Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Ingenuity

“It is true that I sometimes compliment myself upon my ingenuity.” – Hercule Poirot

Definition of ingenuity: The quality of being clever, original, and inventive.

I have observed that CPAs in public practice like to follow the crowd.

They call it best practices. I don’t deny that learning from others is a good thing.

But, is your firm a leader firm, the one developing ideas, implementing and setting the pace for others, or are you one of the cautious ones waiting to see what happens with other firms before you dip your toe into the cold waters?

You always start slowly and carefully doing something that you have not done before, because you are not sure if you will like it or if it will be successful.

Once in a while, I urge you, use your ingenuity.

You have a great idea about improving efficiency. You are not aware of any other CPA firms doing it. Try it. Test it. Is anyone going to die if the initiative fails? No, just explain, “Well, that didn’t work. Let’s try something else!”

  • Never tell people how to do things. tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
  • George S. Patton

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Tax Document Automation

“Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates.

In his August 2020 column for CPA Practice Advisor, Randy Johnston gives you valuable information about automating your tax documents.

Many advisors seem to recommend the same tax automation strategies no matter what the size of your firm. Johnston suggests that one size does not fit all.

Did you have to send your administrative team into the office to scan documents so the staff could work remotely? This happened at many firms and put the admin team at risk for COVID.

In the article Johnston covers:

  • What is the right tax document automation?
  • What tools are most effective, provide the highest ROI, or are easy to miss?
  • Decide the right thing for you, your firm, and your clients.

Capitalize on Johnston’s helpful guidance by reading the article here.

  • The robots of the cartoons and movies from the 1970s are going to be the reality of the 2020s
  • Alec Ross

Friday, September 18th, 2020

Let Go of The Past

“There are better starters than me but I’m a strong finisher.” —Usain Bolt

For this Flashback Friday, I want to remind you that most CPA firm partners and managers have very long memories. If you make a mistake, as a young staff person, they seem never to forget it.

Read more here.

  • Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.
  • Napoleon Hill

Monday, September 14th, 2020

The Journey From Manager to Partner

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.” – T. D. Jakes

The Ohio Chapter of The CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA) will be hosting a REMOTE-ZOOM meeting on Friday, September 18 at 11:00a.

The presentation will be an informative one for firm administrators and managing partners. The presenter will be a “new” partner in a CPA firm and will discuss her experiences in moving from Manager to Partner.

The Journey from Manager to Partner  

Niki Doctor, CPA will be sharing her experiences in moving from Manager to Partner in a CPA firm. The purpose of this presentation is to help firms understand what the firm’s leadership should be focusing on besides just the technical skills and book of business.  Our environment is changing rapidly and the needs of our firms and our clients are changing as well. Learn how can we make the transition from Manager to Partner successful.

ABOUT NIKI DOCTOR – She has over 17 years of public accounting experience and has been at Bregante + Company LLP since 2012. Niki began her career at Bregante + Company LLP as a Manager in 2012 and became a Partner in 2018. Niki believes in providing and offering bespoke solutions to her clients and assisting them in making financially sound business decisions. She is committed to client success and strives to provide prompt and efficient services to all her clients. Niki specializes in closely-held businesses and high net worth individuals that require tax planning, tax advisory, international tax, and compliance services. She also works with businesses that require a combination of tax services and financial accounting, including compilations and reviews with vast experience in the real estate, retail/wholesale, manufacturing, distribution, architecture and engineering, high t-tech, and professional services.

Register securely on line.

  • You’ve got to have rules to live by, and one of mine is always say yes. Put yourself in danger of something amazing happening to you.
  • Tom Bilyeu

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Think Time

“Take a rest. A field that has rested yields a beautiful crop.” – Ovid

I recently read a tweet by Chris McClure: “Sitting quietly is the conduit for receiving a million great ideas.”

CPAs in public practice (and the people who work for them) seem to never have time to actually sit quietly and do nothing. I assume they did when they were children and maybe even teenagers but they seem to have forgotten how.

They blame it on due dates, clients, and the IRS. I hear the we-are-so busy and the we-are-slammed comments over and over again.

In this kind of work environment, it is difficult to find time to sit quietly and let your mind wander. You must take positive steps to find the time to just think. You HAVE the time, it is just a matter of how you spend it.

Think about it, do minutes or even hours slip through your fingers every day? Why not budget just 20 minutes a day to sit quietly? I do it first thing in the morning, sipping a cup of coffee. It sometimes amazes me how interesting thoughts and ideas creep through my mind when I allow time for it to happen.

  • Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.
  • David Allen

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

Accounting Graduates

“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

There are reports that tell us that the number of accounting graduates being hired is steadily declining. Yet, many firms are still saying that they need people.

In some firms, the “need people” has come to mean they need more non-accounting graduates, such as people with more advanced technology skills.

Per Todd Shapiro, CEO of the Illinois CPA society says, in an article via Accounting today: “Hiring of accounting graduates is down 30 percent. That’s a massive decline in hiring of accounting graduates by CPA firms. This isn’t companies that traditionally haven’t hired accounting graduates that aren’t CPAs. These are accounting firms.”

I was surprised by this statement from Barry Melancon a few years ago: Today we are a profession of CPA-led firms, not CPA firms. Two-thirds of the employees in all firms are non-CPAs.

Shapiro notes that firms are hiring more non-accounting graduates. It only makes sense to me that accounting students need to be sure that they have more advanced technology skills than at any time in the past.

If you didn’t read the article by Michael Cohn (via Accounting Today), you should.

  • You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality.
  • Walt Disney

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Working From Home

“Unfortunately, most accounting firms were not ready for ‘stay at home orders.’ – – Gary Boomer

There has been so much written about how to more efficiently work from home. It involves a lot of small details and some big decisions.

The progressive firms that I know have provided the technology needed for their teams to work from home for years but they did not expect that suddenly EVERYONE would be working from home.

Recently, via Accounting Today’s Boomer’s Blueprint, Gary Boomer gives us 10 tips for working from home. Listed below are the 10 Tips titles. Be sure to read Boomer’s comments about each topic.

  • Bandwith
  • Connection
  • Lighting
  • Background
  • Microphone
  • Camera
  • Mute or Stay open
  • Interruptions
  • Use a desk
  • View

Boomer notes that the biggest obstacle is paper. For years, way too many firms have told me “we are sort of paperless.” He also notes that the biggest advantage is the cloud.

  • To collaborative team members, completing one another is more important than competing with one another.
  • John C. Maxwell

Monday, August 31st, 2020

What People Think About Working From Home

“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office.'” – Paul Tsongas

Here are some interesting stats from a recent survey of people working from home. I wonder what your accounting firm team members think about the new normal?

JDP recently surveyed more than 2,000 Americans who typically work in offices who are now working from home full-time to try and learn more about this pandemic-spurred era of remote work.

Here’s what they found:

  • 77% of those surveyed said they are working different hours from home than they would at the office. 66% said they are more likely to work nights and weekends than before. 
  • 67% of Americans surveyed said their productivity is the same or better when working from home, although 54% reported more distractions working from home. 
  • 42% said they are working less than usual from home. 33% reported working more. 25% reported working the same. 
  • Those who are working more said it was hard to keep boundaries between work and home life as the main reason why. Those working less reported having less work to do. 
  • A whopping 92% of respondents said they believe their boss trusts them working from home…and 86% say they’ve taken advantage of their freedom while working remotely. 

Learn more from the full report.

  • You will never be truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.
  • Heather Schuck

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

Childcare

“I sustain myself with the love of family.” – Maya Angelou

School districts across the country are opening up. There is no consistency. From state-to-state and even district-to-district schedules are varying. Some are part-time in-person classes mixed with online learning. Some schools will be full-time online for many weeks.

This does present huge problems to working adults. The kids needs a parent to help guide them through the online learning maze.

Has hour firm explored the benefits you can provide to help your valued staff deal with this new reality. You need them and their family need them. PwC has increased/modified their benefit package per an informative article via Accounting Today.

They are offering:

  • Protected time
  • Reduced schedules
  • Compressed workweek
  • Flex-time
  • Sabbatical
  • Backup care reimbursement
  • Tutoring services

Read the article to learn more about each offering. Hopefully, it will give you some ideas about what to do for your team and their families.

  • Family is a life jacket in the stormy sea of life.
  • J. K. Rowling

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

Do More For Fewer Clients

“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.” – J. M. Power

Years ago I attended something called the Accountant’s Bootcamp. If you are old enough you might remember the training that spread across the U.S.A. It was provided by Paul Dunn and Ric Payne. Read more about it here.

The big push from Bootcamp was to distinguish your firm from all others by providing Awesome Client Service that was so awesome that clients would pay much more just to be your client! The process worked if you followed their game plan. Many firms attended, got trained and then didn’t follow through.

I was reminded of doing more for fewer clients by a recent article via Accounting Today written by Mark Fishman titled, Refocusing my practice: Fewer clients, greater revenues. I hope you will read it.

  • Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set ourself on fire.
  • Arnold Glasow