Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

The Problem With People

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu

I rarely repost someone else’s blog post. I have only done it with Seth Godin’s posts. His recent blog post speaks to all of us at one time or another.

Perhaps, you are new to your firm, trying to learn how to become a successful CPA. Maybe you are a new partner assessing how you can make a difference within the group. With merger mania, maybe you and your firm have been acquired by another firm and things feel very different and troubling.

The Problem With People Is That They Outnumber You

It doesn’t make any sense to spend your life proving them wrong, it’s a losing battle.

Far more effective is the endless work of building connection, forming alliances and finding the very best you can in those you engage with.

You can’t possibly know what it’s like to be someone else, but it’s also true that no one knows what it’s like to be you.

One more reason to put in the effort to find the good.

  • Life becomes easier and more beautiful when we can see the good in other people.
  • Roy T. Bennett

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Office Halloween Fun

“Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.” – From Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Over the years, at my firm, we had some wonderful, fun times at Halloween. Bringing in team members children to trick or treat at each office or desk, organizing the best costume contest and having refreshments in the late afternoon.

I know that many CPA firms do similar things and have a lot of fun. However, this year, and going forward, you must be careful and set some guidelines. I’m sure you have all read and heard about the high-profile news person who lost her job over a comment about Halloween costumes. As with so many things, these days, you must be cautious when it comes to almost any topic.

Here are some guidelines from Huffington Post:

Pick a theme – For example, dress like one of your favorite cartoon characters.

Avoid Controversial Costumes – such as dressing like a particular politician.

Don’t Forget It Is a Workday – Will your costume make it uncomfortable to perform some of your routine duties?

No Pressure – Not everyone in your office may enjoy Halloween. No one HAS to dress in a costume.

Decorate Tastefully – Avoid toy weapons and any blood, guts and gore aspects of decorating.

Go Easy on the Alcohol – that is if you serve it at all. Some tasty punch might be more appropriate.

Here’s an article via Inc. by Suzanne Lucas, @RealEvilHRLady about last week’s incident.

  • Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue.
  • Ichabod Crane, Sleepy Hallow

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

A Difficult Situation

“Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.” – George Carlin

Believe it or not, I have been asked by several CPA firm leaders over the years about what to do in this unsettling situation.

You have a poor performing employee. The employee is female and she needs to be fired. She is not performing well. You have even put her on a performance enhancement plan that she has failed. Then, before you decide to pull the trigger and fire her, you learn that she is pregnant.

Is it legal to fire her or do you have to wait until she returns to work after maternity leave? It’s a tricky situation and Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady) gives us some great advice.

The bigger issue is that you procrastinated on letting her go in the first place. That is the exact issue I see most often with CPAs.

Use this informative article to help you going forward.

And, please deal with poor performance proactively. Document all performance feedback and be sure someone is not surprised when they are fired.

  • If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.
  • Vince Lombardi

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Individualized Employee Engagement Improves Culture

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” – Chinese Proverb

As you know, I am always reading and attempting to keep current on a wide variety of trends in the are of employment, employee engagement and workplace culture.

I came across a very interesting article on the Modern Healthcare site titled, Individualized Approach to Employee Engagement Improves Culture.

A recently hired graduate nurse asked Bon Secours Mercy Health if she could join the labor and delivery team.

But when the organization used its psychometric evaluation tool that analyzed her likes and dislikes, stress-induced behaviors, critical thinking skills, and other characteristics, it revealed that she was hardwired more like an emergency nurse. 

They are using big data to actually make the workplace more humanizing, rather than fitting all people into a specific slot.

Managers receive data that helps them tune their leadership style to a particular employee and help them acclimate.

“How do you build culture not only within your organization but across contiguous geographies? Communication is key,” notes Jim Dunn, chief human resources officer at Atrium Health.

“Focusing on change management and the transition process is where human resource executives can add the most value, he added.”

There are more interesting trends in this article. The way you hire and acclimate people may be moving to a completely new level soon.

  • 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

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Meetings Are Important – Make Them Matter

“The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.” – Sigmund Freud

We have all thought it and probably said it out loud, “Oh no, not another meeting! I don’t have time for this.”

I recently read an interview by Skip Prichard of Paul Axtell about his new book – Meetings Matter: 8 Powerful Strategies for Remarkable Conversations. As Prichard notes, he thought it would be a snooze but he actually even re-read it. The book goes far beyond meetings, it is great advice on how to be more effective.

In the interview, Axtell explains:

  • Our time in ineffective meetings far outweighs our time in powerful meetings. No wonder we moan and groan.
  • Meetings are actually at the heart of an effective organization. They are a place and situation where clarity can be achieved, decisions made, alignment garnered and actions identified. (Don’t you wish your partner meetings and retreats could be described like that?)
  • Conversations matter. Here are the 4 C’s of a Conversation: Clarity, Candor, Commitment, and Completion. (Read more about each one in the interview.)

I’m going to read the book. I hope you read both the interview and the book. Set a 2019 goal to have more productive and interesting meetings.

  • If I'm not happy in this time and place, I'm not paying attention.
  • Jodi Hills

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Managing an Accounting Practice Newsletter

“In case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.” – Voltaire

My October newsletter went out last week. If you did not receive a copy you can sign-up here.

Gmail - Practice Management Newsletter - Rita Keller - October 11, 2018_

 

 

 

 

  • Live news teaches you some incredibly strong lessons: that every day is a new day, and it's never too late to fix something.
  • Nancy Dubuc

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Influencing Others

“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” – Stephen King
Per Forbes, here are some tips on how leaders can influence others. Influence is a very important aspect of getting things done inside an accounting firm. You might not have actual power but you can have an amazing amount of influence no matter what your role is at the firm.
Leadership and the 7 I’s For Influencing Others
  1. Identify the results you want.
  2. Illustrate your credibility.
  3. Invest the time in getting to know the people you wish to influence.
  4. Invite them to share their ideas.
  5. Investigate options that lead you to common ground.
  6. Intend an outcome that meets everyone’s needs.
  7. Improvise as needed.
You can read more about each of the 7 I’s here.
  • Never mistake the power of influence.
  • Jim Rohn

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Firm Profitability

“If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.” – Benjamin Franklin 

I thought you would find this interesting and helpful. Thanks to Charles Hylan for providing it:

Income per Equity Partner (IPP) is one of the top measurements of overall firm profitability. Our analysis of IPP over the past 10 years is below. Take a look at the findings in the 2018 Rosenberg Survey (based on 2017 data) and see what metrics drive profitability.

 

Income Per Partner: 2008 to 2017 (Firms Over $2 Million)

  • 2008 – $354,000
  • 2009 – $365,000
  • 2010 – $360,000
  • 2011 – $366,000
  • 2012 – $386,000
  • 2013 – $382,000
  • 2014 – $392,000
  • 2015 – $406,000
  • 2016 – $430,000
  • 2017 – $441,000

This information comes from The Rosenberg Survey. It provides a lot of good information. You can order yours here.

  • Never spend your money before you have earned it.
  • Thomas Jefferson

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Partner Buy-Out & Retirement – Webinar

“Golf is played by twenty million mature American men whose wives think they are out having fun.” – Jim Bishop 

I get so many questions about what a partner buy-out and retirement should look like. Here’s an opportunity for you to learn about the current trends presented by Gary Adamson of Adamson Advisory via CPA Leadership Institute.

October 10, 2018 – 1:00 – 1:50 pm EST – Surviving Succession – Partner Buyout and Retirement.

If you’re like most firms, your partner agreements have not been reviewed or updated in a long time. That is dangerous given the succession issues in our profession today and the number of baby boomers retiring. I will discuss best practices and latest trends in how to value your practice, how to pay out the retiring partner, building your bench, and successful client transition to the next generation.

REGISTER HERE.

 

Friday, October 5th, 2018

The Best Perks

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Dan Hood, editor-in-chief of Accounting Today has summarized for us some of the most common perks offered by The Best Firms. He notes, “The Best Firms share a long list of attributes, policies and best practices that have become table stakes for recruiting and retaining top talent.”

Here is his list of perks and extras offered by The Best. Be sure to read his post to learn more about each perk. Follow Dan on Twitter.

  • Dress for your day
  • Giving staff more time
  • Closing the office at slow times
  • Food – and lots of it
  • Including family in firm events
  • Support for individual community service
  • A true commitment to remote work

I have found that several of these are offered by many firms, large and small. The one I wish more firms would address is the last one – a true commitment to remote work.

  • Dispirited, unmotivated, unappreciated workers cannot compete in a highly competitive world.
  • Francis Hesselbein