Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Friday, August 12th, 2022

Are You The Leader?

“Never assume that people in positions of responsibility are behaving responsibly.” – David McCullough

This Friday, rather than doing a Flashback post. I want to give you something different. I hope you will follow the link (below) and sit quietly for 16 minutes to learn about leadership.

This is directed to firm managing partners or hope-to-be managing partners. It is also vital information for department heads or any other leadership figures inside your accounting firm.

I was saddened this week to hear about the death of David McCullough. I have read many of his books and hope to read more. One of my recent favorites is The Pioneers.

This weekend, find a quiet spot, watch and learn about what made George Washington a great leader.

David McCullough Interview: The Importance of George Washington

I hope you can find some of Washington’s traits within yourself. Have a great weekend.

  • Be courteous to all, but intimate with a few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
  • George Washington

Friday, August 5th, 2022

Simplify vs. Complicate

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

Here’s a Friday flashback post from 2013 that still applies today. Thoreau said: Simplify! Simplify!

CPAs tend to: Complicate! Complicate!

Have a great weekend!

  • This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
  • Dalai Lama

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Keep Your Hook In The Water

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” – Jim Collins

When finding talent to hire for your firm, a good friend of mine and long-time CPA management consultant, Steve Ericksen, noted that he always told his CPA firm clients to “keep their hook in the water.” Sadly, Steve has passed away, but I remember and appreciate so much of what I learned from Steve.

“Keep your hook in the water” means you must make it widely known that you are looking to hire accountants. You not only have to advertise on all reputable sites but also need to talk about it openly with everyone in your business and personal circles. When talking to attorneys, bankers, and clients, mention that your firm is hiring and actively seeking qualified candidates and ask if they know of anyone.

Make it a positive statement, such as, we are growing and expanding and now have room for more people. If you know anyone who might be interested in working for a progressive, growing, future-focused accounting firm, please let me know.

You can also mention it to friends and relatives. You never know where your next qualified hire might come from.

  • Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
  • Richard Branson

Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

What To Wear

“Is there anything in the world more annoyingly creepy than an unspoken dress code?” – Douglas Coupland

Remember the TV show What Not To Wear? I always enjoyed it and was often amazed at how sloppy, untidy, and inappropriate the person was “before.” They looked pretty good “after.”

You might now be facing the challenge of what to wear as you return to the office. Even if it is only for two or three days per week, your at-home work fashions, sweat pants, shorts and t-shirts probably will not do.

NPR offers some advice recently in a post titled: The pandemic has changed workplace fashion. What does that mean for you?

Check out the article and see a picture of the leaders of the Group of Seven (G-7) nations in their official group photo recently. They all ditched their ties for the photo for the first time in 40 years.

Dress codes for CPA firms have certainly relaxed over the years. Still, your team needs some guidance on what your “relaxed” dress code means. Ties and high-heels are out. Now a button-down shirt (probably with jeans) and comfortable flats are in.

  • Yes, we have a dress code. You have to dress.
  • Scott McNealy

Friday, July 8th, 2022

Why People Follow You – Flashback Friday

“If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” – Zig Ziglar

This week I am sending you back to 2014 for a blog post that asks the question, “Do people want to follow you?”

Well, do they? Is it because of your title? Is it because you are a partner? Is it because you are easy to get along with? Is it because you care?

Here’s a list of characteristics that followers are looking for.

Have a great weekend!

  • Happiness doesn't result from what we get, but from what we give.
  • Ben Carson

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

Technology Podcast

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

I know you are always looking for new tools to help your firm become more efficient. You also want to make things easier for your valuable team members.

Much of your efficiencies these days depends on having the absolute best technology. It means the best hardware and software.

A good place to keep up to date is listening to Randy Johnston and Brian Tankersley‘s podcast via CPA Practice Advisor. It’s called The Technology Lab Podcast – New Technology Tools for Accountants

In a recent podcast, they review AuditMiner. I wasn’t aware of it but, of course, I am not an auditor! It appears to be a great tool if you do employee benefit audits.

Hear their review of AuditMiner here.

  • Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.
  • Peter Drucker

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Signing Bonus

“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.” – Stephen Hawking

Signing bonuses are just one bit of ammunition in your hiring arsenal.

Just in case you aren’t up-to-date on what firms are doing in this area, a mid-size firm I recently talked with told me they are offering $10,000-$15,000 as a signing bonus.

I am sure many of you are doing the same AND many of you aren’t, but should.

  • The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.
  • Jimmy Johnson

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

An HR Refresher

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy 

Maybe your firm is large enough to have a dedicated HR director. In many firms, the firm administrator (practice manager) is the one who fields most HR questions. No matter what size your firm YOU need to be careful what you say or do, especially if you are a partner or manager.

Here’s a good reminder/refresher from Inc. – “If you say one of these 11 phrases at work, prepare to be sued.”

Here are the eleven phrases. Have you ever said them? Read the entire article and share it inside your firm.

  • “I’ll just 1099 this employee.”
  • “He’s salaried, I don’t need to worry about overtime.”
  • “Non-competes are not enforceable, right?”
  • “I’ll handle this EEOC charge on my own.”
  • “This complaint is stupid, I’m not even going to respond to it.”
  • “Aren’t you proud that we have an all-female [or any other protected characteristic] team?”
  • “I’ll just find an employment contract online.”
  • “I’m going to dock your pay if you…[fill in the blank].”
  • “I’m a nice guy, I don’t want to have that conversation.”
  • “Just tell them they are performing fine.”
  • “This employee is a problem, let’s move them to a different role.” 

The article explains each phrase.

  • Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.
  • Richard Branson

Thursday, May 19th, 2022


“To make an embarrassing admission, I like video games. That’s what got me into software engineering when I was a kid. I wanted to make money so I could buy a better computer to play better video games – nothing like saving the world.” – Elon Musk

I am posting this because Caseware was one of the products that enabled our firm to go completely paperless many, many years ago. We started that paperless journey in 1999.

Here is their message:

As part of our commitment to support and drive transformational change in the accounting and audit industry, we have evolved our brand. 

Our new brand is not just a new look and feel, it is our dedication to helping our customers work more effectively, gain deeper insights and see further along the road that leads to change for the better. It is our promise to you that we will be with you every step of the way on your journey to transform insights into impact. 

Welcome to the new Caseware!

  • Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn.
  • Steve Jobs

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Getting Ready To Grow or Merge Up

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” – Henry James

As I have for many years (decades?), I urge every CPA practitioner to get their house in order. That means having a solid foundation to build on. Acquirers don’t want to merge with a firm that is unorganized and/or dysfunctional. Future partners don’t want to buy in to something that is not attractive.

There are some very basic things that CPA firm leaders need to do to continually increase the value of their firm. Of course, CPAs must be technically competent, good communicators, and committed to client service. You are in a service business, just like a hotel or restaurant.

Beyond those basics, a couple more foundational items are needed to create firm value.

Culture – You (and your partners, if you have some) should devote your attention to creating a culture in which you want to work, providing your employees with a clear picture of acceptable behaviors that exemplify your core values. A culture built around consistent and strong core values will attract people with those same core values. If you discover employees who do not embrace your core values, they should be encouraged to go elsewhere.

Processes – Another foundational item thing you can do to increase the value of your firm is to implement processes, procedures, and policies that are well-documented in writing. This means the success of your firm is not solely on your shoulders and not dependent on just a few people. Having written processes and procedures ensures that you can easily get new employees up to speed quickly.

  • Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.
  • Dalai Lama