Archive for the ‘Firms’ Category

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

We All Want To Know The Top Issues – Share Yours!

“Latest survey shows that 3 out of 4 people make up 75% of the world’s population.” – Stephen Hawking

I have always looked forward to reading the results of the AICPA PCPS Top Issues Survey. They conduct it every other year. The last one was in 2019 and a lot has certainly happened since then!

Now is your chance to share the top issues facing your firm by participating in the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) CPA Firm Top Issues Survey. Your responses highlight the critical issues facing firms and guide PCPS as we develop tools and resources to assist your firm in meeting the everyday challenges of running a practice.

The Top Issues Survey — which takes less than 10 minutes to complete — is open until Friday, June 18.

Take the survey

Comprehensive results and thought-leading commentary will be available this summer at www.aicpa.org/pcps/topissues.

Your participation informs the profession and shapes the future. The AICPA appreciates your valuable time and insight and so do I. Remember, it only takes 10 minutes and you have until June 18.

Of course, I will keep nagging you…. oops, I mean reminding you. I hope you are following me on Twitter.

  • Survey and test a prospective action before undertaking it. Before you proceed, step back and look at the big picture, lest you act rashly on raw impulse.
  • Epictetus

Monday, March 1st, 2021

Succession Planning

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

There are many different ways to address succession planning and client transition. This topic is often discussed inside accounting firms. Some firms have elaborate and formal succession plans that are well-documented.

I have observed that many firms, especially small to medium-size firms have not dedicated the time and effort to define a more formal plan.

This topic was discussed recently on the CPAFMA Discussion Board. If you are not a member, you should be.

One member admitted that they did not have a formal document but they do have a list to guide their planning for partner retirements. Tricia Duncan, CPA with Jones & Roth shared their firm’s method. I think you will find this plan helpful if you do not have a formal plan. This one is simple, yet effective. Here is Duncan’s comment on the topic:

We don’t have a formal document – we generally start 3-4 years out from the retirement year.  We develop a plan for each individual that addresses:

  • Client relationship
  • Technical expertise
  • Firm responsibilities
  • Community/Niche/Referral relationships
  • Mentor/Team Responsibilities

Generally, start the planning and execution 1-2 years out.  We try to have client relationships transitioned 1 year out so the last year the Partner is on board is more as an advisory role if questions come up. Our new CRM manages the entire relationship.  This has been critical for us.

We’ve successfully transitioned 5+ partners in the last 5 years.


  • If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.
  • Yogi Berra

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

Naming Your Intranet

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde

A vibrant firm intranet that provides various useful and necessary information for your team members is a must.

Some firms realized this years ago and have an intranet that has evolved and gained prominence as a crucial tool for research and guidance.

Some of my clients have made updating their intranet a high priority for 2021, especially with a remote workforce being something that is here to stay.

My question for you today is did you name your intranet? I have heard some very creative ones. I think it gives the resource center a personality and keeps it’s value in the minds of the team.

If you don’t have a name for your intranet have a contest for the team to name it. One company named their intranet Dwight (the employee know-it-all from The Office).

Here is a helpful article about the importance of naming your intranet and it gives you several examples.

  • Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.
  • Oscar Wilde

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

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

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

More Important Than Ever

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – Will Rogers

Websites are on my mind today. When comes to promoting your firm, yourself, and your people, your website is more important than ever.

As you might guess, I constantly look at CPA firm websites. If you ever send me an email or if your firm is ever in the news, you can bet I will be perusing your website.

There are still a significant number of firms that have not taken action on updating their website. It appears that it has been the same for the last ten or fifteen years. You can tell immediately when you hit their site. When I ‘hit’ one, it makes me sad.

In these times of no meeting and greeting potential clients in person, the only impression they get of you is from your website. Someone should be managing your website daily. You need current articles and high-quality pictures of your partners and other leaders. Your site needs to give the impression that you are modern, future-focused, and extremely knowledgeable. If your website says (without using words) that you are an “old school” firm, you are in trouble.

For progressive firms, a significant number of new clients come to the firm because of their website. How many are coming to your firm because they simply looked at your website and were impressed?

  • You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and yours may be in the hands of the receptionist.
  • Harvey Mackay

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Hiring & Managing People

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson

I certainly enjoyed being involved in the CPAFMA Accelerator Sessions this week. It was such an honor to be on the agenda both days with some very awesome people. The Accelerator sessions caused me to think about my own list of current issues and trends.

  • The digital transformation of work has finally arrived. It is amazing how much firms accomplished in such a short time.
  • Firm leaders have realized that a hybrid model that combines in-person and remote work actually works well and it will permanently lower the number of people in the office.
  • It has been widely discussed that firms will be reducing the amount of office space. Some have already begun this process. See the next bullet.
  • About 77% of respondents to the third-quarter AICPA Business & Industry Economic Outlook Survey said they planned to keep their office square footage. Only about 18% planned a reduction, despite the potential savings.
  • The pandemic caused us to reset and rethink the ways we hire and manage people. A demand for thorough hiring that is probably different from how you have always done it. Interview questions that provide you with meaningful information will become more important. You will need to train your interviewers.
  • Hiring & managing remote people should be done in a consistent manner. You might soon see a new position in your firm “Head of Remote Work” – larger firms already have positions like chief people officer or chief culture officer.
  • Look for people who can self-manage
  • Prospective employees may be talented – people are born with various talents – but are they able to use their talent to build the skills necessary to be successful in public accounting?
  • Trust on both sides – partners & staff – will become even more important.
  • CPA firms are looking for experienced people. One reason is that they aren’t prepared to hire new college grads who are completely green – they haven’t developed a plan on how to train them yet. Some firms have already mastered this!
  • Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.
  • Dale Carnegie

Monday, November 9th, 2020

Don’t Be So Cheap

“Spend at least 10% of your budget on the best professional advice available before you spend a nickel on anything.” – Harvey Mackay

Accountants are often known for being frugal. Your employees might think you (as a group of owners) are actually very cheap.

Here’s the difference – – Cheap people are driven by saving money regardless of the cost; frugal people are driven by maximizing total value, including the value of their time. … Being cheap is about spending less; being frugal is about prioritizing your spending so that you can have more of the things you really care about.

I don’t know how many times I have heard an experienced, competent firm administrator, practice manager, HR director, or marketing director say, “I won’t be able to attend the conference (event, webinar, meeting) because the partners won’t spend the money.”

On the other hand, I have heard those same people, the ones who did attend the conference (event, webinar, meeting) say, “I learned so much and brought so many great ideas back to the firm that the partners said I should attend every year.”

That’s why Harvey Mackay’s quote, above, is so appropriate for those leading CPA firms.

  • Never have a partner retreat without a paid facilitator – someone very familiar with the CPA profession.
  • Don’t hesitate to hire outside mentors and coaches for your partners, firm administrators, marketing directors, etc. Hire them for your partners, too.

Just last week, a client said to me after a fairly brief phone session, “You have given us several valuable nuggets during our conversation! We will act upon them!”

How much are you budgeting for outside, professional advisors?

  • If the price is very cheap then it's almost certainly a fake.
  • David Russell

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

What Was Wanted Has Been Achieved

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

Last year, the year before, and even years before that, your young people wanted it.

While it was desired for years, when it did happen, it happened quickly and, for the most part, efficiently.

Younger employees, some who are now very experienced, wanted more flexibility as to when and where they did their work.

Now, your organization is doing it and will be supporting various forms of remote and flexible work arrangements for years to come.

Progress is being achieved.

  • Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.
  • Frank Zappa

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Your Office Space

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” – Oscar Wilde

I recently read where Sikich is planning to permanently shift its workspace model to one centered on remote work.

If you don’t know them, Sikich LLP, is a leading professional services firm specializing in accounting, advisory, technology and managed services. Founded in 1982, Sikich now ranks within the country’s top 30 largest Certified Public Accounting firms.

The Chicago-based firm plans to shrink the size of its office space and allow its more than 1,000 professionals to work from home indefinitely.

Over the next several years, the company will replace its 14 current US offices with 30 micro offices that employees can use when not working from home or at client sites. The days of shelling out for giant office spaces – such as the company’s massive 120,000 square foot office space in Naperville, Illinois – are, however, likely numbered.

Their CEO noted that they were already planning this transformation before the pandemic struck. About one-third of their workforce was already working remotely.

What’s the plan for your office? Do you really need a large, impressive office to impress your clients? How will you provide more remote options without losing the important, personal relationships that develop when everyone is working together in the same work space? Now is the time to think about all this and develop your plan. Your employees are wondering what the future holds.

Read the article here.

  • There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.
  • Victor Hugo