Archive for the ‘Partner topics’ Category

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

How to Become Virtual

“Mergers generate substantial synergies.” – Roger Altman

Virtual CPA firms have been evolving for many years now. Many have gained much notoriety and a substantial client following.

I enjoyed reading this article about my good friends at Beach Fleischman, a Top 200 firm based in Tucson, Arizona. The joined forces with a smaller firm to create a virtual firm, MOD Ventures, that will service both firms’ outsourced accounting services clients going forward.

Read all about it here, via Accounting Today. Maybe it will motivate you and your firm to become more creative and take advantage of virtual opportunities.

  • Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Friday, January 4th, 2019

You Are Running a Business

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket

I talk to so many CPA firm leaders who are struggling with very important decisions. I can listen, suggest and advise but I can’t do it for you.

  • What are you afraid of? Why do you often postpone some simple business decisions because you just might hurt someone’s feelings?
  • Why do you procrastinate on dealing with poor performers because you might hurt someone’s feelings?
  • Why do you allow several clients to use your firm like a bank? They owe you money, they don’t pay and you just let it “go” for a very long time.

You are running a business and your people and your clients should expect you to make timely, and sometimes difficult, business decisions.

Are these types of things happening at your CPA firm? If so, make a decision to deal with them, beginning immediately.

  • Just say yes and you'll figure it out afterwards.
  • Tina Fey

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

The Secret of Change

Focus slideI was browsing through famous quotations about facing a new year. I came across one that I have often used in my presentations.

To me, it says so much about CPAs in public practice coping with surviving in a profession that is undergoing some of the most formidable changes it has ever faced.

Clinging to the past is not the answer. Making the commitment to change yourself is the answer. How are you, personally, going to survive into the future.

Too many partners and managers are clinging to work that they know and love. They have not developed the skills or desire to delegate properly so that less experienced CPAs can learn from more challenging work.

Begin this week to observe what your team members need to learn and give them projects that will help develop their skills and knowledge.

Struggling with exactly what to delegate? Ask your team what they think you should delegate. They are more insightful than you might think. Managing partners, ask your firm administrator what he/she thinks you should delegate to them. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
  • Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

Net Fees Per Partner – CPA Firm

“Money often costs too much.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks to Charles Hylan for sharing some information from this year’s Rosenberg Survey.

Each year The Rosenberg Survey does an analysis to see which metrics have the strongest correlation to profitability, as measured by income per partner. As we work with firms who are struggling with profitability, we start by looking at their various leverage ratios followed by comparing their rates to like-sized firms in like-sized markets. One very important leverage ratio is net fees per equity partner.
Take a look at some of the numbers from this year’s Rosenberg Survey:
CLICK HERE to Order the Survey!
Charles
  • An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

What Managers Should Be Doing In CPA Firms

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Peter Drucker divided the job of the manager into five basic tasks:

1) Sets objectives. The manager sets goals for the group and decides what work needs to be done to meet those goals.

2) Organizes. The manager divides the work into manageable activities and selects people to accomplish the tasks that need to be done.

3) Motivates and communicates. The manager creates a team out of his people, through decisions on pay, placement, promotion, and through his communications with the team. Drucker also referred to this as the “integrating” function of the manager.

4) Measures. The manager establishes appropriate targets and yardsticks, and analyzes, appraises and interprets performance.

5) Develops people. With the rise of the knowledge worker, this task has taken on added importance. In a knowledge economy, people are the company’s most important asset, and it is up to the manager to develop that asset.

Does this sound like the managers at your firm? I find that so many so-called managers are actually higher-paid and more experienced technicians. If owners want more freedom to bring in business and talent, be sure your managers are trained and expected to manage.

Read What do managers do via WSJ.

  • Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, you need to cut your losses and move on.
  • Howard Schultz

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Think of the Potential

“Don’t let fear of risk paralyze you.” – Marianne Williamson

Accountants often doubt themselves. Of course, in the world of public accounting, the CPA is the most trusted advisor. CPA owners are also trusted bosses. When you count all the clients and all of the employees, there are a lot of people and families depending upon their CPA.

That is why all of the work flowing through an accounting firm is reviewed, reviewed and reviewed. Don’t let this daunting responsibility slow you down. Establish processes that include “safety nets” and be an enforcer when it comes to everyone following the documented procedures. Don’t let fear of risk paralyze you.

I see so many firms NOT taking advantage of their potential. Your CPA firm should be having amazing successes. Lots of clients need your knowledge and assistance. There is so much potential with Client Accounting Services and other services that maybe you haven’t offered in the past.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Take some risk and take a chance on success.

 

  • Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
  • Helen Keller

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Is It Time To Exit Gracefully?

Many CPA firm partners are struggling with the decision on when to retire.

It seems most believe that no matter what their age, it is too soon to consider retiring. Some firms have even raised their mandatory retirement age to 70. Many firms have no mandatory retirement age. Do you have a documented transition plan to help retiring partners exit?

While I certainly do not believe in forcing a successful, active, business-getting, forward-thinking partner out the door, I do believe that all aging partners need to think about retirement and make plans. Are you really a visionary or are you holding the firm back in any way?

I love this quote:

“I don’t want to be dragging myself on stage, year in year out until someone else tells me it is time to go. There are certain birthdays that make you revalue your life.” – Tina Turner

As the year draws to a close, will 2019 be the year you put your transition plan into place and provide an opportunity for the next generation?

  • The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.
  • Abe Lemons

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Foot-dragging

“If I see something sagging, bagging or dragging I’ll get it nipped, tucked or sucked.” – Dolly Parton

Does your firm have a foot-dragging problem?

foot-drag·ging
/ˈfo͝otˌdraɡiNG/
noun
  1. reluctance or deliberate delay concerning a decision or action.
    “bureaucratic foot-dragging has continued to delay the project”

You come back from a conference with a great idea. Or perhaps you read about a good idea on this blog. It is not something that is too complicated but it is not something the firm has tried before.

Some partners are excited but a few pooh-pooh the idea, so it never gains enough momentum to survive. Staff watch, shake their heads and smile at another avoidance of change.

Maybe your firm has one or two partners who are passionate and one or two who are completely happy with the status quo. The passionate partners are pulling the heavy wagon of change up the steep hill and the other partners are dragging their feet.

The foot-draggers don’t even have to help pull. All they have to do is pick up their feet!

  • Delay is the deadliest form of denial.
  • C. Northcote Parkinson

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Attention Small Firms!

“If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off.” – Thomas Jefferson     

I am delighted to work with many small firms. That means I am often Googling smaller firms to look at their websites.

I am usually very depressed after doing so. Just because you are small doesn’t mean you can’t be mighty!

Please, please immediately devote some time to your website, that is if you want to attract new clients. The most recent one I visited had no pictures, no email addresses, no listing of owners or staff, no social media links. When I filled out the contact section it had an “internal error.” Their URL said “not secure.” – What a disappointment.

Prospects judge you on your website.

  • One's best success comes after their greatest disappointments.
  • Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Leaders of Smaller Firms Have a Great Resource

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Over my many years in the CPA profession, I have worked with firms of all sizes – sole-proprietors with one location to Top 100 firms with nationwide representation. Honestly, the challenges and frustrations CPAs working in public practice face are pretty much the same no matter what the size of the firm.

I really enjoy working with smaller CPA firms and my current client list is made up almost entirely of smaller firms (under 50 total FTEs). I find the smaller the firm, the more they are under-served by outside consultants.

For many of my smaller firm clients, I always recommend they get involved in the AICPA PCPS Networking Groups. There are groups for Small, Medium and Large Firms. These groups are especially valuable to small firms. Currently, there are four small firm groups, two medium firm groups, and one large firm group. The groups meet twice per year.

Through each group’s informal system, networking group members may take advantage of the valuable knowledge of their colleagues and share their own knowledge with their peers.  While many group members are firm owners/partners, any member of a PCPS firm is welcome to attend networking group meetings. Learn more here.

If you have questions regarding networking groups, please call them at 1-800-CPA-FIRM or email them at pcps@aicpa.org.  They would love to hear from you!

  • There are somethings that you can fulfill with money, but at the end of the day these are not the things that make you happy. It is the small things that make life good.
  • Sebastian Vettel