Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Monday, November 21st, 2022

Keeping Your Employees

“Be thankful for problems. If they were less difficult, someone with less ability might have your job.” – Jim Lovell

I recently read an article suggesting ways to keep your best employees. I found it not to be very helpful. It mentioned things we have all heard before.

It suggested:

  • Improve compensation
  • Increase flexibility
  • Evaluate your benefits
  • Encourage professional development

All of the many firms I talk to and read about are doing all of this. I am sure most of you want to know more. What else can you do?

In 2022, I have observed more and more firms are actually disengaging from many clients simply because they cannot hire enough people to take care of them. Quality service matters more than the number of clients.

Add this to the list above – Don’t punish your staff by keeping clients that are ranked C and D. Shrink our client list to keep your best employees.

  • Be happy with what you have while working for what you want.
  • Helen Keller

Thursday, November 17th, 2022

Relentless Problems

“Relentless problems feel like driving around with garbage in the backseat. You wonder if the journey’s worth it.” – Dan Rockwell (@Leadershipfreak)

Do you have ongoing, relentless problems that seem never to get solved? If you work in a CPA firm, I bet you do.

Dan Rockwell recently did a post titled, Don’t pretend things smell good when they stink – Instead Shift Focus.

I have observed that people inside a CPA firm, including leaders, seem to aggressively avoid dealing with these problems. They don’t seem to mind “driving around with garbage in the backseat”.

Read the article. It gives you a lot of good solutions on how to deal with stinky problems. Don’t pretend things smell good when they stink.

  • When someone walks into your office with a bag of garbage ask, “What strengths do you have that enable you to seize this opportunity?"
  • Dan Rockwell

Monday, October 17th, 2022

Starting A New CPA Firm

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” – Earl Nightingale

I occasionally hear from a young CPA who has decided to strike on their own and build an accounting firm. Many people have done it, and I imagine they have been successful. I also imagine there have been several who have failed.

I always urge them to begin building the right infrastructure from the beginning. I call these tasks foundational aspects of a CPA firm. For example, standardized processes and procedures, a basic employee handbook, the most up-to-date technology, a social media plan, etc.

CPA Practice Advisor recently posted an article – 5 Tips When Starting a New Accounting Firm. I hope this will be helpful to those of you dreaming of your very own accounting firm and even those of you who need to improve the one you already have.

The 5 Tips:

  • Create a working budget
  • What’s your niche?
  • Invest in social media
  • Use the right technology
  • Be picky about your clients

Be sure to follow this link to read about each one of these tips.

  • A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
  • George S. Patton

Friday, October 14th, 2022

Embrace New Tasks – Don’t Cling To Old Ones

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

This week Flashback Friday addresses a problem that I observe in so many firms. People (including partners and managers) cling to work that is familiar and easily accomplished.

At each level in the firm, you need to say goodbye to routine work and embrace new and more difficult challenges. Read this post from last year – Don’t hesitate to say goodbye.

  • To get a new job you need to leave the old job behind.
  • Seth Godin

Thursday, October 13th, 2022

Now It’s Non-Linear Work

“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they [are] at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.” – Richard Branson

All of these new terms for the workforce just keep expanding. Flexible, remote, hybrid, off-shore, on-shore, the great resignation, quiet quitting, and there are probably more!

Here’s one I just read about; maybe your team is already utilizing it. They probably are if they are fully remote.

It is called the non-linear workday. We have been so used to and comfortable with the regular 8 to 5 workday. Some employees are expected to be online and available during those hours even if they are working from home.

Remote work has given rise to all sorts of new working patterns, including the ‘non-linear workday.’ Employees in this arrangement can do their jobs outside the traditional rigid nine-to-five block, often whenever works best for them.

Some of your employees might be much more productive if they work very early in the morning and end their workday early afternoon. Another employee might prefer to work a couple of hours in the morning and return to work after dinner or after the kids go to bed. The day can be broken up in many different ways that suit the work style of the individual.

“It’s no longer really about effort and time spent, it’s about creating the best outcomes. As the nature of work has shifted, so too has the way workers want to optimize how they do that work.” – Aaron De Smet

Read more about it in this informative article via the BBC. Of course, I know that CPAs will be thinking, “How do we keep track of it all?”

  • I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
  • Thomas Edison

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022

2023 Public Accounting Starting Salaries

“Don’t let money run your life, let money help you run your life better.” – John Rampton

Those of you charged with managing and leading your CPA firm, I know you are wondering where salaries are going in the public accounting arena.

Going Concern has been examining data from Robert Half, focusing on cities with high, middle, and low costs of living.

Check out the Going Concern articles and see what you think. I always thought Robert Half’s numbers seemed on the high side, but with the talent shortage, it will be interesting to see where public accounting salaries actually go this year.

  • Money is usually attracted, not pursued.
  • Jim Rohn

Thursday, October 6th, 2022

Bad Clients

“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.” – Tom Robbins

October 15 is fast approaching. You struggled through September 15 with those troublesome clients who do not respond to your requests for their information. Now, the same struggle continues for those individual income tax clients for their return due October 15.

Some years ago, I found a listing of the 15 habits of bad clients.

  1. Slow paying or non-payment of fees.
  2. Write-downs always exceed write-ups.
  3. The client frequently complains about billings.
  4. The client is unwilling to pay for added services.
  5. Not profitable when compared to other clients.
  6. A personality conflict with partners and staff.
  7. Client conduct makes staff uncomfortable.,
  8. The client is abusive to staff, even if civil to partners.
  9. The client fails to cooperate or provide information on a timely basis.
  10. The client doesn’t listen to the advice and complains about the results.
  11. Client projects are always on a crisis time schedule.
  12. The client expresses a lack of trust in the firm’s work.
  13. The client is less than truthful.
  14. The client has taken on new ventures outside the firm’s area of expertise.
  15. The client’s activities expose the firm to liability.

Use this list to help identify the clients that need to be referred elsewhere.

  • 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

Wednesday, October 5th, 2022

One Space Or Two?

“I want to change my punctuation. I long for exclamation marks, but I’m drowning in ellipses.” ― Isaac Marion

As we all know, CPA firms are very traditional, conservative, accurate, professional, and so on. We also know that they are slow to change and adapt.

That is why I wonder if CPA firms have switched to one space after a period. From my correspondence with many CPA firms, I have noticed that two spaces after a period are still widely used.

From Thesaurus.com – According to every major style guide you’ll find, the rule is a single space after a period or any other punctuation mark you use to end a sentence. Even the APA, the staunchest defender of the double space over the decades, changed its stance on the issue in 2019.

From Instructional Solutions.com:

UPDATE: As of April 24, 2020, Microsoft has settled the great space debate and sided with everyone who believes one space after a period is correct, not two. The software giant has started to update Microsoft Word to highlight two spaces after a period as an error and to offer a correction to one space. Microsoft recently started testing this change with the desktop version of Word, offering suggestions through the Editor capabilities of the app.

Additionally, the American Psychological Association’s Publication Manual, after decades of recommending two spaces changed their recommendation to one space in its most recent update in October 2019.

If your administrative team is having this debate, Instructional Solutions has a great article showing how two spaces became the norm and why it has evolved to one space over many years.

I learned to type on a typewriter, and after SO many years of typing, two spaces is a habit that is difficult to break. I am working on it but occasionally notice a two-space mistake in my writing.

Anything coming from a CPA firm must be correct. You all know that and have established many levels of review to guarantee accuracy. Be sure your firm is viewed as progressive and accurate and not stuck in the past.

  • Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, representing nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.
  • Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

Announcement From AAM

“Master the topic, the message, and the delivery.” — Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Apple

The Association for Accounting Marketing is having a virtual conference. Here are the details:

AAM Virtual Conference Addresses M&A Frenzy Impacts

Lexington, KY, October 3, 2022 – The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) has announced it will host its third annual virtual conference, Emerge, on November 4, 2022. The theme of this year’s conference is “growth through realignment,” and it will address the current merger and acquisition frenzy impacting the profession.

The one-day virtual conference will allow accounting marketing professionals to collaborate with AAM’s network of marketing, business development, and growth strategists. Allan Koltin, one of the top M&A consultants in the accounting profession, will keynote the event. Allan will address how the playing field is rapidly changing and its impact on future growth for CPA firms.

Emerge 2022 sessions will cover timely topics related to mergers & acquisitions, including due diligence, communication considerations, merging brands and cultures, the client experience, the realignment of teams, expansion into other service areas, and more! Attendees of this year’s conference will receive a merger & acquisition toolkit.

“We have an incredible lineup of topics and speakers this year,” said Rhonda Clark, Executive Director of AAM. “The content that we are offering is invaluable right now. Even for firms that want to remain independent, the discussion topics are geared towards helping firms adjust their growth strategies.”  

AAM’s Emerge conference will include panel discussions, fireside chats, and networking breaks. Event attendance is open to both members and non-members. Additional information, including the full agenda and how to register, is available on the event website.

About AAM

The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) is an international association boasting a network of marketing, business development, and growth strategists. The association was formed in 1989 to elevate the profession and advance the careers of growth professionals in the accounting profession through education, community, thought leadership, and leading-edge resources. Learn more about AAM at www.accountingmarketing.org.

  • Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time.
  • Elon Musk

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

Recent Podcast

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I really enjoyed talking with Blake Oliver of Earmark CPE for his podcast. You can earn free CPE if you listen. They have titled it “If You Want to Grow, You Need a COO” on #EarmarkCPE.

Register for free: https://app.earmarkcpe.com/?course_id=33397f4d-43a9-4553-8803-44ffc4624c16

  • I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
  • Pablo Picasso