Archive for the ‘Millennials’ Category

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022

Over Paying

“There is no way I can justify my salary level but I am learning to live with it.” – Drew Carey

Many firms have acknowledged that they are willing to overpay when pursuing new, hard to find, talent. Where will it end? When will it end? Who knows?

I have two concerns. First, will new, unproven, maybe less skilled employees be making more than proven, long-time team members? How that plays out can cause severe headaches for management.

My other concern is, in response to the situation mentioned above, firm leaders will increase salaries for ALL team members. This could result in significant increases for less-than-stellar performing employees.

I still think that pay for performance applies. Not everyone needs to be treated the same. Top performers should make top wages and get extra perks.

In the CPA world, firm owners worry about what “the other” team members will think and how will they react. They will be complaining loudly.

Don’t ignore the complainers. Talk to them immediately and honestly. Explain to them that Jessica All-Star makes more and receives more because she is a top performer. Then, explain to them exactly how they can become a top performer and thus, make more money. Set goals and challenge them.

You have probably read where KPMG is allocating $160M in salary increases for their 35,000 employees. Their CEO said:

“This increase in salaries embodies our commitment to quickly recognize the value our people create for our clients and firm in times of change,” said Knopp in a statement. “Moreover, it reflects our appreciation for their resilience and consistent dedication to serving our clients and the capital markets with quality.”

Your team members have probably read about this, too.

  • The more they applaud, the bigger our salary will be.
  • Anna Held

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

Generational Viewpoint

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates

Accounting Today published an interesting article recently titled, “Generational Viewpoints: Time for change.”

It features two professionals from Barnes Dennig, a 160-person firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is a firm I have admired for many years. One viewpoint was from a baby boomer and the other viewpoint is from a millennial.

Today, I want to share just one paragraph from the millennial’s viewpoint. It follows. I hope you read the entire article.

From my point of view, we always feel like we’re on the job. As great as technology is, it’s a double-edged sword because it’s impossible to get away from it. Nobody feels that more than us. As a generation who grew up with unlimited access to technology and integration, it’s hard for us to compartmentalize aspects of our lives. We don’t leave work at work and work never leaves us. From my experience, millennials, especially in the public accounting industry, are ultracompetitive. Even though we try to log off at 5 p.m. or take time off, we are constantly checking and responding to emails because we want to impress someone or everyone. To an extent, we do understand this could be of our own doing, but nothing will change until the culture of being 100% accessible changes.

  • Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.
  • Jane Austen

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Don’t Hesitate to Say Goodbye

“When I go to a party, nobody says hello. But when I leave, everybody says goodbye.” – George Gobel

In working with CPA firms, I have observed that so many CPAs like to cling to work. You can’t keep growing and expanding your skillset if you keep doing the same things while still doing the familiar things.

When you become a Senior, you have to leave much of your staff work behind. When you become a Manager, you have to say goodbye to some of the clients and the type of work you still love to do. You have to say hello to some new skills. The same thing applies when you become a partner. At that point in your career, you have to definitely say goodbye to doing the work and embrace the role of partner. Partners need to be bringing in business, enriching client relationships, and mentoring young people.

Occasionally, I read a post by Seth Godin that says so much to me about CPAs. The following is one of those posts.

WHAT WILL YOU LEAVE BEHIND?

Twenty years from now, you will have new skills. New customers. A new title and a new kind of leverage.

All of this forward motion requires a less celebrated element–all the things you’re not doing any longer.

To get a new job, you’ll need to leave the old job behind.

When you have a child, you’ve initiated a process that leads to an adult…

Often, we try to pretend that growth comes with no goodbyes, but it does.

Perhaps we can go in with our eyes open, understanding that what we begin will likely end. And when we plan for it, we’ll do it better.

  • That money talks, I'll not deny. I heard it once it said, 'Goodbye.'
  • Richard Armoour

Monday, April 13th, 2020

Work Habits of CPA Partners

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work, one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many non-partner CPAs and others working in or advising the CPA profession have said that partners work too many hours.

Advisors have been saying for years that your young CPAs won’t want to become a partner because they see the partners setting the wrong example – they work too hard and too many hours.

A recent article via HBR stated that, based on a study, top CEOs of public companies work an average of 62.5 hours per week. CEOs are always on, and there is always more to be done. Think about how that statement applies to your partners, especially the managing partner, the executive committee, etc.

If you want to be a partner someday, keep in mind that you will have two roles, owner and employee. Non-partner CPAs in public practice work with clients. Yes, they have some additional roles by serving on committees or special task forces for the firm but mainly, they help clients.

Partners serve clients and their second job – which maybe should be their first job – is running an efficient, effective and profitable business – the firm. They are paid well if the firm is successful. Their employees are paid well if the firm is successful.

If you are critical of your partners, keep in mind, they are always on, and there is always more to be done.

You might find the HBR article interesting – How CEOs Manage Time.

  • I am focused on the work. I am constantly creating. I am a busy girl. I live and breathe my work. I love what I do. I believe in the message. There’s no stopping.
  • Lady Gaga

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Tune-In To Individuals

“The way management treats associates is exactly how the associates will treat the customers.” – Sam Walton

I follow Bruce Tulgan on Twitter. I have read his books and heard him speak in person. He speaks my language! If you are working in a CPA firm and manage people, he speaks your language, too.

Last week, I sent a copy of It’s Okay To Be The Boss to a young millennial who was just promoted to Manager in one of the “big” firms. She is charged with managing other millennials (even younger) and already realizes the challenges she is facing. So, it is not only baby boomers and GenX who wonder how to manage younger workers.

I hope you follow him on Twitter, also. I hope you also follow me on Twitter!

Here’s a recent tweet from Tulgan:

Customization is the holy grail of effective management today. The more you can tune in to the individual wants, needs, strengths, and weaknesses of each individual, the better you are able to guide and support them.
tulgan

  • Management is nothing more than motivating other people.
  • Lee Iacocca

Monday, July 15th, 2019

Be Brave. Ask Questions.

It happens daily in accounting firms. Younger, less experienced staff members hesitate, and even fear, to ask what they consider a dumb question.

Yet, one brave soul will often ask it and then everyone nods their head and admits that they wondered the same thing. I love people who ask the dumb question.

That’s why this quote means so much to you as you build your career in accounting:

“No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Beginning this week, no matter how many or how few years of experience you have – be brave, ask questions.

  • What makes us human, I think, is an ability to ask questions.
  • Jane Goodall

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

Generations at Work

“Older generations are living proof that younger generations can survive their lunacy.” – Cullen Hightower

I have been talking and writing about how to deal with the different generations in the workplace for years. My first project in this area was a survey of Gen-X and a report to advise practitioners how to deal with them. At the time, they were a mystery to the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers. Many old-timers called them “slackers.” All they actually wanted was some work-life balance!

We still have some of those Silent Generation people in some firms. True, they are in their mid-70s but you probably know some or know of some. And, now we have Generation Z coming on the scene (born after 1997). Many are still in college and some have now graduated and are working at your firm or are your intern pool. That’s five generations communicating in different ways.

  • Silent Generation (or Traditionalists)
  • Baby Boomers
  • Generation X
  • Millennials (or Generation Y)
  • Generation Z

Via the AICPA Insider, we have been given some tips on ways to communicate with Generation Z (and all generations):

  • Establish protocol
  • Think about the individual
  • Present the same information in various ways
  • Make sure written messages are mobile friendly
  • Be authentic
  • Don’t discriminate

Take the time to read more about each tip in this informative article here.

  • I have to study politics and war so that my sons can study mathematics, commerce and agriculture, so their sons can study poetry, painting and music.
  • John Quincy Adams

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Orientation and Onboarding

“People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” – Jim Collins

While the CPAs have been busy serving clients in tax season, I hope your practice manager or HR manager has used the time to make sure your firm’s hiring practices are in line with current trends. I believe that onboarding, in public accounting, can take up to a full year.

Here is a link to a blog I wrote in 2016 about how orientation and onboarding have changed in recent years.

Here is a link to a good article via Journal of Accountancy on the same topic.

Share this blog post with your HR professionals.

  • If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.
  • Red Adair

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Morning Person Or Not

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

I am a morning person. I like to get up early (5:00a) and start the day by reading and drinking a cup of coffee. Then I work most of the morning at a fairly ambitious pace. I have always felt I do my best work in the morning.

It’s not for everyone. Many people are definitely not morning people. That’s the joy of embracing flexible schedules for all your team members.

When I was working in a firm, I would be the first one there at 6:00a, that is when I was most productive. I had a partner who would often work until 2:00a. He was the most productive after 7:00p.

Many firms now provide core hours that they expect people to be available. Outside those core hours, people can work whenever and wherever. Some firms don’t even specify core hours any longer. Are you allowing people to work at their most productive time?

  • If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done.
  • Bruce Lee

Friday, March 8th, 2019

Don’t Forget The Men

“The most important thing in the world is family and love.” – John Wooden

Working in an accounting firm during busy season is a real juggling act. A majority of the staff is made up of young, married people who are raising children.

You can read lots of articles and posts about how working women need help. Don’t forget about the dads.

Young married couples today raise children much differently than baby boomer couples and even some older Gen-Xers.  Men cook, clean, do the laundry, too. Household tasks are shared by the couple and so are the demands of childcare. One young female CPA told me that she and her husband flip a coin to see who stays home with a sick child. Other couples compare calendars and see what makes sense for the day before they decide who stays home.

As you are updating and better defining your benefits program, don’t forget that families need flexibility, not just women.

Here’s an interesting article via @Inc about childcare and Amazon.

  • Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.
  • George Burns