Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

There Is A Difference

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

Many firms have done a great job of focusing on employee engagement. But, there is more to the story.

Employee engagement and employee experience are not the same.

Employee experience is how the firm provides the employee with an environment, culture, and systems that meet their needs and enables them to do their work efficiently. Employee engagement is an element of employee experience and involves two-way communication.

Research tells us that there are workplace practices that are critical to creating a positive employee experience. They are:

  • Organizational Trust
  • Co-Worker Relationships
  • Meaningful Work
  • Feedback and Growth
  • Empowerment and Voice
  • Work-Life Balance

Here’s a great article posted on CMSWire by David Roe that will give you some interesting details and help you create an effective employee experience for your people.

  • It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.
  • Napolean Hill

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Compensation & Succession

“Do your job and demand your compensation – but in that order.” – Cary Grant

Here’s a heads-up regarding two upcoming webinars sponsored by CPA Leadership Institute and presented by Gary Adamson of Adamson Advisory. These two topics are usually at the top of the list of partner issues.

Here’s the information regarding date, time and topic:

October 4, 2018 – 1:00 – 1:50 pm EST – Partner Compensation Methods and Trends Update
I will discuss the most common compensation systems in use today and provide my perspective as a former managing partner of a top 200 firm. I will help you determine what is right for your firm and how a firm evolves from one system to the next as it grows. I will also give you some tips on setting up a performance-based system in your firm and how to align your compensation system to your firm’s strategic plan.
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.
  • Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.
  • Alan Lakein, author

Monday, September 24th, 2018

Hard Worker

“I have no time to waste.” – Jamie Lee Curtis

Are you really a hard worker or do you just spend too much time in the office? When you are there (in the office), are you hustling or are you pacing yourself?

I recently read an interview with Jamie Lee Curtis in Good Housekeeping magazine. I could relate to one response she made – she likes elbow grease – here are some of her comments that might inspire you.

Wash your own car.

A little sweat now will earn you a rewarding rest later. “I’m a hard worker. I’m a hustler,” says Jamie Lee. “I like to invent things, and I like elbow grease. I wash my own car — why have other people do it while I sit on a bench watching them? I want sweat equity. I want it in my mothering, I want it in my marital-ing, I want it in my family-ing, I want it in my friend-ing. You tell me you’re moving, I will show up on moving day. There will be a point where I want to relax and not worry so much about my sweat equity — when I’ve earned my rest.”

Once you have made manager, once you have made partner, are you somewhat resting? Is it below you to fill the printer with paper? Do you clean up your mess at the coffee station? Do you return a client’s phone call within two hours?

By the way, I do not wash my own car!

  • If you have creative ideas and you don’t bring them out into the world in some way before you go, that is a tragedy.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

It Arrived! – My Copy of the Rosenberg Survey

fullsizeoutput_42cf“80% of firms never make it to the second generation.” – Marc Rosenberg

I always look forward to the day in September each year when my copy of The Rosenberg Survey arrives. That happened yesterday.

I have always found that public accounting is a fascinating profession. It’s challenging, interesting, never boring and profitable (if your firm is managed properly). For example, this year in the Forward section of the survey, Charles Hylan shows us that the average HIGH partner comp in the largest firms is $1,175,000 and the LOW partner comp in smaller firms is $247,000. That’s quite a spread and shows young accountants the possibilities for their career growth. Use the survey to see where your firm is doing well and where you might need to focus some attention. You can order it here.

Be sure to read my comments, along with several other CPA management consultants, in the Observations section beginning on Page 6.

  • Most firms are still stuck managing the compliance services at the expense of the advisory work.
  • Jeff Pawlow

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Painful Procrastination

“Even if you’re on the right track – you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Arthur Godfrey

You continually face due dates. The major ones are painful.

You end up in a fire-drill mode to serve those last-minute clients. Sometimes the fire drills are even caused by you because of improper processes, procedures, and staffing.

Don’t let procrastination become a part of your firm culture and your daily life.

According to a post via Cornerstone University, procrastination can also affect us emotionally. For humans to maintain a fulfilling existence, we must have a sense of purpose and generate ongoing accomplishments. Failure here may lead to low self-esteem and a lack of ambition.

Read the entire post – Delay, Delay, Delay: How to Manage and Overcome Procrastination so it Doesn’t Manage You.

When it comes to those procrastinating clients, share this article with them. Explain how their tardiness has a negative effect on your entire team. Ask for their understanding and help. (It’s called training the client!). If they don’t co-operate, find them another accountant. Life is too short for all the stress these clients cause.

  • Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
  • Jim Rohn

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Due Date Decisions

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” – Ralph Marston

The extended due date is here.

You and your team have been working very hard during a time of year when you should not have to work so hard.

You have those fire-drill clients that almost always hold you hostage right up until the drop-dead extension deadline. It is frustrating. Your team wonders why you put up with these clients.

Why do you? Putting extra strain and frustration on your employees in times where employees are valuable and new ones are difficult to cultivate doesn’t seem like a good plan.

Use this client retention analysis form to help you sort out which clients to outplace.

Or, just ask your employees to vote for 5 clients that they would enjoy seeing gone from the client list.

 

  • Hope fills the holes in my frustration in my heart.
  • Emanuel Cleaver

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Improve Your Writing

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” – Mark Twain

Accountants must be good at numbers and they also need to be good writers.

According to a recent post by Grammarly, many writers use filler words and phrases and they also use hedging words because they don’t want to appear demanding and bossy.

I am guilty of using hedging words and I never realized it. I also observe that many accountants do the same.

Here are some good examples via Grammarly:

Slightly

I’m slightly annoyed by Kate’s repeated tardiness.

Sort of, Kind of

Their plan was kind of short-sighted.

Rather, somewhat

The play was rather interesting.

Quite

His car is quite fast.

Probably

We should probably wait to send that email until we have final approval.

If you need to learn more ways to improve your writing, read the entire post.

  • Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
  • Mark Twain

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Trust Those Around You

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” – Ernest Hemingway

Trust is a word that is thrown around the CPA profession all of the time. “Most Trusted Advisor” is familiar to most of you. CPAs have been claiming that mantra for many years now.

I see that the AICPA even has a Trusted Client Advisor Toolbox and Workshop.

Let’s explore trust a little deeper as it exists inside accounting firms. Here’s a familiar story about firm administrators. The administrator is an experienced professional. He/She takes over most of the day-to-day operations of the firm from the partners and implements procedures to make processes flow smoothly inside the firm. Soon the managing partner is distanced from the details (a very good thing) and can focus on managing the partners. The managing partner trusts that the firm administrator will take care of things.

Trust imparts obligation. The firm administrator takes that responsibility very seriously and works diligently to not disappoint the partners.

In my consulting work, I have experienced many situations where staff members do not trust the partners (owners). Building trust that goes both ways is a continual activity in a firm with a healthy culture. Not there yet? Keep working at it.

  • Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.
  • Warren Bennis

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Fire Drill Clients

“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.” – Tom Robbins

September 15th is approaching rapidly. You are so unhappy with those clients that ignore all of your requests for their information. Once the fire drill is over, take time to review your client list and decide on the ones that simply must go.

According to Arvid Mostad, President of Mostad & Christensen, Inc., a well-known supplier of quality marketing materials to the CPA profession, here are the 15 habits of bad clients:
  1. Slow paying or non-payment of fees.
  2. Write-downs always exceed write-ups.
  3. Client frequently complains about billings.
  4. Client is unwilling to pay for added services.
  5. Not profitable when compared to other clients.
  6. Personality conflict with partners and staff.
  7. Client conduct makes staff uncomfortable.,
  8. Client is abusive to staff, even if civil to partners.
  9. Client fails to cooperate or provide information on a timely basis.
  10. Client doesn’t listen to advice given, then complains about results.
  11. Client projects are always on a crisis time schedule.
  12. Client expresses lack of trust in the firm’s work.
  13. Client is less than truthful.
  14. Client has taken on new ventures outside the firm’s area of expertise.
  15. Client’s activities expose the firm to liability.

Use this list to help identify the clients that need to be referred elsewhere.

  • Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion . . . . I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
  • Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Establish An Email Policy

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Not sure why, but many CPAs seem to have a fascination with retaining emails. I have talked to some who admit that they have thousands in their inbox that might date back two or three years or more.

I like a comment in the article I featured last week about M&A and technology. An acquiring firm gets IT involved during due diligence to start educating the firm being acquired about retention policies. When your data comes over to the new system, all of your email older than six months will go away. You need to move client emails to the client file.

How would some of your partners feel about that? If you are a smaller firm and have not implemented these essential types of IT policies, start preparing now.

  • When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
  • Helen Keller