Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Monday, December 10th, 2018

This is What is Trending in CPA Firms

marc-rosenberg-2017“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”—Peter Drucker

Thanks to my good friend, Marc Rosenberg, I am pleased to share his recent article: Trending: What I’m Seeing at CPA Firms This Year.

I am sure many of my fellow CPA management consultants will agree with Rosenberg. I know I am seeing the same issues with my CPA firm clients.

If you haven’t already, take a minute or two to read Rosenberg’s view on current trends.

 

  • The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake—you can’t learn anything from being perfect.
  • Adam Osborne

Friday, December 7th, 2018

Do We Make Leadership Too Difficult?

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

In the CPA profession, there is an enormous amount of resources for leadership training. We hear about it all the time, we read about it all the time and there are hundreds of books written every year on leadership. Almost all of the prominent CPA management advisors offer a “leadership training” program. And yes, I write many blog posts on the topic of leadership.

Does all the training and reading on leadership work? Are we making it too difficult? Are we expecting too much? Are we spending too much on leadership training? Isn’t most of it obtained by experience and passion?

I hope you follow HBR on Twitter (@harvardbiz). Here’s an HBR tweet I read this week that led me to an excellent article:

With such a flurry of developments, there must be some useful new ways to think about leadership.

An excerpt from the article:

The reality, however, is somewhat different. Yes, the leadership development industry is thriving, and yes there are a lot of new and interesting ideas, some of which may prove to be helpful. But despite many changes in our context — as organizations have become more democratic and networked, for example — in its fundamentals leadership has not changed over the years. It is still about mobilizing people in an organization around common goals to achieve impact, at scale.

Getting a promotion or becoming a partner does not make you a leader.

  • Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Working at an Accounting Firm – New Graduates

“Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.” – Benjamin Franklin

The CPA profession hires thousands of new college graduates each year. Many join the big, national firms. Others join regional or local firms – some of them are huge and some are very small. All of them do their best to provide you with an onboarding and orientation experience. Some do a good job and some do not.

What can you really expect while working at a CPA firm? Sadly, it often takes years to figure that out and sometimes you learn it the hard way, by trial and error.

Suzanne Lucas, in her article for Inc., gives us 10 workplace secrets for New Grads – those young people who have landed a job in a profession. They all apply to public accounting. Please read her entire article. I have listed a few of the secrets and modified them for your situation in a public accounting firm.

Your manager can’t fire you – Managers in an accounting firm are often very skilled at managing the work but not so skilled at managing people. They have exceptional training in “the work” but most firms do not provide enough training in managing people. Most people in a CPA firm at the manager level can’t fire you without extensive involvement of others at the firm (partners, usually).

Your manager can’t give you a raise either – They can make recommendations but rarely have the authority to designate an amount.

HR isn’t bound by confidentiality rules – They must investigate things – if you are harassed, they are required to investigate things.

Grunt work leads to success – This applies across all professions. You must do the hard work first and you will be recognized and rewarded as time goes on.

Flexibility has to be earned – It might make you look bad if you start taking advantage of some benefits before you have earned them. Prove that you are capable, responsible, and hard working.

Be sure to read the article to learn about the remaining 5 secrets.

  • We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.
  • Robert Frost

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Leaders of Smaller Firms Have a Great Resource

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Over my many years in the CPA profession, I have worked with firms of all sizes – sole-proprietors with one location to Top 100 firms with nationwide representation. Honestly, the challenges and frustrations CPAs working in public practice face are pretty much the same no matter what the size of the firm.

I really enjoy working with smaller CPA firms and my current client list is made up almost entirely of smaller firms (under 50 total FTEs). I find the smaller the firm, the more they are under-served by outside consultants.

For many of my smaller firm clients, I always recommend they get involved in the AICPA PCPS Networking Groups. There are groups for Small, Medium and Large Firms. These groups are especially valuable to small firms. Currently, there are four small firm groups, two medium firm groups, and one large firm group. The groups meet twice per year.

Through each group’s informal system, networking group members may take advantage of the valuable knowledge of their colleagues and share their own knowledge with their peers.  While many group members are firm owners/partners, any member of a PCPS firm is welcome to attend networking group meetings. Learn more here.

If you have questions regarding networking groups, please call them at 1-800-CPA-FIRM or email them at pcps@aicpa.org.  They would love to hear from you!

  • There are somethings that you can fulfill with money, but at the end of the day these are not the things that make you happy. It is the small things that make life good.
  • Sebastian Vettel

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

How Do You Feel About Smells?

“Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.” – J. Paul Getty

I read Real Simple magazine. I like things to be really simple.

On the last page of the November issue, they featured “Thank-you notes I dream of receiving.” The imagined notes were light-hearted but meaningful. One example of a thank-you note made me think of CPA offices.

Have you ever walked into your firm’s lobby to the welcoming smell of burnt popcorn? Perhaps, the smell of something even worse? First impressions matter. How your co-workers feel about your eating habits matter.

Be kind and considerate to each other.

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  • A cynic is a an who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
  • H. L. Mencken

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Top Five Concerns

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” – Abraham Lincoln

CCH released the results of their survey of firms. Here are the top five concerns published via Accounting Today:

  1. Keeping up with technological change
  2. Growing the business
  3. Meeting client expectations
  4. Data security
  5. Completing work accurately and on time

You can download the full report here.

 

  • Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than with assigning blame. Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.
  • Ralph Marston

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Executive Presence, What Does That Mean?

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” —Jack Welch

My friend Kristen Rampe has been providing some amazing workshops for some of my clients and other progressive CPA firms. Here’s some information about one of her most popular workshops. Maybe it would be helpful to your team members.

EXECUTIVE PRESENCE AND CHARISMA

How you show up matters. For many CPAs, displaying higher levels of confidence and charisma in their interactions with clients, co-workers and the community can make a significant impact on achieving professional and personal goals.

Exhibiting the traits we associate with charisma and executive presence doesn’t come naturally to everyone. When was the last time you or your team set aside some time to discuss modern professional dress or actively work on posture, eye contact and confidence?

This session gives practical knowledge, advice and live practice that leaves participants feeling empowered to reach their next level of leadership.

Get more information on her workshop here.

  • I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.
  • Alexander The Great

Monday, November 5th, 2018

2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey Results Summary

CoverLast week, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC released their 2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey.

Today’s talent wants to integrate work and life. As a result, leaders must continually find ways to innovate workplace flexibility.

The goal of the survey is to collect data on CPA firm adoption of flexible work programs and the experiences firms have had with these initiatives.

Firm leaders need to thoughtfully contemplate how enhancing a more flexible workplace can be a huge benefit to the future of the firm.

Jeff Phillips, CEO of Accountingfly tell us, “On Accountingfly, we see incredible talent response to remote accounting jobs, which receive at least 8 times the number of applicants than in-office positions. The demand for remote careers in accounting is clear, and it’s such an obvious solution to the talent issues facing CPA firms.”

Download the survey summary here.

  • Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Don’t Forget The Administrative Team

“Don’t say, ‘if I could, I would.’ Say, ‘If I can, I will.'” – Jim Rohn

You are beginning to look ahead at next busy season, the one just around the corner in 2019.

For those firms recording time – chargeable and non-chargeable – it is a time when you can use a capacity worksheet to determine whether you have enough people on the bus to adequately take care of client needs in 2019.

It seems firm leaders are always very interested in how many chargeable hours each team members can produce. (Remember, chargeable hours and billable hours are not the same.)

One group that is often ignored is the firm’s administrative team. Yes, your administrative people should be chargeable. If they are doing something that in any way deals with a particular client’s engagement, they should record their chargeable time. They are valuable people providing services that provide value to the client. Let them know you care about how productive (and important) they can be.

  • When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.
  • Elon Musk

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Are You Breaking This Employment Law?

“Win or lose, do it fairly.” – Knute Rockne

The whole topic of exempt vs. non-exempt has been a challenging conversation inside CPA firms ever since I can remember.

Many CPA firm leaders think the simple answer to paying people is to “put them on salary.” This might not be a wise choice.

I have heard so many questions over the years about docking a salaried person’s pay if they are continually tardy, leave early, etc.

Please take time to read this informative article via Inc. by Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady. It is titled, “The Employment Law You Are Probably Breaking.”

Here’s an excerpt:

You can discipline, fire, demote, yell at, or dock vacation time. But, you may not dock pay. And if you do dock pay? You’ve just made that person non-exempt. Which means you not only owe overtime going forward, you owe it going backward. So your attempt to save $50 by docking two hours pay could mean you’ll be out thousands in back overtime pay.

  • The Way You See People Is The Way You Treat Them, And The Way You Treat Them Is What They Become
  • Goethe