Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Friday, January 29th, 2021

Interviewing Experienced Candidates

“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

It’s Friday again… already! It is time for a Flashback Post. This one is from January 2018.

Click here.

  • Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity. What do you think is the most important factor when building your team? For us, it’s personality.
  • Richard Branson

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Getting Better

“To learn about excellence you must study it.” – Marcus Buckingham

You want your firm to get better and better. You want it to gain more and more visibility and to continually build and enhance the firm reputation.

How do you and your firm get better? You learn from others.

Inside your firm, your team members continually learn and improve. This applies to new college graduates, the administrative team, your support professionals, and very experienced CPAs. All of these people learn so much from more experienced people.

Your firm also gets better by learning from other CPA firms that are growing, profitable, and over-all successful.

When I was new to CPA firm management, I attended all of the CPA firm management conferences that I could. There I met people from successful firms. These people would describe how they were doing this or that and if it was something I wanted to pursue, I got acquainted with the person from that successful firm. Over the years, I have made lifelong, personal friends from my contacts in other CPA firms.

When attending these events (in person or virtual now), reach out to others with more experience. CPA management conferences are filled with people who are willing to share their successes and help you and your firm get better.

One of the best resources is The CPA Firm Management Association. Join and learn. The members share their experiences and you can post questions on their discussion board and get immediate answers and advice.

So, to get better, reach out to others and also share your successes and failures with the others you meet. As today’s quote (above) says, “To learn about excellence you must study it.

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

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Drama, Fear & Conflict

“Leaders do not avoid, repress, or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity.” – Warren Bennis

Accountants, in general, are kind, caring, and sincere. They live their lives helping their clients become successful. They often have difficult conversations with their clients.

Inside their own CPA firm, they ignore conflict and avoid confrontation. Partners and managers often dodge conflict in the hopes that someone else will deal with it. Yet, they readily admit that there is way too much drama going on inside the firm.

Often the conflict is between two or more employees. However, the most troubling conflict is when employees actually fear one or more of the firm leaders, and other leaders hide from the drama, fear, and conflict.

Here’s a quote from Marlene Chism:

“If there are performance problems, workplace drama, or disruptive behaviors in your workplace, it’s because it’s been allowed. Avoiding difficult conversations causes a culture of dysfunction that affects every aspect of business.” – Marlene Chism

Read that quote again. From the mildest conflict to actual fear of an individual continues because IT’S BEEN ALLOWED.

Some issues eventually go away on their own but most do not. YOU must deal with it. Here’s a helpful article from Chism.

  • Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
  • Winston Churchill

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

We’ll Get Back to Where We Were… Wrong!

‘You did that this year; why not last year or the year before?’ – Allan Koltin

I hear it said over and over. “When things get back to normal…”.

Most CPA firms have made great progress since March 2020. Even the AICPA is saying that firms have achieved needed change that they (the AICPA) thought would take five years. Firms did it in a few days and continually improved upon it throughout 2020. I am talking about enabling and embracing a remote workforce.

Some very small firms did not make this leap. They think it is a good thing that they still go into the office and operate in the old school way. I’m not sure that is a wise decision.

I agree with this observation by Allan Koltin:

“It’s not about bricks and mortar anymore,” he said. “I believe in three to five years, we will get rid of that space. The metric will drop down to 150 square feet per person. We will redesign offices for what we want them to be — a center for collaboration and training, a place to have meetings — and build it out accordingly. It’s a difficult conversation — some of you think that after the vaccine, we will come back to 2019.”

  • I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.
  • Lawrence Bossidy

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Leadership Development

Once again, it is time to invest in the future success of your firm. I am happy to share this opportunity for your partners-in-training from The Partner Institute™

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter F. Drucker

How is your firm’s foundation for ensuring long term success and growth?
Is your firm taking the necessary steps to develop the next generation of leaders? When considering the right CPA leadership development program for your firm, what is important to you? Leadership is the cornerstone of your firm’s future. Read More
Announcing The Partner Institute™ 2021
The Partner Institute™ is a comprehensive, three-year leadership development experience designed specifically for the CPA. Our program provides participants with world-class training, a continuous learning environment, and a culture of accountability that is unmatched.
We are dedicated to creating the best experience for our participants and appreciate the value of providing in-person training. As such, we have decided to delay the start of our 2021 program.
If you have not registered, there is still time. Enroll now and join us for the launch of our next program on June 9-11, 2021 at Walt Disney World. Learn More
Reserve your spot in The Partner Institute™ by submitting your registration and a deposit of $500. Attend the initial course and then decide if the program is right for you. If you elect to continue, we will invoice you accordingly. 
Enroll Now

  • Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.
  • Orrin Woodward

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

Understanding

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

If you have read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, you are familiar with Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.

If you have not read The Seven Habits, buy it today and begin reading it. It would be a wonderful way to begin a new year. If you read it years ago, read it again.

Habit 5 is my favorite and provided me the insight to guide my own career.

Another quote from Covey: “If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Most leaders in CPA firms want to be understood. You want people to understand why you are doing what you are doing and why you are thinking what you are thinking. After all, you are doing this to make your firm better, to make it more competitive, to make it more profitable and to make it a place where people will want to work.

When you take the time to listen (don’t be thinking what you want to say next!), you will begin to understand other people and this ultimately leads to them understanding you.

The people you work with come from varying backgrounds. Some are the first in their family to graduate from college. Some come from highly competitive and successful families. Others come to public accounting because they want to help people while other are motivated by financial rewards.

Leading these various types and creating a foundation of teamwork is going to be a huge challenge. Start with trying to understand each of them.

  • Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.
  • Stephen Covey

Monday, December 21st, 2020

The Ordeal

“The only way you motivate people and change them is one-on-one. Everything else is window dressing.” – David Maister

This is the time of year when CPA firm compensation committees meet and determine “the year-end split.”

You know what I am talking about. Some call it the Compensation Committee Process. I call it An Ordeal!

Here is a post I did several years ago on this topic – The PCO (Partner Comp Ordeal).

I have several friends in the CPA firm consulting world who have some great tips about determining partner comp. They are featured in the post. I hope you find it helpful!

  • If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it you almost don't have to manage them.
  • Jack Welch

Friday, December 18th, 2020

Flashback Friday!

“The opportunity to step away from everything and take a break is something that shouldn’t be squandered.” – Harper Reed

I’m in the Holiday spirit right now.

I am guessing that you are, too. After this weekend, you have a 4-day weekend and a 3-day weekend coming up. Use your time-off from work wisely (meaning, don’t work!).

It’s more difficult to “quit” working when you are working from home. I’ve worked from home for twelve years. I walk by my office door (during my time-off) and think, “I”ll check a few emails” and I end up in my office for two or three hours!

Using your time-off wisely also means:

  • Enjoy family time – play games with your children or spouse.
  • Find time to read. Read a gripping mystery (not a business book).
  • Find some quiet time to simply think. Think about what you want to accomplish in 2021.
  • Get outside and exercise – a winter, snowy walk is so beautiful and so is a sunny walk on the beach.

Here are some flashbacks to make you smile:

Ringing of the Bells!

Triple-Dog Dare You!

No Half-Baked Ideas!

  • Sometimes when we take a break, we may find that solutions then present themselves.
  • Catherine Pulsifer

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Head of Remote

“The mark of higher education isn’t the knowledge you accumulate in your head. It’s the skills you gain about how to learn.” – Adam Grant

Last year at this time, could you ever visualize needing a person with the title Head of Remote Work?

Darren Murph is Head of Remote for a software firm that has been all remote since 2012. He lives near the Outer Banks in North Carolina and the 700 other employees of the firm are sprinkled around the country. He believes that his title might be the next evolution of the COO (or, in the CPA world, the Practice Manager).

He wears many hats and what he does daily sounds a lot like what a current CPA firm practice manager (firm administrator) does. Other companies are also hiring people who can help the company make the transition to remote work.

What about your firm? For most, it seems, it will become a hybrid model where some work remotely all the time and some work remotely part of the time. It might make sense to have someone devoted to helping and coordinating remote workers so that the firm’s practice manager has more time to focus on the on-site workers and over-all firm initiatives.

It would take somebody with an HR background, strong communication skills and they need to also be highly skilled at technology.

Maybe it is something you should be thinking about. Read the informative article via The Washington Post.

  • Soft skills get little respect, but will make or break your career.
  • Peggy Klaus

Monday, December 7th, 2020

CPAFMA Digital Survey

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” – Kofi Annan

The CPAFMA Paperless Benchmarking survey is back and is titled: The 2021 DIGITALLY DRIVEN FIRM SURVEY.

In recognition of the evolving trends in digital operations, the CPAFMA 2021 Digitally Driven Firm Survey – formerly the CPAFMA Paperless Benchmarking Survey, the longest running paperless benchmarking survey in the accounting profession – is being conducted as an update to the Association’s 2019 survey. This important resource will be updated to provide you with the valuable, consistent benchmarking that we’ve all come to rely on through CPA Firm Management Association. Results of the survey will be included in future CPAFMA articles and resources, including a MAPCast in January 2021. Participants will be provided with an advanced copy of the results. Your participation as a firm management professional is crucial.

Please submit your responses no later than
Monday, December 21, 2020
The survey takes between 10-15 minutes.

SURVEY HERE.

  • Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.
  • Mitch Kapor