Archive for the ‘Firms’ Category

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

PCPS 2019 Top Issues

“If your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail.” – Abraham Maslow

I should have shared these sooner. 2019 is passing by too quickly.

How does your firm line-up? Hopefully, you have addressed some of these issues this summer.

2019 PCPS Top Issues

Sole Practitioners

  1. Keeping up with changes and complexity of tax laws
  2. Managing privacy / security risks
  3. Keeping up with changes in technology & managing associated costs
  4. Technical training of owners / partners and staff
  5. Seasonality / workload compression

2 – 5 Professionals

  1. Finding qualified staff
  2. Keeping up with changes and complexity of tax laws
  3. Managing privacy / security risks
  4. Seasonality / workload compression
  5. Developing & executing a succession plan

6 – 10 Professionals

  1. Finding qualified staff
  2. Keeping up with changes and complexity of tax laws
  3. Seasonality / workload compression
  4. Managing privacy / security risks
  5. Developing & executing a succession plan

11 – 20 Professionals

  1. Finding qualified staff
  2. Keeping up with changes and complexity of tax laws
  3. Seasonality / workload compression
  4. Retaining qualified staff
  5. Managing Privacy / security tisks

21+ Professionals

  1. Finding qualified staff
  2. Retaining qualified staff
  3. Managing work/life balance initiatives
  4. Owner / Partner accountability & unity
  5. Seasonality / workload compression & Managing privacy/security risks

 

  • There's no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution.
  • Betty Williams

Friday, September 13th, 2019

Working the Weekend

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” – Rita Mae Brown

It’s Friday the 13th. The September extension due date is Monday because the 15th falls on Sunday.

In progressive, efficient and profitable firms, Friday is the final day, the due date. They won’t be delivering tax returns at the last minute on Monday.

Their valuable team will not be working this Saturday and Sunday.

If you are not in this group, you should strive to attain this practice when future due dates roll around.

 

  • As you schedule individual tasks, give yourself a cushion. Mark the due date a few days ahead of the actual deadline so you have time to deal with changes or last-minute emergencies.
  • Harvey Mackay

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Many Firms Are Adding An Extra Holiday – July 5th

“Holidays – any holiday – are such a great opportunity to focus on bringing the family together.” – Lidia Bastianich

Many firms do actually close their office on Fridays during the summer months. I was curious about how many additional firms were going to close this year on Friday, July 5th and treat their team to a four-day weekend.

I surveyed firms of all sizes all across the country. Replies came from Ohio, Vermont, Georgia, Connecticut, Oregon, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, California, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Dakota.

The majority of firms are closing. Several are assuming most people will take a PTO day. To me, this means someone must be in the office for calls and visitors. Some have very creative ways of handling “bonus” days and a few are very generous (allowing 2 extra days off or more).
60% of those responding are closing, 30% are not and 10% are closing but it will be charged to PTO. One firm closes for the entire week because “it is our slowest week of the year.” Another firm allows one floating holiday for each summer month (June, July, August) and assumes most people will use July 5th as their floater. And, one larger firm has unlimited PTO and assumes most people will request July 5 but the office will be open. A western firm notes that they always close the day after July 4th no matter what day it falls because most of their team will be out late watching fireworks and celebrating.
I hope this information will be helpful to you in planning for the future. This year December 23rd is a Monday (and most firms now have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as holidays). You have time to decide how you will handle that quiet business day. Being generous is never a bad thing.
  • Liberty is the breath of life to nations.
  • George Bernard Shaw

Monday, May 20th, 2019

Reminder – A Message About the Rosenberg Survey

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Participate now so you can receive our benchmarking report which contains nearly 200-pages of data, benchmarks, key statistics, and commentary from leading consultants!
Did you know?
The Elite Firms from our 2018 survey (firms with income per partner > $500,000) had the following metrics:
  • Net fees per person – $211,000
  • Net fees per equity partner – $2,250,000
Why is The Rosenberg Survey Valuable?
  • Customized comparison of like-sized firms in similar markets for participating firms.
  • Accurate and valid results reviewed by three CPAs.
  • Reliable year to year comparison with a return rate of 82% from previous year’s participants.
  • A robust pool of over 350 participants makes our data relevant to firms of all sizes.
  • Clear cut data displayed by firm size for comparison.
Click the link below today to take part!
 
The deadline to participate is Monday, July 15th. (Thank you for those firms that have participated thus far.)

 

  • Great firms continually reinvent themselves.
  • Marc Rosenberg

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Make Your Website (and your Brand) Unique – Here’s a Great Example!

“If you want success, be unique.” – Natalie Massenet

Occasionally, I like to share CPA firm unique websites. I see so many that are static, boring and usually blue. Last year, I featured Bernie & Jason Ackerman of BNA CPAs & Advisors, one of my favorites. I love how they tell visitors to their site how they deliver a tax return in 3 days.

Logo

This year, I just had to share the site of my good friends at Barton CPA & Associates. Their light-hearted and fun approach to business is simply refreshing.

When you get to their homepage, page down to see a picture of their lobby – tasteful, contemporary and colorful. Keep paging down to see other pictures: Part of their team, their conference room and a team picture at some kind of celebration. It sure looks festive and I don’t use the word “festive” about CPA firm websites often – well, never!

Check out the pictures on Greg Barton’s Twitter site. I love the March 23 tweet showing Greg in his office. Does your office look this good (and clean)?

Browse around the site. They have an Instagram account and Facebook, of course. I hope it gives you some ideas for taking action soon to update your site and inspiration to not take yourself too seriously.

A big thanks to Greg and Dee Dee for allowing me to share their excellent branding efforts and their uniqueness!

  • Uniqueness is what makes you the most beautiful.
  • Lea Michele

Monday, May 6th, 2019

Everyone Loves Them

“Safety and comfort come with complacency, and that’s never a good place to be working from.” – Elijah Wood

Many firms are already providing stand-up desks to their team members. Most of what I have heard has been very positive. While I don’t have one myself, I have visited several clients and checked them out first-hand. It seems they are greatly appreciated.

If you want to provide them to your people, you can do it in phases to make it more affordable. Big surprise, certain partners got them first but now firms are even providing them to the entire admin team.

Here’s a real-life report from Karen Farino, Firm Administrator at Pasquesi Sheppard LLC, Lake Forest, Illinois:

“I definitely recommend the sit/stand desks. If you can I highly suggest purchasing a sit to stand desk rather than a unit that sits on top of the desk.

We have replaced 90% of our desks over the last two years with Sit to Stand desks from Haworth. They are “L” shaped and we had them custom made. It is really very affordable. Everyone here LOVES them. Our managing partner likes his so much that we bought one for his home too.

standupdeskThe L desk is 69” in each direction from the corner, and 29” deep. You can custom size them smaller. I am attaching a photo – it isn’t the greatest but will give you an idea as to what we did.

Our admin staff is stuck with the Varidesk units on top of their desks. They like them but don’t love them because when you are standing there is still a lot of items that are on the desk that they have to access which means it is inconvenient and you have to bend down. Not optimal. They also all have two monitors (by choice). If they had three the Varidesk units would not work. I’ve yet to see a decent three monitor sit-to-stand desktop unit. Each admin has their own printer and scanner at their desk.”

How about an office refresh project for your firm this summer?

  • Instead of being 'heads down' we should be 'heads up' so we can spot trends.
  • Josh Linkner

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

Forward Thinking

“Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else’s life.” – Kobi Yamada

Did you know that Aprio is the only top 100 firm with a non-traditional name? Read more about Aprio and why they changed their name here.

I have known people at the firm for more than 20 years and have always been impressed with their forward-thinking actions. Look over their homepage and notice how they focus on “advisory” first. They are an “advisory, assurance, tax and private client services” firm.

Under “About Aprio” they say: As a premier, CPA-led business advisory firm.. etc.

How are you positioning your firm? If you call yourself advisors more often maybe you will become more advisory focused. The larger CPA firms have already evolved to being CPA-led firms meaning a large percentage of their employees are not CPAs. How are you planning for that evolution? Have you ever thought about it?

I have observed that most firms have fairly boring taglines. Here’s Aprio’s tagline: “Passionate for what’s next.” That seems to say a lot.

 

  • Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
  • Margaret Mead

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

Unlimited PTO – Things To Consider

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” – Earl Wilson

I am aware that several firms have now adopted an Unlimited PTO policy. If you are considering this type of policy for your CPA firm, I want to share some very interesting insights from someone who has experienced unlimited PTO first-hand. He is an audit manager with a firm in the western part of the USA. I hope you find his comments helpful if you are considering adding this benefit.

My current firm does not have unlimited PTO, but I have worked at firms that did. I can’t offer a written policy – there really wasn’t one – but I can offer some considerations, most of which you probably are already aware.

First, doing away with traceable measures (PTO available/used) demands reliance on other performance measures to determine whether the unlimited policy is being abused. Partners/managers need to pay closer attention to metrics at the individual employee level.

Regularly reviewing metrics such as individual realization, time-to-completion, deadlines met (or missed) as well as the timing of PTO days taken becomes essential.

Be sure your practice management system can provide that information before enacting the unlimited policy. Also, the policy assumes that everyone will “do the right thing.” Be aware that not everyone will do the right thing and be prepared to take action against those that abuse the system. If you allow unchecked abuse, it will become rampant.

In an unexpected twist, you may need to actually force some people to take PTO. Without the pressure of the old use-or-lose policy, some of those Type A folks will be more inclined, or more pressured, to work instead of taking time off. I’m sorry I can’t cite a specific study, but there is some evidence that the unlimited PTO policy actually results in less time away from the office.

Finally, be aware that some states (California and Washington, for example) have passed legislation regarding required sick leave. This is a number that may, by law, require tracking and that might throw a wrench in your unlimited policy. There are typically exceptions if your leave policy is more permissive. And the standard disclaimer: check with your state or your employment law attorney before changing your policy.

  • Isn't it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before vacation?
  • Zig Ziglar

Friday, February 1st, 2019

Engage Your Team Members With Benefits & Perks

“The main thing that you have to remember on this journey is, just be nice to everyone and always smile.” – Ed Sheeran

I recently read an interesting article in CPA Practice Advisor. It is titled, Virginia CPA Firm Launches Extensive Employee Benefits and Perks Program. 

Some of their benefits and perks are things I have observed often in other firms. On the other hand, some of their benefits and perks are way ahead of many firms.

In this age of hiring, developing and retaining talented young professionals, you need to review your benefit package often and keep pace with current trends.

Read the article and see how your benefits stack-up.

My observation and experience tell me that a long list of perks won’t keep talented professionals at your firm if your leadership group is dysfunctional and doesn’t set an inspiring, professional example.

  • It is nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.
  • John Templeton

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

State of the Firm (SOTF)

“Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality. – Dalai Lama

When I was working inside a successful, growing firm, we did a state of the firm event every year. We brought everyone together from our three offices for a full morning of information and fun. It was a great time for people from different offices to see and talk to each other face-to-face. Our team seemed to enjoy hearing about the progress of the firm and news about what might happen in the future. It was held in the Spring, usually in May. We had just over 100 people.

This morning I read an article about Withum’s annual SOTF event where they bring together over 1,000 people! They hold theirs in January. Read all about it here.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

It is my observation that people working in an accounting firm want to be included. They want to know what’s going on and how the firm is doing. It is a great recruiting and retention tool. Your people read about these events at other firms and probably wonder why their firm isn’t doing it.

  • An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
  • Benjamin Franklin