Archive for the ‘Paperless’ Category

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023


“Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious than to be able to decide.”– Napoleon Bonaparte 

I have observed that CPA partner groups can take a very long time to make decisions.

Leadership is about making decisions. It is not about putting decisions off until the next meeting, the next month, the next quarter, and even the next year.

The most prevalent one for CPA partners is putting off decisions until after tax season. But, often, decisions are not made in late April or May. “Let’s wait until the partner retreat” is always a good excuse.

Are decisions really made at your partner retreat, or are they once again put on hold?

Once, at a conference, a CPA partner said to me, “We are going to video our partner retreat this year and then watch it for the next five years because we talk about the same issues year after year. We can distribute the video each year and save time.”

Here’s a good article from Forbes that might help you.

  • “Decision is a sharp knife that cuts clean and straight; indecision, a dull one that hacks and tears and leaves ragged edges behind it.”
  • Gordon Graham

Friday, December 23rd, 2022

Small-Midsize Firms & The Weather

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” — John Steinbeck

Today’s low temperatures and blizzard conditions across most of the United States made me think about many smaller CPA firms.

During the pandemic, some small firms continued to come into the office to work. I have no idea how many, but I heard from some who did this.

If you are a small firm, you still need to keep up with technology and be sure that every person on your team can work from home as productively as working in the office.

The same goes for mid-size firms and their admin team. During the pandemic, admin went into the office and did scanning, etc., so that the remote people could work. It is time to have clients submit everything electronically. On days like today, the administrative team needs to be able to work from home, too.

  • A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.
  • Carl Reiner

Friday, December 2nd, 2022

Flashback Friday – Look Way Back At Tech Trends

“You will never win if you never begin.” – Helen Rowland

For this Friday’s flashback, let’s look way back. Let’s look a the trends in CPA firm technology in September 2009 from Roman Kepczk and Randy Johnston. (Don’t forget, some of the links in the article probably don’t work any longer.)

I hope you will think, “I’m glad we are well past all these issues.” Some firms are not!

  • I was not predicting the future, I was trying to prevent it.
  • Ray Bradbury

Monday, November 28th, 2022


“Denial just makes it easier for you to drive around your problems instead of removing them.” – Ken Seeley

Are you still “sort of paperless”? It’s time to get fully on board, or the train will leave the station without you.

I have a client that was entirely paperless and mostly remote well before we experienced the COVID pandemic. He accepts no paper and teaches his clients how to submit their data by doing actual training videos for them.

Many CPA firms have experienced fantastic growth since March 2020 (when the pandemic hit the U.S.). They tell me they have more clients than they can adequately serve. They worry about staff turnover and wonder if they are asking too much of their dwindling team.

So, you served clients well while working remotely. You took unusual steps to be able to do that. Mainly, you required your admin team to be in the office scanning documents so the remote accountants could work.

What’s wrong with that picture? Why not require your clients to submit scanned documents in the first place? Why not have a video that teaches them exactly how to do it? It is a requirement if they want to be a client of your firm.

So many CPAs are in denial. They can’t possibly give up all paper. I suspect they are in denial because they are comfortable with the way things are and believe “things” will not change in the future.

This rant was inspired by a quote posted by Steve Keating (@LeadToday). It read:

“Denial is the worst kind of lie… because it is the lie you tell yourself.”

  • The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.
  • Isaac Asimov

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

Billable Hours

“It’s not that there’s a lack of credible, successful and even intelligent candidates out there looking for work. It’s the fact that CPA firms haven’t changed their models.” – Lorrine Beste

I hope you have read a recent article via Accounting Today. It is titled Confessions of a tax manager: CPA firms just aren’t getting it.

If not, here’s what it is all about. Like most experienced tax managers, the author, Lorraine Beste, has been inundated with contacts from various recruiters. She works for a small firm and has enjoyed work/life balance for many years. The unbelievable salaries being offered inspired her to do some research.

The recruiters seemed absolutely overjoyed when she replied. The firms seeking a tax manager seemed to offer all the “bells and whistles” that make their firm a great place to work.

The one question they did not divulge, but Beste sought out, was – How many billable hours do you require? She was shocked by the consistent answer – 55 to 60 (or higher) in tax season and early fall.

She will stay at her small firm. Be sure to follow the link above, and read the interesting article. Consider what work/life balance really means at your own firm.

  • You can't do a good job is your job is all you do.
  • Katie Thurmes

Thursday, September 8th, 2022


“In many offices, a clean desk policy means that there is a back-log of work somewhere else.” – Milton Berle

Maybe you have noticed. Accountants tend to keep things. You know, just in case they need it later. They also hold onto things that have already been scanned.

We have hoped that becoming paperless would mean that offices and cubicles would be paper-free, neat, and organized. I bet you have at least a stack of paper documents on the corner of your desk that you intend to “get to” soon. Some of the things in that stack might be six months old, a year old, or more. You receive paper mail, clients drop off some papers, etc. Sure, you will get them scanned, but when?

Scientists tell us that our brains like order and that a messy desk or workspace is a visual reminder of disorganization and that drains our cognitive resources and reduces our ability to focus. They also found that when participants cleared the clutter from their work environment, they were better able to focus and process information, and their productivity increased.

When I tour a CPA firm’s office, I can usually tell which office belongs to a tax partner or manager. They seem to accumulate the most stuff. Is that true in your office?

All of this applies to your home office, too. Do you have a clean and clutter-free space at home to work?

Read this interesting article via HBR – The Case For Finally Cleaning Your Desk.

There is also a train of thought that indicates that a messy desk means you are more creative. Here’s a quote you might like: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign? – Albert Einstein

  • A messy desk reflects a cluttered and confused mind.
  • Obert Skye

Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

“It’s about you. If you win, it’s you, if you lose, it’s you. Black and white. Nowhere to hide. – Greg Rusedski

From the internet:

There is an old saying, “you can run but you can’t hide.” This means you can try to escape what you fear most but ultimately, you must face it. This saying originated in the United States in the 1940s and is attributed to boxing great Joe Louis describing his impending fight with light heavyweight champion Billy Conn.

One important thing that you have been running from is change. I know you changed a lot during COVID, however, many CPAs just “made do” with things temporarily and have settled back into many of their “old ways.”

When I currently ask partners if they are truly paperless, they “run” from that question. I hear all kinds of excuses. The world is changing. Now is the time to quit running from things you fear.

  • O' What may man within him hide, though angel on the outward side!
  • William Shakespeare

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

The Last Days

“The digital age was dragging older lawyers like the Boones into the world of paperless files and storage, and not a minute too soon … Why destroy so many trees to produce much paper that becomes useless almost as fast as it is filed away?” – Author: John Grisham

There is a good article via Accounting Today titled, Frontier: The last days of paper.

Almost always, when I talk with clients and prospects they hesitantly disclose that they are only partially paperless. This paperless tend has been evolving for nearly twenty-five years and still some firms are hesitant to fully embrace the digital world.

The arguments are:

  • We have several older partners (and employees) that are just not ready to give up the paper.
  • We have many clients who demand we give them a paper copy.
  • We have many clients who want a digital copy AND a paper copy.
  • Some tax returns are just too complex to review on-screen.
  • And, the classic excuse: I just like the feel of paper.

I am sure you can add some excuses to this list. But, 2022 is the year, the year to fully embrace the digital world. Are you even offering your clients a paperless method of payment? Look at your competitor’s website. I bet they have a “Pay us here” selection where clients can easily pay without writing a check.

Are you still providing paper tax organizers? Paper tax organizers consume a huge amount of paper (and time and effort). Are you paying your bills via or something similar? I receive checks from many of my clients issued via also recently acquired Invoice2go this past September. There is more information on that acquisition here.

During the last couple of years, you have made great strides in becoming paperless (because you were forced into it). Make 2022 the year to take the final steps into the digital world.

  • There are three classes of men; the retrograde, the stationary, and the progressive.
  • Johann Kaspar Lavater

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Don’t Give Up

“‘Oh well’, said Miss Marble, ‘it’s just perseverance, isn’t it, that leads to things.'” — Agatha Christie

The Agatha Christie crime sleuth, Miss Jane Marple, consistently solves murder cases by demonstrating perseverance.

The many issues that need attention inside a busy, growing accounting firm must be attacked in the same way. Simply persevere!

Firm Administrators/Practice Managers, now that October 15th has passed, are facing a formidable list of things to do.

One administrator shared a list of things that need to be addressed before year-end:

  • We need to become truly and wholly paperless.
  • We need to hire a Tax Manager!
  • We need to hire an additional administrative professional.
  • Our website needs to be updated!
  • We must upgrade our phone system.
  • We are adding a new server (we are not in the cloud yet!).

Plus, just the daily occurrences that need attention from any firm administrator.

Many of you are facing similar challenges as the year draws to a close. It won’t be easy but keep in mind Miss Marple’s quote, above. Perseverance pays off!

  • Success comes from curiosity, concentration, perseverance, and self-criticism.
  • Albert Einstein

Monday, January 25th, 2021

Bernie & What Digital Firms Request

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

I think we have all enjoyed browsing the hundreds.. thousands… of Bernie memes. I know I had a lot of laughs these past few days.

Of course, the most meaningful Bernie meme, for all of us working in the CPA profession, comes from Shayna Brooke, Founder & Chief Strategist at Shaynaco LLC in Gallipolis, Ohio.

Shayna kindly allowed me to use her recent Facebook post for this blog. Here it is:

Just a reminder that you don’t have to bring your paper tax documents into our Shaynaco LLC office. We have secure web portals available for you to upload any documents and also retrieve documents from us!

  • Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take are of themselves.
  • Dale Carnegie