Archive for the ‘Generations’ Category

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

The Challenge of What Gift to Give Your Employees

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” – Andy Rooney

A very common topic this time of year among CPA firm administrators (and partners) is what kind of gift to give the employees for Christmas.

This difficult task usually lands in the COO/Firm Administrator’s or HR Director’s lap. And, it’s a dangerous minefield. Different generations appreciate different things and finding a “one size fits all” can be a daunting task.

Suzanne Lucas, @RealEvilHRLady, gives us a great list this year. She notes: Here are some ideas, gleaned from real, actual humans, and not marketers. You’ll notice some are contradictory. This isn’t bad editing on my part. It’s reality. Get to know your employees!

Here are a few of the suggestions – but, be sure to read the entire list. Money is always a good choice!

  • My husband’s boss gives his managers steak. We have really appreciated that!
  • If anything, something “consumable.” I don’t want or need any more do-dads. Food is good–a nice bottle of olive oil, a good bottle of balsamic vinegar, anything that can be used and enjoyed and then gone!!
  • $100 gift cards to a nice restaurant have always been my favorite.
  • Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it 'white.'
  • Bing Crosby

Monday, November 25th, 2019

Private Offices

“The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” – Mark Twain

I have always thought that putting beginners in a cube environment helped them learn faster. They could overhear when someone else had a question and received an excellent answer. And with millennials, it seemed they liked to collaborate extensively.

As with everything, times have changed. Recent studies tell us that employees reported the highest satisfaction with their personal workspace when it was inside a private office.

Even if you have a very trendy office space involving the open concept, it seems the trendiest office space pales in comparison to an office.

Read more about it via Fast Company here. – The article is titled, Want a happy employee? Give them an office. When I worked in a firm I know I sure enjoyed my private office, don’t you?

  • Whether I'm at the office, at home, or on the road, I always have a stack of books I'm looking forward to reading.
  • Bill Gates

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

Succession Planning – What Are You Forgetting?

“The truest wisdom is a resolute determination.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

CPAs have been immersed in the process of succession planning for years.

As the Baby Boomers have aged and retired succession planning for firms took on a whole new life. How will the firm survive without me? Who will take over my client relationships? And, the continuing statement made by retiring partners, “We don’t have anyone who can replace me!”

When I hear that statement I always ask, “Whose fault is that?”

As you approach succession planning, I am sure you are making sure that your successors have all the experience and technical knowledge that public accounting demands. But, they need more.

According to Bruce Tulgan, a writer specializing in management training and generational diversity in the workforce, “One of the hardest things about succession planning is what I refer to as ‘wisdom transfer’—passing on institutional knowledge and soft skills to new leaders. How are you tackling wisdom transfer in your organization?”

What are you, as a firm and as individual senior partners, doing to be sure that you are making that “wisdom transfer” to the next generation of firm leaders?

  • Foolishness is a twin sister of wisdom.
  • Witold Gombrowicz

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

A Job Description Is Important – But, There Is More

“Friends and good manners will carry you where money won’t go.” – Margaret Walker

Offering individualized job descriptions to your staff is definitely something you should be doing. I find that in smaller firms, job descriptions are something that is not always offered. Employees just learn what they should do and they do it.

The next-gen workforce (Gen Z) wants to know exactly what will be expected of them. Career development is a must. They are ambitious and desire opportunities for advancing in their careers. Set clear, concise expectations for them.

There are probably several people on your team who might bristle when asked to do a certain task. They are thinking, and probably don’t say it out loud, “that’s not in my job description!”

The truth is, there are many things that you must do in an office environment that are not spelled out on your job description.

Seth Godin, in one of his blog posts, listed things that are missing from your job description if you work in an office. Below, are a few (read the entire list here.)

  • Ask why
  • Treat customers better than they expect
  • Feed the plants
  • Highlight good work from your peers
  • Cut costs
  • Organize a bookshelf
  • Smile a lot
  • Leave things more organized than you found them
  • and many more

Here are some that apply to an accounting office. I bet you can add more!

  • Never leave a mess at the coffee station
  • Don’t mess with the thermostat
  • Don’t eat someone else’s lunch that is in the frig
  • Greet every client who might be sitting in the lobby
  • Always offer a visitor a coffee or soft drink
  • If you have an issue with a peer, talk to them about it and no one else
  • and many more!

Read about my CPA Firm Courtesy Policy here.

  • Good manners and graciousness pave the way for future favors. Bad manners crumble the road.
  • Terri Guillemets

Friday, June 21st, 2019

Flashback Friday – Young CPAs Start Sooner!

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking

If you are not a young CPA – I hope you share this blog post with young CPAs. There is so much more to becoming a successful CPA than just knowing how to do the work.

  • It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.
  • John Wooden

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

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

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Is It Time To Exit Gracefully?

Many CPA firm partners are struggling with the decision on when to retire.

It seems most believe that no matter what their age, it is too soon to consider retiring. Some firms have even raised their mandatory retirement age to 70. Many firms have no mandatory retirement age. Do you have a documented transition plan to help retiring partners exit?

While I certainly do not believe in forcing a successful, active, business-getting, forward-thinking partner out the door, I do believe that all aging partners need to think about retirement and make plans. Are you really a visionary or are you holding the firm back in any way?

I love this quote:

“I don’t want to be dragging myself on stage, year in year out until someone else tells me it is time to go. There are certain birthdays that make you revalue your life.” – Tina Turner

As the year draws to a close, will 2019 be the year you put your transition plan into place and provide an opportunity for the next generation?

  • The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.
  • Abe Lemons

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Gen Z – What Matters to Them

“It is not what you look at that matters, it is what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

If you work in a public accounting firm, you work hard and you work long hours during certain times of the year.

That description has been around for decades. The baby boomers embraced it and thrived. Gen X rebelled somewhat because their description of “working hard and long hours” was different from the prior generation. Then the Millennials came along and had their own thoughts about working hard.

I have been studying these generations for years. I did many presentations during the mid-90s in an effort to help the Boomers cope with Gen X. In recent years, it’s been all about how to cope with the Millennials.

Now, we have Gen Z, those born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.

The birth years of each generation has varied depending on the source. Here’s how Pew Research defines the generations as of 2018:

  • The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945 (73-90 years old)
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (54-72 years old)
  • Generation X: Born 1965-1980 (38-53 years old)
  • Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (22-37 years old)
  • Post-Millennials: Born 1997-Present (0-21 years old)

The post-millennials are, of course, Gen Z.

According to a recent survey by IFAC, here’s what matters to Gen Z:

Gen Zs Top Career Priorities:

  • Stable Career Path
  • Work-life Balance
  • Competitive Salary and Benefits

Read all about the report via IFAC here.

  • In matters of style, swim with the current, in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
  • Thomas Jefferson

Monday, August 20th, 2018

Adulting

“When I came into my adulthood, I recognized how fortunate I was to be doing what I loved to do.” – Laurence Fishburne

Have you heard the term, adulting? If you are a millennial, I am sure you have but older bosses might not be so savvy.

The term #Adulting is a hashtag – a social media thing and it is used often by millennials to indicate they did something an adult does, like their own laundry.

There are a lot of experts out there who have had enough of the word. They believe it is actually self-demeaning for millennials (some almost 40 years old) to use it.

Read this interesting article via Cosmopolitan titled “Shut the Hell Up About ‘Adulting’.”

Here’s an excerpt to give you a flavor for the situation:

My boss is an older Millennial who gives me a lot of responsibility at work. She trusts me to manage our interns, make sure reports are sent out to higher-ups, and that her schedule is always up to date. I’m not going to look capable of any of those things if I act like going to the grocery store alone is “adulting,” my biggest accomplishment yet. I want even more responsibility than I have now, and I’m not going to get there by acting like I need a pat on the back for brushing my teeth and showing up to work on time. 

At your firm, I hope you are always treating your millennials like adults. Talk to them about this topic. I am optimistic that most accounting degreed, younger professionals are already acting like adults.

  • Part of adulthood is searching for the people who understand you.
  • Hanya Yanagihara