Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Monday, August 19th, 2019

Lifelong Learning is a Must for CPAs

“As long as you’re learning, you’re not failing.” – Bob Ross

The quote from Bob Ross caused me to think about what learning really means inside an accounting firm.

So many, more experienced, CPAs continue to achieve their CPE (Continuing Professional Education) hours. But, are they really learning?

I have observed first-hand and have heard SO many stories second-hand about CPA partners rushing to obtain their CPE hours right before the deadline. Are they really learning anything in this “I’ve got to get it done” mode?

So much CPE is now online and many are taking advantage of it because it is cheaper. Some firms don’t allow younger accountants to travel out of state for CPE. Are they really learning anything new, anything that will challenge them and cause them to contemplate their current state of knowledge.

So much can be learned from interacting with peers from different firms. I hope life-long learning is one of your core values. I don’t want you to fail.

 

  • I'm still learning.
  • Michelangelo

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

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Podcasts

“I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

Podcasts are becoming more and more popular within the CPA profession. Many of you listen to podcasts as you commute back and forth to the office.

Check out this infographic via Podcast Insights that gives you some interesting facts about podcasting.

If you want to learn more about CPA practice management, firm governance and trends, listen to my podcast with Brannon Poe of Poe Group Advisors.

  • The older I get, the more I see a straight path where I want to go. If you're going to hunt elephants, don't get off the trail for a rabbit.
  • T. BOONE PICKENS

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, July 26th, 2019

Friday! What Are You Doing Today?

“Tonight’s forecast; 99% chance of wine.” – Anonymous

It’s time for a Friday Flashback post. Friday flashbacks give me the chance to remind you of some older, hopefully, interesting posts, and free up some time to enjoy Fridays!

It is a beautiful morning in Ohio and in a couple of hours, I will be playing golf with my husband and some old friends. How about you? What are you doing this Friday?

If you have a few minutes read this post from last July – BUSY VS. BUSYNESS.

Have a great weekend. I’ll be hunting for golf balls.

  • Every Friday, I like to high five myself for getting through another week on little more than caffeine, will power, and inappropriate humor.
  • Nanea Hoffman

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 15th, 2019

Be Brave. Ask Questions.

It happens daily in accounting firms. Younger, less experienced staff members hesitate, and even fear, to ask what they consider a dumb question.

Yet, one brave soul will often ask it and then everyone nods their head and admits that they wondered the same thing. I love people who ask the dumb question.

That’s why this quote means so much to you as you build your career in accounting:

“No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Beginning this week, no matter how many or how few years of experience you have – be brave, ask questions.

  • What makes us human, I think, is an ability to ask questions.
  • Jane Goodall

Friday, July 12th, 2019

Flashback Friday – There Are Many Ways to Mentor

“Do your little bit of good where you are. It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

I have observed that many experienced CPAs seem hesitant when it comes to mentoring younger accountants. They want to know:

  • What exactly do I say?
  • What shouldn’t I say?
  • How often should we meet?
  • Where should we meet?
  • And, the list goes on…

Here’s this week’s flashback post: There Are Many Ways to Mentor Someone.

  • To add value to others, one must first value others.
  • John Maxwell

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

The Importance of the Firm Administrator

The majority of people in the accounting profession operate at Levels I and II. – Gary Boomer

There is a good article by Gary Boomer via Accounting Today – Leadership, Management, and Administration: What’s the difference”

Here are some tidbits:

Boomer refers to Jim Collins’ five levels of leadership from his book “Good to Great.” He defines the levels as:

  • Level I: Capable individual
  • Level II: Contributing team member
  • Level III: Competent manager
  • Level IV: Effective leader
  • Level V: Executive

Administrative personnel are often expected to have all the skills, especially in smaller firms that have a part-time managing partner or CEO. This is a monumental task, and often people are set up to fail in the role of firm administrator. People in these positions require professional development, peer networks, and management resources to succeed. The biggest risk is they are viewed by many accountants, including some partners, as overhead, rather than as a strategic asset.

It’s a great article – Read the entire article here.

  • People leave firms because of bad managers, not because of the firm.
  • Gary Boomer

Monday, July 8th, 2019

Still Using Business Cards?

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.” – Laurence Sterne

I have definitely noticed that over the last five years or so, the need for giving someone your business card has decreased.

With all of the exposure, your firm gets via your webpage, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. people know how to get in touch with you. People can Google your name and find you. That is why it is so important for ALL your contact information to be on your website. I still find it disappointing when I look for an email address of a CPA and their website discourages visitors from easily contacting people at the firm.

All that being said, I know that the majority of CPAs still carry and distribute business cards. For young people at the firm (and maybe for some older ones), there are some etiquette rules surrounding how you distribute your business card.

Here’s a great article via Fast Company – How to give out your business card without seeming like a jerk. Here are the tips (but got to the article to find out more about each tip).

  1. Don’t use them to impress
  2. Don’t rush to give your card out
  3. Choose the right situation
  4. Make sure it’s presentable
  5. Think about what the card says

When I was working at a firm, I encouraged our newest team members to place their business card in those goldfish bowls at restaurants so that the firm name showed through the glass!

  • Civility costs nothing and buys everything.
  • Mary Wortley Montagu