Archive for the ‘Lighten Up’ Category

Thursday, November 25th, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am thankful for so many things and so many people in my life. Today, I want you to know that I am thankful to all of you who read this blog daily. I hope it is helpful, in some way, as you manage your way through the minefield of CPA firm management. Happy Thanksgiving!

Most of you have seen this many times. However, I feel a strong desire to share it with you almost every Thanksgiving. At the time, I watched this episode live and now, thanks to the internet, I can watch the clip every Thanksgiving.

Have a joyful day with family and friends and always make time for laughter.

  • Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.
  • Eckhart Tolle

Friday, October 29th, 2021

Friday Flashback – Halloween

“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people; Religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” – Lucy Van Pelt

Here’s a post from October 31, 2015. The thought still applies. People spend a lot of money on Halloween. Maybe it wouldn’t be too scary if you raised your billing rates! Boo!

  • We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.
  • Stephen King

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

Dementors

“You control your own life. Your own will is extremely powerful.” – J. K. Rowling

I am assuming you are familiar with Harry Potter. I read all the books and watched all the movies. J. K. Rowling created a fascinating world. Let’s take a somewhat light-hearted look at how Dementors might apply inside your firm.

When you read the following meaning of Dementors, I wonder what it brings to mind.

Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. … If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself – soulless and evil.

I know I am weird, but it brings to my mind, some managers in CPA firms who seem to “suck the life out of people.” Thankfully, it doesn’t apply to all managers.

Some Managers are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the accounting firms that are stuck in the past and glory in the status quo. They drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. If they can, the Manager will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like themselves – uncaring and demanding.

J. K. Rowling has revealed that the inspiration for Dementors came from her bout with severe depression before her phenomenal success. She described the feeling as an “absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope.”

I have said all of that to remind you that, as firm owners, you must invest in the non-technical training and education of your managers. Managers need to be people developers. In some firms, they are simply highly-trained technicians charged with getting the most work out of subordinates. They don’t know how to build strong relationships and engage with the people they supervise.

I’ve been working in public accounting for decades. I have heard many stories about inadequate managers. And yes, they have been described as “sucking the life out of people.” I have also heard the same about some partners.

  • We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.
  • J. K. Rowling

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

Dilbert Gets It Right

“Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handly available, they will create their own problems.” – Scott Adams

In today’s above quotation, you could easily replace engineeers with accountants. Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert.

If you work in a professional service firm office, you can almost always relate to the Dilbert comic strip every day.

Reading a comic strip might be a good way to lighten-up on this Monday workday. It appeared in yesterday’s Sunday newspaper and I just had to share it with you in case you missed it.

It begins with Dilbert saying, “I invented a technology that will manipulate people’s brains for our profit.” Read more here and see if you agree.

Have a good week!

  • You don't have to be a 'person of influence' to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they've taught me.
  • Scott Adams

Monday, June 28th, 2021

Sabbaticals

“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, ‘What if I fall?’ Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” – Erin Hanson

It is Monday and you need to smile.

I was looking for some hand-outs I have on the topic of partner sabbaticals. It was a popular topic a few years ago but I haven’t heard much discussion about it lately. Maybe because partners (and others) have had a lot of time away from the office because of COVID (although they were still working).

I honestly don’t know who gave me this but here’s a sample sabbatical policy for CPA firm partners that will make you smile:

Sabbatical Program for CPA Firm Partners:

We take a vote to decide which partners we’d prefer not seeing around the office.

The remaining partners pool their funds and try to collect enough to send them as far away as possible for the longest period of time. The idea is that most of us will be retired by the time they return.

We find that the system works pretty well, the staff is happy and the office environment much more relaxed.

We’ve set up a system whereby partners can contribute to the fund through their cafeteria plan so they can send others away with pre-tax dollars.

  • Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by.
  • Robert Frost

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

April 15 – Thinking About the Taxman

“When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.” – George Harrison

TAXMAN – The Beatles

Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman  

Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman  

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.  

Don’t ask me what I want it for
If you don’t want to pay some more
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman  

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
And you’re working for no one but me.    

Songwriter: George Harrison   Taxman lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC Want to hear it? Click here.

  • Gossip is the Devil's radio.
  • George Harrison

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

April Fool?

“Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever.” – Charles Lamb

I thought of playing an April Fool’s joke on you but then had second thoughts….. things like:

  • A new survey tells us that Firm Administrators’ average salary for 2021 will be $250,000.
  • The AICPA has mandated that for 2022 firms must abandon Saturday work hours from Jan. 1 until May 1.
  • The Big Four are asking local and regional firms to take on Managers that they are outplacing.
  • Most CPA firms are finding PLENTY of experienced people to hire. There is more supply than demand.

I could go on and on and you can probably come up with some good ones yourself. Instead, I thought I would share with you the #1 April Fool’s Day Hoax of all-time:

April 1, 1957: The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this, the BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” Even the director-general of the BBC later admitted that after seeing the show he checked in an encyclopedia to find out if that was how spaghetti actually grew (but the encyclopedia had no information on the topic). The broadcast remains, by far, the most popular and widely acclaimed April Fool’s Day hoax ever, making it an easy pick for number one. 

Here’s a link to the Top 100 Hoaxes:
http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/

  • I sometimes wonder if the manufacturers of foolproof items keep a fool or two on their payroll to test things.
  • Alan Coren

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

“May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold—and at the end of your rainbows ay you find a pot of gold.” – Old Irish Blessing

I like this post for St. Patrick’s Day. I have used it a couple of times before. It still applies – So eat some green bagels or cupcakes and have a green beer this evening and think about NOT being green. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Can CPAs relate to Kermit and his tale about:  It’s not easy being green?

As Kermit says, “Wouldn’t it be nicer being red, or yellow or gold?  Green seems like you blend in with so many other ordinary things and people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water.

Perhaps, because you are a CPA you might feel ordinary or under-appreciated.  Well…. YOU ARE NOT!

As Kermit continues, “But green’s the color of Spring and green can be cool and friendly-like and green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.  When green is all there is to be it could make you wonder why, but why wonder why wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful and I think it’s what I want to be.”

  • My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.
  • Jim Henson

Friday, March 5th, 2021

Singin’ the Blues

“The blues ain’t nothing but a good man feelin’ bad.” – Leon Redbone

My husband, Darrell, enjoys the blues and we often listen to Bluesville on satellite radio when we are driving. The names of the artists display when the music is playing and it amazes me how so many have colorful nicknames.

We grew up in a small town so nicknames are nothing unusual for us. I often wondered how my parents’ acquaintances got their nicknames but I never thought to ask. I remember… Fat Parks (it was evident how he got his name), Doc Owens (he was definitely not a doctor), Coon Dog Oakley, Toad Steele, and others that were easy to identify like Red Reid (he had red hair), Whitey for Jim White and Elmo for Larry Wenning because he resembled the Dagwood comic strip character Elmo.

The wonderful blues legend, B. B. King (Riley B. King), is a good example. Early in his career he was a radio personality and became known as the Beale Street Blues boy, later shortened to Blues Boy, and you guessed it, even shorter to B. B.

I guess, to be a really great blues artist you need a cool nickname. Well, here’s your chance. Use your three initials to find your perfect blues name from the chart below. Mine is Skinny Bones Smith- Ha! If I was selecting my own I would choose Washboard Mama Blue – how cool.

Share this with your team and have some fun today.

  • A guy will promise you the world and give you nothin', and that's the blues.
  • Otis Rush

Monday, January 25th, 2021

Bernie & What Digital Firms Request

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

I think we have all enjoyed browsing the hundreds.. thousands… of Bernie memes. I know I had a lot of laughs these past few days.

Of course, the most meaningful Bernie meme, for all of us working in the CPA profession, comes from Shayna Brooke, Founder & Chief Strategist at Shaynaco LLC in Gallipolis, Ohio.

Shayna kindly allowed me to use her recent Facebook post for this blog. Here it is:

Just a reminder that you don’t have to bring your paper tax documents into our Shaynaco LLC office. We have secure web portals available for you to upload any documents and also retrieve documents from us!

  • Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take are of themselves.
  • Dale Carnegie