Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022

Want To Be Happy?

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” – Wayne Dyer

As we approach 2023 and another busy season, think about what has occurred in the past two or three years. It has been hectic. Your work world has changed significantly. Technology is more important than ever. Streamlining your workflow is very important.

Should you keep doing what you are doing? Or should you look elsewhere for job satisfaction?

One of my favorite t-shirts says it all. I wear it a lot and it is becoming faded. I need to get a new one! As the year closes, keep in mind, you will be happy if you love what you do.

  • Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.
  • Dalai Lama

Friday, December 16th, 2022

Flashback Friday – An Online Firm

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” – Thomas Edison

Have you ever wondered, contemplated, or wished that you could move your CPA firm online? Check out this flashback post to learn more. Have a great weekend!

  • Innovation is the unrelenting drive to break the status quo and develop anew where few have dared to go.
  • Steven Jeffes

Tuesday, December 13th, 2022

Your Vibe

“With the right vibes and the right people, it’s easy to create something magical.” – Dinah Jane

Do you have a vibe? Does your CPA firm have a vibe? Yes, to both!

If you talk to accounting students who have interned at different firms, they will tell you exactly which firms have a GOOD vibe and which ones have a BAD vibe.

That is why this phrase, pictured below, caught my attention. I admit it, I love chocolate and can’t resist those small DOVE chocolate candies. You know that they have a quote inside each foil piece covering the candy. Some of them are very insightful. This one applies to CPA firm leaders.

  • You just get the vibes of your surroundings and it rubs off on you.
  • Gordon Lightfoot

Monday, December 12th, 2022

A Tough Decision

“A lot of things that accounting firms do are job-specific tasks that lend themselves to the gig economy.” – Kyle Walters

Back in July, I did a post to make you think about your people who do not want to come back to the office. They want to work from home and get the same pay and benefits as those showing up at the office daily. Why not simply outsource tax preparation and other tasks?

I realize that when everyone was remote, most CPA firms did not experience a reduction in productivity. Some even had more productivity than when the workers were in the office.

In a recent Accounting Today Voices article, Kyle Walters explores the use of contract workers, and things will change in the future.

He notes, “Increasingly, contract workers are paid on the productivity they deliver — not just for showing up on time — and we have all kinds of metrics and tracking to make remote work more efficient.”

And, “When will firms start offloading their extra workload to independent contractors two or three times per year — and then stop paying them until they need them again during the next crunch period? Sooner than you might think.”

Many CPA firms are already using off-site contractors. Should you expand your use of these more affordable people? Read the article and see what you think. It may be a tough decision.

  • Everyone likes to think they're irreplaceable at their firm, but unless you're bringing in the business or managing client relationships, is that really true?
  • Kyle Walters

Friday, December 9th, 2022

Friday Flashback – Toxic Employees

“Teaching civility is an obligation of the family,” – Stephen Carter

I worry that civility is disappearing in society, in general, and in some workplaces. Here’s a post titled “Toxic & Civility” that I hope you will read. Always set an example for civility in your firm and your life.

  • Play fair. Don’t hit people. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Robert Fulghum, All I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Upgrade Your Employee Benefits

“Leadership requires the courage to make decisions that will benefit the next generation.” – Alan Autry

CPA firms are trying many things to win the war for talent. So many firms have definitely increased current salaries, increased the salary offer to new graduates, and given stay bonuses to valued team members.

Money talks, but it does take more than salary dollars to win and keep good people.

One issue that I have noticed recently is that CPA firms do pay 100% of the health insurance premium for their employee. Health insurance is available for the employee’s family, but they must pay a significant part of that premium. Also, many firms do not offer dental or vision.

Maybe insurance is something you should review as you begin a new year. Is there more you can do in this area? Perhaps your main competitors are not offering dental/vision. Being generous with your insurance benefits might make you unique in your marketplace and help you attract and keep talented people.

What about the rest of your employee benefits package? Is there more you can do to make the entire benefits package more impressive?

  • He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies.
  • Tertullian

Monday, December 5th, 2022

Tough vs. Wimpy

“If there’s one thing I learned from Rodrick, it’s to set people’s expectations real low so you end up surprising them by practically doing nothing at all.”
― Jeff Kinney,  Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I have observed this often. Current CPA firm partners “grew up” in a taskmaster culture. The partners that supervised them were tough. Or, to put it nicely, they were challenging and hard to please. They set very high standards. They expected hard work and dedication to the firm and the profession.

Then, over time, those young CPAs became partner themselves. They didn’t want to continue the “tough” firm culture. So, the pendulum began to swing in the other direction. The firm became less aggressive, yet it continued to grow and prosper. The partners became what you might call wimpy. They avoided confrontation with staff and with each other. They became complacent.

I heard from a person at a successful firm recently that the firm is the “Yes” firm. They never say “No” to any request from an employee. Of course, this is because of the extreme labor shortage in the profession right now.

Does never saying “No” sound like a long-term plan? Maybe. But is it too much like the “everybody gets a trophy” culture that really isn’t how life works? Does it punish the all-stars for the comfort of the poor performers?

I am hoping that your firm fits somewhere between tough and wimpy.

  • Mom is always saying I'm a smart kid, but that I just don't apply myself.
  • Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Tuesday, November 29th, 2022

Systems

“Listening to both sides of a story will convince you that there is more to a story than both sides.” – Frank Tyger

This post is inspired by a novel I recently read by Lisa Gardner.

The passage was about systems. It says something like this:

The world is a system. School is a system. Your neighborhood is a system. Any group of people is a system. Well, even the human body is a system. Then a father says to his daughter:

“You don’t have to like the system. You don’t have to believe in it or agree with it. But you must understand it. If you can understand the system, you will survive.” A family is a system.

You might have guessed where I am going with this. The firm is a system, and it is made up of many sub-systems. If you are new to the firm or have been there for five or ten years, you need to understand the system, or you will not survive.

  • A bad system will beat a good person every time.
  • w. Edwards Deming

Thursday, November 17th, 2022

Relentless Problems

“Relentless problems feel like driving around with garbage in the backseat. You wonder if the journey’s worth it.” – Dan Rockwell (@Leadershipfreak)

Do you have ongoing, relentless problems that seem never to get solved? If you work in a CPA firm, I bet you do.

Dan Rockwell recently did a post titled, Don’t pretend things smell good when they stink – Instead Shift Focus.

I have observed that people inside a CPA firm, including leaders, seem to aggressively avoid dealing with these problems. They don’t seem to mind “driving around with garbage in the backseat”.

Read the article. It gives you a lot of good solutions on how to deal with stinky problems. Don’t pretend things smell good when they stink.

  • When someone walks into your office with a bag of garbage ask, “What strengths do you have that enable you to seize this opportunity?"
  • Dan Rockwell

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022

Agreements

“There is nothing more likely to start disagreement among people or countries than an agreement.” – E. B. White

Often I write about employment agreements and partner agreements. Neither is my favorite. However, I do have some favorite agreements – The Four Agreements. I have written about them before on this blog, but I think it is important to bring it to your attention again, especially with another busy season nearing.

fouragreements

The Four Agreements is a book by Don Miguel Ruiz. I read this book years ago and still do my best to follow the agreements. Every few years, I read it again. I believe that these four simple statements can make a difference in the culture of your CPA firm. Before tax season, make time to read this book. It is a quick read.


BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

  • Unless both sides win, no agreement can be permanent.
  • Jimmy Carter