Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Accountants & Emotional Intelligence

“Emotional intelligence begins with self-awareness.” – Justin Bariso

There has been a lot of talk and many things written about accountants having a fairly low EQ (Emotional Intelligence). CPAs are often cautious, conservative, reserved and hesitant to show any emotion. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on raising your level of emotional intelligence.

Last December I did a post titled, You Are Business Smart. Are You Feelings Smart? I mentioned Justin Bariso and his 3-Second Trick (to help with EQ).

Bariso recently wrote another article to help with EQ in his column via Inc. Take This 5-Minute Test to See if You Have High Emotional Intelligence. I hope you will take 5 minutes to see where you stand. Do you think before you speak? Do you learn from negative feedback? –and several more good questions to ask yourself.

  • Paying attention to body language, eye movement, and tone of voice helps emotionally intelligent people to distinguish what's going on in others.
  • Justin Bariso

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

New Beginnings

“When you repeat a mistake, it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision.” – Paulo Coelho

Whether you are a new college graduate or someone with experience joining a different CPA firm, you will make mistakes. It is expected and your new bosses (partners/managers) understand.

One of the most common complaints I have heard over my many years working with CPAs and one I continue to hear on almost a weekly basis is about the issue of people learning from their mistakes. I hear:

  • They keep making the same mistakes over and over.
  • They don’t listen.
  • They don’t learn from their mistakes.

Repeating a mistake is something your new bosses don’t understand. I love the above quote. Read it again and commit to not making the same mistake twice!

  • Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

Digital CPA

“The majority of meetings should be discussions that lead to decisions.” – Patrick Lencioni

Here’s the press release from the AICPA about the upcoming Digital CPA conference. Digital CPA is the leading conference for practitioners curious about technology and its impact on the accounting landscape. Together we’re challenging business models, transforming practice areas and driving innovation across the profession.

CPA.com Announces 2019 Digital CPA Conference Keynote Lineup

Innovation Futurists and Leadership Experts Offer Insights at Dec. 9-11 Event

NEW YORK (Oct. 23, 2019) – Innovation is reshaping the traditional areas of practice in the accounting profession, and CPAs who want to position their firms for success can gain the latest intelligence and insights about this shift at the 2019 Digital CPA Conference, sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs and its technology arm, CPA.com.

This year’s conference will be held just outside Seattle at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue, Wash. The Dec. 9-11 event is organized around the theme “Age of Innovation,” and includes sessions on the shift to advisory services across all core areas of the CPA firm, such as audit and assurance, tax, and accounting services.

Keynote speakers at the event include:

  • Lisa Bodell, founder, and CEO of FutureThink, a global consulting firm that helps companies eliminate red tape and busy work and adopt simplicity as an operating model to unleash innovation.
  • Pascal Finette, chair of Open Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Singularity University and co-founder of radical Ventures, a firm that takes the long view on the impact of technological change. Pascal will share insights and future trend predictions from his year-long collaboration with CPA.com in a program called “Navigating the Future,” which is designed to help CPA firms prepare and prosper from exponential change.
  • Steven Robbins, founder of S. L. Robbins and Associates, a firm that studies human behavior, who will talk about how inclusion, leadership and the “power of caring” are key drivers of productivity and innovation.

Further rounding out the speaker lineup are Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the American Institute of CPAs, will provide a professional issues update, and Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, will give a “state of the union” on Digital CPA trends.

The Digital CPA Conference is designed for CPA firm partners, managers and, staffers responsible for rolling out cloud solutions, and business development, firm marketing and human resources directors within firms.

Reporters interested in covering the event can apply for on-site press credentials or arrange for online access to live broadcasts. Members of the media can contact Jeff May, jeffrey.may@aicpa-cima.com, for more details.

For more information about the conference, please visit digitalcpa.com.

  • Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
  • Abigail Adams

Friday, October 25th, 2019

How Proactive Is Your Audit Team?

“If it moves, tick it.” – Audit Senior, Audit Day 1

Things are rapidly changing in the CPA profession and the one area that seems to be changing most rapidly is the audit. Many firms are continuing to perform an audit the way they have always performed audits and that is why you need to make sure that your audit leaders are keeping pace with the current trends.

Be sure to read an article by Bill Curtis via Accounting Today: Why you and your audit team should consider a remote audit next year. Curtis is the partner-in-charge of the Birmingham office of Mauldin & Jenkins.

  • Audits cause a certain amount of disruption and inconvenience for the client.
  • Modern technology allow audit teams to share and receive data with clients from any location.
  • Remote audits save time and money.
  • The audit team will also be more efficient working in their home office environment with all its tools and comforts — multiple monitors, high-speed internet, familiar scanners and copiers and all the rest. The result is fewer hours needed to complete the work, and probably faster turnaround times for the financial statements company leaders are anxious to see.
  • Some audits can take place entirely in the digital realm, but most will still require some on-site time and in-person consultation.

There are a lot more positives about performing a remote audit, for the firm and for the client. Share this article with your audit leaders. Hopefully, your audit leaders are already sharing information like this with everyone in the firm and taking steps to utilize the amazing technology available today.

 

  • Remote audits are a trend that’s gaining traction rapidly, and it’s easy to see why their popularity is growing.
  • Bill Curtis

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

More Advice on Handling Email

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey Mackay

I blog about it often, but I want to keep offering you solutions to your email misery. Don’t brag (or moan) about how many emails you get each day. Take positive steps to decrease the time you spend reading emails.

Matt Plummer gives us some good advice on how to spend less time on email every day in his article via HBR. A simple solution is to simply check email less often. His research says most professionals check their email 15 times per day. I believe that CPAs and their employees check email more often than that!

Keep in mind that most emails DO NOT need your immediate response. Set the expectations with your clients and let them know that you check email at 9:00, 11:00, 2:00 and 4:00. When you don’t respond right away, they will soon learn to expect your answer in a few hours.

I believe that your staff deserves a slightly higher priority. If you are a partner or a manager and you don’t reply to a staff question within a reasonable length of time, you may be damaging their productivity and halting workflow. I still hear stories of partners who may take days to answer an inquiry from staff!

Read the article and learn about the five ways we unnecessarily lose time dealing with emails.

  • I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
  • William Shakespeare

Friday, October 18th, 2019

Use Twitter to Keep You Current

“LinkedIn is for the people you know. Facebook is for the people you used to know. Twitter is for people you want to know” ~ Source unknown

I can’t remember much about my first tweets. I do know that I did not hesitate, contemplate, or question my reasoning – I just jumped in. I had so much I wanted to share with people in the CPA profession. I joined in 2008 and have now tweeted over 18,000 times.

CPAs are more tentative in adopting something new. Twitter is no longer something new. It is a major force in society today. I also observe that very few CPAs actually Tweet. It’s not too late to get started.  I urge you to jump-in, set-up an account and pick a few people/organizations to follow so you can understand how it works and figure out how you can use it for efficiency – Yes, I said efficiency.

Here’s my approach – – I follow a few people/organizations because I want to use Twitter to keep me informed. I selected a few news sources and CPA management resources (and some family members) and I check Twitter every morning – very early – to get the latest world and national news. I can keep current much quicker than reading a newspaper or watching TV.

I check it only two or three times during the day (takes 30 seconds) and I tweet throughout the day, especially if I am attending an event that is of interest to CPAs. I want to share information (that’s the whole point).

To me, CPAs are in the best possible position to tweet. They have unbelievable knowledge to share, especially with clients. Many CPAs who do tweet use a service that does it for them. I hope that you will tweet yourself and express your own views and share the extensive knowledge you possess.

Think about it as 2020 approaches – – Right now is a great time to start a blog or begin tweeting tidbits of information for your clients about year-end tax planning. Once you begin, promote it and educate your clients (so they know that important business thoughts are available to them if they just join Twitter and follow YOUR tweets).

A word of warning. Don’t get sucked into spending too much time on Twitter or any social media. There is so much hate out there – be sure to only follow people who inspire you or provide positive information. I do not follow very many people. Read my tweets and follow me here.

  • The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
  • George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Staying Safe Online

“The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.” – Tacitus

As the old saying goes, “It’s a jungle out there!” It sure seems to apply to the internet.

Jared Clarke, privacy advocate & tech writer, made me aware of his VERY informative article, Ultimate Privacy Guide (How to stay safe online).

Complete privacy on the internet is virtually impossible, and any services that claim to offer it are bending the truth.

However, anyone can improve their privacy online by adapting their on-line habits, like choosing privacy-focused online services and limiting the volume of information, they store on the internet.

In this privacy internet guide, we’ll show you how to protect internet privacy against threats.

As you read the article, be sure to note the top three basic mistakes users follow repeatedly. He also shares his Top 10 Online Privacy Tips.

 

  • The best safety lies in fear.
  • William Shakespeare

Monday, October 7th, 2019

National Tax Conference – FYI

“It’s income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.” – Dave Barry

The quote above is for those of you preparing extended 1040s!

Here’s a press release from the AICPA:

SAVE THE DATE: AICPA National Tax Conference

Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2019) – This November, the American Institute of CPA

s (AICPA) will host its annual National Tax Conference. Press registration includes access both online and in-person access. Please mark your calendars.

WHAT:            2019 AICPA National Tax Conference

WHEN:            November 13-14, 2019                                                          

WHERE:         The Marriott Marquis, Washington, D.C.

INVITED:                   

  • Charles Rettig, IRS Commissioner
  • Michael Desmond, IRS Chief Counsel
  • Rochelle Hodes, Washington National Tax Office Crowe, LLP
  • Tony Nitti, Partner, RubinBrown LLP

TOPICS INCLUDE:

  •  Using Machine Learning to Predict Outcomes in Tax Law
  •  Treasury and the TCJA
  •  Small Business Exceptions and the Tax Shelter
  •  Lessons Learned from the 1st Year of Filing After TCJA                             

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: Current information about speakers and conference topics including full agenda may be found here

 

Note: AICPA Fall Tax Division Meeting will take place at the Marriott Marquis on November 15th. These meetings are open to the press but not accessible via the internet.

 

  • I'm proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money.
  • Arthur Godfrey

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

Always Too Busy

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” Harvey Mackay

You are thinking:

  • I would like to investigate that new niche opportunity.
  • I have heard that XXXXX software has really improved its performance. I should check it out.
  • I need to make phone calls to my top 10 clients every quarter.

BUT, I don’t have time.

Most people DO have time, they just choose to do some things and not others.

Many people desperately need some basic time management education.

Leaders often get caught up in the short term and postpone spending valuable time on long term planning because short term might be more profitable.

Schedule your time. Determine what is essential to your career and firm growth. Find your time-wasters and eliminate them. Re-think your routine and how you can capture more time to do the things you actually WANT to do.

  • You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.
  • Charles Brixton

Monday, September 30th, 2019

CPA Firm Marketing

“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.” – Robert Rose

There continues to be a lot of questions from practitioners about marketing – activities, budgets, staffing, etc.

Of course, a big percent of your marketing budget is devoted to salaries. More and more firms are devoting more time and money to online marketing while still continuing much of the traditional methods… sponsorships, etc.

Once again, the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) partnered with the Hinge Research Institute to conduct the bi-annual Marketing Budget Benchmark Study. The purpose of this study was to provide marketing professionals, firm leaders and business developers with the insights needed to determine whether their efforts are effective – especially when compared to the marketing efforts of firms that may be similar in size or with regard to a chosen marketplace.

You can download a summary or the full report here.

  • Don’t settle: Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.
  • Chris Brogan