Archive for the ‘Partner topics’ Category

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Convergence Coaching Anytime, Anywhere Work Survey

“Best Efforts will not substitute for knowledge.” – W. Edwards Deming

In case you are not aware, the 2020 ConvergenceCoaching® Anytime, Anywhere Work™(ATAWW) Survey is currently open for participation. The survey seeks input on remote and flexible work practices in accounting and consulting firms across the country.

ConvergenceCoaching is offering participants the summary results along with best practices and strategies to implement these programs and maintain a competitive advantage. They’re requesting only one entry per firm, so be sure you coordinate with other leaders in your organization.

Here is the link to participate: https://bit.ly/2020ATAWW. The survey is open through July 31st. We encourage you to participate in this important study!

  • Dream more than others think practical…Expect more than others think possible.
  • Howard Schultz

Monday, June 29th, 2020

Things That Don’t Matter

“It’s frustrating to keep doing things that don’t matter anymore.” – Dan Rockwell

It is amazing how many things have changed just during the last four months. March, April, May and June 2020.

You went into March just as you do for any March in tax season. Then things changed. Schools closed, universities moved all classes to online. Businesses and restaurants closed yet, work continued for accounting firms. They are essential.

You also sent your employees home and asked them to work remotely. You did it quickly and for many firms it was efficient and easy.

Now you are moving your team, in stages, back into the office. Not all will come back, they will continue to work remotely.

You have learned that it doesn’t matter anymore where people sit to do their work.

A big question you need to contemplate now is what have you always done that you no longer need to keep doing? Don’t force people back into behaviors, processes, and/or procedures that no longer seem logical.

  • I still catch myself feeling sad about things that don't matter anymore.
  • Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

Retired Partners That Never Retire

“Retirement: That’s when you return from work one day and say, ‘Hi honey, I’m home forever.'” – Gene Perret

I don’t know why you call them retired partners if they are going to continue to work. I find it hard to understand why you pay them “retirement” payments and also pay them a salary to keep working.

I have always supported the practice of contracting with a partner who is being paid deferred comp to work for the firm (for a much-reduced salary) after they have transitioned their client responsibilities, for one year, if the firm actually needs them. The contract can be renewed annually. Again, with discussion and consideration among the partner group that the retired partner is actually needed.

Remember, to the outside world AND to young up-and-comers, the firm looks top heavy with partners. It is a disincentive for young people to wait years and years for a partner spot to open up.

Plus, I have observed that these “retirees” take up space, soak up administrative help, and never fully transition clients. If they are working less, they might also struggle with keeping up with the firm technology (thus relying on admin to help them).

The partner group should discuss this topic and develop a policy. If the group wants to keep them around that is, of course, their prerogative. Just make sure everyone understands how retirement works at your firm.

Marc Rosenberg calls them Double-Dippers. Read his interesting post on this topic.

  • Working people have a lot of bad habits, but the worst of those is work.
  • Clarence Darrow

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

Strong/Weak

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” – Albert Einstein

Take a close look at your partner (owner) group.

What I hope you see is a balanced group. In some firms, all partners appear to be very similar. They went to the same schools, they live in the same suburb, they drive similar cars and even their family lives appear to be very similar.

In the office, I hope they are diverse. Partners become partners because they can’t possibly know everything themselves.

Of course, mid to large size firms have an audit partner, a tax partner, a business valuation partner, etc. But look a little deeper. Do they have a partner who cannot possibly have a tough conversation with an employee? That’s okay if they have a partner who is very at ease at giving bad news or critical feedback. Do they have a partner that is a strong negotiator where other partners are not?

A successful partner group has members who are strong where others are weak, partners who are weak where others are strong. It applies to technical expertise and also to personal behaviors.

  • Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
  • Thomas Edison

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

Do Some Planning

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” – Earl Nightengale

Many of you know and remember Rebecca Ryan. She spoke at many CPA management conferences a few years back and work with several firms focusing on planning for the next generation. She is a futurist and economist.

Ryan’s recent post, “What to tell your team when everyone’s freaked out” is something that I highly recommend you read.

As she notes, “A great antidote to being scared is to do some planning.” She talks about Assumptions, First Principles, Pivot plan, financial contingency plans, and shares some personal reflections from another tough time we went through (the Great Recession).

I think you will find her thoughts very helpful as you plan for the future of your firm and your people. Click here to read her post.

  • Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
  • Mary Oliver

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

Admin – The Super Team

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson

I have always been a strong advocate for the CPA firm administrative team. I have observed that they are often the heart and soul of a firm.

During the last three months I have heard from many firms that the only employees going into the office are the admin team members. They went in to do scanning, take care of mail, distribute supplies, and more. Some firms had drop-boxes outside the office door where clients could drop off their tax information. The admin team checked the drop-box daily and scanned the information needed by the accountants. The firm administrator is often responsible for some technology support activities.

Often, the CPA firm’s admin team is under-appreciated. That is why it made me happy to hear the following story from an experienced firm administrator. I am hoping that you are very proud of your admin team, too.

The admin staff and I have been working at the office all through the Pandemic, and have each taken some well-deserved time off since April 15th. The partners recognized that it was the admin team that was taking the biggest risk AND enabling our entire staff and most of the partners to continue to serve our clients while they all worked from home. I bring this up because for the first time ever the admin staff and I all received a really nice bonus on April 15th to show the partners’ appreciation.

Besides doing the firm administration and helping the admin team, I also help everyone with their IT issues. We have a strong IT infrastructure and an outsourced vendor for network support. This is what got us through the pandemic. We also use CCH Axcess which has been such a blessing. I think other firms that are not in the cloud, or don’t have a good infrastructure to allow their staff to work from home are going to have to ramp up their IT spend to stay in the game.

The reason I bring up the admin staff in this email is – as you know, typically firms cherish their professional staff, and the admin staff is not held in the same regard. This has now proven how essential the admin staff is to the firm! I hope other firms recognize this too!

  • If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.
  • Booker T. Washington

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Changed Forever

“The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” – Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea

Consultants and profession leaders have been continually prodding and pushing many CPAs toward significant change. Mostly, it has been by asking practitioners to take baby steps toward change. I have been talking about baby steps for years because most accountants have a great fear of quick, even if it is meaningful, change.

COVID-19 did what consultants and profession leaders couldn’t accomplish in decades. That is, forcing CPAs to suck it up and make immediate adjustment to their operation behaviors.

There is no going back now. The changes most firms made rather quickly will endure.

Gary Shamis, former managing partner of SSG, a large, progressive firm that got gobbled up by BDO has an interesting article via Accounting Today titled, Our Profession Has Changed Forever.

Three things that have changed:

  • The virtual practice
  • The client experience
  • Office real estate

Three things that have stalled:

  • Advisory services
  • M&A
  • Diversity & inclusion

Be sure to read the article to learn what he says about each.

  • Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.
  • Max McKeown

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Don’t Let This Be Your Plan

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” – Peter F. Drucker

I recently read a Facebook post intended make fun of a plan to re-open a state. We have to smile and keep our sense of humor in these COVID-19 times.

It immediately reminded me of partners’ strategic plan that comes from a two-day retreat of discussing and re-discussing the same topics they talked about last year at the retreat.

I have modified the original post to fit a CPA firm, just for your amusement.

We have identified a 6 phase strategic plan. The plan will be a phased plan that we will plan to utilize in phases. The phases will be planned and the planning will be phased. We will move quickly and slowly to change but will remain the same. We have created a staff of staffers who will plan the phase and planning while phasing their phases. And that is our phased and planned strategic plan.

  • Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.
  • Peter F. Drucker

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Practice Management Webinars

“Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future.” – Denis Waitley

On May 6th and May 7th, Gary Adamson, President of Adamson Advisory will be hosting two webinars for CPA firm leaders. The sessions are sponsored by CPA Leadership Institute.

May 6th – Valuation is Driven by Terms of CPA Mergers – And Other Keys to Success

  • Date/Time: May 6, 2020 @ 1-1:50pm ET

During this session, you will receive an overview of the M&A frenzy in the profession today and give you tools to help you, whether you are a potential buyer or seller. Adamson will discuss the trends in valuations and the terms, and why the terms drive the multiples that we all hear about.

For more information and to register, click here.

  • May 7th – How to Maximize Performance of Best Practices in Partner Admission, Transition, and Buyout

Date/Time: May 7, 2020 @ 1-1:50pm ET

This session focuses on partner admission, transition and buyout. Adamson will discuss the 25 best practices in both admitting a new partner, buying out a parter and the transition issues associated with the buyout.

For more information and to register, click here.

  • Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
  • Albert Einstein

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

Be Prepared

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

If your are a CPA firm leader, you should always remember the Boy Scout motto:

Be Prepared – The Scout motto means that you are always ready to do what is necessary to help others. It also means you are ready, willing, and able to do what is necessary in any situation that comes along.

Peter Drucker told us – The manager will have to look at her task and ask, “What must I do to be prepared for danger, for opportunities, and above all for change?”

Recently, you have had to face danger and change yet not forget about opportunities. Some firms have done a commendable job of this because they were prepared. Some have struggled because they did not have strong enough technology and procedures.

Going forward it is a great time to make sure your firm is lean and can move fast as our new world of work evolves.

Employing the right talent is always an issue. As you have heard many times, you must have the right people on your bus and have them in the right seats. You must be able to trust your people.

Many of your people are skilled, experienced, and loyal. They can work remotely without someone looking over their shoulder. You can trust them. What are you going to do with the people you don’t trust?

  • For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.
  • Suzanne Collins