Archive for the ‘Firms’ Category

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

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

How to Become Virtual

“Mergers generate substantial synergies.” – Roger Altman

Virtual CPA firms have been evolving for many years now. Many have gained much notoriety and a substantial client following.

I enjoyed reading this article about my good friends at Beach Fleischman, a Top 200 firm based in Tucson, Arizona. The joined forces with a smaller firm to create a virtual firm, MOD Ventures, that will service both firms’ outsourced accounting services clients going forward.

Read all about it here, via Accounting Today. Maybe it will motivate you and your firm to become more creative and take advantage of virtual opportunities.

  • Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

Net Fees Per Partner – CPA Firm

“Money often costs too much.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks to Charles Hylan for sharing some information from this year’s Rosenberg Survey.

Each year The Rosenberg Survey does an analysis to see which metrics have the strongest correlation to profitability, as measured by income per partner. As we work with firms who are struggling with profitability, we start by looking at their various leverage ratios followed by comparing their rates to like-sized firms in like-sized markets. One very important leverage ratio is net fees per equity partner.
Take a look at some of the numbers from this year’s Rosenberg Survey:
CLICK HERE to Order the Survey!
Charles
  • An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Are You Getting Two 4-Day Weekends?

Some of you are getting some extra time off this holiday season. I did a casual survey to see what CPA firms were doing about giving their teams time off since Christmas and New Years falls on Tuesdays this year.

Here are my findings:

  • 17% will close their offices for two 4-day weekends. Both New Year’s Eve and Christmas are holidays.
  • 56% will close Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and be open on December 31.
  • 11% will close one-half day for Christmas Eve and a full day for Christmas and New Years Day.
  • 16% will be closed only for the traditional holidays – Christmas and New Years.

Several firms noted that many people will take PTO to extend their holiday time but the firm offices will be open.

I periodically ask questions to a group of CPA firm administrators and HR directors. If they respond to my question, they receive a summary of all of the answers from various firms around the country. If you would like to be part of my “Advisory4Keller” group, email me and let me know.

 

  • When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
  • Helen Keller

Monday, November 5th, 2018

2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey Results Summary

CoverLast week, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC released their 2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey.

Today’s talent wants to integrate work and life. As a result, leaders must continually find ways to innovate workplace flexibility.

The goal of the survey is to collect data on CPA firm adoption of flexible work programs and the experiences firms have had with these initiatives.

Firm leaders need to thoughtfully contemplate how enhancing a more flexible workplace can be a huge benefit to the future of the firm.

Jeff Phillips, CEO of Accountingfly tell us, “On Accountingfly, we see incredible talent response to remote accounting jobs, which receive at least 8 times the number of applicants than in-office positions. The demand for remote careers in accounting is clear, and it’s such an obvious solution to the talent issues facing CPA firms.”

Download the survey summary here.

  • Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Firm Profitability

“If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.” – Benjamin Franklin 

I thought you would find this interesting and helpful. Thanks to Charles Hylan for providing it:

Income per Equity Partner (IPP) is one of the top measurements of overall firm profitability. Our analysis of IPP over the past 10 years is below. Take a look at the findings in the 2018 Rosenberg Survey (based on 2017 data) and see what metrics drive profitability.

 

Income Per Partner: 2008 to 2017 (Firms Over $2 Million)

  • 2008 – $354,000
  • 2009 – $365,000
  • 2010 – $360,000
  • 2011 – $366,000
  • 2012 – $386,000
  • 2013 – $382,000
  • 2014 – $392,000
  • 2015 – $406,000
  • 2016 – $430,000
  • 2017 – $441,000

This information comes from The Rosenberg Survey. It provides a lot of good information. You can order yours here.

  • Never spend your money before you have earned it.
  • Thomas Jefferson

Friday, October 5th, 2018

The Best Perks

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Dan Hood, editor-in-chief of Accounting Today has summarized for us some of the most common perks offered by The Best Firms. He notes, “The Best Firms share a long list of attributes, policies and best practices that have become table stakes for recruiting and retaining top talent.”

Here is his list of perks and extras offered by The Best. Be sure to read his post to learn more about each perk. Follow Dan on Twitter.

  • Dress for your day
  • Giving staff more time
  • Closing the office at slow times
  • Food – and lots of it
  • Including family in firm events
  • Support for individual community service
  • A true commitment to remote work

I have found that several of these are offered by many firms, large and small. The one I wish more firms would address is the last one – a true commitment to remote work.

  • Dispirited, unmotivated, unappreciated workers cannot compete in a highly competitive world.
  • Francis Hesselbein

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Winter Weather

“It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy, we face the storm and defy it.” – Amelia Barr

It is only October but for those CPA firms in the winter weather advisory sections of the country, it means that ice and snow are just around the corner.

Many firms have snow days or inclement weather policies. I asked advice from several firms from across the country and, as I expected, most firms now expect people to work from home on those days. Firms provide remote access to all employees.

Some firms have made the leap to unlimited PTO and, of course, everyone gets paid for those days they are unable to get to the office. Other firms have put a cap on snow days, allowing one day’s pay.

I found that the firms in the areas where there is always significant snow, rarely close the office. All firms stress the safety of the employees and using common sense about tackling a rough commute.

Here’s my favorite system:

We are no longer closing our office for winter weather.  We let individuals decide if they can make it in and if they can’t they can work from home.  All members of the team have remote access.

 

  • Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
  • John Ruskin