Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

Reading For Tax Professionals

“Am I unhappy at my job?” – Tony Nitti

Whether you are a tax professional, another accountant or an admin professional working inside a public accounting firm I hope you will take the time to read this Forbes article written by Tony Nitti.

It is titled, The Five New Year’s Resolutions Every Tax Pro Should Make.

I know! You are busy. You are always busy. Find the time to read.

  • You don't have to love your career every day.
  • Tony Nitti

Monday, January 20th, 2020

Retaining Top Talent

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs

It is very difficult to find and hire talented accountants and administrative personnel. Accounting firms have been struggling for years with this topic and it only seems to be getting more challenging. So, once you do hire a qualified person, how do you keep them?

I recently read a good article via HBR titled, Why People Quit Their Jobs.

In the CPA profession, we have heard for years that the reason people leave their jobs is the fact that they have a poor manager (boss).

Research now tells us that there is more to it than just a bad manager. Technology has enabled companies to better track reasons people leave jobs. A lot of it is personal reasons. Another interesting aspect is that large companies are tracking what employees are doing that might indicate they are unhappy with their current job like how much time they spend on LinkedIn.

It seems that comparing themselves to their peer group – both business peers and personal friends causes people to consider their current job status.

Take a few minutes to read the article, I think you will find it helpful in your quest to retain top talent.

  • Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity. What do you think is the most important factor when building your team? For us, it’s personality.
  • Richard Branson

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Rainmakers Retiring

“What differentiates sellers today is their ability to bring fresh ideas.” – Jill Konrath

In many CPA firms, the most successful rainmakers are still in the baby boomer category. Yet, as we all know, baby boomers are retiring at the rate of 10,000 per day.

Who will replace your top rainmaker(s)? This is a valid concern in many accounting firms. But, times are changing and so is the role of the CPA firm rainmaker.

In an informative article via Accounting Today, written by Lee Frederiksen, he notes that the rainmaker model is beginning to dry up!

Attracting new clients used to be based on the personalities of certain partners. These partners were out and about in the business community and made contacts that led to new business.

Now, a prospective client has checked out the firm, it’s leaders and the services they provide before anyone at the firm has actually met them. Future clients are searching for the firm with the right expertise to solve their specific business challenges. Hopefully, your firm possesses the services and expertise they are looking for and they can find it on your website.

Be sure to read the entire article.

  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
  • Walt Disney

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

Achieving Your Goals

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

I recently received my copy of the hireMAX Spotlight newsletter. I have enjoyed a long business friendship with the president and founder, Norm Bobay. hireMAX provides employee selection and development programs.

The newsletter article titled, 7 Steps To Achieve Your Business Goals, describes how Navy SEALs achieve their goals. There is a lot of good advice for CPAs who want to become more successful.

When most of us think about Navy SEALs, we think of their bravery and toughness. They take on dangerous missions and seem to achieve the impossible.

In the book The Navy SEAL Art of War by Rob Roy, he talks about how Navy SEALs accomplish these amazing feats. He explains that it’s more about the process than the ability. He lays out these seven steps that you can use to tackle your scariest goals.

  1. Always ask clarifying questions. SEALs ask very specific questions to understand their mission clearly. You need to ask yourself the Who, Why, What, When, Where, and How questions about your goal. Use each of these questions to better clarify your objective. You don’t want to go into a mission misinformed about what the objective of it was. The same thing is important when you go after achieving a goal.
  1. Inventory all of your available resources. This includes knowing what you have now and what’s coming down the road. Note your tangible resources such as technology and money. Don’t forget to include the intangible resources such as your network and your skills. Consider every resource available to you that can help you reach your goal.
  1. Clearly set up roles and responsibilities. If your goal involves help from your team, make sure they know their role and responsibility in achieving it.
  1. Maintain hyper-focus on your goal. Leaders don’t make excuses and they don’t let circumstances cause them to need an excuse.
  1. Think through all possible contingencies and outcomes. Be prepared to work around any problems that may arise. A failure to plan is a planned failure. 
  1. Train every day. SEALs train a lot. They practice over and over again until they’re stress-proof. You need to do the same. The more you train, the faster you’ll be. Training can help you quickly evade problems that arise. 
  1. The last step is to celebrate! Scratch that. This step is definitely not on the Navy Seals list. It’s great that you reached your goal but now you need an after-action review. Navy SEAL’s debrief after every mission. You need to do something similar. Look back to see if there are areas you can improve on when you go after your next goal. Rehash the mistakes you made and learn from them to do better next time.

Leaders can learn from Navy SEALs and utilize their processes in the business world. Implement the seven steps above and you’ll be on your way to achieving your next goal.

 

  • The only easy day was yesterday.
  • ..a Navy SEALs motto

Monday, January 13th, 2020

Keeping Your Clients Informed

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” – Carl Sagan

Recently, I wrote about doing unexpected and helpful things for your clients. I am always surprised by the number of CPAs I talk to who do not send a newsletter to their clients. I always think of that old saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” It applies to CPAs.

Use your newsletter software to also send important reminders to your clients. These reminders are certainly unexpected and helpful.

Here’s a great example from Snyder & Company in Lancaster, Ohio that I received last week:

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  • Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermissions.
  • Samuel Johnson

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Good Advice For An Actor & Good Advice For An Accountant

“Showing up on time is one of the greatest liberating acts you can give yourself in a movie.” – Tom Hanks

I’m sure, by now, you have probably read about Tom Hank’s acceptance speech for the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.

He told the story of his first professional job as an intern at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. He and his fellow interns showed up to rehearsals a little late after doing a little too much partying the previous night. The director wasn’t having it.

“He screamed at us,” said Hanks. “You know what your job is?” the director asked. “You have got to show up on time, and you have to know the text, and you have to have a head full of ideas. Otherwise, I can’t do my job.”

Good advice for an accountant of any age as they strive to build their career in public accounting.

  • Show up on time.
  • Know the text.
  • Have a head full of ideas.

Show up on time – Are others unable to do their work because of you? Are people waiting on you to answer questions so they can continue to efficiently serve the client? If you have an appointment or a scheduled phone call, what does the other person think of you if you keep them waiting?

Know the text – Have you listened and learned? Do you know exactly what you are supposed to do and when? Are you prepared? Do you ask questions so that there are no misunderstandings? When you have questions, do you also suggest solutions?

Have a head full of ideas – Think about how this can move your career forward. Never sink into complacency.  Read, learn and experiment. “It’s the way we have always done it,” is not in your vocabulary.

  • If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great.
  • Tom Hanks

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

Unexpected and Helpful Ways

“The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” – Richard Branson

How are you serving your clients in helpful and unexpected ways?

Have you ever thought about it? I bet you give a brand new client significantly more attention than you do a long-time, loyal client.

Clients really don’t expect anything unexpected from their CPA. If you do something helpful and unexpected they might just recommend you to some of their friends.

Just a few ideas:

  • Send a greeting card on their birthday. Even an email will do.
  • Send a congratulations card when a child graduates from high school or college.
  • Send a thank-you for “allowing us to serve you” card at the end of an engagement.
  • Drop off a pumpkin pie a few days before Thanksgiving.
  • Keep them updated on significant changes such as the minimum wage increase.

…. and I know you can add a lot more items to the list.

 

 

  • Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.
  • Ken Blanchard

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

The Year – 2019

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” – Robin Sharma

2019 is making its exit. It made me feel better about this past year by watching a link inserted below today’s Google Doodle.

I inserted it below. If it doesn’t show on your phone, go to my blog site to view it or simply go to Google’s home page today (December 31, 2019). It will be two minutes well spent. 2020 will be a leap year – use it to make your firm LEAP ahead.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

  • Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

Stress Can Be Your Friend

“Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.” – Kelly McGonigal

This is an important topic. Working in a CPA firm, we have always looked upon stress as a fact of life and as a bad thing.

I urge you to take 15 minutes over the holidays to listen to this TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, PhD. She is a research psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. Part scientist, part storyteller, she translates the complexities of neuroscience into inspirational yet practical advice that helps people lead healthier, happier, more creative, abundant lives.

If you have teenagers at home, share it with them.

  • Let yourself notice whether the upsetting thought is an old, familiar tune - that's your first clue that it is not critically important information you need to believe.
  • Kelly McGonigal

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

Carve Out Some Sanity Time

“My imagination functions much better when I don’t have to speak to people.”
― Patricia Highsmith

Devote yourself to finding some sanity time over the holidays. Sneak away if you have to and find a quiet place where no one you know is near you (and don’t talk to strangers like I usually do).

Find a coffee shop, a library or a bookstore and do nothing worthwhile for 45 minutes to one hour. Don’t spend the entire time looking at your mobile device! Take time to do some THINKING with no particular agenda. You could even do this in the waiting room of your doctor’s office.

I hope you will include sanity time in your holiday activities.

  • I was quiet but I was not blind.
  • Jane Austen