Archive for the ‘On My Mind’ Category

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

The Impression You Make

Did you know the phrase, “the clothes make the man” is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet?

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius tells his son Laertes to dress well because “apparel oft proclaims the man“; this phrase is now expressed in modern parlance as “the clothes maketh the man“.

I think the phrase could be construed to fit both males and females in accounting – “how you are dressed often speaks volumes before you utter a single word”.

Several years ago I was the featured speaker for a state society. It was a luncheon to honor women of influence in the CPA profession in that state. Four women were being honored. They were different ages and from different employers or self-employed. One was a sole proprietor, one worked for a mid-size firm, one from corporate and one from the big four.

I met and chatted with them before the event and then I watched as the room began to fill for the luncheon. Because of the nature of the event, most gentlemen were in coats and ties and the women were also dressed professionally.

One gentleman entered the room and immediately I thought “he’s a big four partner”. He, too, was dressed professionally. His haircut, his posture, his expressions, and the quality of his clothing clearly stated professionalism that was above any other person I had noticed in the room. Yes, I was right. He greeted the lady from the big four firm and he was later introduced as a partner at XXX firm.

That impression has stayed with me for many years. What do people think when I walk into a room? What do they think about you?

  • A good first impression can work wonders.
  • J. K. Rowling

Friday, March 8th, 2019

Don’t Forget The Men

“The most important thing in the world is family and love.” – John Wooden

Working in an accounting firm during busy season is a real juggling act. A majority of the staff is made up of young, married people who are raising children.

You can read lots of articles and posts about how working women need help. Don’t forget about the dads.

Young married couples today raise children much differently than baby boomer couples and even some older Gen-Xers.  Men cook, clean, do the laundry, too. Household tasks are shared by the couple and so are the demands of childcare. One young female CPA told me that she and her husband flip a coin to see who stays home with a sick child. Other couples compare calendars and see what makes sense for the day before they decide who stays home.

As you are updating and better defining your benefits program, don’t forget that families need flexibility, not just women.

Here’s an interesting article via @Inc about childcare and Amazon.

  • Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.
  • George Burns

Friday, March 1st, 2019

Procrastination Might Have Paid Off

In 2015, I did a post about the new trend of having an open office environment. During that year and in years prior, I featured more posts about the increased collaboration that happens with an open office.

Scratch that.

Things change. Researchers are now telling us that open offices kill teamwork. It seems that a large percentage of people working in open offices cocoon themselves with headphones and they simply text each other.

“If you’ve ever sought refuge from the goldfish bowl of an open-plan office environment by cocooning yourself with headphones, or if you’ve decided you’d rather not have that challenging conversation with a colleague in front of a large group of your peers, and opted to email them instead, then these findings will come as little surprise.” – Christian Jarrett

So, if you procrastinated on adopting an open office plan it might have just paid off. Please don’t procrastinate on other important decisions!

Read more about the findings here.

  • Give yourself more opportunities for privacy, when you are not bombarded with duties and obligations. Privacy is not a rejection of those you love; it is your deserved respite for recharging your batteries.
  • Wayne Dwyer

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Pass The CPA Exam This Year

“Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” ~ David Bly

Are you experiencing your first year working for a CPA firm? I imagine one very important thing is on your mind…. passing the CPA Exam!

There are a lot of questions still on your mind about the Exam and how to pass it. A recent blog post by Canopy provides an amazing amount of information about the Uniform CPA Examination®. It is titled, Everything Graduating Students Need to Know About the CPA Exam.

The blog post answers ten of the most relevant questions students have about the exam.

Thanks to Canopy for featuring some of my comments in this helpful post. 

If you have already passed the Exam – share this with the newbies in your firm!

 

  • Having the Certified Public Accountant designation is one of the most prestigious things you can accomplish in your professional life. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
  • Rita Keller

Monday, February 25th, 2019

Have A Grateful Week

“You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

I remind you often to remember to simply say, “thank-you” to your team members. No matter what your role in the firm, say it to each other. It means a lot from the boss but it also means a lot from a peer. Sometimes, it is even shocking when an employee says thanks to the boss.

On a recent blog post by Grammarly, they noted that it’s nice to form a thank-you in a different way, rather than the usual thanks or thanks so much.

Here are some alternatives, use them this week.

  • Thank you for all your hard work on this.
  • Thanks again we couldn’t have pulled this off without you.
  • Thank you, you’re amazing!
  • I’m so thankful for everything you bring to the table.
  • Thank you kindly.
  • Thanks a million.
  • Many thanks.
  • Warmest thanks.
  • I truly appreciate your hard work.
  • I truly appreciate you.

Plus, there are more. Read them here.

I am “beyond grateful” that you read this blog!

  • Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
  • Aesop

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

All Those Versions

“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.” – Steve Wozniak

I have heard one prominent complaint about serving clients for years and years and years. I continue to hear it from CPA practitioners from all parts of the country. It is the issue of dealing with so many VERSIONS of QuickBooks.

One of my clients finally did something about it. She purchased the QBO licenses for them and simply told clients the firm was moving them to QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks was having a sale so she purchased several licenses and will eventually pass on the costs via billing rates.

She simply said to her clients, “This is how our firm is doing it now.” She received an insignificant amount of pushback. Clients that don’t like it can go elsewhere.

The world is changing. New technology tools abound. How is your firm going to do it now?

  • The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
  • Bill Gates

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

People Leave

“Fear of the unknown keeps a lot of people from leaving bad situations.” – Kathy Lee Gifford

If you are a staff person thinking of leaving your current firm, don’t fret.

If you are a firm leader and have been notified that someone you like (or don’t like) is leaving, don’t fret.

It is simple, people leave jobs all the time for a multitude of reasons.

It was always interesting to me, when I was working inside a busy firm, that when someone left, after about 2 days no one even seemed to notice. This applied to a person who had been short-term at the firm or even if it was a 15-year key manager.

If you are managing a growing, successful, progressive firm there are no worries, the firm will go on. People will step up if needed and clients often don’t even care as long as someone intelligent responds to them.

If you are a key-person, don’t ever get so conceited that you think “the firm” will miss you. Life will go on for you and for the firm, just as it should.

 

  • Parting is such sweet sorrow.
  • William Shakespeare

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

It’s Still True – Happy Valentine’s Day!

“If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.” – Maya Angelou

On Valentine’s Day, you will be thinking of someone you love. Hopefully, you will be thinking of several someones you love. People love other people, dogs, cats, horses, Spring, Summer, the mountains, the beach, the nighttime sky and much more.

I love all of that (and much more). But, unlike most people, I have a special love and it has been going on for decades! Yes, I love CPAs!

Fill your Valentine’s Day with love!

Photo on 2-13-13 at 2.58 PM

  • All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
  • Charles M. Schulz

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

A Typical CPA Firm

“The idea that you will wake up tomorrow and everything that you know to be true about your practice is suddenly gone is a gross overstatement.” – Darren Root

While many profession leaders are warning CPAs that the typical public accounting firm is a dying breed and that its demise will happen rapidly, it is not what I observe in my consulting practice.

In the “typical” CPA firms I work with, there is definitely a need to become more digital and take advantage of the efficiencies that result. Most of these firms still do a lot of compliance work but also do a lot of true consulting work with their clients. I do expect them to make the transition into more of a consulting practice but I don’t expect it will happen rapidly.

That’s why I enjoyed reading Darren Root’s recent article via Accounting Today – The Traditional Is Still Very Much Alive.

Read it and see what you think. How will your firm make its way into the future?

  • Because technology and client demands will continue to push firms to adapt, we know that transformation, at some level, is inevitable.
  • Darren Root

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

Client Service Is Your Best Marketing

If you are doing what everyone else is doing, if you are inside the band of common, then it’s not an approach that will move you forward.  – Seth Godin

What is your firm known for? Accuracy, understanding, caring, knowledge, maybe expensive?

Has anyone said that you have the best client service? I believe that if a CPA firm focused intensely on client service they would become the leading firm in their market. If a CPA firm did extensive training with their people on making client interactions satisfying and even fun, they would become the leading firm in their market.

Some examples from Seth Godin:

A b2b insurance agency spent two million dollars ripping out voice mail from their agency. Every call gets answered by a human every time. It paid for itself in four months. That’s a strategic investment, not a cost-cutting shortcut.

When Fedex was building relationships with busy businesspeople who would become the backbone of their customer base, they answered the phone on the first ring, every time.

Has anyone at your firm ever answered the phone on the first ring? Do any of your partners actually dodge calls from some clients? Read: Your Customer Service Strategy.

  • You can treat your customers like they don’t have a choice, but in the long run, customers always have a choice.
  • Seth Godin