Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Monday, October 10th, 2022

Are Your Team Members Average?

“Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” – Garrison Keillor

In a novel I read recently, the main character, trying to solve a complex crime, noted he saw a bumper sticker that said, “Half the people are below average.” Of course, this brought CPA firm performance feedback to my mind!

How many team members, over the years, have you told they are average performers?

From my experience, I would say that you have told a few team members they are outstanding performers.

I would also say that you have told many team members they are average performers.

I would guess that you haven’t told many team members they are BELOW average.

I always think honesty is the best policy.

Of course, if you have people who just need more training, guidance, and coaching, give that to them. Let them know they need to improve their performance. I have observed that almost everyone in a particular CPA firm knows when someone is below average. Yet, that individual is usually the last one to know.

Keep in mind – half the people are below average.

  • You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
  • Jim Rohn

Monday, October 3rd, 2022

September Newsletter

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A. A. Milne

I just made it! I got my September newsletter sent on September 30th. I know it is not the best idea to send out a newsletter on a Friday, but I didn’t want to skip a month.

This month’s topic is about distractions. We all get distracted in our personal lives and activities and also in our business lives and activities.

A CPA firm takes a lot of effort and attention to become (and continue to be) successful. Don’t let anything distract you from growing and improving your firm and your career.

You can sign up for my newsletter on my website.

  • We will fail when we fail to try.
  • Rosa Parks

Wednesday, September 28th, 2022

Practice

“Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practicing, our work will become natural, skillful, swift, and steady.” – Bruce Lee

You might know the old saying, “Practice Makes Perfect.” Growing up, I heard it from my teachers and parents. The same applies to your work in the accounting profession. A first-year team member knows very little about tax (and audit). But, they are repeatedly assigned to various engagements, and with guidance, they become proficient. Practice makes perfect applies to all generations in your firm.

Read Adamson Advisory‘s September blog post about coach John Wooden. Wooden believed in old-fashioned practice. Click here to read the post and learn what things Wooden did to increase efficiency and skill.

  • Nothing will work unless you do.
  • John Wooden

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

The Rosenberg Survey

All successful companies are constantly benchmarking their competition. They have to know what they have to match up with day-in and day-out if their company is going to be successful.” – James Dunn

I just received my copy of the 2022 Rosenberg CPA Management Survey. Did you get yours yet?

Using the Rosenberg MAP Survey is an excellent way to benchmark your firm’s key financial metrics against your peers and uncover profit-boosting potential.

You can order one here.

  • If you're not benchmarking your performance against your competitors, you're just playing with yourself.
  • Al Paison

Monday, September 19th, 2022

The Firm Administrator

“It is difficult to bring people to goodness with lessons, but it is easy to do so by example.” – Seneca

If your firm does not have a firm administrator (practice manager), you are missing out on a huge cost savings. The FA does what partners are doing and shouldn’t be doing, you know, administrative and management work. The FA handles all firm operational activities. When a FA takes away most of the partner time spent on HR, financial affairs, marketing, technology, etc., it gives partners more time to be more chargeable (that adds up to a lot!) to mentor young accountants and bring in new business.

The FA acts as a communication link between partners and all other staff. The FA arranges firm activities, parties, and networking events and does a lot of coaching and supervising that turns new hires into professionals.

They are often a listening ear and a problem-solver for minor conflicts among the staff. They are a role model demonstrating professionalism at all times.

I always think of the firm administrator when I see this cartoon via Far Side. Check it out and replace the words border collie with firm administrator!

Invest in your firm administrator by providing on-going learning opportunities. Have them join CPAFMA. To provide them with a mentor/coach, contact me.

  • Our networking event is total chaos! No one knows when to eat, where to stand, what to... Oh, thank god! Here comes the firm administrator.
  • Rita Keller - via Far Side

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

It’s On Your Shoulders

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill

I have noticed that many firms, during the last few months, have announced the promotion of several new partners. Those new partners might be thinking, “Wow, I finally made it, now I will have people who will help and support me and do what I ask!” That way of thinking, as a partner, couldn’t be more wrong.

Instead of being at the top of the pyramid, partners are actually at the bottom of an upside-down pyramid. You, as a new partner (or as a firm administrator), are holding up all the other people who work at your firm.

Maybe you had a summer picnic or another gathering for your team and their families. Think about all of those people in attendance – adults, and children. You are responsible for them and their welfare. Your firm is the source of financial security for all those people. The success of the firm leads to the success of your employees.

What you do as a partner has ramifications. People trust you and your judgment.

  • If you hang out with chickens, you're going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles, you're going to fly.
  • Steve Maraboli

Tuesday, September 13th, 2022

Distraction

“I’m here to build something for the long-term. Anything else is a distraction.” – Mark Zuckerberg.

I just returned from a road trip with my husband. We toured three civil war battlefields in Tennessee. Of course, it involved a lot of driving. As usual, we encountered many vehicles ahead of us repeatedly drifting off to the right and then drifting across the line on the left. I simply call them drifters, and most of us encounter drifters on the highway daily.

Years ago, we would see this happen occasionally and think to ourselves, “I bet that person has been drinking.” Now, we immediately think, “they are looking at their phone,” and if you pass them on the interstate, you can see that they are doing just that. Of course, other distractions happen while driving – eating, drinking, tuning the radio, kids and pets in the back seat, putting on makeup, and reading a book!

The simple fact is people die from distractions while driving.

I told you all that to remind you that distraction at work is also dangerous. The one I want to focus on today is partner distraction. As a partner/owner, especially a managing partner, you are running a business, a business that needs constant attention.

  • If you have family or health matters that distract you, ask others to step in and help.
  • If you have a particular client that has become a distraction rather than an asset, invite them to leave.
  • You are building a new house, and you spend many hours during the day dealing with all of those issues.
  • So many CPA partners have outside business interests that distract them.

Don’t let your firm die from distractions.

If you are a partner in a CPA firm, the firm is your most important irresponsibility. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t let outside interests distract you so much that firm management suffers. I always advise: Keep your eye on the ball, and don’t kill the golden goose!

  • When we clutter our lives with imagined obligations, unnecessary activities, and distractions that only kill time, we dilute the power of our lives.
  • Anne Katherine

Monday, September 12th, 2022

Registration Is Open For The Partner Institute 2023

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

Now is the time to invest in the future of your firm. My friends at The Growth Partnership have announced plans for the 2023 TPI.

The Partner Institute has been training partners and future partners since 2004

When you talk with any of the top consultants or leading practitioners in the profession, they confirm that developing an effective successor generation is the number one issue facing accounting firms today.

Why? Research conducted by the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section shows that while 60 percent of CPA firms have owners between ages 55 and 62, over 81 percent of firms have no documented succession plan. These staggering statistics have many firms scrambling to find the next generation leaders in their firms—leaders who will excel in the areas of practice development, performance management, and strategic thinking.

Enroll Now for the 2023 Class
Download the Registration Form Here
From leadership training to results. Sophisticated firms realize that leadership development isn’t something they can simply delegate to “one of the partners” (someone who may have little to no formal training or education on how to develop leaders or serve as an effective mentor and coach)— it’s a deliberate process, precisely crafted with an intentional focus. Sending your future leaders to limited “quick-fix” programs or conferences isn’t a long-term prescription for success. In his Harvard Business Review blog, Ron Ashkenas, managing partner of Robert H. Schaffer & Associates, demonstrates that translating leadership training into results requires a special blend of training, mentoring, and perpetual practice.

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.

  • Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting and, most importantly, a way of communicating.
  • Simon Sinek

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

How Fast Are You?

“Everybody must realize that if you don’t meet customer demand quickly enough, without sacrificing quality, a competitor will.” – Bill Gates

The world’s fastest land animal is the cheetah. It can reach speeds up to 70 mph.

From sloths to snails, tortoises to slugs, the slowest animals in the world just aren’t in a hurry.

I have observed that in many CPA firms change moves at the speed of a covered wagon crossing in the prairie in 1850.

What is needed right now is fast change. Think of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. It flies at 2200 mph. Assess where your firm stands on the speed of change. Are you procrastinating and thinking, “We have plenty of time; let’s work on that next year.” Believe it or not, even with the pandemic and the need for remote work, there are still many firms out there that are not paperless.

This year, you still have time to make some needed changes to enable your firm to be a firm of the future.

I know you are not a jet airplane but are you a cheetah or a sloth?

  • The only way to win is to learn faster than everybody else.
  • Eric Ries

Thursday, September 1st, 2022

Fail and Fail Again

“I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” – Jeff Bezos

CPAs are conservative, traditional, professional, slow to change, and never want to fail.

That is why I am including an entire Seth Godin post for you to ponder. It is as follows:

UNBEATABLE VS. PERFECT

Google has killed more than 200 projects over the last few decades. They fail all the time. More than once a month they shut down a business that frightened the competition and seduced consumers.

That’s part of the recipe for becoming an unbeatable behemoth. Fail a lot.

Institutions like Western Union and A & P and Woolworth’s and Sears forget this part.

Don’t be complacent. Don’t be afraid. Don’t try to eliminate any chance of failure. Try things, experiment and take some risks. It’s how the most prominent and progressive CPA firms got to be prominent and progressive (and profitable).

  • The biggest risk is not taking any risk.
  • Mark Zuckerberg