Archive for the ‘On My Mind’ Category

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Foot-dragging

“If I see something sagging, bagging or dragging I’ll get it nipped, tucked or sucked.” – Dolly Parton

Does your firm have a foot-dragging problem?

foot-drag·ging
/ˈfo͝otˌdraɡiNG/
noun
  1. reluctance or deliberate delay concerning a decision or action.
    “bureaucratic foot-dragging has continued to delay the project”

You come back from a conference with a great idea. Or perhaps you read about a good idea on this blog. It is not something that is too complicated but it is not something the firm has tried before.

Some partners are excited but a few pooh-pooh the idea, so it never gains enough momentum to survive. Staff watch, shake their heads and smile at another avoidance of change.

Maybe your firm has one or two partners who are passionate and one or two who are completely happy with the status quo. The passionate partners are pulling the heavy wagon of change up the steep hill and the other partners are dragging their feet.

The foot-draggers don’t even have to help pull. All they have to do is pick up their feet!

  • Delay is the deadliest form of denial.
  • C. Northcote Parkinson

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Attention Small Firms!

“If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off.” – Thomas Jefferson     

I am delighted to work with many small firms. That means I am often Googling smaller firms to look at their websites.

I am usually very depressed after doing so. Just because you are small doesn’t mean you can’t be mighty!

Please, please immediately devote some time to your website, that is if you want to attract new clients. The most recent one I visited had no pictures, no email addresses, no listing of owners or staff, no social media links. When I filled out the contact section it had an “internal error.” Their URL said “not secure.” – What a disappointment.

Prospects judge you on your website.

  • One's best success comes after their greatest disappointments.
  • Henry Ward Beecher

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Last Chance to Participate – Digital Survey

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass

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DIGITALLY DRIVEN SURVEY
In recognition of the evolving trends in digital operations, the CPAFMA 2019 Digitally Driven Firm Survey –  formerly the CPAFMA Paperless Benchmarking Survey, the longest-running paperless benchmarking survey in the accounting profession – is being conducted as an update to the Association’s 2017 survey. This important resource will be updated to provide you with the valuable, consistent benchmarking that we’ve all come to rely on upon through CPA Firm Management Association. Results of the survey will be included in future CPAFMA articles and resources, including a MAPCast in December 2018. Participants will be provided with an advanced copy of the results. Your participation as a firm management professional is crucial.
Please submit your responses no later than
Friday, November 30, 2018.
The survey takes between 10-15 minutes.

Click here to take the survey. Roman can’t hold his breath much longer!

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Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

Count Your Blessing

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. – Willie Nelson

A definition of blessing per Merriman Webster:  a thing conducive to happiness or welfare, such as:

  • My daughter is a blessing to me in my old age.
  • Their absence turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
  • Count your blessings.

I hope you are counting your blessings today but also hope that you do it every day. Check out this ad about a man being so happy about the gifts he has received.

Happy Turkey Day to all my wonderful readers, followers, clients and friends. I count all of you among my many blessings! Enjoy your day with family and friends. Find some quiet time over the 4-day weekend to think about, and count all your blessings. (Also, find some time to read!)

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Thanksgiving

  • It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Abundance

With Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow, abundance comes to mind. Most of us have too much….. stuff, food, drink, cars, homes, and more.

Do you have an abundance of rules, regulations, processes, procedures inside your firm? Do you ask your employees to do things that really don’t need to be done?

Often, when we move procedures into a more computerized system, we use the same steps that we used when we did it manually. Encourage people to question WHY they are doing things and make suggestions on a better way.

A meaningful quote by Peter Drucker caused me to write this blog:

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

  • Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.
  • Epicurus

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Treating People With “Ignore”

“Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life: Each year has grown better than the last.” – Lawrence Welk

Do you have one of those people (usually a partner) in your firm that treats people with “ignore”?

They come in the front door in the morning and don’t say a word or make eye contact with anyone else. They hurriedly walk to their office.

They come into the break room first thing in the morning to get a cup of coffee, quickly pour it and exit without acknowledging the presence of several others in the room.

They rarely, if ever, even say good morning to anyone.

The rarely, if ever, say thank-you when a team member provides something for them or passes an assignment along to them for review.

If these descriptions sound like you, wake-up! Be aware! Show people you appreciate them and care about them.

If this is someone you know, do what I always do – “kill them with kindness!” Smile at them and always say “Good morning.” Ask, “How are you today?” Ask if there is anything you can help them with. Tell them a brief, amusing story about something happening within the firm.

Sometimes, their distant behavior might be caused by more serious things, things you are not aware of. Be kind and count your blessings, especially this week.

  • When you are grateful - when you can see what you have - you unlock blessings to flow in your life.
  • Suze Orman

Friday, November 16th, 2018

Leaders Aren’t Parents

“There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family. Or more happy. Or more exasperated. Or more… secure.” – Jim Butcher

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I follow @leadershipfreak (Dan Rockwell) and often retweet him and read his blog.

A while back he did a blog post on the topic of businesses saying that they “are like families.” He asks the question, “Is your organization/leadership like a family or like a sports team?”  I hear the family description used by many public accounting firms.

It is important that you keep in mind that your employees are not your family. My main concern with this whole topic is the fact that you find it very difficult to fire a family member. You stand by them and protect them no matter what the behavior. So, if you have a poor performer you do not deal with it very well. You even retain people who are, in no stretch of the imagination, expertly performing the duties expected of their role in the firm.

As Leadershipfreak notes:

Family style organizations find it difficult to bring up tough issues and wait too long to address poor performance. Feelings run the show. The issues you can’t discuss limit potential and hinder growth.

Read his thought-provoking post here and see if you can relate it to your accounting firm.

  • Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.
  • David Ogden Stiers

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

How Do You Feel About Smells?

“Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.” – J. Paul Getty

I read Real Simple magazine. I like things to be really simple.

On the last page of the November issue, they featured “Thank-you notes I dream of receiving.” The imagined notes were light-hearted but meaningful. One example of a thank-you note made me think of CPA offices.

Have you ever walked into your firm’s lobby to the welcoming smell of burnt popcorn? Perhaps, the smell of something even worse? First impressions matter. How your co-workers feel about your eating habits matter.

Be kind and considerate to each other.

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  • A cynic is a an who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
  • H. L. Mencken

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

I’ve Been Thinking About Followership

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Last year, I again had the chance to visit the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. I had been there a couple of times before but it has been quite a few years ago and this was the first time I had visited the actual visitor’s center.

The Center provides great information and outside there is a walkway that brings you to a spectacular view of the U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel (the inside is simply breath-taking).

At the visitor center, I learned that the program at the Academy is guided by the Air Force’s core values of “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do”, and based on four “pillars of excellence”: military training, academics, athletics, and character development.

I was also able to read about the cumulative responsibilities that cadets are taught as they move through their 4-year education. Yes, they are taught (and developed into) leaders. And, they are also taught followership.

Fourth Class – Freshman Year

  • Demonstrate assertive followership skills
  • Prepare to be instructors of the next fourth class

Third Class – Sophomore Year

  • Demonstrate effective instructional skills
  • Prepare to be supervisors in the cadet wing
  • Exemplify assertive followership skills

Second Class – Junior Year

  • Demonstrate effective supervisory skills
  • Prepare to be cadet officer-leaders in the cadet wing
  • Exemplify effective instructional and assertive followership skills

First Class – Senior Year

  • Demonstrate effective leadership and officership skills
  • Prepare to be commissioned officers in the US Air Force
  • Exemplify effective supervisory, instructional, and followership skills

Notice how each year builds on the prior year. What if, inside CPA firms, we taught more about followership? What if we had well-defined training programs that continued to build on the prior year without forgetting the basics (like followership)? What if all partners demonstrated followership as well as teamwork?

So many articles, programs, conferences, seminars, webinars, and CPE classes are focused on leadership skills for accountants and we still hear, profession-wide, that we don’t have enough future leaders.

Maybe we are going about it all wrong.

  • The world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
  • Helen Keller

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Don’t Forget The Administrative Team

“Don’t say, ‘if I could, I would.’ Say, ‘If I can, I will.'” – Jim Rohn

You are beginning to look ahead at next busy season, the one just around the corner in 2019.

For those firms recording time – chargeable and non-chargeable – it is a time when you can use a capacity worksheet to determine whether you have enough people on the bus to adequately take care of client needs in 2019.

It seems firm leaders are always very interested in how many chargeable hours each team members can produce. (Remember, chargeable hours and billable hours are not the same.)

One group that is often ignored is the firm’s administrative team. Yes, your administrative people should be chargeable. If they are doing something that in any way deals with a particular client’s engagement, they should record their chargeable time. They are valuable people providing services that provide value to the client. Let them know you care about how productive (and important) they can be.

  • When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.
  • Elon Musk