Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Punctuality

I have always admired punctuality in others. There is an old saying:

Punctuality is the politeness of kings.

Here’s the story of where that saying originated:

Kings (especially before the [French] revolution) didn’t need to be punctual. They could show up when they wanted. After all, people would wait for them. But [King Louis XVIII of France, to whom the quote is often attributed] suggests that one way a king can show respect for other people is to meet them at the appointed time. If this is true for kings, it certainly is true for you and me.

  • In the ordinary business of life punctuality is... necessary.
  • Bertrand Russell

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Square Feet Per Person

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” – Jane Austen

A firm administrator, managing partner or a firm owner faces many things as they try to effectively and profitably manage a growing, successful accounting firm.

One question that might arise is how much office space do we need? It is usually computed via using square feet per person. Of course, now it is even more complex because you have many people working remotely.

Nevertheless, I thought some numbers might be of interest to you. Here are some examples I gathered a few years ago from some actual firms.

  • Firm #1 – 295 sq. ft. per person
  • Firm #2 – 270
  • Firm #3 – 224
  • Firm #4 – 253
  • Firm #5 – 290
  • Firm #6 – 280
  • Firm #7 – 254
  • Firm #8 – 282
  • Firm #9 – 275
  • Firm #10 – 300
  • Firm #11 – 178
  • Privacy is not something that I'm merely entitled to, it's an absolute prerequisite.
  • Marlon Brando

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

The Battle Inside You

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

“The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I read this somewhere many years ago. It is so true. I have read this fable before and, you can find lots of good posts using it on the web. In your work life, it is very tempting to focus on the negative.


I believe that you become who you associate with. Jim Rohn once said, You‘re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

 
Haven’t you ever found yourself beginning to think and talk negative most of the time and then suddenly realize that you have been hanging around negative people most of the workday? I bet you can quickly name the people in your firm who always seem to feel sorry for themselves, who poke fun at others and seem to feel pleasure from getting even.

My advice: Don’t walk away from negative people……. RUN!!

Try this tip I learned at a conference many years ago. Put a rubber band on your wrist. If you suddenly realize you are talking negatively to another person, SNAP the rubber band (stretch it way out) against your wrist so that it stings, just as a reminder. Wear the rubber band all week and see how many stings you feel.

Focus on feeding the good wolf. The good wolf likes positive self-image, kindness, understanding, positive attitude, tolerance, and laughter. Even during this busy time of year, take time to count your blessings. Smile more, it makes people wonder what you are up to.
 

  • Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.
  • Roy T. Bennett

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Tech Mistakes

“Technology like art is a soaring exercise of the human imagination.” – Daniel Bell

There was an interesting article via the Journal of Accountancy recently that you might want to read. It deals with technology mistakes that you should avoid.

The common mistakes, called “the dirty dozen” by the author (J. Carlton Collins, CPA) are:

  1. Email messages are unencrypted
  2. Old computers are still used
  3. Employees are not adequately trained
  4. Accounting system features are underutilized
  5. Paperless systems are inadequately implemented
  6. Physical security is lacking
  7. Smartphones are underutilized
  8. Cloud computing isn’t used
  9. Work areas are poorly designed
  10. Color printing is underutilized
  11. Social media is underutilized
  12. Websites are inadequate

My hot buttons on this list are #3, #5 and #12. How about you? Be sure to follow the link and read what the author says about each one.

  • Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.
  • Steve Jobs

Friday, December 28th, 2018

Making The Move

You have heard it discussed extensively during the last few years. I am referring to making the move from compliance work to becoming a consulting firm.

CPA firms have been doing compliance work (tax returns and financial statements) forever. Some people working at the firm have, through years of experience, moved into more of a consulting role. Traditionally, these people are partners. In recent years, it has become common for a CPA firm to also provide some sort of technology and human resource consulting for clients.

In a recent article in Accounting Today, August Aquila notes, “There is a significant difference between consulting and compliance services — the way they are priced, marketed, the staff training, and even the business model all come into play. I’ve seen too many firms try to manage their consulting services as if they were compliance services. This is a big mistake.”

I have found that so many CPAs are performing consulting services just as if they were part of the compliance engagement, leaving money on the table.

Angie Grissom, in the same article notes, “Let’s not forget competencies, training and people. It can take a long time to become a good consultant. Many consultants have MBAs, and operational and finance experience, rather than accounting or tax. Like all professionals, they learn on the job.”

Consider how many consultants you have now. You probably just have a few partners performing these services. To develop more consultants, you must start grooming younger people earlier in their careers. From day one you should be taking them along on consulting engagements and involving them in discussions with the clients.

Larger firms are building their consulting practice by acquiring firms that are already consultants such as technology firms or human resource consultants. They are also hiring people from the college campus who are not accounting majors.

Get started on a plan for how your firm will make the transition from compliance to consulting. Keep in mind what Grissom says, “A major difference is, of course, the fee that consultants can charge versus what auditors or tax preparers charge. Consultants have convinced their clients that their services have a higher value.”

Read the entire article here.

 

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

You Are Business Smart. Are You Feelings Smart?

“One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.” – John Lennon

To be a successful CPA, it is extremely important to understand your own feelings and the feelings of others. Some CPAs struggle with this issue. Many CPAs I have known tend to be very “business-like” and seem to try very hard to hide their emotions. Does this sound like you? Make 2019 the year to work on your emotional intelligence.

In a new book by Justin Bariso (a contributor to Inc.), EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence, he outlines a number of clear, practical tips that you can implement in your daily routine, most of which take only a few minutes a day.

He recommends that you begin with self-reflection. To understand your own feelings and other people’s, it begins with having the emotional maturity to know you need it.

Here’s an example of one of the 21 tips he provides in a recent Inc. post:

4. Use the 3-second trick.

If you tend to put your foot in your mouth, agree too quickly to commitments, or otherwise say something you later regret, ask yourself three quick questions (which I learned from Craig Ferguson) before speaking:

  • Does this need to be said?
  • Does this need to be said by me?
  • Does this need to be said by me, now?

In contrast, if you’re more introverted and often find that later you wish you had expressed yourself in a specific moment or situation, ask yourself:

Will I regret not speaking up later? 

The right question(s) can help you manage your emotional reactions and avoid regrets.

  • We know too much and feel too little. At least, we feel too little of those creative emotions from which a good life springs.
  • Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

Net Fees Per Partner – CPA Firm

“Money often costs too much.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks to Charles Hylan for sharing some information from this year’s Rosenberg Survey.

Each year The Rosenberg Survey does an analysis to see which metrics have the strongest correlation to profitability, as measured by income per partner. As we work with firms who are struggling with profitability, we start by looking at their various leverage ratios followed by comparing their rates to like-sized firms in like-sized markets. One very important leverage ratio is net fees per equity partner.
Take a look at some of the numbers from this year’s Rosenberg Survey:
CLICK HERE to Order the Survey!
Charles
  • An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

What Managers Should Be Doing In CPA Firms

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Peter Drucker divided the job of the manager into five basic tasks:

1) Sets objectives. The manager sets goals for the group and decides what work needs to be done to meet those goals.

2) Organizes. The manager divides the work into manageable activities and selects people to accomplish the tasks that need to be done.

3) Motivates and communicates. The manager creates a team out of his people, through decisions on pay, placement, promotion, and through his communications with the team. Drucker also referred to this as the “integrating” function of the manager.

4) Measures. The manager establishes appropriate targets and yardsticks, and analyzes, appraises and interprets performance.

5) Develops people. With the rise of the knowledge worker, this task has taken on added importance. In a knowledge economy, people are the company’s most important asset, and it is up to the manager to develop that asset.

Does this sound like the managers at your firm? I find that so many so-called managers are actually higher-paid and more experienced technicians. If owners want more freedom to bring in business and talent, be sure your managers are trained and expected to manage.

Read What do managers do via WSJ.

  • Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, you need to cut your losses and move on.
  • Howard Schultz

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Digital Client Advisory Services Roadmap Workshop

“Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat down the door.” – Kyle Chandler

I have talked to many CPAs about truly organizing and adding Client Accounting Services to their menu of services. Many firms are experiencing great success. It is important for you to understand the digital part of the equation.

CPA.com is offering a helpful workshop – Digital Client Advisory Services Roadmap Workshop – on January 23-24, 2019 in Burlingame, CA. Here a link to more information.

There is a $300 discount that expires on December 23.

Who should attend:

  • Client accounting service practice leaders
  • Key staff
  • Partners in small, midsize and large CPA firms
  • Accounting firm business development and marketing professionals

I hope you explore this opportunity.

  • The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.
  • Lewis Grizzard

Friday, December 14th, 2018

Changes to the CPA Exam

“Exams test your memory, life tests your learning; others will test your patience.” – Fennel Hudson

Hopefully, you have already been reading about the future changes to the CPA Exam.

This from The Journal of Accountancy:

A working group formed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the AICPA is exploring possible changes to the CPA licensure requirements that would incorporate the skills and competencies in areas such as technology and data analytics that increasingly are needed in practice and business.

Through an effort known as the CPA Evolution project, NASBA and the AICPA have discussed possible approaches to the changing demands in the accounting profession. NASBA and the AICPA have consulted with various stakeholders on this issue in an effort to help the profession meet the challenge.

Then there is this from Going Concern.

  • Recipe for success: Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.
  • William A. Ward