Archive for the ‘Crafting Your Career’ Category

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

Constantly Work on Your Communication

“Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.” – Jim Rohn

If you want your firm to be a place where communication flourishes, then you (no matter what your role) must constantly work on your own communication skills. Sometimes it is called the Art of Communication and that title is meaningful.

Per Jim Rohn, there are many tools available to you as you communicate; you just have to be aware of them and then use them purposefully. The better you become at using these tools, the better you’ll be at communicating.

You communicate through both verbal and nonverbal methods.

Verbal Communication:

Your Words – People will judge you by the words you use. Think about it.

Your Vocabulary – An expanded vocabulary will set you apart. If you are an avid reader and learner you are expanding your vocabulary daily. Keep it up.

Those are just two of the ways you communicate verbally. Also, consider Emotion and Enunciation.

Nonverbal Communication:

Your Hands – Use your hands, for sure but don’t go overboard.

Your Eyes – The eyes speak volumes. It bugs me when people don’t make eye contact.

Also, think about your arms and your speaking position.

Read more about each of these via the Jim Rohn site. You can find so much good information there.

A reminder: Follow me on Twitter for more CPA practice management topics.

  • Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.
  • Jim Rohn

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

Hard Work & Dedication Pays Off

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King

Perhaps you are new to the CPA profession. Don’t think for a minute you will be stuck in a dead-end job for years to come!

If you have the passion for what you do and the drive to always strive to improve yourself, the sky’s the limit.

I was so pleased yesterday to see the press release announcing Eric Majchrzak has been named as CEO-elect of BeachFleischman, Arizona’s largest locally-owned CPA firm and a Top 20 largest CPA Firm in the United States.

I have known Eric for years and have always been so impressed with his professionalism, knowledge, and skills. Plus, he’s just a darn nice guy.

Congratulations and best wishes, Eric. I am so proud of you!

Board appoints Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer to lead firm

TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — BeachFleischman, Arizona’s largest locally-owned CPA firm and a “Top 200 largest CPA firm” in the U.S., announces that Eric Majchrzak, the firm’s chief marketing & strategy officer, is appointed CEO-elect. Effective January 1, 2022, Majchrzak will serve as the third CEO in BeachFleischman’s 30-year history and succeeds Marc Fleischman, who became CEO in 2016 following co-founder Bruce Beach. The board appointed Majchrzak following a comprehensive search process that was part of the firm’s formal succession plan. The transition occurs over the next twelve months after which Fleischman and David Cohen, President, will both retain leadership roles on the firm’s board of directors and serve the firm’s clients and community. Cohen continues in his role as president with Majchrzak as CEO.

“I am honored to be selected by my peers to lead our firm into the future,” Majchrzak said. “Our plans are bold and transformative. We’re profoundly aware of the speed of change in our world and profession. While we’re proud about what we’ve already accomplished at BeachFleischman, we are even more excited to continue our business evolution as we anticipate and meet the changing needs of our clients, employees and community.”

“From the beginning, BeachFleischman has been willing to do things differently than most accounting firms. It’s just part of our DNA,” said Marc Fleischman, CEO. “Appointing a marketing leader as our next CEO affirms our commitment to growth, innovation and outside-the-box thinking, all of which are important for our success and the success of our clients.”

David Cohen, President, said “Business development and forging creative partnerships are critical factors in our firm’s long-term sustainability. As our next CEO, Eric keeps our focus on building depth and expertise while adding service lines to remain an industry leader.”

Bruce Beach, Board Chairman added, “We have a proud history and a promising future. With Eric’s appointment, BeachFleischman continues to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit that’s made us who we are today. Innovation and transformation are key for thriving in the era of disruption, and Eric’s leadership will keep us on that path.”

Majchrzak joined BeachFleischman in 2012 as chief marketing officer and was elected shareholder in 2013. In 2018, he became the firm’s chief strategy officer. As the strategy leader, Majchrzak’s responsibilities include working closely with the CEO and firm management to develop and execute short and long-term strategic initiatives such as growth plans, joint ventures, M&A, transformation, advanced pricing, and business model innovation.

Majchrzak has held various leadership roles with the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM), where he received accolades including Inside Public Accounting’s 2015 “AAM Marketer of the Year” award and a 2018 “AAM Hall of Fame” induction. He was honored by AAM with a “Bruce Marcus Lifetime Fellowship” for his contributions elevating the accounting marketing profession. Accounting Today Magazine twice named Majchrzak to their list of the “Top 100 Most Influential People” in the accounting profession for using innovative digital marketing approaches to accomplish strategic growth objectives. Eric is a graduate of the State University College in Buffalo, NY with a Bachelor of Science in Business.

BeachFleischman has over 200 client service and administrative professionals, and provides accounting, assurance, tax, and strategic operations & advisory services to businesses (U.S. and foreign-based), organizations and individuals. The firm serves clients doing business domestically and internationally and specializes in a variety of Industry-related practice areas, including construction, healthcare, real estate, manufacturing, hospitality, technology, nonprofit and professional service businesses. In addition, the firm is expanding into the Cannabis Industry sector and is establishing a Family Office practice. BeachFleischman has subsidiaries, including Pinnacle Plan Design LLC, a national provider of qualified retirement plan consulting, design, administration and actuarial services; MOD Ventures LLC, a virtual client accounting services and consulting firm; and Contempo HCM LLC, a payroll and human capital management company. Offices are in Tucson (headquarters) and Phoenix, Arizona. Visit www.beachfleischman.com for more information.

  • Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
  • Abraham Lincoln

Friday, December 4th, 2020

Dress Code – It’s Still Business

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

Lighten up, it’s Friday. The following comes from Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady)

It seems a Judge in Florida was fed up with how attorneys appeared for hearings (via Zoom). The following was added to the Bar Association’s website as a pop-up message.

One comment that needs sharing and that is the judges would appreciate it if the lawyers and their clients keep in mind these Zoom hearings are just that: hearings. They are not casual phone conversations. It is remarkable how many ATTORNEYS appear inappropriately on camera. We’ve seen many lawyers in casual shirts and blouses, with no concern for ill-grooming, in bedrooms with the master bed in the background, etc. One male lawyer appeared shirtless and one female attorney appeared still in bed, still under the covers. And putting on a beach cover-up won’t cover up you’re poolside in a bathing suit. So, please, if you don’t mind, let’s treat court hearings as court hearings, whether Zooming or not.

Per Lucas: “Work is still work. yes, this is an abnormal situation. Yes, you should be forgiving of employees with childcare issues, or space issues, but it’s still work.

Today is Friday, maybe you can consider it casual Friday. Remember those days? They seem so long ago. Stay safe and enjoy your weekend.

Read the entire article here.

Just for fun – The 80 Greatest Fashion Quotes of All Time via Harper’s Bazaar for your weekend reading!

  • Trendy is the last stage before tacky.
  • Karl Lagerfeld

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

Press On

There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.– Calvin Coolidge

In my presentations and on this blog, I often talk about the value of perseverance.

The following quote from Calvin Coolidge about persistence says it wonderfully.

When you are facing challenges inside your firm, when all the partners aren’t on the same page, keep telling yourself: Press on.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.” –Calvin Coolidge

  • You don't have to explain something you haven't said.
  • Calvin Coolidge

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

The Source of Truth

“How to give people feedback is one of the hottest topics in business today.” – Marcus Buckingham 

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about giving and receiving feedback. It is an excerpt from the article, The Feedback Fallacy, via HBR, written by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall.

Just in case you didn’t read the entire article, here is a segment that speaks volumes.

The Source of Truth

The first problem with feedback is that humans are unreliable raters of other humans. Over the past 40 years psychometricians have shown in study after study that people don’t have the objectivity to hold in their heads a stable definition of an abstract quality, such as business acumen or assertiveness, and then accurately evaluate someone else on it. Our evaluations are deeply colored by our own understanding of what we’re rating others on, our own sense of what good looks like for a particular competency, our harshness or leniency as raters, and our own inherent and unconscious biases. This phenomenon is called the idiosyncratic rater effect, and it’s large (more than half of your rating of someone else reflects your characteristics, not hers) and resilient (no training can lessen it). In other words, the research shows that feedback is more distortion than truth.

This is why, despite all the training available on how to receive feedback, it’s such hard work: Recipients have to struggle through this forest of distortion in search of something that they recognize as themselves.

Next summer, when all the unique and unusual circumstances surrounding work has calmed down. Your firm should be ready to give feedback in a new and refreshing way. Do the homework and begin now. Maybe even some new behaviors surrounding feedback should begin happening much sooner than next summer. How about starting January 1st?

  • Just as your doctor doesn’t know the truth of your pain, we don’t know the truth about our colleagues, at least not in any objective way.
  • Marcus Buckingham

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

Too Long

“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” – Barbara Johnson

When you graduated from college and began working at a CPA firm you probably thought you would work your way up to partner someday.

The years went by and you worked your way up the ladder. You became a Senior, a Supervisor, a manager and perhaps, a Senior Manager. Maybe then you were offered something called Non-Equity Partner and you could actually use the title “Partner” on your business card. But, you were not really a partner.

How long did that take? I am guessing way too long!

Starting with the millennials (they are 39 years old now!) and continuing with Gen Z, young people want to become successful much more quickly than the culture of many CPA firms allow.

All this is prompted by some CPA firm websites I have visited recently. “John Doe joined the firm in 1996 and became a partner in 2018.” “Betty Smith joined the firm in 1994 and became a partner in 2017.”

Doesn’t that seem like a long time to you? And, are they equity partners or just the non-equity type? I am not a fan of the non-equity partner slot. It seems like a holding pattern to me.

Becoming a firm owner is not for everyone, of course. But, for those who have the ambition, the dedication and the skills to become a partner, twelve or thirteen years seems like a long time.

There is one factor to consider. The Baby Boomers are retiring at a rapid rate. If they actually retire, then you don’t have to depend so much on firm growth.

As the old saying goes, if you want to become a partner you have to make yourself too valuable to lose. Make yourself valuable more quickly!

  • I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.
  • Edith Sitwell

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

Build On Strengths

“When virtues are pointed out first, flaws seem less insurmountable.” – Judith Martin

Recently, I read a tweet posted by Dan Rockwell (@Leadershipfreak). He said, “Why take the wind out of someone’s sails with unnecessary corrections and criticisms? Using criticism to motivate is futile.”

In accounting firms, there is a history of criticizing people, especially beginners. More experienced CPAs believed that people learned from their mistakes and it was up to them to frequently and directly point out those mistakes. They were/are called Review Notes.

Keep in mind, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

Horror stories exist where the newbies at the firm compare experiences about how many review notes, on a single engagement, they received from Old Frank the seasoned tax partner. They were received in writing and without any human connection or conversation.

Yes, people learn from their mistakes but do you talk to them? Do you mention any of the things they did right?

I also hear stories where this is no longer the case. Progressive firms work with team members to identify their strengths and focus on building them up in those areas.

Have a face-to-face (via video) conversation about their challenges and concerns. Listen to their questions and comments.

No one can be good at everything. That’s why you have a team. If everyone was alike you would have a firm that has plateaued.

  • The trouble with most of us is that we'd rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.
  • Norman Vincent Peale

Monday, November 16th, 2020

Real Skills (Success Skills)

“Some people call these, “soft skills.” That’s because they’re not easy to measure. But for me, they’re real skills. The skills that actually determine how far we’ll go and how it will feel to work with us as we move forward.” – Seth Godin

For many years, in public accounting, we took note of the fact that many accountants dutifully achieved the expert category when it came to technical expertise.

Also, for many years we complained that we employed some very skilled managers but nearly all of them lacked “soft skills.” I like to call them “success skills” because to reach the level of partnership in the firm a candidate had to demonstrate the ability to network in the business community, be a great conversationalist, build relationships, be an adept speaker, manage people and develop personal leadership attributes. I like Godin’s term: Real Skills.

These skills, along with the technical skills, enable a CPA to bring in business to the firm. Some current partners have even developed these skills.

My friend, Guy Gage, @PartnersCoach, has developed the Partner-Pipeline® to assist firm partners to develop the “success skills” necessary to become true firm leaders.

From Guy Gage:

There are five “Contributions” that comprise high-performing partners: strong technical capability; client experience/client relations; new business development; capacity building (talent development), and leadership capability. While no one can be exceptional in all five areas, partner-candidates should be excellent in two and competent in the other three. Since firms have addressed the technical capability, I’ve developed a program that addresses the other four areas.

To learn more about the Partner Pipeline and to download a matrix outlining the program steps that are appropriate for each level in the firm. – Associate, Senior, Supervisor, Manager, and Senior Manager, click here.

It is important to begin the success skills training early in a person’s career so that the firm always has a vibrant and healthy partner pipeline.

  • Firms can only do so much, then it's up to the individual to choose to engage. Teach them HOW with programs and coaching.
  • Guy Gage

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

Worry & Fear

“Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.” – Jim Rohn

Recently, you find yourself worrying more than ever. You worry about your family, their health, and your personal health.

You also worry a lot about your firm. You worry about your peers, your employees, and your clients.

Soon you find your worries may have evolved into fears.

From Jim Rohn: “What can destroy our ambitions, our fortunes, our relationships—our lives? The enemies lurking inside us, the ones we face from within, the ones we’ve got to destroy before they destroy us.”

Rohn gives us six enemies lucking inside us:

  • Fear
  • Indifference
  • Indecision
  • Doubt
  • Worry
  • Timidity

Every day, you must battle worry and fear and build your courage to fight what is holding you back. Fight what is holding your firm back.

Read Rohn’s full article to learn more about each of the emotional enemies.

  • We have to be courageous in our lives and in our pursuit of the things we want and the people we want to become.
  • Jim Rohn

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Influence

“Leverage your uniqueness.” Bruce Tulgan

Over the years I have worked with and talked with a lot of support professionals working in public accounting.

They are the firm administrators, COOs, practice managers, HR directors, marketing directors, IT managers, training managers, etc.

What I have told firm administrators for years, and it applies to all the others, is that you may not have power but you have influence – make that influence work for you.

Sometimes it seems like an uphill battle but I have observed some awesome initiatives accomplished mostly through the use of influence to guide a diverse group of partners in the right direction!

Bruce Tulgan tells us:

The problem is that too many people believe influence is about playing workplace politics, building personal rapport, or establishing a quid pro quo with others. That’s what I call false influence. Real influence is a generous, other-centered focus based on adding value in every single interaction.

If you understand the mathematics of real influence—and believe in it—you can make yourself incredibly rich in a very potent source of power by dedicating yourself to serving others, moment by moment, in every interaction.

There are four tactics of real influence.

Read this recent article from Tulgan where he shares the four tactics of real influence: 1) Interpersonal influence. 2) Specific commitments. 3) Rational persuasion. 4) Facilitating success.

I hope you read all of Tulgan’s books. I have shared “It’s Okay to Be the Boss” with many clients and friends over the years. I was fortunate to have him sign my dog-eared copy several years ago.

  • Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
  • Albert Schweitzer