Archive for the ‘Firms’ Category

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

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

Childcare

“I sustain myself with the love of family.” – Maya Angelou

School districts across the country are opening up. There is no consistency. From state-to-state and even district-to-district schedules are varying. Some are part-time in-person classes mixed with online learning. Some schools will be full-time online for many weeks.

This does present huge problems to working adults. The kids needs a parent to help guide them through the online learning maze.

Has hour firm explored the benefits you can provide to help your valued staff deal with this new reality. You need them and their family need them. PwC has increased/modified their benefit package per an informative article via Accounting Today.

They are offering:

  • Protected time
  • Reduced schedules
  • Compressed workweek
  • Flex-time
  • Sabbatical
  • Backup care reimbursement
  • Tutoring services

Read the article to learn more about each offering. Hopefully, it will give you some ideas about what to do for your team and their families.

  • Family is a life jacket in the stormy sea of life.
  • J. K. Rowling

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

Billing Clients

“Never take your eyes off the cash flow because it’s the life blood of business.” – Richard Branson

Billing clients should be routine. It should be a well- established habit. It’s not difficult so don’t make it so.

Document your billing guidelines and then live by them. Much of the task of billing clients can be automated now. Your admin team can assist in making the process easier.

Billing clients was a recent discussion on the CPAFMA discussion board. If you are not a member, the discussion board by itself is worth the annual dues.

Victoria LeStrange, is the firm administrator for Heymann, Suissa & Stone P.C. of Rockville, MD. The process she shared is very similar to what I recommend. Teach your partners how to use the software! In this day and age, partners must be computer proficient.

Here’s Ms. LeStrange’s firm’s process:

Each partner does their own billing from soup to nuts.   It’s all done onscreen with CCH AXCESS…we typically bill business clients on the 16th of each month and most all bills are done and emailed by the end of the day. Individual tax returns are often billed upon completion.

Many firms bill weekly, especially during busy season. Again, the software and the admin team facilitate the process. Individual tax returns should be billed immediately upon delivery.

An efficient billing and collection process speeds up cash flow. That should be very important to your partner group.

  • Entrepreneurs believe that profit is what matters most in a new enterprise. But profit is secondary. Cash flow matters most.
  • Peter Drucker

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

Establish a Scholarship for Accounting Students

“If anything is going to change in accounting education, it’s going to have to come from practitioners.” – Jason Ackerman, CPA

For the long-term, public accounting firms still need to attract top talent. I have heard all kinds of stories about some firms cutting back on hiring and even laying-off or furloughing people. Sadly, some firms admit that they have used the need to tighten their belts to get rid of poor performers.

One great way to attract talented accounting students to your firm is to sponsor a scholarship program. If your firm hasn’t established one yet, here are some tips from Jason Ackerman of BNA CPAs & Advisors in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I have admired how Jason and Bernie Ackerman continually search for ways to improve their firm since I met them many years ago at an AICPA conference.

Here’s how BNA’s scholarship program works.

To qualify as a BNA scholar, students must want to have an internship and want to become CPAs. During the fall semester, the firm will interview students who are interested; the students selected will receive an internship for the following semester, during tax season. The students will be paid like normal interns; after the internship, if both the firm and the students want to continue, they will receive additional scholarships in the amount of $10,000 per student per year to help pay for CPA exam fees, CPA exam review courses, and college as a whole. In return, the students must agree to pass the CPA exam before graduating and to work for BNA for three years postgraduation.

Read Jason’s entire article, Creating a CPA Scholarship Program, via The CPA Journal.

  • A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
  • Bruce Lee

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

Two Words

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

When I am meeting with team members (without the partners) in a CPA firm or during my sessions at CPA management conferences, I ask the group to quickly write down two words that describe their firm at that very moment.

Here are some examples of what I have received:

  • Organized – Chaos
  • Continually – Frustrated
  • Caring – Challenged
  • Dynamic – Dysfunction
  • Forward – Backward
  • Need – Help
  • Fiefdoms – Abound (one of my favorites)
  • Growing – Pains
  • Fun – Growing
  • No – Decisions
  • Under – Construction
  • And from a sole proprietor – For – Sale!

Two words I like to hear about firms:

  • Relentless – Perseverance
  • Eternally – Optimistic

As leaders, don’t you wonder what two words your team members would use to describe your firm to an outsider?

  • Comfort is the enemy of progress.
  • P. T. Barnum

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

Communication & Inclusiveness

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”  – Jack Welch

To develop an enthusiastic and loyal team it is important to communicate and be inclusive. Firm leaders should be doing this every day.

Many firms take the opportunity to do this on a higher level at least once a year with a full firm retreat, state of the firm event or similarly named gathering. I had the wonderful opportunity yesterday to be part of Kirsch CPA Group’s full firm event in Hamilton, Ohio.

IMG_0878The three partners, John Kirsch, Chad Williams, and Pete Abner each talked to the team about firm performance, future focus and the unveiling of a new training program that will provide each team member with a full-fledged career development plan that is backed up with extensive educational opportunities.

Recruiting and retaining isn’t enough. Now it is about attracting and developing. You want talented accountants to seek out your firm because your brand is a strong magnet for people who want to advance their careers in public accounting.

  • Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.
  • Brian Tracy

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