Archive for the ‘On My Mind’ Category

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

Friday, February 19th, 2021

A Business – Not A Committee

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” – Jimi Hendrix

As firms grow, things must change. Every shareholder cannot be involved in every decision.

Here’s my Friday Flashback Post – Run Your Firm Like a Business.

  • Muddle is the extra unknown personality in any committee.
  • Anthony Sampson

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

Just Keep Ascending

“Wake up wild one! Your mind is a cageless bird waiting to fly to uncharted lands. Like the phoenix, you’ll rise again with renewed vigor, clarity, compassion and insight.” – Melody Lee

I read the following on Jon Gordon’s Instagram site. It applies to you and your accounting firm. Just keep soaring.

“The only bird that dares to peck an eagle is the crow. The crow sits on the eagles back and bites his neck. The eagle does not respond, nor fight with the crow; it does not spend time or energy on the crow instead he just opens its wings and begins to rise higher in the heavens. The higher the flight, the harder it is for the crow to breathe and eventually the crow falls off due to a lack of oxygen.

Learn from the eagle and don’t fight the crows, just keep ascending. They might be along for the ride but they’ll soon fall off. Do not allow yourself to succumb to the distractions….keep your focus on the things above and continue rising!!”

Source: Original Author Unknown

  • Keep going, because there is nothing worse in this world than to stop. Simply keep flying.
  • Vidhya Thakkar

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

Loving Tax Season

“Urgency makes the difference between practitioners, proclaimers, and procrastinators.” – Richie Norton

Before my consulting years, I received the best basic training possible for a CPA management consultant. I worked in a firm for 30 years. I walked in your shoes. I guess you could say I’ve seen it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly!

I always looked forward to tax season. I did not dread it. I loved it! The firm was prepared for it and so was the entire team. It was like our “game day.”

The best part was that almost all of the trivial things that were on the minds of the team members disappeared. The entire organization was focused on the clients and the work.

Not that the clients were not always the main focus but during tax season the clients were never over-shadowed by internal disagreements, discussions or squabbles.

During tax season there was a heightened sense of urgency. That was the most gratifying part. We did whatever it took to provide awesome client service and to eliminate worries that our clients might be facing.

No one had time to gossip and complain!

The saddest part about tax season coming to an end was that the sense of urgency seemed to almost disappear. I always wished we could maintain that sense of urgency throughout the entire year.

Maybe you see this at your own firm. Take steps to guard and maintain a sense of urgency throughout the year. Continually talk about it and keep the need for urgency alive and well. Make it an on-going battle.

  • A higher rate of urgency does not imply ever-present panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state in which complacency is virtually absent.
  • John P. Kotter

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Drama, Fear & Conflict

“Leaders do not avoid, repress, or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity.” – Warren Bennis

Accountants, in general, are kind, caring, and sincere. They live their lives helping their clients become successful. They often have difficult conversations with their clients.

Inside their own CPA firm, they ignore conflict and avoid confrontation. Partners and managers often dodge conflict in the hopes that someone else will deal with it. Yet, they readily admit that there is way too much drama going on inside the firm.

Often the conflict is between two or more employees. However, the most troubling conflict is when employees actually fear one or more of the firm leaders, and other leaders hide from the drama, fear, and conflict.

Here’s a quote from Marlene Chism:

“If there are performance problems, workplace drama, or disruptive behaviors in your workplace, it’s because it’s been allowed. Avoiding difficult conversations causes a culture of dysfunction that affects every aspect of business.” – Marlene Chism

Read that quote again. From the mildest conflict to actual fear of an individual continues because IT’S BEEN ALLOWED.

Some issues eventually go away on their own but most do not. YOU must deal with it. Here’s a helpful article from Chism.

  • Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
  • Winston Churchill

Friday, January 8th, 2021

Flashback Friday – No Complaining!

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the cornfield.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Holidays are over. It is the first “work” Friday in 2021. The holiday hassles are a distant memory and the trauma of the last few days has subsided some. So, again in 2021, I will offer you a flashback post on some Fridays. The following post is one to keep in mind as you enter another tax season. It is from January 31, 2020:

TAX SEASON IS NOT COMPLAINING SEASON

I saw the following tweet by Greg Bell and thought of CPA firms:

“Would you like to spend time with someone who is constantly complaining about life, their job, gossiping about friends and coworkers, or putting themselves and others down? Or would you rather spend time with someone who is upbeat despite the challenges they face?” – Greg Bell (@gregbellspeaks)

Sad, isn’t it, that I think of CPA firms after reading this?

I have observed that when you get deep inside many accounting firms there is a lot of this going on.

In my personal experience working inside a firm, I found tax season to be a time when the general population of the firm was too busy to complain much. Almost everyone was focused, dedicated and possessed a sense of urgency.

The sad part is that after April 15th the moaning and groaning returned! I hope you are doing surveys so you can address some of the relevant issues. If it turns out that you have people who match-up with the quote above, you have the wrong people.

Address the issues and work to develop a No Whining culture!

  • You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.
  • Shirley Chisholm

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

A Special Day

“One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment. If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is the anniversary of starting this daily blog. I have now completed 15 years of daily blogging. That is over 4,100 posts!

I sometimes repost a Seth Godin post in its entirety. The following one from December 29th seems very appropriate for me. Thanks so much for following this blog. I know many of you are very loyal followers!

The Most Important Blog Post

It is on the most important blog.

Yours.

Even if no one but you reads it. The blog you write each day is the blog you need the most. It’s a compass and a mirror, a chance to put a stake in the ground and refine your thoughts.

And the most important post? The one you’ll write tomorrow.

  • We all get the exact same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.
  • Hillary DePlano

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

Next Year

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

The following is a Flashback Post from 2017. I think it applies to every year-end.

How many times have you said those two words, “next year”?

Maybe to your kids, “You’ll be old enough to do that next year.”

Maybe to your spouse, “Honey, we’ll take that special vacation trip next year.”

Maybe to yourself, “I’m going to lose 25 pounds next year!”

How about inside your firm?

“We will work on it and become COMPLETELY paperless next year.”

“We can’t do it this year, but next year we will out-place those five clients that drive our staff nuts.”

“We promise to be more timely with our feedback process next year.”

“We will add a few more employee benefits next year.”

“We have to update our website next year.”

“We will look into all this new digital stuff like blockchain and artificial intelligence, next year.”

“I’ll pass the CPA exam next year.”

For all these “next years” relating to your firm: Friday is NEXT YEAR.

For NOW – have a happy and safe New Years’ weekend!

I am taking another 4-day weekend. Watch for my blog on Monday, January 4th. Happy New Year!

  • It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises.
  • Chief Joseph

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

Wrapping Up 2020

“We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” – Joseph Campbell

To all my clients and friends in the CPA profession and especially to the followers of this blog – Have a wonderful holiday. Like mine, it might be very different than in previous years but treasure it all the same.

I will be enjoying a 4-day weekend, so look for my next post on Monday!

  • Let joy be in your journey - not in some distant goal.
  • Tim Cook

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Write a Note

“Letter writing is the only device for combining soitude with good company.” – Lord Byron

We have evolved so far with technology that a handwritten note is very rare. We text, we email, we chat. This means that a handwritten note carries so much more clout than it ever did in the past.

During these last few days of 2020, or early in 2021, write a handwritten note to each of your direct reports. Those people, at work, who are closest to you and who help you the most may have never received a handwritten note from you.

I am sure your firm has blasted out a nice Holiday message to all your clients, prospects, and referral sources. That’s nice. But why not set aside some time during early January to write a brief handwritten note to a select group of clients who truly mean something to you.

Of course your whales (those very big revenue generating clients) would not be surprised. They probably expect it. But, why not send a note to some of those smaller, long-time loyal clients who you really like (you might not actually enjoy dealing with some of the big ones!).

I cannot possibly send a handwritten note to all the loyal followers of this blog. But, I do appreciate you so much! Here is my effort in showing you my appreciation.

  • It's amazing how email has changed our lives. You ever get a handwritten letter in the mail today? What the? Has someone been kidnapped?"
  • Jim Gaffigan