Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

Do Some Planning

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

Many of you know and remember Rebecca Ryan. She spoke at many CPA management conferences a few years back and work with several firms focusing on planning for the next generation. She is a futurist and economist.

Ryan’s recent post, “What to tell your team when everyone’s freaked out” is something that I highly recommend you read.

As she notes, “A great antidote to being scared is to do some planning.” She talks about Assumptions, First Principles, Pivot plan, financial contingency plans, and shares some personal reflections from another tough time we went through (the Great Recession).

I think you will find her thoughts very helpful as you plan for the future of your firm and your people. Click here to read her post.

  • Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
  • Mary Oliver

Friday, May 15th, 2020

Flashback Friday – There is more you need to know

“The sooner, the better!” – Franklin W. Dixon, author of The Hardy Boys

If you are NOT a young CPA, I hope you will share this flashback post with a young CPA.

There is more to being a CPA than knowing the technical work!

Young CPAs – Start Sooner!

Much of this can certainly apply to more experienced CPAs, too.

  • Most people would sooner die than think, in fact, they do so.
  • Bertrand Russell

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

Optimism

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

I have observed that many CPAs are pessimists.

I have talked to many CPAs, usually managers, who are what I call Eeyores. In their mind, it is always something negative, bad or frustrating….. ” Oh, me, oh my, the sky is falling” type people.

Pessimism won’t get you very far. There is no time like the present to give the gift of optimism to yourself. You can do it – simply change your outlook and mindset. Don’t spoil the present with doom, gloom, worry, and despair.

You know if you are a pessimist. Others have most likely told you. Listen to them and learn. Become more hopeful because hopeful people always get more done. Become a recovering pessimist. It won’t be easy but you can do it.

  • Don't blame me if it rains.
  • A.A. Milne (Eeyore)

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Changed Forever

“The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” – Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea

Consultants and profession leaders have been continually prodding and pushing many CPAs toward significant change. Mostly, it has been by asking practitioners to take baby steps toward change. I have been talking about baby steps for years because most accountants have a great fear of quick, even if it is meaningful, change.

COVID-19 did what consultants and profession leaders couldn’t accomplish in decades. That is, forcing CPAs to suck it up and make immediate adjustment to their operation behaviors.

There is no going back now. The changes most firms made rather quickly will endure.

Gary Shamis, former managing partner of SSG, a large, progressive firm that got gobbled up by BDO has an interesting article via Accounting Today titled, Our Profession Has Changed Forever.

Three things that have changed:

  • The virtual practice
  • The client experience
  • Office real estate

Three things that have stalled:

  • Advisory services
  • M&A
  • Diversity & inclusion

Be sure to read the article to learn what he says about each.

  • Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.
  • Max McKeown

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Practice Management Webinars

“Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future.” – Denis Waitley

On May 6th and May 7th, Gary Adamson, President of Adamson Advisory will be hosting two webinars for CPA firm leaders. The sessions are sponsored by CPA Leadership Institute.

May 6th – Valuation is Driven by Terms of CPA Mergers – And Other Keys to Success

  • Date/Time: May 6, 2020 @ 1-1:50pm ET

During this session, you will receive an overview of the M&A frenzy in the profession today and give you tools to help you, whether you are a potential buyer or seller. Adamson will discuss the trends in valuations and the terms, and why the terms drive the multiples that we all hear about.

For more information and to register, click here.

  • May 7th – How to Maximize Performance of Best Practices in Partner Admission, Transition, and Buyout

Date/Time: May 7, 2020 @ 1-1:50pm ET

This session focuses on partner admission, transition and buyout. Adamson will discuss the 25 best practices in both admitting a new partner, buying out a parter and the transition issues associated with the buyout.

For more information and to register, click here.

  • Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
  • Albert Einstein

Monday, April 27th, 2020

Be A Good Zoom Citizen

“A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

You have been participating in Zoom calls for a while now. Are you a good Zoom citizen?

I don’t often post a complete Seth Godin post but I think this one will be helpful to many of you working in CPA firms.

Zoom Tips For The Modern Age

If you’ve ever joined more than three people on a Skype or Zoom conference call, I hope you’ll appreciate these tips, and perhaps share them:

  1. Sit close to the screen. Your face should fill most of it.
  2. Use an external microphone or headset. Regardless of how you’re amplified, remember that the microphone is only a foot away, which means you don’t have to strain or raise your voice. Also, consider Krisp if you have background noise issues.
  3. When you’re not talking, hit mute. If you’re on mute, press and hold the space bar and you can be heard.
  4. Don’t eat during the meeting.
  5. When you’re on mute during an audio call, you can do whatever you want. But when you’re on mute on a video call, you need to act like you’re truly engaged. Nod your head. Focus on the screen. Don’t get up and feed your dog.
  6. Don’t sit with the window behind you. A little effort on lighting goes a very long way.
  7. When you’re talking, spend some time looking at the camera, not the screen. You’ll appear more earnest and honest this way.
  8. When you’re talking, go slow. No one is going to steal your slot.
  9. Don’t walk if you’re using a phone. And if you’re using a laptop, don’t put it on your lap.
  10. Please (!) do not use an animated background. Do not use a funny one either. If we’re noticing your background, you’re doing it wrong.

These are obvious. They are generous. They’re effective.

And almost no one puts in the effort to consistently deliver on them. It’s worth it.

  • Rudeness is the weak person's imitation of strength.
  • Eric Hoffer

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

Virtual Meeting Dress Code

“A good first impression can work wonders.” – J. K. Rowling

This one will make you smile. Maybe it will make you feel guilty.

According to Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady, judges appreciate it if lawyers and their clients remembered that Zoom hearings are just that: hearings.

The people involved should dress the part. It seems that many attorneys are appearing inappropriately dressed for these hearings – one male attorney appeared shirtless and a female attorney appeared while in bed. The Florida Bar Association has even added a pop-up message to their website reminding attorneys that Zoom hearings are not casual conversations.

Lucas’ article via Inc. explains how maybe you need a virtual dress code and other guidelines for Zoom meetings.

If you are fairly new to video meetings and conversations you might not realize how you appear to others. Of course, looking like you are in a business frame-of-mind helps – a nice shirt, blouse, sweater, etc.

Lighting is also very important – if you do not have sufficient light shining on your face, you can come across as some dark, threatening zombie. Don’t forget about your background. A bookcase or painting in your home office works well but the headboard of your bed does not.

Being a professional service firm dealing with people’s financial matters might be enough reason for a Zoom dress code for internal meetings and another one for external client meetings. Think about it and read the article for some simple internal/external meeting guidelines.

  • We don't know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don't always appreciate their fragility.
  • Malcolm Gladwell

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

Establish a Scholarship for Accounting Students

“If anything is going to change in accounting education, it’s going to have to come from practitioners.” – Jason Ackerman, CPA

For the long-term, public accounting firms still need to attract top talent. I have heard all kinds of stories about some firms cutting back on hiring and even laying-off or furloughing people. Sadly, some firms admit that they have used the need to tighten their belts to get rid of poor performers.

One great way to attract talented accounting students to your firm is to sponsor a scholarship program. If your firm hasn’t established one yet, here are some tips from Jason Ackerman of BNA CPAs & Advisors in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I have admired how Jason and Bernie Ackerman continually search for ways to improve their firm since I met them many years ago at an AICPA conference.

Here’s how BNA’s scholarship program works.

To qualify as a BNA scholar, students must want to have an internship and want to become CPAs. During the fall semester, the firm will interview students who are interested; the students selected will receive an internship for the following semester, during tax season. The students will be paid like normal interns; after the internship, if both the firm and the students want to continue, they will receive additional scholarships in the amount of $10,000 per student per year to help pay for CPA exam fees, CPA exam review courses, and college as a whole. In return, the students must agree to pass the CPA exam before graduating and to work for BNA for three years postgraduation.

Read Jason’s entire article, Creating a CPA Scholarship Program, via The CPA Journal.

  • A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
  • Bruce Lee

Friday, April 17th, 2020

Stale and Repetitive – Flashback Friday

“Repetition doesn’t create memories. New experiences do.” – Brian Chesky

Young accountants entering public accounting are often given the same type of work – it’s repetitive.

They are also asked to work on the same client engagement for several years in a row – it’s repetitive.

Managers often cling to the more challenging work because they need to be productive, too.

Don’t let this happen. Read more here.

  • If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.
  • Thomas Edison

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Three Little Words

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” – Audrey Hepburn

During these unique times, it is probably to your benefit to remember to say those “three little words” to your family. Since you are marooned at home with them, saying “I love you” could help over-shadow some of the inconveniences you may be facing as a family unit.

Don’t forget your remote workforce. You see them on Zoom, you email a lot and you share work via software applications.

Just because you don’t see them face-to-face doesn’t mean you don’t care and appreciate them.

Here’s a list of three little words you should be communicating to your team members:

  • You did great
  • Glad you’re here
  • Thanks so much
  • Really good job
  • You’re so efficient
  • What an improvement
  • You are talented
  • I miss you
  • Hang in there

You don’t have to give flowery compliments or speeches. Just remember your manners and be kind.

By the way, to all my blog readers, I love you!

  • Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
  • Charles R. Swindoll