Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

Speak Up

“Be a voice not an echo.” – Albert Einstein

If you are building a career in the CPA firm world, never hesitate to speak up.

Many new staffers are uncomfortable saying what is on their minds. The firm’s leadership wants to hear your ideas and comments.

I bet you have been in a staff meeting and had an idea or comment. You lean over and tell the person sitting next to you. Then that person raises their hand, states the comment/idea, and gets recognition. This is especially true for females. It has probably happened to many of you, and I know it happened to me.

I have observed that the people who are not afraid of asking “the dumb question” are usually admired more than they realize. I have always appreciated those people because they ask what many others think but are afraid to ask.

Go for it. Speak up.

  • Speak up. Believe inn yourself. Take risks.
  • Sheryl Sandberg

Friday, February 3rd, 2023

Difficult Clients – Flashback Friday

“If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.” – John W. Gardner

I remember hearing David Maister expand on this theme (difficult clients) in one of his presentations years ago.

Read this Flashback post.

  • As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.
  • Andrew Carnegie

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Know It All

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – John Wooden

A long time ago, a famous professional service firm management consultant told me that CPAs would not believe anything I said or listen to my suggestions because I was not a CPA. He said they think they are smarter than anyone who is not a CPA. This internationally known management consultant was not a CPA.

Over the years, I have proved that wrong, although occasionally, I have encountered circumstances where this might ring true.

How about you? I hope you are not a know-it-all CPA!

Here are my thoughts:

  • CPAs are very confident and proud of their knowledge, sometimes too much.
  • Be sure your scope of knowledge is very wide and not too narrow and deep.
  • Be a good listener and understand how relationships work.
  • Get to know people more personally, not just about business matters.
  • Understand emotions. Other people probably show more emotion than you do.
  • Respect other people’s knowledge. Many partners think their way is the best way, even better than their other partners.

You know so much about tax, accounting, and audit. In this day and age, that’s not enough to make you successful in the long term.

  • A know-it-all is a person who knows everything except for how annoying he is.
  • Demetri Martin

Monday, January 30th, 2023


As you get busy, the stress of tax season will begin to engulf you. The only thing you can truly control is your own attitude. Remember the following:

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
― Roy T. Bennett

  • Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.
  • Roy T. Bennett

Thursday, January 26th, 2023

What Do You Do Around Here?

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

I came across this post by Seth Godin. I thought of those working in a CPA firm. Here’s the post:


There are lots of useful, honest answers. Some might include:

I do what I’m told

I challenge the status quo

I show up on time

I solve complicated problems

I absorb nonsense and create calm for others

I raise our standards

I help people feel seen

I’m steady

I don’t cause trouble

I bring energy

I lead the way

I turn mountains into molehills

People like me

The ones that aren’t helpful are things like:

I’m just passing through

I give people a hard time

I’m a bully

I make mountains out of molehills

What do you do???

  • When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.
  • Maya Angelou

Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

I’m The Boss

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”- Mark Twain

Have you ever experienced it? I have. When a healthy discussion about a process or procedure goes on too long, I am talking about a boss who says, “I’m the boss; you’re the employee!”

What those kinds of bosses really mean is “My way or the highway!” These kinds of conversations did happen in CPA firms back in the old days. I am hoping it is a rare occurrence now.

As CPAs work their way up to a Manager position in the firm, they are often given lots of training and CPE relating to the technical aspects of the job. They are not always given enough training and mentoring about managing people.

Here are some phrases you should never use if you are a manager.

  • I’m the boss…
  • I don’t like surprises (or bad news)…
  • Failure is not an option…
  • I give up…
  • I’ll do it myself, or I have to do everything myself!
  • Don’t take this wrong…
  • I don’t take vacations…
  • I don’t have time…
  • Let’s wait a while…
  • Don’t ask questions…

These phrases are mentioned in an informative article via SharpHeels. Follow this link to read more about each one of these phrases. It is almost a mini-course on how to be a boss.

  • I always tell kids; you have two eyes and one mouth. Keep two open and one closed. You never learn anything if you’re the one talking.
  • Gordie Howe

Tuesday, January 17th, 2023

News From Illinois About The CPA Exam

“Just believe in yourself. Even if you don’t, pretend that you do and, at some point, you will.” – Venus Williams

In Illinois, you will only need 120 credit hours to sit for the Exam. You still need 150 to be certified. Here’s the press release from ICPAS:

Illinois Updates CPA Exam Eligibility, Reduces Credit-Hour Requirement

CHICAGO, Jan. 4, 2023– Effective Jan. 1, 2023, prospective certified public accountants in Illinois will only need to present proof of having 120 eligible semester credit hours, versus 150, and a baccalaureate degree to apply to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam, the universal exam all certified public accountant (CPA) candidates must pass to earn the distinguished CPA credential. Individuals passing the exam will still need 150 semester credit hours to become licensed.

The Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS)—one of the largest state CPA societies in the nation—advocated alongside the Illinois Board of Examiners (ILBOE) to reduce the credit-hour requirement for testing eligibility from 150 semester credit hours to 120. In 2021, the Illinois House and Senate unanimously passed ICPAS-sponsored legislation to amend the Illinois Public Accounting Act to allow this change. While earning 150 semester credit hours remains a key education requirement to become a licensed CPA in the state, ICPAS hopes that requiring fewer credit hours to initially sit for the CPA exam will help make becoming a CPA both more appealing and accessible to a broader candidate pool, particularly among accounting students, graduates, and young professionals.

“Earning the CPA credential is one of the most notable ways to establish your professional identity and exhibit a high level of competence in the accounting and finance profession,” says Todd Shapiro, ICPAS president and CEO. “Yet, despite strong market demand for the specialized services CPAs are entrusted to provide, we’ve been witnessing a nationwide decline in new CPAs. It’s our hope that this rule change will help alleviate some of the time and financial barriers associated with becoming a CPA and, ultimately, strengthen the CPA pipeline.”

Individuals planning to sit for the CPA exam can submit their credentials evaluation application on the IBOE website at once they’ve earned 120 semester credit hours (including 24 hours in accounting with at least one course in audit and one course in tax, a minimum of 12 hours of business courses, and a baccalaureate degree). Provisional approval will be available for students completing the educational requirements in the final term in which they receive a degree. ICPAS’ FAQ on preparing to take the CPA exam is available at

  • Self-belief and hard work will always earn you success.
  • Virat Kohli

Monday, January 16th, 2023

A Learning Culture Is A Plus For You

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I continually read about all kinds of ways to hire and keep talented people. Of course, that is a big thing on the minds of CPAs. It has been a huge concern for years. It is right now and will be well into the future.

Today’s workforce wants to be part of a learning culture. What better place than a CPA firm?

CPA firms:

  • Provide focused, immediate training, both formal and casual, the day a new person joins the team.
  • Pay for ongoing continuing professional education (CPE).
  • Never hesitate to send people to outside CPE courses to enhance their careers.
  • Provide a significant amount of internal CPE and other training that never stops.
  • Have a mentoring culture and everyone, no matter their age and experience, must commit to lifelong learning.
  • Reward individuals who continue to learn and build their knowledge base.

If you haven’t already, it is time to spread the word about all the learning opportunities when a person joins a CPA firm.

  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were going to live forever.
  • Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Say It Simply

“A lot of problems in the world would be solved if we talked to each other instead of about each other.” — Nicky Gumbel

As leaders, when communicating with your team members, do you use phrases that can become irritating? I bet you have never given it much thought. Old habits are very hard to break.

A recent Inc. article by Jeff Haden titled “To Be Honest, These Overused Filler Phrases Really Get On Other People’s Nerves,” might send you a wake-up call.

For example, you might use phrases like, “At the end of the day..” “It is what it is.” “To be perfectly candid…” and the often used one, “If I’m honest…”

A phrase that is often used by CPA partners might be “Trust me….” I’ve heard that one many times.

The point is to eliminate these phrases and say what you are trying to communicate. This article will give you a lot of pointers.

I like the example used in the article – Did Jim Lovell need to say “To tell you the truth” before he said, “Houston, we’ve had a problem?” No, he did not.

  • Make sure to communicate your idea quickly and keep it straight to the point.
  • Paul Bailey

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023


“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” – Dale Carnegie

Since 2020, CPAs have experienced more emotions in their work lives than ever before. 2020 opened up a new world for how accountants and their teams work. While accountants are pictured as stoic, and many are, the pandemic brought forth emotions not usually experienced in the CPA profession.

The rapid growth of technology advancements and the unveiling of various programs and applications that could do work more quickly, efficiently, and profitably than humans caused some concern for many.

Owners are concerned about having enough workers and having workers who want to work remotely. Employees are concerned that their desire to have a significantly more flexible work schedule will not be accepted by their bosses.

So many changes have happened and continue to happen for both for the firm owners and employees. Some of the changes came easily, and some did not. Some are still struggling with changes other CPA firms changed 25 years ago.

Identifying how people feel and how they are best managed is so important. It is time to revisit your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you. The term was first coined in 1990 by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey but was later popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman.

Read more about EQ in this blog post from 2019. Read the quotes above again.

  • CEOs are hired for their intellect and business expertise – and fired for a lack of emotional intelligence.
  • Daniel Goleman