Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

Announcement From AAM

“Master the topic, the message, and the delivery.” — Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Apple

The Association for Accounting Marketing is having a virtual conference. Here are the details:

AAM Virtual Conference Addresses M&A Frenzy Impacts

Lexington, KY, October 3, 2022 – The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) has announced it will host its third annual virtual conference, Emerge, on November 4, 2022. The theme of this year’s conference is “growth through realignment,” and it will address the current merger and acquisition frenzy impacting the profession.

The one-day virtual conference will allow accounting marketing professionals to collaborate with AAM’s network of marketing, business development, and growth strategists. Allan Koltin, one of the top M&A consultants in the accounting profession, will keynote the event. Allan will address how the playing field is rapidly changing and its impact on future growth for CPA firms.

Emerge 2022 sessions will cover timely topics related to mergers & acquisitions, including due diligence, communication considerations, merging brands and cultures, the client experience, the realignment of teams, expansion into other service areas, and more! Attendees of this year’s conference will receive a merger & acquisition toolkit.

“We have an incredible lineup of topics and speakers this year,” said Rhonda Clark, Executive Director of AAM. “The content that we are offering is invaluable right now. Even for firms that want to remain independent, the discussion topics are geared towards helping firms adjust their growth strategies.”  

AAM’s Emerge conference will include panel discussions, fireside chats, and networking breaks. Event attendance is open to both members and non-members. Additional information, including the full agenda and how to register, is available on the event website.

About AAM

The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) is an international association boasting a network of marketing, business development, and growth strategists. The association was formed in 1989 to elevate the profession and advance the careers of growth professionals in the accounting profession through education, community, thought leadership, and leading-edge resources. Learn more about AAM at www.accountingmarketing.org.

  • Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time.
  • Elon Musk

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

Recent Podcast

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I really enjoyed talking with Blake Oliver of Earmark CPE for his podcast. You can earn free CPE if you listen. They have titled it “If You Want to Grow, You Need a COO” on #EarmarkCPE.

Register for free: https://app.earmarkcpe.com/?course_id=33397f4d-43a9-4553-8803-44ffc4624c16

  • I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
  • Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

Publicize Your Benefits

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

I have a Google notification set to alert me about accounting firm news. I noticed that a firm in a large city earned several spotlights in the news, one from a local source, and it was picked up by Yahoo news.

The news is (and it is old news to many of us) that the firm is closing its offices at noon on Friday for the remainder of the summer.

Why is publicizing something like this a good lesson for you? Younger CPAs focused on growing their careers will read the press release and think: “I should learn more about that firm and apply for a job there.”

In your hiring ads, mention that you close on Fridays in the summer. At this point, normal activities to attract talent have worn out. Do you have a unique employee benefit? Publicize it.

  • The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
  • W. B. Yeats

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022

EY Break-Up Plan

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

I’m sure you have been reading about EY’s break-up plan. Splitting the audit and advisory businesses faces significant hurdles but other firms could follow.

Here’s an interesting article that you should read.

  • We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
  • Joseph Campbell

Monday, May 2nd, 2022

Technology Survey Results

“Once a new technology rolls over you if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” – Steward Brand, Writer

Every other year the CPA Firm Management Association does a survey of its membership relating to what firms are using relating to technology.

It addresses things like the most used tax software, most used practice management software, and others. It also disclosed that 68% of respondents are in the cloud.

When asked when firm respondents believed that firms would run entirely online without on-premise servers, 33% of respondents estimated it would happen in the next three to five years, while 32% thought it would be less than three years.

Here is a great summary of the findings from the CPA Practice Advisor.

  • If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright

Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

News – Rosenberg/Rampe

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

I have known Marc Rosenberg for decades. He is a good friend and colleague. We enjoyed so many enlightening years together in The New Horizon Group. And, I have known Kristen Rampe for many years and have recommended her to many of my clients and contacts. It makes me happy that these two have joined forces to create a new force in the CPA firm consulting world. My best wishes and congratulations to both and to their team.

Below is the news from both Rosenberg and Rampe.

From Marc Rosenberg:

“I am thrilled to be uniting with Kristen Rampe’s team,” said Marc Rosenberg, founder and Co-Managing Partner of the new Rosenberg Associates. “During our five years of working together, I’ve witnessed first-hand how Kristen and her team have enthusiastically embraced and absorbed the CPA firm consulting philosophy and methods I have honed for twenty years. I’m equally excited to add new services such as leadership development, professional coaching, human resources consulting, and strategic planning. These new services will greatly expand our ability to meet our clients’ growing needs. I have been consulting with CPA firms for a long time and enjoyed every minute.  Now, by combining with the Rampe Group, we have ushered in the next (and certainly not the last) chapter of Rosenberg Associates!”

From Kristen Rampe, Co-Managing Partner:

“Our focus, as we merge these two incredible firms, is to continue to provide innovative, proprietary consulting services to CPA firms across North America. Marc has created incredible resources for firms over the years and we are honored to become part of Rosenberg Associates so that we can provide consulting services to CPA firms for generations to come.”

  • If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
  • Henry Ford

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Real Work vs. Busy Work

“The No. 1 cause of burnout is doing the same thing over and over again and not seeing results.” — Steve Kaczmarski

I am convinced that if CPA firm workers were able to do more REAL work, they could easily get it done working four days per week. Of course, I mean more chargeable/billable work. This applies whether you still bill by the hour or by the project.

Here’s a good article for you titled: People spend more than half their day doing busy work, according to a survey of 10,000-plus workers.

Constant interruptions have resulted in some workers saying their attention span is shorter than it was a year ago. Checking email and other tech platforms often result in being “on-call” 24/7. Often this will result in burn-out. You may have noticed some of your team are definitely stressed. They must deal with technology interruptions and also questions from other team members.

Check out my post about interruptions – and read the article referenced above.

Sahar Yousef, a cognitive neuroscientist at UC Berkeley says, “Having a clear beginning and ending to the day is important to not only avoid burnout but it also helps people feel good about their work.”

  • Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.
  • Etty Hillesum

Thursday, March 31st, 2022

AICPA Survey Results About Recruitment and Retention Struggles

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” — Napoleon Hill

The following is a press release from the AICPA.

Impact of Unfilled Jobs: Staff Restructurings, Delayed Projects and Deferred Expansions

AICPA & CIMA Survey Polled U.S. Executives on Recruitment and Retention Struggles

NEW YORK (March 30, 2022) – Almost one in four U.S. business executives said the ongoing impact of unfilled jobs had forced them to restructure staff to protect core operations or limited the pursuit of new projects or bids, according to an AICPA & CIMA survey.

A dearth of skilled job candidates had been a top concern for businesses for years before the pandemic and quickly reemerged as the recovery progressed. Business leaders list “availability of skilled personnel” as a challenge second only to inflation in the latest AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, which polls CEOs, CFOs and other senior-level CPAs and management accountants in the finance function. Top-line results of the quarterly survey were released earlier this month.

Some 82% of business executives said their organizations were having at least some difficulty with recruitment and retention, with 17% characterizing it as extreme difficulty. The latter is actually an improvement from the fourth quarter last year, when it stood at 25%.

Some 31% of survey takers said mid-level staff openings have been the most difficult to fill, while 28% said the problem is across the board. One in four identified entry level positions as the most challenging category to recruit.

While 40% of business executives said unfilled jobs have not had a significant impact on operations, a majority said the problem had manifested itself in several ways within their organizations. The most common outcomes (survey takers could choose more than one):

  • Restructured staff to protect core operations (24%)
  • Limited new projects or bids (23%)
  • Delayed service expansions (16%)
  • Slowed customer/client acquisition (9%)
  • Reduced hours of operations or  work shifts (7%)
  • Closed some work locations (3%)

“We know from our survey that 57% of business executives report they have too few employees,”  said Ash Noah, CPA, CGMA, vice president and managing director of CGMA learning, education and development for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing the AICPA and CIMA. “Pandemic-related trends such as the Great Resignation have complicated an already difficult hiring situation, and that can exacerbate burnout and disaffection among remaining staff if the situation isn’t managed carefully.”

To combat the tight labor market, companies have adopted a number of recruitment and retention strategies, principally higher wages and more flexible work arrangements, although the former has been driven in part by inflationary pressures. Signing bonuses are also increasing as a tactic to attract new talent.

Methodology

The first-quarter AICPA Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey was conducted from Feb. 2-23, 2022, and included 461 qualified responses from CPAs who hold leadership positions, such as chief financial officer or controller, in their companies. The overall margin of error is less than 3 percentage points. A copy of the report can be found on aicpa.org.

  • Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.
  • Marian Wright Edelman

Monday, February 21st, 2022

I Always Listen To Roman

“There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.” – Douglas MacArthur

In January, I listened to a webinar presented by Roman Kepczyk about the findings of a recent technology survey conducted on behalf of The CPA Firm Management Association. It is the fourth comprehensive Information Technology survey tailored specifically to member firms with the goal of identifying the applications, products, and processes utilized by peers. 

The survey was conducted in December 2021 to determine what information technology firms would be utilizing in 2022 and compared to the results from previous surveys where appropriate.  This survey further highlighted the unique nature of CPAFMA member firms which tend to be medium and larger-sized firms. 

If you are a member, you can get the complete results via the CPAFMA website. It’s worth becoming a member just to get benefits like this survey.

Here are just a few bullet points I jotted down during the web presentation. When it comes to CPA firm technology knowledge, I always listen to and trust Roman.

  • 162 firms participated. 43% were multi-office firms.
  • Only 19% host their own.
  • 63% us RightNetworks or another integrator.
  • Firms are providing dual, over-sized monitors rather than three or four smaller ones.
  • Most pay a stepend to staff for mobile phone costs ranging from $30 to $50 per month.
  • 60% do centralized scanning.
  • 33% use individual scanners.
  • 68% use cloud versions of practice management software.

There is much, much more in the full survey results. I hope this gives you a brief snap-shot of what I heard during the webinar and encourages you to read the entire findings.

  • Distrust and Caution are the parents of security.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022

Over Paying

“There is no way I can justify my salary level but I am learning to live with it.” – Drew Carey

Many firms have acknowledged that they are willing to overpay when pursuing new, hard to find, talent. Where will it end? When will it end? Who knows?

I have two concerns. First, will new, unproven, maybe less skilled employees be making more than proven, long-time team members? How that plays out can cause severe headaches for management.

My other concern is, in response to the situation mentioned above, firm leaders will increase salaries for ALL team members. This could result in significant increases for less-than-stellar performing employees.

I still think that pay for performance applies. Not everyone needs to be treated the same. Top performers should make top wages and get extra perks.

In the CPA world, firm owners worry about what “the other” team members will think and how will they react. They will be complaining loudly.

Don’t ignore the complainers. Talk to them immediately and honestly. Explain to them that Jessica All-Star makes more and receives more because she is a top performer. Then, explain to them exactly how they can become a top performer and thus, make more money. Set goals and challenge them.

You have probably read where KPMG is allocating $160M in salary increases for their 35,000 employees. Their CEO said:

“This increase in salaries embodies our commitment to quickly recognize the value our people create for our clients and firm in times of change,” said Knopp in a statement. “Moreover, it reflects our appreciation for their resilience and consistent dedication to serving our clients and the capital markets with quality.”

Your team members have probably read about this, too.

  • The more they applaud, the bigger our salary will be.
  • Anna Held