid, partners are actually at the bottom of an upside-down pyramid. You, as a new partner (or as a firm administrator), are holding up all the other people who work at your firm.

Maybe you had a summer picnic or another gathering for your team and their families. Think about all of those people in attendance – adults, and children. You are responsible for them and their welfare. Your firm is the source of financial security for all those people. The success of the firm leads to the success of your employees.

What you do as a partner has ramifications. People trust you and your judgment.

  • If you hang out with chickens, you're going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles, you're going to fly.
  • Steve Maraboli

Monday, September 12th, 2022

Registration Is Open For The Partner Institute 2023

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

Now is the time to invest in the future of your firm. My friends at The Growth Partnership have announced plans for the 2023 TPI.

The Partner Institute has been training partners and future partners since 2004

When you talk with any of the top consultants or leading practitioners in the profession, they confirm that developing an effective successor generation is the number one issue facing accounting firms today.

Why? Research conducted by the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section shows that while 60 percent of CPA firms have owners between ages 55 and 62, over 81 percent of firms have no documented succession plan. These staggering statistics have many firms scrambling to find the next generation leaders in their firms—leaders who will excel in the areas of practice development, performance management, and strategic thinking.

Enroll Now for the 2023 Class
Download the Registration Form Here
From leadership training to results. Sophisticated firms realize that leadership development isn’t something they can simply delegate to “one of the partners” (someone who may have little to no formal training or education on how to develop leaders or serve as an effective mentor and coach)— it’s a deliberate process, precisely crafted with an intentional focus. Sending your future leaders to limited “quick-fix” programs or conferences isn’t a long-term prescription for success. In his Harvard Business Review blog, Ron Ashkenas, managing partner of Robert H. Schaffer & Associates, demonstrates that translating leadership training into results requires a special blend of training, mentoring, and perpetual practice.

The Partner Institute is a comprehensive three-year leadership development experience designed specifically for the CPA. Our program provides participants with world-class training, a continuous learning environment, and a culture of accountability that is unmatched.

  • Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting and, most importantly, a way of communicating.
  • Simon Sinek

Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Clutter

“In many offices, a clean desk policy means that there is a back-log of work somewhere else.” – Milton Berle

Maybe you have noticed. Accountants tend to keep things. You know, just in case they need it later. They also hold onto things that have already been scanned.

We have hoped that becoming paperless would mean that offices and cubicles would be paper-free, neat, and organized. I bet you have at least a stack of paper documents on the corner of your desk that you intend to “get to” soon. Some of the things in that stack might be six months old, a year old, or more. You receive paper mail, clients drop off some papers, etc. Sure, you will get them scanned, but when?

Scientists tell us that our brains like order and that a messy desk or workspace is a visual reminder of disorganization and that drains our cognitive resources and reduces our ability to focus. They also found that when participants cleared the clutter from their work environment, they were better able to focus and process information, and their productivity increased.

When I tour a CPA firm’s office, I can usually tell which office belongs to a tax partner or manager. They seem to accumulate the most stuff. Is that true in your office?

All of this applies to your home office, too. Do you have a clean and clutter-free space at home to work?

Read this interesting article via HBR – The Case For Finally Cleaning Your Desk.

There is also a train of thought that indicates that a messy desk means you are more creative. Here’s a quote you might like: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign? – Albert Einstein

  • A messy desk reflects a cluttered and confused mind.
  • Obert Skye

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 25th, 2022

Promotions & Training

“One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” – Arnold Glasow

Growing CPA firms, promote people to the manager position. There is a definite need for people at the manager level.

The problem is that when a CPA Senior (the level below a manager) is promoted to Manager, they simply continue to perform as they always have performed, just with a new title.

If you want to improve employee engagement in your firm, look at your managers first. One of the most important decisions the partner group needs to make is who they promote to manager. In most firms, people are named managers because of longevity with the firm, not because they are skilled at inspiring people and nurturing the career growth of others.

Keep in mind…. 70% of people leave a company because of their manager.

If you want your firm’s employee engagement to improve, focus on your managers. Offer them resources to improve their management skills and provide workshops and training on managing people.

I have also observed that a skill that most managers need to develop is delegation. Managers need to be training their replacements. In a CPA firm, young people learn by getting assigned to more complex engagements.

  • Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

Responsible

“History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” – David McCullough

Who is responsible at your firm?

If you work for a sole practitioner, you know who is responsible.

If you work in a small to mid-size firm or even a fairly large firm, you probably know the person or people responsible for the firm’s welfare.

With all of the vast mergers going on across the country, very large firms merging up into giant firms that have offices nationwide, do you know who is responsible? I mean, do you know them personally? If you are a partner, you might know the leader/CEO, but if you are working in one of their non-headquarters offices, I doubt if you know them or have even met them.

That is why I think the following quote is appropriate for you to keep in mind.

“It is extremely dangerous, very possibly disastrous, to assume that because people are in positions of responsibility, they are therefore behaving responsibly.” – David McCullough, in his book The Johnstown Flood.

  • Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.
  • David McCullough

Friday, August 12th, 2022

Are You The Leader?

“Never assume that people in positions of responsibility are behaving responsibly.” – David McCullough

This Friday, rather than doing a Flashback post. I want to give you something different. I hope you will follow the link (below) and sit quietly for 16 minutes to learn about leadership.

This is directed to firm managing partners or hope-to-be managing partners. It is also vital information for department heads or any other leadership figures inside your accounting firm.

I was saddened this week to hear about the death of David McCullough. I have read many of his books and hope to read more. One of my recent favorites is The Pioneers.

This weekend, find a quiet spot, watch and learn about what made George Washington a great leader.

David McCullough Interview: The Importance of George Washington

I hope you can find some of Washington’s traits within yourself. Have a great weekend.

  • Be courteous to all, but intimate with a few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
  • George Washington