Archive for the ‘On My Mind’ Category

Friday, August 12th, 2022

Are You The Leader?

“Never assume that people in positions of responsibility are behaving responsibly.” – David McCullough

This Friday, rather than doing a Flashback post. I want to give you something different. I hope you will follow the link (below) and sit quietly for 16 minutes to learn about leadership.

This is directed to firm managing partners or hope-to-be managing partners. It is also vital information for department heads or any other leadership figures inside your accounting firm.

I was saddened this week to hear about the death of David McCullough. I have read many of his books and hope to read more. One of my recent favorites is The Pioneers.

This weekend, find a quiet spot, watch and learn about what made George Washington a great leader.

David McCullough Interview: The Importance of George Washington

I hope you can find some of Washington’s traits within yourself. Have a great weekend.

  • Be courteous to all, but intimate with a few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
  • George Washington

Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

“It’s about you. If you win, it’s you, if you lose, it’s you. Black and white. Nowhere to hide. – Greg Rusedski

From the internet:

There is an old saying, “you can run but you can’t hide.” This means you can try to escape what you fear most but ultimately, you must face it. This saying originated in the United States in the 1940s and is attributed to boxing great Joe Louis describing his impending fight with light heavyweight champion Billy Conn.

One important thing that you have been running from is change. I know you changed a lot during COVID, however, many CPAs just “made do” with things temporarily and have settled back into many of their “old ways.”

When I currently ask partners if they are truly paperless, they “run” from that question. I hear all kinds of excuses. The world is changing. Now is the time to quit running from things you fear.

  • O' What may man within him hide, though angel on the outward side!
  • William Shakespeare

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

Opportunity & Potential

“Nothing is more common than unfulfilled potential.” – Howard Hendricks

The quote above made me think of some of the CPAs I have talked to over the years. During my presentations and advisory sessions, I have always urged CPAs to not turn a blind eye to the great opportunities awaiting them.

I challenge CPAs to be the best they can be. I try to help them reach/realize their full potential. Often, they cannot see it. They fear failure and don’t want to risk embarrassment.

If you are reading this blog post, don’t let your CPA firm be the one that always holds back. Don’t wait until many other CPA firms move forward, and then you move ahead cautiously!

You don’t have to be on the “bleeding edge.” But try to be on the leading edge. Open your eyes to opportunity and embrace it.

Winston Churchill once said: ”A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Be that optimist.

  • If a window of opportunity appears, don't pull down the shade.
  • Tom Peters

Monday, August 1st, 2022

Are Partners Earning Their Pay?

“If you are in the world of business, that means you are in the business of making money.” – Stephen A. Smith

How do you decide if Joe Partner should get a bigger salary increase (or bonus) than Jim Partner?

To me, partner compensation should be just like compensation for your staff. If they do more and learn more, they are more valuable than those who do the same thing repeatedly, year after year. You might even have some partners who have more or less retired in place.

Why do CPA firms annually give people (partners and team members) more than a cost-of-living pay increase when they do nothing new or additional from the year before?

  • Did they attend CPE sessions that result in new ideas for the firm?
  • Do they continually learn new things or methods?
  • Did they attend more networking events?
  • Did they write an article (or more articles) for the business newspaper or the firm newsletter?
  • Did they lead a special firm initiative and guide it to success?
  • Did they bring new business to the firm?
  • Did they bring top talent to the firm?
  • Did they retain top talent at the firm?

To me, it’s simple: Pay for performance.

  • A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that not everybody wishes you well.
  • Dan Rather

Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Speak to Students – Flashback Friday

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

Profession leaders are urging CPAs to go into high schools and speak about the benefits of majoring in accounting in college and becoming a CPA.

I have additional advice. Check out this flashback post.

Have a great weekend!

  • Be so good they can't ignore you.
  • Steve Martin

Thursday, July 21st, 2022

One Way To Describe CPA Leaders

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” – Peter Drucker

Just a quick thought for you today. Don’t let this happen at your firm!

  • The single largest pool of untapped resource in this world is human good intentions that never translate into action.
  • Cindy Gallop

Monday, July 18th, 2022

Remote Is Remote

“What if wages drop? What if no one is willing to pay New York City wages for people who work in Idaho?” – Suzanne Lucas 

Just some thoughts today about remote workers. Also, some questions for firm owners.

CPA firms have survived during the last couple of years by being able to utilize remote workers. Their talented accountants worked from home, and to the surprise of many partners, it worked well. Firms have had a couple of years of significantly increased profits.

Now, many firms would prefer their people to return to the office. But, many of their most talented employees do not want to.

Per an article via Inc., the Pew Research Foundation found that 61 percent of the people working from home were doing so by choice — not because there wasn’t an office to go to.

With most of your people mainly working remotely, how will you identify people for promotion? How will you identify people who deserve a larger salary increase than other employees? How will you know what kind of relationships they are able to build with clients? How will you observe their executive presence and many other characteristics you look for in your next generation of owners? Will you judge your workforce solely on their production numbers? That sounds like taking a step backward.

If you are going to have work done remotely, why not jump into the offshore outsourcing world and save a lot of money? Qualified people will prepare your tax returns (and many other tasks) for much less money. Do you begin to pay more to the people who come to the office and less to those who work remotely?

Read this article via Inc. titled – Holland to Make Remote Work the Law. This May Backfire, then think about what the future will look like for your firm.

  • Companies don't give job security. Only satisfied customers do.
  • Jack Welch

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

Using Initials For Your Firm Name

“If names are not correct, language will not be in accordance with the truth of things.” – Confucius

It has been a huge trend for CPA firms during the last 15 to 20 years. They modify their name and end up using just initials.

I must admit, I have found it rather confusing as I work and network with many small to mid-size firms in the USA. Using a fake firm, my mind goes with something like this…. JBG, what does that stand for? Is it the firm that used to be Jones Brown & Green?

This all comes to mind as I read an article by Fishman Marketing in the National Law Review titled, Why Do CPA Firms Use Initials Instead of Names? Part 2. You can read Part 1 by following the link to Fishman Marketing.

I agree with the author. Why not use a name, something people can remember more easily? Like, Jones Brown? As you read the article you will see how the author proves their point.

You might think, well KPMG uses initials. The author also explains why huge, international firms can more easily get away with it.

I think you will find it an interesting read, especially if you are thinking of rebranding.

I apologize if the name of your firm is Jones Brown or JBG. I just used it as an example.

  • Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Dale Carnegie

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Cutting Back – Flashback Friday

“I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.” – Kellie Elmore

So many businesses have had to cut back on choices and services simply because they can’t find adequate help. Some are calling it skimpflation. Read more about it in this flashback post.

Enjoy this Friday afternoon (and the weekend).

  • Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
  • Henry James

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Standing Still

“Don’t go backward – you’ve already been there.” ~ Ray Charles.

I heard it many times from consultants of all ages and all disciplines. If you are not growing, you are shrinking. This applies to CPA firms of all sizes and disciplines. You need to keep challenging your partners to listen to new ideas and then try them. The status quo does not mean the firm will have longevity. In the current business climate, it seems we all must keep moving and keep moving quickly.

You try a new process and it doesn’t work very well for your firm. You go back to the old way.

You try new software and it doesn’t work very well for your firm. You go back to the old way.

Going back to the old way is just an excuse for not changing. Rather than go back you must tweak, adjust, and modify whatever the new process or idea is and keep moving ahead. Never be ashamed to say, “Well, that idea didn’t work. Let’s try another way.”

Move forward, even if it is baby steps. Because If you are standing still, you are really going backward.

  • Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.
  • Henry David Thoreau