Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Getting Things Done

“I’ve found that employing even one of these five strategies can save you hours each week.” – Elizabeth Grace Saunders

You always have so much to do. You are busy, busy, busy. There is always a new due date around the corner.

Last week as I talked with several clients about how it felt to have the September 15th due date behind them there was a common theme. They noted, “We still have twenty trusts to get done by September 30 and then there are 75 1040s still to do for October 15th!

You know how this goes in an accounting firm.

Elizabeth Grace Saunders, an internationally recognized expert on effective time management offers us 5 Strategies for Getting More Work Done in Less Time via HBR.

She notes: You’ve got more to do than could possibly get done with your current work style. You’ve prioritized. You’ve planned. You’ve delegated. You’ve tried to focus. The next frontier is increasing your efficiency so that you can spend less time and still do a good job.

The Five Strategies

  1. Clarify Actual Expectations
  2. Re-Use Previous Material
  3. Develop Templates and Checklists
  4. Make it a Conversation
  5. Time Box Your Work

Read about each of them here.

  • Without hustle, talent will only carry you so far.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

Speak Their Language

“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.” – Oliver Wendall Holmes

I have a new family physician. I recently met with her for an annual check-up and to get acquainted.

As we talked about various health topics and she mentioned a piriformis stretch. I asked, “What is piriformis?” She noted that she was sorry and that she should have explained the term. It is a muscle that runs diagonally from the lower spine to the upper surface of the femur, with the sciatic nerve running underneath or through the muscle.

Knowing that I work with CPAs, she said that she realizes how I must have felt not knowing the term because when she meets with her CPA he talks in a language that she does not at all understand!

That conversation resulted in me writing this blog post to remind you that your clients don’t always know what you are talking about! Encourage them to ask questions and to interrupt you if they do not understand something you are saying.

Here’s a post from 2018 that also addresses this topic.

  • Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.
  • Jim Rohn

Friday, September 18th, 2020

Let Go of The Past

“There are better starters than me but I’m a strong finisher.” —Usain Bolt

For this Flashback Friday, I want to remind you that most CPA firm partners and managers have very long memories. If you make a mistake, as a young staff person, they seem never to forget it.

Read more here.

  • Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.
  • Napoleon Hill

Monday, September 14th, 2020

The Journey From Manager to Partner

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.” – T. D. Jakes

The Ohio Chapter of The CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) will be hosting a REMOTE-ZOOM meeting on Friday, September 18 at 11:00a.

The presentation will be an informative one for firm administrators and managing partners. The presenter will be a “new” partner in a CPA firm and will discuss her experiences in moving from Manager to Partner.

The Journey from Manager to Partner  

Niki Doctor, CPA will be sharing her experiences in moving from Manager to Partner in a CPA firm. The purpose of this presentation is to help firms understand what the firm’s leadership should be focusing on besides just the technical skills and book of business.  Our environment is changing rapidly and the needs of our firms and our clients are changing as well. Learn how can we make the transition from Manager to Partner successful.

ABOUT NIKI DOCTOR – She has over 17 years of public accounting experience and has been at Bregante + Company LLP since 2012. Niki began her career at Bregante + Company LLP as a Manager in 2012 and became a Partner in 2018. Niki believes in providing and offering bespoke solutions to her clients and assisting them in making financially sound business decisions. She is committed to client success and strives to provide prompt and efficient services to all her clients. Niki specializes in closely-held businesses and high net worth individuals that require tax planning, tax advisory, international tax, and compliance services. She also works with businesses that require a combination of tax services and financial accounting, including compilations and reviews with vast experience in the real estate, retail/wholesale, manufacturing, distribution, architecture and engineering, high t-tech, and professional services.

Register securely on line.

  • You’ve got to have rules to live by, and one of mine is always say yes. Put yourself in danger of something amazing happening to you.
  • Tom Bilyeu

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Think Time

“Take a rest. A field that has rested yields a beautiful crop.” – Ovid

I recently read a tweet by Chris McClure: “Sitting quietly is the conduit for receiving a million great ideas.”

CPAs in public practice (and the people who work for them) seem to never have time to actually sit quietly and do nothing. I assume they did when they were children and maybe even teenagers but they seem to have forgotten how.

They blame it on due dates, clients, and the IRS. I hear the we-are-so busy and the we-are-slammed comments over and over again.

In this kind of work environment, it is difficult to find time to sit quietly and let your mind wander. You must take positive steps to find the time to just think. You HAVE the time, it is just a matter of how you spend it.

Think about it, do minutes or even hours slip through your fingers every day? Why not budget just 20 minutes a day to sit quietly? I do it first thing in the morning, sipping a cup of coffee. It sometimes amazes me how interesting thoughts and ideas creep through my mind when I allow time for it to happen.

  • Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.
  • David Allen

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

Your Foundation

“The important thing is that you’ve got a strong foundation before you start to try to save the world or help other people.” – Richard Branson

Does your CPA firm have a solid foundation?

I often talk about the internal workings of a firm as the foundational issues. Do you have effective and efficient processes and procedures as it relates to client service and also how it relates to human resources issues? If there are many different ways to accomplish client work, it cannot be as efficient as having one way, the FIRM way. In too many firms, the way work is completed depends on the partner-in-charge of the client engagement.

Of course, there are other foundational issues relating to the services you offer and the needs of your clients. Those issues are changing. The once-solid foundation of the CPA profession consisting of accounting, tax, and audit is becoming rather shaky!

Joey Havens, CPA, CGMA, is the executive partner at HORNE LLP. He offers us a closer look at your foundation in his article, Five Ways Firms Can Solidify Their Business Foundation via the AICPA, CPA Insider. Take a few minutes to read his tips.

  • Great persons are great because of good, strong foundations on which they were able to build a character.
  • Alfred Armand Montapert

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Working From Home

“Unfortunately, most accounting firms were not ready for ‘stay at home orders.’ – – Gary Boomer

There has been so much written about how to more efficiently work from home. It involves a lot of small details and some big decisions.

The progressive firms that I know have provided the technology needed for their teams to work from home for years but they did not expect that suddenly EVERYONE would be working from home.

Recently, via Accounting Today’s Boomer’s Blueprint, Gary Boomer gives us 10 tips for working from home. Listed below are the 10 Tips titles. Be sure to read Boomer’s comments about each topic.

  • Bandwith
  • Connection
  • Lighting
  • Background
  • Microphone
  • Camera
  • Mute or Stay open
  • Interruptions
  • Use a desk
  • View

Boomer notes that the biggest obstacle is paper. For years, way too many firms have told me “we are sort of paperless.” He also notes that the biggest advantage is the cloud.

  • To collaborative team members, completing one another is more important than competing with one another.
  • John C. Maxwell

Monday, August 31st, 2020

What People Think About Working From Home

“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office.'” – Paul Tsongas

Here are some interesting stats from a recent survey of people working from home. I wonder what your accounting firm team members think about the new normal?

JDP recently surveyed more than 2,000 Americans who typically work in offices who are now working from home full-time to try and learn more about this pandemic-spurred era of remote work.

Here’s what they found:

  • 77% of those surveyed said they are working different hours from home than they would at the office. 66% said they are more likely to work nights and weekends than before. 
  • 67% of Americans surveyed said their productivity is the same or better when working from home, although 54% reported more distractions working from home. 
  • 42% said they are working less than usual from home. 33% reported working more. 25% reported working the same. 
  • Those who are working more said it was hard to keep boundaries between work and home life as the main reason why. Those working less reported having less work to do. 
  • A whopping 92% of respondents said they believe their boss trusts them working from home…and 86% say they’ve taken advantage of their freedom while working remotely. 

Learn more from the full report.

  • You will never be truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.
  • Heather Schuck

Friday, August 28th, 2020

Maybe You Don’t Get It?

“I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” – Socrates

Here’s a Friday Flashback Post. It is a reminder that maybe some people think you just don’t get it.

Partners might not realize how long it actually takes to do a certain engagement. They “don’t get it.”

A 20-something staff person doesn’t realize how important it is for CPA professionals to be able to write a memo without misspellings and poor grammar. They “don’t get it.”

Read more here.

Have a nice weekend!

  • Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance.
  • Robert Quillen

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

Know It All

“The dumbest people I know are those who know it all.” – Malcolm Forbes

As a leader in your firm, you might think you have to know it all. Partners and managers cannot possibly know it all!

Of course, you have to understand the business of public accounting and how to obtain new clients and provide awesome service to your current ones.

You can never know all the answers. Some things will puzzle you. It is an on-going occurrence and it never ends. To be a skilled leader of people, you need help from others.

Adopt a coaching method of building relationships with your team. Ask for their input and insight and then listen. While you will never know it all, others will help you know a lot more!

  • The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
  • Stephen Hawking