Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Monday, March 20th, 2023

CPA Firm Administrator/Practice Manager

Too much work and too much energy kill a man just as effectively as too much-assorted vice or too much drink.” – Rudyard Kipling

This blog post is for my dear friends who are (or have been) CPA firm administrators. It comes from Dan Rockwell @Leadershipfreak. Keep this in mind as you make your way through tax season!

Avoid overcommitments.

Repeat after me…

I don’t have to do everything.

The world will keep spinning when I’m gone.

I won’t do other people’s jobs.

  • Stress is the trash of modern life. We all generate it, but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.
  • Danzae Pace

Thursday, March 16th, 2023


“Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting and, most importantly, a way of communicating.” – Simon Sinek

I received a message from Grammarly about an upcoming webinar about miscommunication. Grammarly is a very helpful tool for me. I hope you are using it at your firm.

Per Grammarly:

Workplace miscommunication affects a staggering amount of professionals. Our 2023 State of Business Communication report with The Harris Poll shows that 66% of business leaders and 53% of knowledge workers experience it at least once a day.

Those experiences create a whirlwind of negative impacts: 84% of business leaders cite lower productivity, missed deadlines, and increased costs.

However, effective communication can be just as powerful for decreasing stress, improving productivity, increasing customer satisfaction, and more. 

I have blogged many times about the importance of communication within CPA firms and have given many presentations on the topic. Click here to see all of the blog posts – read some of them and don’t let poor communication hinder the success of your firm.

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

Thursday, March 9th, 2023

Don’t Get Caught Unprepared

“One of the major keys to success is to keep moving forward on the journey, making the best of the detours and interruptions, turning adversity into advantage.” – John Maxwell

You are often put on the spot. You are the managing partner or the firm administrator (practice manager), and someone stops you in the hallway as you return to your office with a cup of coffee.

They say it is just a quick question. You know better.

Just know that you don’t have to answer every question immediately. Maybe you feel uncomfortable giving them a quick answer. No matter what the topic, just tell them that you’ll have to get back to them.

It is annoying getting put on the spot with random questions. Maybe you really don’t know the answer. It is okay to tell them that you don’t know and will get back to them. It gives you time to think about what they have asked.

Sometimes a quick answer will come back to haunt you.

Once, I heard a great presenter, at a conference, give this advice – If you don’t want to be bothered or interrupted while walking around the office, carry a clipboard and walk fast.

  • Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte

Wednesday, March 8th, 2023


It’s like what we’re doing at this precise moment doesn’t even exist. Everyone is focused on the next thing. Everyone is racing to the next thing.” – Maria Shriver

Sometimes I struggle with our TV remote, especially when I am dealing with various streaming services, the DVD player, and live TV. Which buttons do I push? However, one button I know for sure is the Pause button.

I need a break, I need to think, the phone rings, someone’s at the door – I hit Pause.

If you are working inside a CPA firm, you are in one of the most challenging times of the year. It’s rush, rush, rush. When will that job be done? How much billable time did you have last week? Call so-and-so and have them hurry up and get their information to us.

Years ago, Maria Shriver gave a commencement speech to her daughter’s graduating class titled – The Power Of The Pause – The importance of stopping and evaluating where you are in life. How often have you done that?

Shriver noted, “So remember to pause and reflect before you sign on with someone or some organization whose work you don’t admire and respect. Who you work for is as important as what you do.”

As a CPA firm leader, are you admired by your people? Are you pausing to explain the importance of the work you do? Are you sharing the success stories of your business clients and how an accountant’s role is to serve others and help them become successful? Are you encouraging your valuable people to pause once in a while to reflect on their work, their life, and their families?

You and everyone else at your firm have hectic, busy lives. People get tired, worn down, and lose sight of the positives. For yourself, remember to pause and reflect often. Am I truly happy with my work? Do I trust and admire my partners? Do I value my employees? Am I always honest with my team members? Am I always honest with my family? Am I happy?

  • He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
  • Albert Einstein

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

Let It Go To Voicemail

“It takes months to find a customer… seconds to lose one.” – Vince Lombardi

Here’s what happens inside many CPA firms.

In the old days, when a receptionist would receive a call from a client for a partner, the partner would say, “Just put it in my voicemail.”

Then direct inward dial came into fashion, and the partners would give their direct phone number to clients, telling them that they could use it to get directly to them. However, when incoming calls would come to their phone extension, they would just let all calls go to voicemail.

Now, with the widespread use of mobile phones, partners give their mobile numbers to clients. Yet, when they see that Joe Client is calling, they simply let it go to voicemail.

Managers have also learned, from partner examples, that it is perfectly okay to let calls go to voicemail. CPAs use the excuse that they are too busy and that they don’t want to be interrupted.

Clients have become accustomed to this phone tag world and usually never expect their CPA to answer their phone call on the first attempt.

You are in a service business. Do you have service standards for your entire team? You can get some inspiration from Ritz Carlton.

Besides, when you talk to a client, it can lead to additional services. All of this came to mind when I read a recent quote from Simon Sinek: “Posts get reactions. Phone calls start conversations.”

On a few rare occasions when I called a CPA, they actually answered the phone. I must say I was actually surprised. Try surprising your clients.

  • Nobody raves about average.
  • Bill Quiseng

Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

How Do They Describe You?

“A conversation is so much more than words, a conversation is eyes, smiles, the silences between the words.” – Annika Thor

CPAs in public practice attend a lot of civic and charitable events. I know you are all familiar with the value of “getting out there” in your business community.

When working at a CPA firm for many years, I understand how difficult it can be to recruit accountants from your staff, including partners, to attend these kinds of events. However, the best rainmakers I have known were very skilled at being out and about and being seen and heard in their business community.

I learned the skill of personal business networking from one such CPA. He was so smooth at working the crowd and making connections with people who just might refer business to our firm. He allowed and encouraged me to shadow him at some of the major business events in our city. I observed people light up, smile and engage when he approached them. He came to our firm via an acquisition, and I am grateful that I had the chance to learn from him.

Think about the last charitable fund-raiser dinner you attended. I hope you didn’t sit next to people from your own firm. I always encouraged our team to spread out and sit with people they did not know. Let’s say a potential client happened to sit next to you at that dinner, and you enjoyed the conversation.

What kind of impression did that person have about you when the evening was over? Here’s a great quote I read recently:

“When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.”
— A woman when asked her impression of the two English statesmen Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone after dining with them.

Maybe this is something to strive for at your next charitable or civic event. Practice makes perfect! Share this post with your younger, less experienced team members.

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

Monday, February 27th, 2023


“How can you have charisma? Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are making them feel good about you.” – Dan Reiland

A very simple question today. Do you have charisma?

I don’t think we often consider charisma as part of the job description for a partner. Or for a CPA in general. I have met many CPAs over my years in the profession. The most successful ones, the ones I grew to know and admire from various firms, had charisma. They are the ones who became a firm’s managing partner and then led that firm to amazing heights.

I recently read a description of charisma: Charisma is charm that inspires devotion.

Many CPAs have (or have acquired) charm. They use charm to build relationships with important clients. They use it to mentor younger CPAs. But a select few have charisma.

As a leader of a firm, how about you? Do you have it?

  • There is no personal charm so great as the charm of a cheerful temperament.
  • Henry Van Dyke

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

Your Dream

“The moment that you begin to think ‘we are great’ your slide towards mediocrity will have begun.” – Jim Collins

Do you have a dream about what the future could hold for you and your firm? Most of us do, even if it is deep down inside us.

It would be great if we could accomplish that! I bet we could get that done! I would be so cool if we could just…….!

If you are old enough, remember when you read Jim Collins’ book Built to Last. He mentioned a BHAG.

BHAG is a concept developed in the book Built to Last. A BHAG (pronounced “Bee Hag,” short for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”) is a powerful way to stimulate progress. A BHAG is clear and compelling, needing little explanation; people get it right away. Think of the NASA moon mission of the 1960s.

Many firms established a BHAG. I wonder how that turned out.

As for now, I hope you have a dream of what the future might bring. A big and exciting dream. My question for you is in this quote (via @leadershipfreak):

“Are the *habits* you have today on par with the *dreams* you have for tomorrow?” ~Alan Stein, Jr.

  • We must exert self-control in a world that is out of control. 20-mile march, 20-mile march, 20-mile march, day in day out.
  • Jim Collins

Friday, February 17th, 2023

Flashback Friday

“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” – Mark Twain

There are many things you should be doing in tax season, and there are many things you should not be doing. This Flashback post urges you not to do it!

  • I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.
  • Lou Holtz

Thursday, February 16th, 2023

Analyzing Results of the 2022 Practice Management Survey

“Survey and test a prospective action before undertaking it. Before you proceed, step back and look at the big picture, lest you act rashly on raw impulse.” ~ Epictetus

I hope you participate and study the results of the Rosenberg Survey each year.

The 2022 survey disclosed some very interesting information. I could analyze and recap it for you, but why do that? The CPA Journal has already done it for you.

Find out about:

  • Economic growth.
  • Alternative workforce.
  • Compliance to advisory.
  • Non-traditional hires.
  • Average age of partners.
  • Gender mix & percentage of female partners
  • Private equity.

Read the summary here.

  • Latest survey shows that 3 out of 4 people make up 75% of the world’s population.
  • Stephen Hawking