Archive for the ‘On My Mind’ Category

Monday, March 6th, 2023


 “I would say in the past couple months it’s come a long way, but I still don’t think it’s there yet,” Katie Tolin, CPA Growth Guides

There has been so much discussion about ChatGPT and what it means for many varying situations. Of course, I wonder about CPA firms. My first inclination is that it could be very helpful. Would it actually replace a portion of what a CPA firm marketer does?

Inside Public Accounting provides us with a very informative article about what ChatGPT means for public accounting firms by featuring opinions from CPA firm marketing professionals.

The article is titled: ChatGPT Didn’t Write This Article, But It Could Contribute to Firm Growth, Efficiency.

Consider if ChatGPT is right for your firm.

  • I think that it’s going to give a path for experts who are bad writers to get to market. That’s what I’m hoping it will do, and then also streamline some drudgery that happens in marketing and other industries.
  • Raissa Evans, Digital strategy expert at Weaver

Friday, February 24th, 2023

Friday Flashback – The Weather

“It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it.” – Amelia Barr

Once again, this week, the weather has been a major factor in the life of CPA firm workers. The weather prohibited many from “getting to the office.” No need to worry, you can work from home, or can you? Here’s a flashback from last December. “

  • There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.
  • Bill Bowerman

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

Your Dream

“The moment that you begin to think ‘we are great’ your slide towards mediocrity will have begun.” – Jim Collins

Do you have a dream about what the future could hold for you and your firm? Most of us do, even if it is deep down inside us.

It would be great if we could accomplish that! I bet we could get that done! I would be so cool if we could just…….!

If you are old enough, remember when you read Jim Collins’ book Built to Last. He mentioned a BHAG.

BHAG is a concept developed in the book Built to Last. A BHAG (pronounced “Bee Hag,” short for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”) is a powerful way to stimulate progress. A BHAG is clear and compelling, needing little explanation; people get it right away. Think of the NASA moon mission of the 1960s.

Many firms established a BHAG. I wonder how that turned out.

As for now, I hope you have a dream of what the future might bring. A big and exciting dream. My question for you is in this quote (via @leadershipfreak):

“Are the *habits* you have today on par with the *dreams* you have for tomorrow?” ~Alan Stein, Jr.

  • We must exert self-control in a world that is out of control. 20-mile march, 20-mile march, 20-mile march, day in day out.
  • Jim Collins

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

Speak Up

“Be a voice not an echo.” – Albert Einstein

If you are building a career in the CPA firm world, never hesitate to speak up.

Many new staffers are uncomfortable saying what is on their minds. The firm’s leadership wants to hear your ideas and comments.

I bet you have been in a staff meeting and had an idea or comment. You lean over and tell the person sitting next to you. Then that person raises their hand, states the comment/idea, and gets recognition. This is especially true for females. It has probably happened to many of you, and I know it happened to me.

I have observed that the people who are not afraid of asking “the dumb question” are usually admired more than they realize. I have always appreciated those people because they ask what many others think but are afraid to ask.

Go for it. Speak up.

  • Speak up. Believe inn yourself. Take risks.
  • Sheryl Sandberg

Thursday, February 9th, 2023

Family or Community

“Some family trees bear an enormous crop of nuts.” – Wayne Huizenga

I read a couple of quotes this week that caused me to contemplate life inside a CPA firm.

So many firms proudly state that their firm (that employs people of different ages, backgrounds, cultures, and personal beliefs) is a family. The CPA firms I have interacted with that function as a family is a firm that family members own. And most family firms employ people who are not relatives.

So, does saying you treat everyone working at our firm like family really a true statement?

Here are the two quotations.

“Unless you are a family business, your team is not a family.” – Todd Henry

“A community is a group of people who agree to grow together.” – Simon Sinek

I hope you are building a community.

  • The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going.
  • George Carlin

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Know It All

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – John Wooden

A long time ago, a famous professional service firm management consultant told me that CPAs would not believe anything I said or listen to my suggestions because I was not a CPA. He said they think they are smarter than anyone who is not a CPA. This internationally known management consultant was not a CPA.

Over the years, I have proved that wrong, although occasionally, I have encountered circumstances where this might ring true.

How about you? I hope you are not a know-it-all CPA!

Here are my thoughts:

  • CPAs are very confident and proud of their knowledge, sometimes too much.
  • Be sure your scope of knowledge is very wide and not too narrow and deep.
  • Be a good listener and understand how relationships work.
  • Get to know people more personally, not just about business matters.
  • Understand emotions. Other people probably show more emotion than you do.
  • Respect other people’s knowledge. Many partners think their way is the best way, even better than their other partners.

You know so much about tax, accounting, and audit. In this day and age, that’s not enough to make you successful in the long term.

  • A know-it-all is a person who knows everything except for how annoying he is.
  • Demetri Martin

Friday, January 20th, 2023

Appreciating Tax Season

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

Yes, I always enjoyed tax season. Read this Friday Flashback to find out why.”

  • Recognition is a reward in itself. Any form of appreciation, even a small word, is important.
  • Vikrant Massey

Monday, January 16th, 2023

A Learning Culture Is A Plus For You

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I continually read about all kinds of ways to hire and keep talented people. Of course, that is a big thing on the minds of CPAs. It has been a huge concern for years. It is right now and will be well into the future.

Today’s workforce wants to be part of a learning culture. What better place than a CPA firm?

CPA firms:

  • Provide focused, immediate training, both formal and casual, the day a new person joins the team.
  • Pay for ongoing continuing professional education (CPE).
  • Never hesitate to send people to outside CPE courses to enhance their careers.
  • Provide a significant amount of internal CPE and other training that never stops.
  • Have a mentoring culture and everyone, no matter their age and experience, must commit to lifelong learning.
  • Reward individuals who continue to learn and build their knowledge base.

If you haven’t already, it is time to spread the word about all the learning opportunities when a person joins a CPA firm.

  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were going to live forever.
  • Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

A New Year & My Challenge

As we enter a new year, I want to share with you my tagline, motto, and/or challenge as I work with firm administrators and managing partners. I read these words somewhere a long time ago, and I keep them on my desk where I can see them daily:

I can’t force you to change. I can only try to convince you it is important and possible.

And here’s a message for you from Yoda: “No, try not. Do or do not, there is no try.”

  • A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.
  • Icelandic Proverb

Monday, January 2nd, 2023

Seventeen Years

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

This year, 2023, January 2nd falls on a Monday. It did the same in 2006. I posted my first blog post on Monday, January 2, 2006. Here it is:

Happy New Year 2006 and Welcome to Rita Keller’s Blog.

I know that many of you visiting this Blog are a part of my expanding team of CPA firm management explorers – seeking new ways and revisiting proven, old ways of efficiently and profitably managing the CPA firm of the future – the firm where young professionals will want to build their careers.

I am just getting started, so check back soon for more information.

I have been writing about CPA firm management every workday for seventeen years. It amazes me that I never seem to run out of topics to cover, observations to share, and, sometimes, create amusement for people working in the CPA profession.

Here’s my second post on January 3rd, 2006. It is interesting how most of it still applies.

The first work day of 2006 – CPA firm style

After having a couple of shorter work weeks and counting down the days until “busy” season, it has finally arrived. Here are some thoughts and questions that might trigger ideas and actions:

Have you conducted your six-month or quarterly goal-setting sessions with all of your direct reports?
Did you set expectations clearly and high enough to help them grow, no matter how long they have been with you?
Assign some professional reading to your admin team – you might be surprised how much they enjoy it
Are you focusing on the individual strengths of each person and using them to make the entire firm better?
Have your partners and managers done
the same with their direct reports?
What about the scheduling system for your accountants? Have you thoughtfully re-engineered it within the last two years?

We have several new hires joining the firm this week. I give each of them their own copy of “True Professionalism” by David Maister. If you haven’t read it yourself, it should be on your 2006 reading list. A more complete reading list will follow later this week.

  • If you can do what you do best and be happy, you are further along in life than most people.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio