Archive for the ‘On My Mind’ Category

Thursday, April 29th, 2021

Here I Go Again

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” – Warren Buffett

I have said and written about the following things over and over again for YEARS! The sad part is I continue to observe that these basics of CPA firm management need to be implemented.

  • FIRE CLIENTS who suck up more of your time trying to collect than you do with helping their business.
  • Outplace poor performers more QUICKLY.
  • Update your website so that visitors see timely information that is of IMMEDIATE value.
  • Put partner performance and accountability under the MICROSCOPE.
  • Make it a WIN-WIN for partners who have retired in place to exit gracefully.
  • Spend money on continually educating your people – client service, internal management, and administrative team member. It’s called CPE. Don’t forget the CONTINUING part.
  • Become a MARKETING organization that provides accounting and tax services.
  • Hire a firm administrator/COO who can help the firm MAKE MORE MONEY.
  • Critically assess your PROCESSES.
  • ENFORCE the guidelines, rules, and adherence to the processes OR don’t bother wasting all the time it takes to establish them.
  • EMBRACE change, marketing, technology, social media…..
  • Figure out how your firm can be UNIQUE, different from your competition.
  • Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.
  • Alfred Adler

Friday, April 16th, 2021

No Whining – Flashback Friday

“Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all.” – Mandy Hale

Maybe, just maybe, you heard some whining from team members during the last couple of months. Maybe you have been hearing whining for a day, week, month, year, decade? Now is the time to stop the whining.

Read this post from 2011 titled, No Whining Allowed. It still applies in 2021.

  • Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?
  • George Carlin

Monday, April 12th, 2021

Change Your Image

“Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

An interesting article via FastCompany about Major League Baseball needing to attract younger fans. The average TV viewer for MLB is 57 years old. How old is your average client? Think about it.

An example of being stuck in the past (via FastCompany) is the Boston Red Sox. Their logo and colors (red, of course and a pair of socks) have been the same for years.

Nike’s new uniform for the team (it debuts on the field on April 17) features none of that old stuff. The new uniform is yellow/gold with “Boston” written in a modernist, light blue script. Check it out here. As for me (not being a Boston fan), I like it a lot. I notice the cap still has the traditional “B”.

Now, what about your firm? Look how Boston is written on the front of the uniform – very contemporary. Does your firm’s logo and website say:

  • We’re an old-fashioned firm.
  • We have been around for years.
  • We are traditional and conservative.
  • We do taxes.
  • We could be called Old School.

Are your colors dark blue or burgundy? If you have a partner named Green is your website color green?

There is lots of conversations going on right now about accountants needing to be more creative. Put refreshing your image on your to do list for 2021.

  • The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.
  • Steven Spielberg

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

Foster Creativity

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs

I wonder why the above quote is so foreign to CPA firms.

When you tie everything down so tightly, insisting that every work effort must conform to firm processes and procedures and every minute should be chargeable how will anyone have the time or desire to THINK and experiment. Maybe there is a better way but no one has the time or freedom to pursue it. Their entire work life is micro-managed.

Be that firm that has a culture of creativity, experimentation, and implementation of ideas. If the experiment doesn’t work out never be afraid to say, “Oh well, that didn’t work so well. Let’s try something else.”

Hopefully, you are hiring smart people. Encourage your smart people to bring their creative ideas to the table and allow them time to do so.

  • Micromanagement is the destroyer of momentum.
  • Miles Anthony Smith

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Is Your Work Your Passion?

“Connecting to your passion is being you, but better.” – Garrison Wynn

I have always thoroughly enjoyed my job, working inside a growing CPA firm and working as a CPA management consultant. CPA firm management has been my passion for many years.

I have known several people over those years who did not enjoy their job. Yet, they remained working at the same place and in the same role for years and years because….. Because of what? Money? Security? I even had one person tell me they stayed because it was an easy commute.

I am not talking solely about people in the CPA profession. I have had acquaintances in other professions or businesses who shared with me that they loved what they did but hated the people they worked with. Some said they loved the people but hated their role.

The above quote says a lot to me. My passion for what I do drives me to be better. I am never content. I always want to know more, do more, learn more, share more and be more.

If you don’t have a strong passion for your work don’t keep doing it for decades. There is so much more out there that could be available to you. Take the leap forward and don’t look back.

If you do have a strong passion for working in a CPA firm, never be content. Keep learning more, doing more, embracing change and taking others long with you into the future.

I love this quote: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

  • Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
  • Steve Jobs

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

Stay Afloat

“Sometimes getting smaller and faster can lead to opportunities and growth we would have missed by being too big and slow.” – Joey Havens, CPA

I always enjoy reading Joey Havens’ articles and posts. His recent article via the Journal of Accountancy, in my opinion, hits the nail on the head. It is titled, Don’t Let Dead Weight Sink Your Ship.

What is going on inside your firm that slows the firm down? What keeps you from being one of the fastest-growing firms? What causes you to lose talented people? What causes you to lose clients to your competitors?

I sometimes talk about partners in a boat. Some are rowing and some are throwing out anchors. A few partners are pulling a heavy wagon up a hill and there are a few who are constantly dragging their feet. These partners are so-called leaders who are not leading. Slowly your boat is sinking.

Then there are the clients who complain about your fees, always pay slowly after much effort is spent trying to collect, and clients who are rude and disrespectful to your team members. I bet you have clients that make you cringe when you see, on your mobile, that they are calling you. You probably do not answer their first call. Slowly, those clients are sinking your boat.

Do you have partners/managers who are not teaching, mentoring, coaching, and motivating? In fact, they are actually driving top talent away. Slowly, your boat is sinking.

Read Havens’ post!

  • Once you know the right thing, do you have the discipline to do the right thing and, equally important, to stop doing the wrong things?
  • Jim Collins

Friday, March 19th, 2021

Experience Counts – A Flashback for Friday

“At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.” – Ann Landers

My post from March 25, 2015 is actually more of a rant. Something must have happened that week to cause me to share my feelings about the value of longevity, experience, and knowledge possessed by the accountants in your firm who have thirty or more years of experience.

If they started their career after graduating with an accounting degree that would make them around fifty-two years of age. I don’t want a doctor or lawyer who is fresh out of school nor do I want one who is 82! Give me that 50-something person.

Read my flashback post here.

  • I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.
  • Maya Angelou

Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Two Things

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Attributed to Albert Einstein and many others

I have observed that many Certified Public Accountants have similar personality traits. Many accountants are conservative, traditional, reserved, kind, polite, cautious, curious, serious, and professional. They are confident in their knowledge.

Two traits you might be missing – 1) There are some things you do not know and, 2) A willingness to change.

For example, do you know everything about marketing and selling your services? Do you know everything about the kind of technology that will push your firm into the future?

I still encounter firms where there is a “we do it this way because it is tradition and we have always done it this way” mindset among the partner group.

As the old saying goes (above) if you keep doing things the way you have been, you will get the same results you have gotten before.

Do you have initiatives at your firm that you never seem to accomplish? Your leadership group acknowledges the changes that need to be made (usually at a partner retreat). They even draft a strategic plan. Then little if anything gets implemented.

The constant you have is change. It is time – now – to accept the fact that in the business world, the environment has changed and is changing dramatically. Embrace it and look forward not backward. Eliminate your “getting back to normal” thoughts.

  • “The only reason time seems to be moving rather fast is that sometimes we’re too busy living in the past.”
  • Dominic Riccitello

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

Rocking the Boat

“Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.”- Jean-Paul Sartre

Years ago when Bill Reeb was facilitating one of our partner retreats, he told the story of partners in a boat. They had identified one of three islands where they wanted to go and they ALL started rowing. Then one partner said, “Maybe we should go to island number two?” They all changed course and started rowing to the second island. They were making progress when a different partner suggested the best decision would be go to island number three. You guessed it, they all agreed to change direction and go to island number three. This continued and they continued to go in circles, never reaching any of the islands.

A similar story can be applied to rocking the boat. All agree the firm boat should go towards the island of CAS or the island of Valuation. Then one or two partners (who aren’t rowing) start rocking the boat.

If you are part of a partner team or management team are you the one who moans and groans in the hallway after the partner meeting even though you agreed to set course for island #1? Quit rocking the boat and get busy rowing. Or, get out of the boat and go to another firm.

I hope you appreciate my artwork!

  • My penalty for rocking the boat was being traded.
  • Ted Lindsay

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

It Is Inside Every CPA Firm

“Solve drama. Don’t create it.” – Dan Rockwell, @Leadershipfreak

When doing presentations to CPA audiences, I will often ask, “You don’t have any drama inside your firm, do you?” Sad to say, this would get a big laugh from the audience.

What does that say about your firm?

Stay on track to a successful career by following these six rules for keeping your work-life drama-free.

Rule #1: If You Did it When You Were 15, Don’t Do it Now. – It is easy to catch yourself doing things that are more worthy of high school hallways than the office.

Rule #2: Save the Venting for Outside the Office. – Resist the urge to talk about your co-workers and boss while you are in the office.

Rule #3: When in Doubt, Wait to Reply. – An email can set you off! Don’t reply immediately. Wait. Think.

Rule #4: Know When It’s Time to Talk it Out. – To avoid unnecessary drama, you have to realize the point at which it’s better to simply talk to someone, in person.

Rule #5: Have (and Use) a Go-to Escape Phrase. – To avoid getting roped in to a drama situation, be prepared with a go-to-escape phrase. (“I can’t help you with that.” “I’ve got a deadline, I need to get back to work.”)

Rule #6: Never Assume Negative Intent. – To avoid drama, simply work under the assumption that your co-workers and manager are there to help you, support you, and challenge you to do even better work.

These rules come from an article by Katie Douthwaite Wolf, “6 Basic Rules You Need to Follow if You Truly Want to Avoid Office Drama”.

Read the entire article to learn much more about each rule. You might even change it into a No Drama policy to officially adopt for your firm.

  • Don't waste words o people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all.
  • Mandy Hale