Archive for the ‘On My Mind’ Category

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

Holding Everyone Back

“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” – Franz Kafka

I have seen it many, many times. You have seen it inside your own firm. Certain people simply opt-out of learning new processes, procedures and new technology. They do things the way they have always done them.

I used to recommend that you ignore them, work around them and take the majority of your people forward. Don’t let one person sink the whole ship. I don’t want you to make it easy for these non-compliant people. If they can’t keep up, don’t make another person do the work for them.

This often happens with older partners and especially with owners who have supposedly retired but continue to work at the firm. They will definitely have difficulty keeping up with the firm technology and usually expect an admin person or some other staff to “take care of them.”

All this came to mind because of a recent tweet by my good friend, Dustin Hostetler (@Flowtivity). Here’s his tweet and I agree!

Firms are not maximizing their technology investment until all team members are embracing the technology. Having workarounds for certain individuals because they don’t know how to use it (or won’t learn) to perform their function of the process holds everyone back.

  • The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today!
  • Nolan Bushnell

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

The “Save the Day” Person

“Some heroes save the day. Other heroes keep the day from needing to be saved.” – from a Mark Sanborn tweet

When I read the above quote, I thought of CPA firm administrators. They are the unsung heroes inside so many successful and profitable accounting firms.

Top-notch firm administrators/practice managers keep the wheels turning, eliminate the hurdles and often “take a bullet” for the sake of the firm and the team.

The best part is, as noted in the above quotation, they keep the day from needing to be saved.

How much are you investing in your “Save the Day” person? Are you spending money to send them to the right conferences? Are you, as partners, standing firmly behind them as they take those daily bullets? Are you investing in their professional growth by providing a coach?

A successful firm administrator shields the partners from the daily grind.

  • Stones in the road? I save every single one, and one day I'll build a castle.
  • Fernando Pesssoa

Monday, January 13th, 2020

Keeping Your Clients Informed

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” – Carl Sagan

Recently, I wrote about doing unexpected and helpful things for your clients. I am always surprised by the number of CPAs I talk to who do not send a newsletter to their clients. I always think of that old saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” It applies to CPAs.

Use your newsletter software to also send important reminders to your clients. These reminders are certainly unexpected and helpful.

Here’s a great example from Snyder & Company in Lancaster, Ohio that I received last week:

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  • Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermissions.
  • Samuel Johnson

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

The Year – 2019

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” – Robin Sharma

2019 is making its exit. It made me feel better about this past year by watching a link inserted below today’s Google Doodle.

I inserted it below. If it doesn’t show on your phone, go to my blog site to view it or simply go to Google’s home page today (December 31, 2019). It will be two minutes well spent. 2020 will be a leap year – use it to make your firm LEAP ahead.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

  • Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 30th, 2019

Think About The Good Stuff

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson

As the year draws to a close, I hope you take some time to think about all the good things that have happened at your accounting firm this year and the things that made you smile and laugh. Often, we focus too much on mistakes and all of the negative drama that happens in the workplace.

  • How often has someone stepped in and helped you without asking?
  • How often has a mistake created a reason to simply laugh out loud?
  • Wasn’t the sack race at the firm picnic a hoot?
  • How did the team look in their Halloween costumes?
  • Didn’t that group of women from your firm have a great time at that Habitat for Humanity project?
  • Wasn’t it nice when that law firm provided donuts for the entire team?
  • Didn’t that particular manager do a great job of training everyone on that new software?
  • Wasn’t it amazing how hard those two young partners worked to land that huge client?
  • How did you feel when that special client sent a referral your way?
  • Life is not just about the good things or not just about the bad things. It is both. It all depends where you focus your attention.
  • Ann Marie Aguilar

Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

Merry Christmas

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

Warmest holiday wishes to all my clients and friends in the CPA profession. Celebrate with family and friends and bask in the warmth and joy of the season.

Thank you for allowing me to be a resource to you and your firm and for following my blog and reading my tweets! Do all you can to make 2020 your best year ever!

(To see the video, below, you have to go to my website.)

  • Never eat more than you can lift.
  • Miss Piggy

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

Stress Can Be Your Friend

“Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.” – Kelly McGonigal

This is an important topic. Working in a CPA firm, we have always looked upon stress as a fact of life and as a bad thing.

I urge you to take 15 minutes over the holidays to listen to this TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, PhD. She is a research psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. Part scientist, part storyteller, she translates the complexities of neuroscience into inspirational yet practical advice that helps people lead healthier, happier, more creative, abundant lives.

If you have teenagers at home, share it with them.

  • Let yourself notice whether the upsetting thought is an old, familiar tune - that's your first clue that it is not critically important information you need to believe.
  • Kelly McGonigal

Friday, December 13th, 2019

Different Policies For Holiday Closings

“The holidays stress people out so much. I suggest you keep it simple and try to have as much fun as you can.” – Giada De Laurentiis

When holidays fall on a Friday, Monday or mid-week, we often wonder if firms are doing anything more than just the one-day holiday.

When it comes to the December/January holidays – Christmas and New Year’s Day – firms differ on what they offer.

I did a quick survey to see what firms were offering this year for Christmas since it falls on a Wednesday.

  • 18.52% – Close only on December 25th
  • 18.52% – Close 1/2 day on December 24th and all-day December 25th
  • 55.56% – Close all day the 24th and 25th
  • 7.41% – Are closing the entire Christmas week

Most firms are just closing one day for New Year’s Day and allowing people to leave a “little early” on New Year’s Eve.

No matter how much time you get off work, celebrate and have fun with family and friends!

  • Sharing the holiday with other people, and feeling that you’re giving of yourself, gets you past all the commercialism.
  • Caroline Kennedy

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Why Poor Performers Stay

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” – Ronald Reagan

Some of your team members are not meeting expectations. Some are downright disruptive.

You have been unhappy with them for a long time, usually years. A new employee could easily cover their workload and often at a much lower pay rate. Yet, you do not deal with the situation.

The unhappy employee continues to inject poison into your culture. When asked, they willingly explain that they are not happy with firm leadership but they stay because they love the work, love the clients and the firm needs them.

The real reason they stay – they make too much money to quit. With their performance and work history, they could not easily find another job that pays as well.

  • The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. The art of reading between the lines is a lifelong quest of the wise.
  • Shannon L. Alder

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

My Ramblings About Mergers

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell

You have observed it. In the last several years, many mid-size firms have merged-up into the Top 100 (the AICPA calls this group the Major Firms Group).

The firms in the Major Firm Group have also joined forces to form even larger CPA firms. It is an interesting time in the CPA profession. The big get bigger and many firms I have known and admired for years have disappeared.

An interesting statistic from the AICPA, almost 40% of the Major Firms Group from the year 2000, no longer exists.

This week’s announcement about Skoda Minotti joining Marcum brought all this to mind. Read the press release here. Marcum has had phenomenal growth and success under Jeffrey Weiner’s leadership.

So, mid-size firms are disappearing. However, mergers don’t always lead to a happy life once the honeymoon is over. A lot of the big mergers will result in spin-offs and smaller firms will form and thrive.

  • I always say, complacency is the kiss of death.
  • Shari Redstone