Archive for the ‘Partner topics’ Category

Friday, April 24th, 2020

Don’t Forget! – Feedback!

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” – Ken Blanchard

So many things are on your mind right now. How will we cope in the new normal? How will we permanently establish a remote workforce? Which team members should be in the office and which ones should stay away? What about the most vulnerable on our team?

Yes, lots of challenges and so much to do. But, don’t forget one of the most important things your team needs… feedback. You don’t see them in person and most of your contact is via email so you might forget that important ingredient to a person’s success in their job.

Here’s a flashback post about feedback – it’s Flashback Friday. Stay Safe.

  • Mistakes should be examined, learned from, and discarded; not dwelled upon and stored.
  • Tim Fargo

Thursday, April 16th, 2020

Don’t Waste Dollars On Coaching

“Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Wayne Gretzky

Progressive accounting firms invest in their people. They are not stingy when it comes to sending the right people to the right conferences. They are aware of the needs of their team and invest in the proper CPE to help them improve their technical skills. They send their Practice Manager to CPA management conferences such as the CPAFMA annual conference. (This year’s has, of course, been canceled. The next conference will be in Sarasota, November 9-11, 2021.)

These successful, growing firms also invest in individual mentoring/coaching for their partners, managers and others. Especially with partners, these significant dollars are wasted. They have no intention of changing.

There is a great article via HBR titled, 4 Signs an Executive Isn’t Ready for Coaching. Here are the 4 signs – be sure to read the entire article that gives details on each of the signs.

  1. They blame external factors for their problems.
  2. You can’t get on their calendar.
  3. They focus too much on tips and tactics.
  4. They delay getting started with a coach to “do more research” or “find the right person.”
  • Nothing will work unless you do.
  • John Wooden

Monday, April 13th, 2020

Work Habits of CPA Partners

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work, one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many non-partner CPAs and others working in or advising the CPA profession have said that partners work too many hours.

Advisors have been saying for years that your young CPAs won’t want to become a partner because they see the partners setting the wrong example – they work too hard and too many hours.

A recent article via HBR stated that, based on a study, top CEOs of public companies work an average of 62.5 hours per week. CEOs are always on, and there is always more to be done. Think about how that statement applies to your partners, especially the managing partner, the executive committee, etc.

If you want to be a partner someday, keep in mind that you will have two roles, owner and employee. Non-partner CPAs in public practice work with clients. Yes, they have some additional roles by serving on committees or special task forces for the firm but mainly, they help clients.

Partners serve clients and their second job – which maybe should be their first job – is running an efficient, effective and profitable business – the firm. They are paid well if the firm is successful. Their employees are paid well if the firm is successful.

If you are critical of your partners, keep in mind, they are always on, and there is always more to be done.

You might find the HBR article interesting – How CEOs Manage Time.

  • I am focused on the work. I am constantly creating. I am a busy girl. I live and breathe my work. I love what I do. I believe in the message. There’s no stopping.
  • Lady Gaga

Monday, April 6th, 2020

AICPA Coalition Recommends PPP Applicants Use Gross Payroll Approach in Calculations

“The role of genius is not to complicate the simple but to simplify the complicated.” – Criss Jami

WASHINGTON, DC (April 4, 2020) – For the calculation of the Average Monthly Payroll cost under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Gross Payroll approach should be used for the application, according to the recommendation from the AICPA-led small business funding coalition
. This recommendation was developed in conjunction with the National Payroll Reporting Consortium (NPRC). It comes after the additional guidelines Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued on Thursday.

For the calculation of the Average Monthly Payroll cost, we recommend that payroll providers and CPAs use Gross Payroll based on 2019 data versus Net Payroll (defined as Gross Payroll less federal withholding and employee FICA). Neither the CARES Act nor the recent guidance instructs the PPP applicant to exclude federal withholding and employee FICA for the 2019 period. The Average Monthly Payroll cost includes Gross Payroll and the other defined PPP payroll cost elements such as health care, etc.

“Treasury and the SBA have acted quickly to generate this small business stimulus. As key stakeholders in the implementation of the PPP relief, we are collectively working to drive consistency in the interpretation of the administration’s guidance. Our goal is to help produce an efficient application process to quickly get the funds in the hands of small businesses and their employees,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com.

Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA, the AICPA’s executive vice president of firm services, added, “Based upon statements from members of Congress, it appears that the intent of the PPP was to base the salary calculation on gross wages with no adjustment for federal taxes. This ensures that payroll tax expenses are not passed on to the small businesses in need. In a program of this magnitude, it’s expected that guidance will evolve and terms will be clarified.”

The AICPA also said that its discussions with Treasury, SBA, banks and payroll processors to address these and other issues are ongoing and that it will keep its members, coalition partners and small businesses updated on the efforts to protect Main Street America.

  • I'm full of fears and I do my best to avoid difficulties and any kind of complications. I like everything around me to be clear as crystal and completely calm.
  • Alfred Hitchcock

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

The New Challenge of Leading People Remotely

“Being supportive is always important—but in times of crisis and separation, it’s critical.” – Dolly Daskal

In my office at work, many years ago, I had a magnetic sign stuck on the side of a metal file cabinet (remember those?) that said in big letters “Shit Happens.” It was where no one could see it but me! One of the partners gave it to me.

That pretty much described my focus back then. I was the firefighter, the policewoman, the physical Wikipedia and lots of challenges came my way. I welcomed the challenges but sometimes it was very frustrating (thus the sign). Things do just happen.

Now, as a leader in your firm (managing partner, HR director, Practice Manager, COO) lots of challenges have come your way (Big S— Has Happened).

If you are seeking help on how to do your management job in a remote environment Dolly Daskal has written an informative post.

Here are some tips:

  • You should be more supportive than ever.
  • You should be more present than ever.
  • You must keep people more informed than ever.
  • Be sure to show that you care more than ever.
  • You should bring more clarity than ever.
  • You should lead by example more than ever.

Daskal gives you more explanation for each of these tips in her post. Be sure to read the entire article.

  • It’s harder to show caring from a distance, but a time like this, when people are feeling anxious and isolated, is when a personal touch is most needed.
  • Dolly Daskal

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

Trust Your Leader

“Leadership means that a group, large or small, is willing to entrust authority to a person who has shown judgment, wisdom, personal appeal, and proven competence.” – Walt Disney

The above quote applies to public accounting firms. The firm has rewarded some employees the role of partner. Partner means owner AND leader in the firm.

The group of leaders has spent time and energy on deciding who should be the managing partner (or CEO) of the firm. This person has won their respect and trust.

Often the managing partner walks a tightrope between what is best for the firm and what is best for any individual partner. It is not an easy job. They must go well beyond client service (which most partners should be focused on). They must study current trends, pay attention to all employees, gather productive methods from other firms, be the face and voice of the firm in the local business community, etc.

So, be sure that you are “entrusting authority” to your MP. If the owner group has doubts if they have the right person, stop complaining, wondering, and second-guessing the person in the role. Trust them and give them authority or select a different MP.

  • Fantasy and reality often overlap.
  • Walt Disney

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Complacency Is Your Biggest Enemy

“Safety and comfort come with complacency, and that’s never a good place to be working from.” – Elijah Wood

Experienced CPAs who have survived, long-term in public accounting work hard. However, they love the work, it’s not a penalty or a chore. They love their clients and helping them survive taxation and other financial challenges. They love helping clients build successful businesses that will provide for a comfortable retirement down the road.

After doing this for many years, they become a partner in a CPA firm and make a lot of money. They love the work and they make great money doing what they love. Life is good.

Sure, at times they do have people challenges… you know, employees and partners. Maybe even at home.

But, over the years they have become complacent. Often, almost unknowingly, they begin to strongly avoid change. They want to maintain the status quo. They are comfortable.

What are they missing? What more could they do for their people, their clients, and even their family?

If this sounds anything at all like you, here’s the question – – Are you comfortable or are you stuck?

  • One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything's fine today, that is our illusion.
  • Voltaire

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

Managers Play A Key Role In Engagement

“’No news is good news’ should not be an employee recognition program.” – Sharlyn Lauby

Partners and owners in public accounting firms rely heavily on those experienced employees who have significant experience. They have learned and evolved over the years and are now managers in the firm.

Firm managers are on the frontline when it comes to all the other team members (supervisors, seniors, staff, associates, bookkeepers, etc.) who make up the remainder of the accounting/tax team.

Thus, managers play a key role in the training, development, and motivation of others. They make a big difference in the daily lives of your entire staff.

One big issue I have observed is that owners don’t often provide enough training for managers in the art of actually managing. “The firm” sends them to various CPE courses and encourages them in their online training in the technical skills they need to succeed. In other words, they invest in teaching them tax, audit, and accounting. Learning people skills is left to chance.

Lots of articles and surveys have told us that employees do not leave a company (firm), they leave a manager. So, lessening turnover and increasing employee engagement is the responsibility of the manager.

How can your managers create a great day for employees? Sharlyn Lauby (@hrbartender), an HR pro give us eight tips:

  1. Deliver a learning moment.
  2. Use the employee’s strengths.
  3. Tell employees they made an impact.
  4. Recognize an employee’s accomplishments.
  5. Offer inspiration.
  6. Help employees make progress toward their goals.
  7. Create collaborative opportunities.
  8. Let employees make it theirs.

Read more about each of these eight tips in this recent post from Lauby.

  • The goal is with every interaction to provide employees with an engaging experience.
  • Sharlyn Lauby

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

Be Prepared for a Pandemic

“All firms should implement is a remote access technology that allows firm personnel to continue to communicate and collaborate if they must stay home.” – Roman Kepczyk

What would happen if you had several employees become sick or have to stay home with a sick relative, especially during tax season?

So much has been in the news about the current Coronavirus. Roman H. Kepczyk, CPA.CITP, CGMA has written a very helpful and informative article on preparing for a pandemic.

Natural disasters and cybersecurity concerns have pushed most firms to develop a disaster response plan in the event of a catastrophic office or systems loss, but few have considered the potential impact of a massive influenza outbreak, such as the current Coronavirus epidemic.

Read the article here.

  • The minute you think you've got it made, disaster is just around the corner.
  • Joe Paterno

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

I Call It the Bad Apple

“To keep poor performers in place is to risk the future of the firm.” – Ron Baker

Recently, I read a great article by Ron Baker (you all know Ron Baker!).

His title for the article is Negative human capital and how it affects your firm. I simply call it The Bad Apple and have blogged about it several times. That being said, you MUST read Baker’s article.

Here’s an excerpt:

We do people no favors when we let them languish in a job they are not capable of performing well, or for which they have no heart. The philosophy, “hire slow and fire quick,” is sound advice. How do you know when it is time to let someone go? Ask yourself if you would hire this person again. Think how you would feel if this person came to you and said he or she was leaving to pursue another opportunity.

It is simply unacceptable to other team members to keep people in the firm who are not meeting expectations. The negative morale effects are significant, and will ripple throughout the company. Poor performers are not good role models, do not make good mentors, and may even be damaging customer relations. If the leaders don’t make these tough decisions regarding the most important form of intellectual capital in their firms, who will?

In my consulting work, I have observed that partners make excuses upon excuses for why they can’t let some go even when the entire staff would breathe a sigh of relief. Even when the person has caused repeated turnover because people cannot put up with their bullying.

It only takes 7 minutes to read the entire article.

  • We do people no favors when we let them languish in a job they are not capable of performing well, or for which they have no heart.
  • Ron Baker