Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Monday, June 14th, 2021

One Way Street

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” – Epictetus

Wise words from Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple when discussing living in the past – a past that one loved and enjoyed:

“I learned what I suppose I really knew already, that one can never go back, that one should not ever try to go back – that the essence of life is going forward. Life is really a One Way Street, isn’t it?”

Maybe you have “good old days” thoughts as you progress through this new normal that we are living – in our business lives and in our personal lives.

As you look back, life at your firm was progressing but was also stable, comfortable and understandable. All that has changed since March 2020.

Now, we must remember that we are on a One Way Street into the future. There is no place to turn around and go backward.

Going forward will be challenging but it will also be exciting and rewarding.

  • There's only one way to have a happy marriage and as soon as I learn what it is I'll get married again.
  • Clint Eastwood

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

Elevating & Embracing Your Role – Firm Administrators & Practice Managers

“Attitude is a choice. What you think you can do, whether positive or negative, confident or scared, will most likely happen.” – Pat Summitt

The newly formed Missouri Chapter of CPAFMA, supported by the Missouri Society of CPAs, has invited me to speak to their roundtable group virtually on Wednesday, June 16 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Central time). If you are outside of Missouri you are invited to attend. Contact Liz Schaetzel at the Missouri Society to register – lschaetzel@mocpa.org.

CPAFMA is so fortunate to have the support of so many state societies such as MOCPA. I know first-hand how much the Ohio and Indiana Societies help and support the Ohio and Indiana Chapters of CPAFMA.

This session (Elevating & Embracing Your Role) is especially helpful if you are new to the role and new to the CPA profession. It also works to motivate and inspire firm administrators even if you have been one for twenty years! I hope you will join me next Wednesday.

Here’s the invitation from the Missouri Society of CPAs:

During this roundtable, we will hear from Rita Keller, an award-winning and widely respected voice to CPA firm management, who will present Elevating and Embracing Your Role. She will discuss: who in your firm supports and encourages the managing partner? Who is the conscience of your firm, the person who always places the firm above their own personal agenda? Is there someone in the firm who enables the partners and staff to be better and more successful CPAs? Join Rita Keller and your peers to explore what a professional, well-trained firm administrator/practice manager can do. It’s time to elevate and embrace your important role.

Click here to register. We’d love to “see” you. Missouri members, as a reminder, you are invited to stay connected with your fellow firm administrators through MOCPA’s firm administrator online Connect Community and virtual roundtables. Click here for more details.

  • None of us can change our yesterdays, but all of us can change our tomorrows.
  • Colin Powell

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

4,225

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” – Dr. Seuss

This is my 4,225th blog post. When I stop and think about it, I even wonder how I can have so much to say about managing an accounting firm. Yet, I haven’t said it all!

Today, go to my website and browse through the Categories. There are topics such as:

  • Communication
  • Client Service
  • Crafting Your Career
  • Culture
  • Firm Administrator
  • Generations
  • Leadership
  • Managers
  • Marketing
  • Mentoring
  • Mergers
  • Reading
  • And, the most important one – Partner Topics!

If you are reading my blog via your email, actually go to my website today and see if you can find the answer to something that is challenging you or your firm right now.

  • Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.
  • Tony Robbins

Friday, May 28th, 2021

Which One Are You?

“Reading is departure and arrival.” —Terri Guillemets

Summer is on the way. This weekend is often referred to as our first summer holiday and to me summer means more reading.

For Flashback Friday this week read one of my posts that describes a book you should read. The post asks if you are a Linchpin or a Hurdle? Enjoy the 3-day weekend. Click here to read the post.

  • The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
  • Dr. Seuss

Thursday, May 27th, 2021

Chill Out – Substitute Fascinated for Frustrated

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Working at a growing, busy CPA firm can be frustrating at times. That is not an earth-shaking statement. You know it all too well! I have a light-hearted story for you today.

What do you do to relieve the frustrations that come your way almost on a daily (or hourly) basis? I have a suggestion that might help.

Many years ago I learned a way to reduce the stress of frustrations from a colleague who always looked on the bright side of things. She continually inspired me to be a better leader and to be a better person. No matter the situation, she found a way to take positive value from the experience.

As we went through the ups and downs of our busiest season, I found myself facing way too many frustrations. During one of these moments, my colleague gave me some excellent advice.

She suggested I substitute the word fascinated for frustrated. It is very simple but when I started thinking in this way, it simply took the edge off!

“Isn’t it fascinating that Joe Client drops off his information every year at the last minute and expects us to have it completed within one or two days? I wonder what causes him to demonstrate that behavior? Maybe he struggles with an assistant (or spouse) who isn’t proactive in helping him prepare and organize.”

“It really fascinates me that Sally Sue always leaves a mess in the break room. Perhaps she was raised by a wicked aunt that made her scrub floors every week-end!”

Try working a fascinating story into your frustrations. Yes, I have actually tried this and it helps me smile and de-stress.

  • It is hardly possible to build anything if frustration, bitterness and a mood of helplessness prevail.
  • Lech Walesa

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Doing Your Best With Virtual Meetings

“No matter what time it is, wake me, even if it’s in the middle of a cabinet meeting.” – Ronald Reagan

I hear it over and over again, CPA firm citizens are suffering from Zoom fatigue. I have experienced some frustrations, too. There are people who never participate, don’t turn on their video on, don’t mute sound and so on.

It is up to the meeting host to facilitate a productive meeting. If you are the host for some meetings, there is a great list of suggestions from Paul McDonald in a recent issue of CPA Practice Advisor. The topics are:

  • No agenda, no meeting
  • Use visual stimuli
  • Have a backup plan
  • Get everyone involved
  • Set some ground rules
  • Video on, sound off
  • Keep to time
  • Show empathy
  • Always follow up
  • Consider alternatives
  • Do check your tech
  • Don’t multitask
  • Do check your background
  • Don’t use speakerphone
  • Do come prepared
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Do connect on a human level

Be sure to follow this link to read the helpful information about each of these bullet points. Become the champion meeting host for your firm!

  • If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings'.
  • Dave Barry

Thursday, May 20th, 2021

Keep Your Eye On The Ball

“The trick is this: keep your eye on the ball. Even when you can’t see the ball.” – Tony Robbins

Today’s title applies to several sports. I think of golf and baseball. It also applies to partners (especially the managing partner) in accounting firms.

Keeping your eye on the ball applies throughout the game or match, not just as certain times. Managing an accounting firm requires you to keep your “eye on the ball” throughout the year, not just during busy season.

I have observed that some CPA firm owners have lucrative outside interests. Maybe it is another business or even life events, perhaps building a new house. You get distracted and yes, it is understandable. You expect the firm to run smoothly without you. Your firm administrator does a great job of running operations but he/she do not “run” the other partners or the visionary topics that need to keep moving no matter if it is summer.

After you recuperate from the never-ending tax season, hopefully that will only take a week or two, you need to regroup and focus on the inside health of the firm. Are there performance issues with staff or partners? Do you need to re-evaluate office space and/or negotiate a new lease? Are you now moving ahead with that M&A deal you put off until after May 17th? Do you need to further negotiate with that other acquisition to expand firm services?

By not keeping your eye on the ball, you might just “kill the golden goose.”

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

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

What Do You Think?

“To think that in such a place I led such a life.”

I am in a reflective frame of mind this morning. My granddaughter graduated, summa cum laude, from Miami University (of Ohio) on Sunday. She is off to begin a new life adventure.

The above quote is an inscription on a statue sculpted by a Miami undergraduate. Miami uses the quote extensively and especially at graduation time. I imagine that any new graduate, at any university, could apply the quotation to themselves.

My reflective question for you is, could you apply this thought to your career at your CPA firm? I can.

I hope you can apply the thought not only to your firm but to your home, your neighborhood, and your city or town. As with the college experience, you must often move on and explore new opportunities, maybe in another firm, neighborhood, or town. Hopefully, with good memories. I have.

  • Take care of your memories for you cannot relive them.
  • Bob Dylan

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

Show Them

“Businesses that forget that their primary business is the people business will not last.” – Steve Keating

Steve Keating’s post on May 16 certainly struck a chord with me. He addressed the issue of companies establishing titles for people in hopes that a person with a title would make employees feel more included and appreciated. He says that there are too many “buzz word” titles floating around. I certainly see this in the CPA profession.

Keating says, “Instead of endowing people with fancy titles that say “we care” how about actually caring? How about showing you care for everyone equally instead of saying it again and again?”

Calling people “human capital” has always grated on my nerves and I have heard it too often from CPA firm leaders. I always try to remind CPA leaders that they are not in the numbers business, they are in the people business. Be sure to read Keating’s post.

  • When the company shows they care about their people, all their people, equally, they don’t need fancy titles.
  • Steve Keating

Friday, May 14th, 2021

Persistence

“What you have learned is never enough.” – – Cher Wang

This week for Flashback Friday I want to share what you can learn from a seven-year-old boy.

As a leader in an accounting firm, you should always encourage and demonstrate persistence.

The post about persistence was written in 2010 about my grandson. He was seven. This month he is eighteen and graduating from high school!

  • Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.
  • Bill Bradley