Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

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

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Virtual Meeting Applications

“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, it’s deadly.” – Mark Sanborn

So many people are finding that meeting virtually really works well and during these unique times, it is a lifesaver. Several products are being used and have been discussed on the CPA Firm Management Association discussion board.

I have used Zoom, as have many others. Here’s what Lori Ellinger, Firm Administrator of Kirsch CPA Group with offices in Oxford and Hamilton, Ohio has to say about using Zoom. I am hoping her comments about how they are using virtual meetings will be helpful to you:

“We started using Zoom last week.  Our 30+ employees are all remote and Zoom works great.  You can see a picture of each person – they are even having fun with changing their background picture.  We started doing a 15-minute “water cooler” meeting just to catch up.  We pick a person ahead of time and do a get-to-know-you Q&A.  It’s a nice break and since we have several new people its good for them to get to know others.

We have not had problems with sound or delay on zoom.

Now, on regular phone lines, we are experiencing poor call quality.

We also use Microsoft Teams for meetings.  We use to use GoTo Meeting but that is going by the wayside lately.”

Don’t forget about your newer people. Communicate continually with your entire team and think of extra ways to “touch” your newbies.

  • Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.
  • Helen Keller

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

Continuous Testing For The CPA Exam

“Testing leads to failure, and failure leads to understanding.” – Burt Rutan

We are hearing a lot about testing, COVID-19 testing. But here is some good news about testing.

If you have been working in pubic accounting for a while you are aware that the CPA Exam has evolved and changed as society and resources have changed.

Beginning July 1, your firm’s candidates will not be confined to a designated time frame.

This from the Journal of Accountancy:

A new “continuous testing” model for CPA Exam candidates is scheduled to make its debut on July 1, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) announced Tuesday.

Under the continuous testing model, candidates will have the ability to take the exam year-round, without restriction, other than waiting to receive scores from previous attempts of the same section or when there is a major change to the exam.

Continuous testing will replace the existing CPA Exam testing window model, which limits candidates to testing during designated time frames in each quarter during the year.

NASBA is continuing to serve as a resource to the boards of accountancy as they advocate for the legislative changes needed to enable the transition. Of the 55 U.S. accountancy jurisdictions, just one (South Carolina) is expected to be unable to offer continuous testing before 2021.

Read the entire article here.

  • I'm forever testing myself. As a person and as an actor, I have no sense of competition.
  • Michael Caine

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

Interview Questions For Remote Workers

“The individual needs to be someone who can be successful with a level of independence.” – Jennifer Farris

At this point in time, almost all of us are remote workers. When we move into summer, hopefully, many of you will be returning to the office to work. Going forward, there will be a strong trend to hire remote workers.

From an article via Fast Company, former Google recruiter Jennifer Farris, who is currently the chief people officer at Terminal, a company that establishes teams of engineers for companies around the world, tells us:

“The biggest factor of being able to work remotely is if you can get work done without someone looking over your shoulder,” she says. “Sometimes a really talented worker can have a harder time adjusting to the new world of remote working arrangements. They might need extra support—someone physically close to them. It’s not for everyone.

Farris recommends some areas to thoroughly explore:

Previous Experience – Past experience is a good indicator of future behavior. It would also be helpful if they completed some of their education in a remote environment.

Communication Skills – They must be proactive in finding solutions or help. Ask them how they have done this in the past.

Also, find out how they like to be managed. What do they expect from management?

Be sure to read the entire article. It will help you ask the right questions when hiring remote workers in the future.

  • 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

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

Keep Communicating With Your Clients

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

I happen to be on the mailing list of many CPA firms and I have been so pleased to see how well you are all communicating with your clients.

Now is the time they need reassurance from you. They will need lots of assistance in the days, weeks and months ahead and you are their “go-to” person.

I have assembled some of the communications as inspiration for you. You can download a copy of my compilation of just a few of the emails firms are sending to clients.

 

  • Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh