Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Build Your Brand – Be Visible

“The power of visibility can never be underestimated.” – Margaret Cho

You have heard it over and over in recent years, you have to be visible on social media to attract and retain clients.

Yes, I agree with that. But, I ask more of you!

Don’t forget the old fashioned way. You must be visible in your business community – up close and personal.

Each person working at your CPA firm helps build a reputation for the FIRM. Remember those elevator speeches (describing what you do in 30 seconds)? Are you still teaching your newest team members how to do that? Remember, when someone asks you where you work you don’t say, “I work for an accounting firm.” You say, “I work for Acme CPA firm, the fastest-growing, most knowledgeable and progressive CPA firm in town! I am on the tax team.” Each person crafts their own story.

All your partners and managers should be involved in a charitable or community organization and eventually take a leadership position in that organization.

A basic visibility activity that partners sometimes forget – you eat lunch outside the office every day. Eat lunch with a client, a banker, an attorney or with another person from the firm. Dine at the most popular business lunch place in town where you will be seen by clients, bankers, and attorneys.

An on-going motto for the firm – “Let’s get visible!”

  • A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.
  • Victor Hugo

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

Be A Great Manager

Bruce Tulgan tells us: Being a great manager requires a lot of time and effort. You cannot treat your management responsibilities as a low-commitment responsibility! You owe it to the people on your team to give them the support, guidance, and coaching they deserve. 

An important part of managing people involves one-on-one conversations. These one-on-one meetings help you create an upward spiral of performance.

There are four basic steps to creating an upward spiral of performance on your team:

1. Define performance standards

2. Spell out expectations

3. Collaborate on next steps

4. Follow up, revise, and adjust

Download Tulgan’s ebook here.

one one

  • It’s the most talented, not the least talented, who are continually trying to improve their dialogue skills. As is often the case, the rich get richer.
  • Kerry Patterson

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Don’t Leave Public Accounting!

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” — Steve Jobs

So many times over the years I have heard people working in public accounting say, “Public accounting is not for me. I’m going to work for local business.”

If you have only worked at one CPA firm, I implore you to think before you bail out of public accounting. Try another firm first! Not all firm are alike. Sure, they do much of the same work but leadership and culture vary greatly. Public accounting is a lucrative career. In a firm with 33 people, the average partner salary is $382,092.

Lifestyle matters, too. One of my clients is a small firm, in a smaller market in Central Ohio. They are looking to hire. If you are looking for a new opportunity where it is truly a value pricing firm and you never have to keep a timesheet, check out their ad:

CPA / ACCOUNTANT

Are you ready to join an innovative accounting firm with a solid portfolio of diverse clients and over 25 years of success?  We have a big vision, an amazing culture and are looking for that next great fit to join our growing team!  If you love taking care of clients in a meaningful way, giving them high-quality deliverables and service, and are tired of tracking every 5 (or even 15) minutes of your day, then you may be our next great addition! Snyder & Company has escaped the traditional model, leaving behind the billable hour and the counterproductive nonsense it creates. Relocation assistance is available.  Intrigued? Click for more information:  

https://www.snydercpas.com/job-opportunity

 

  • There is no passion to be found in playing small — in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living.
  • Nelson Mandela

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

The Hiring Model Has Shifted For CPA Firms

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” – Sigmund Freud

The following is a press release I received from the AICPA. It is much longer than my normal post but I think it is important for firm leaders to read. Read it, then think about it and begin making plans.

Public Accounting Firm Hiring Model Shifts: AICPA ‘Trends Report’

  • Undergraduate accounting enrollments were second highest on record in 2017-2018
  • AICPA is working with key stakeholders on programs to strengthen pipeline of talent entering the profession

NEW YORK (Aug. 12, 2019) – Rapid advances in technology continue to impact the accounting profession. As CPA firms shift their hiring models to focus more on technology skills, non-accounting graduates now comprise 31 percent of all new graduate hires in public accounting. That’s an increase of 11 percentage points from 2016 to 2018, according to the “2019 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits,” released today by the AICPA.

The biennial report, published since 1971, provides statistical projections and expectations based upon university responses for the 2017-2018 academic year and firm responses for the 2018 calendar year. This data provides a snapshot of the profession, set against the current economy, and the ability to forecast future trends.

“Increased demand for technology skills is shifting the accounting firm hiring model. This is leading to more non-accounting graduates being hired, particularly in the audit function,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA president and CEO, and CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “CPAs have an unmatched reputation for trust and integrity, earned through decades of working in the public interest. However, to play this vital role in the future will require an increased focus on technology.  It is incumbent upon the profession to ensure accounting graduates and newly licensed CPAs have these skills and expertise needed to support the evolution of the audit.”

One of the ways AICPA is seeking to address this trend is through the CPA Evolution project, in partnership with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. This project strives to ensure that CPAs continue to have the competencies needed to support an accounting profession that plays a critical role in protecting the public interest.

The percentage of new accounting graduate hires assigned to audit-related work is increasing. This area now comprises 56 percent of new accounting graduate hires. That’s up four percentage points from 2016 and nine percentage points from 2014.

Overall CPA firms hired about 11 percent fewer accounting graduates in 2018 than they did in 2016, and nearly 30 percent fewer than in 2014. As firms continue to embrace technology and evolve their approach to the audit, they are seeking employees with data science and data analytics skills. They are largely filling those needs with non-accounting graduates, though there is anecdotal evidence from firms to suggest that some of this technology-specific hiring is occurring at the experienced hire level.

On the supply side, enrollments in undergraduate accounting programs stand at the second highest level on record after pulling back slightly from their all-time high in 2015-2016.

Nearly 208,000 projected students were enrolled in undergraduate accounting programs during the 2017-2018 school year, topping 200,000 for the fourth Trends report in a row. More than 33,000 projected students were enrolled in master’s programs in 2017-2018. This reflects a six percent decline from 2015-2016 but remains comfortably above any level pre-recession. Declines in graduate student enrollment is due largely to more students opting to enter the workforce in lieu of pursuing an advanced accounting degree.

There were nearly 55,000 projected bachelor’s and more than 21,000 projected master’s degrees earned in 2017-2018. This reflects a decline of four percent each from the previous report. However, the combined 76,542 degrees remains above pre-recession levels.

After a significant increase in the number of new CPA Exam candidates in 2016, largely attributed to the new version of the exam launching in 2017, the number of candidates and newly licensed CPAs in 2018 dipped to the lowest level in 10 years. CPA candidates fell 7 percent to 36,827, while newly licensed CPAs fell 6 percent to 23,941.

“The AICPA and other stakeholders in the profession are focused on anticipating the changes shaping our economy and ensuring newly licensed CPAs have the skills they need to serve as trusted advisors to their clients,” said Yvonne Hinson, CPA, CGMA, Ph.D., AICPA Academic-in-Residence, Academic & Student Engagement. “As the pace of change increases, the Institute has been accelerating our work on a number of profession-wide initiatives that attract, inspire, and engage the next generation of CPAs.”

In addition to CPA Evolution, some of these initiatives include:

  • A CPA Exam practice analysis focused on the impact of technology and the critical skills for newly licensed CPAs. An exposure draft and invitation-to-comment will be published in late December.
  • Accounting Accreditation Practitioner Engagement Program which places CPA practitioners on AACSB accounting accreditation teams and committees.
  • Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program provides funding for CPAs to obtain their doctorates and teach.
  • Accounting Program for Building the Profession trains high school educators to teach a college-level accounting class.

The Institute is working with organizations to increase the likelihood that racial and ethnic minority students consider accounting early in their career decision-making process. AICPA scholarships and programs such as the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop help ensure accounting students have a meaningful and successful experience as they work to earn their CPA license.

The report found that racial/ethnic diversity has increased, with the highest percentage of non-white enrollees to date. Enrollment by gender is nearly even at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

View the full Trends report

  • Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.
  • Napoleon Hill

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

No Negativity!

“Negativity is the enemy of creativity.” – David Lynch

I love these rules from Jon Gordon:

5 Ways to transform negativity on your team:

1. The No Complaining Rule.

2. Engage in Positive Conflict: Have difficult conversations to address issues.

3. Meet and talk about the negative effects of negativity.

4. No energy vampires.

5. Discuss ways to stay positive as a team.

  • When someone tells me "no," it doesn't mean I can't do it, it simply means I can't do it with them.
  • Karen E. Quinones Miller

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Become Certified in CAS

“The longer we keep looking back in the rearview mirror, it takes away from everything that’s moving forward.” – Dan Quinn

I have written about CPA firms offering Client Accounting Services before:

I know that most of you are already fairly deep into this service. However, I still talk to many firm leaders who are taking a “wait and see” attitude. Others still do not have or know about, the technology it takes to proceed.

Now, if you are offering CAS services you can set yourself apart from others with the AICPA and CPA.com certification in CAS.

You earn the certification in two parts. One, by attending the Digital Client Advisory Services Roadmap Workshop and two, with Client Advisory Services Self-Study. It gives you a total of 29 CPE credits.

Learn more about it here. Visiting this site will also give you extensive information about the CAS Workshop.

  • Baby steps count, too, as long as you're moving forward.
  • Chris Gardner

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Podcasts

“I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

Podcasts are becoming more and more popular within the CPA profession. Many of you listen to podcasts as you commute back and forth to the office.

Check out this infographic via Podcast Insights that gives you some interesting facts about podcasting.

If you want to learn more about CPA practice management, firm governance and trends, listen to my podcast with Brannon Poe of Poe Group Advisors.

  • The older I get, the more I see a straight path where I want to go. If you're going to hunt elephants, don't get off the trail for a rabbit.
  • T. BOONE PICKENS

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

Merging Up – Be Aware

“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” – Benjamin Franklin

As the title says, be aware. Maybe I should also add, beware!

It has always been in the back of your mind that when the time comes, you will fund your retirement by simply merging your firm “up” into a larger organization. After all, the M&A market for CPA firms has been very hot for several years. No need to worry because you have no one in your own firm that has the skills, ambition, and desire to buy you out.

Beware, because that is beginning to change dramatically. The larger firms are not so eager to acquire another compliance accounting firm. They are seeking to make their firm more diverse and to bring in companies offering complementary services such as technology consulting, technology security and data analytics.

Here’s an example from a firm I have always admired, LBMC in Nashville:

LMBC, a leading accounting and consulting firm in the US Southeast, has acquired Nashville-based Think Data Insights, a national data analytics company.

Click here to read the article.

  • Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
  • George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Professional Courtesy

“When someone is there for you, has your back, that’s somebody to pay attention to because that’s a friend.” – Martin Landau

High school students are being taught to use professional courtesy.

What does that mean in the classroom? It is a call to every person in the space for their eyes and ears to

be focused on the teacher. Computers are at half-mast, headphones are out and students are completely

present with the teacher.

Watch this very short video to see what it is like.

I believe that professional courtesy could be utilized in a CPA firm. How many times have you walked into a

person’s office to talk face-to-face with them and they are constantly glancing at their computer or device?

  • Pay attention, don't let life go by you. Fall in love with the back of your cereal box.
  • Jerry Seinfeld

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Be Open-Minded About Hiring Remote Workers

“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” – David Ogilvy

The accounting profession traditionally has not been very open-minded about hiring remote workers. I believe that is changing rapidly because of the scarcity of talent. Even some of my smallest CPA firm clients have people working from other parts of the country and even the world. So can you.

You continue to be challenged to find talented people. If you remove location as a limiting factor, it gives you access to all the talent in the world. It also gives you the opportunity to create more diversity and allows talented people to live where they want.

Per a great article via HBR, you need to assess whether the person is independent, passionate about their work, and collaborative. They need to be flexible and willing to travel and know that the firm headquarters is still where the action takes place. It is also important for you to do more intense due diligence when hiring

Read the article and make the decision to be more open-minded about hiring remote workers.

  • Great vision without great people is irrelevant.
  • Jim Collins