Archive for the ‘Partner topics’ Category

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

Do More For Fewer Clients

“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.” – J. M. Power

Years ago I attended something called the Accountant’s Bootcamp. If you are old enough you might remember the training that spread across the U.S.A. It was provided by Paul Dunn and Ric Payne. Read more about it here.

The big push from Bootcamp was to distinguish your firm from all others by providing Awesome Client Service that was so awesome that clients would pay much more just to be your client! The process worked if you followed their game plan. Many firms attended, got trained and then didn’t follow through.

I was reminded of doing more for fewer clients by a recent article via Accounting Today written by Mark Fishman titled, Refocusing my practice: Fewer clients, greater revenues. I hope you will read it.

  • Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set ourself on fire.
  • Arnold Glasow

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

The End of Your Firm

“The end is near when organizations don’t develop people.” – Dan Rockwell

Do you foresee the end of your firm?

The quote, above, describes what has happened to public accounting firms. The quote, above, is the reason that M&A frenzy has survived for so many years.

Years ago, I remember Allan Koltin sharing a list of CPA firms that used to be in existence. They were nationally known firms and they disappeared for various reasons – poor management, reputations lost, scandal, and sometimes for growth. The list wasn’t extremely long.

Here’s an example from 1990: Laventhol & Horwath, the nation’s seventh-largest accounting firm, filed for bankruptcy protection this week under the weight of lawsuits seeking damages for allegedly faulty audits.

When we entered the new millennium, the pace of firms disappearing picked up pace and has been in a rapid race ever since. I have a long list of firms I once knew and worked with that no longer exist.

Owners aged over the last 20 years and they wanted something for their years of hard work. They readily admitted (and moaned about it) – “We don’t have anyone who can replace us!” I heard this statement numerous times and my reply: “Whose fault is that?”

Read the quote again. Will your firm end because you haven’t developed people?

  • Every ending is a beginning. We just don't know it at the time.
  • Mitch Albom

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

Are You Still Selling Time?

“What we care about is the work done, not how long it took to do it.” – Seth Godin

The following is one of those Seth Godin posts that I just copy and share. It is an important question for CPAs. Are you selling results?

Selling Your Time

We don’t pay surgeons by the hour.

And if the person who cuts the lawn shows up with a very fast riding mower, we don’t insist on paying less because they didn’t have to work as hard.

Often, what we care about is the work done, not how long it took to do it.

And yet, some jobs, from law to programming, charge by the hour.

When you sell your time, you’re giving away your ability to be a thoughtful, productivity-improving professional.

Sell results.

  • In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.
  • Seth Godin

Monday, August 10th, 2020

Learn More About M&A Trends

“Moving doesn’t change who you are. It only changes the view outside your window.” – Rachel Hollis

M&A is always a hot topic when you are talking with a group of CPAs. There are many aspects to M&A and each M&A opportunity is different from another.

This Wednesday, August 12th, Gary Adamson of Adamson Advisory will be conducting an informative webinar for CPA Leadership Institute about the CPA M&A landscape.

He will focus on the trends in valuations and the terms, and why the terms drive the multiples that we all hear so much about.

Learn more about the webinar here.

  • If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.
  • Roy T. Bennett

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

2020 Turnover

“Turnover can be one of the most expensive problems at a company.” – Shawn Achor

As usual, within the CPA profession, there is no one answer to a management question. Recently, on the topic of turnover, I am hearing lots of stories.

We are all reading about firms, especially the larger firms, who are taking the opportunity related to COVID to downsize their workforce to save money and to get rid of people not meeting the firm’s expectations.

On the other side of this story, I am hearing directly from some practitioners that they have been able to hire some experienced (and skilled) CPAs who are in the job market right now for various reasons.

Recently, one firm shared with me that they have had no turnover and another firm reported that they have experienced several departures.

Here are just a few reasons people leave:

  • CPAs of all ages have no difficulty obtaining another job.
  • In many firms, team members are awaiting salary increases and other perks that were cut-back during COVID.
  • Some are tired of the long hours with few rewards and recognition.
  • Your clients are also looking for good people and they know you have them.
  • Many accounting firms are not embracing the new workforce, the partners exclude them rather than include them. Communication is an issue.
  • The pay is better elsewhere.

Some reasons people stay:

  • Firms have generously rewarded their entire team because they went above and beyond during an unusual and challenging busy season.
  • The transition to work-from-home (WFH) was easy because the firm was already completely paperless and the firm was very supportive in meeting the needs of establishing a home office.
  • Communication from the partners has actually improved in recent months. Team members are well-informed even when remote.
  • WFH will be an on-going option for many team members.
  • Team members are thanked and recognized for their contributions.

Another good reason to retain top talent – Some studies (such as SHRM) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.

  • The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.
  • Max Depree

Monday, August 3rd, 2020

Act Upon Your Ideas

“Without hustle talent will only carry you so far.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

It is so exciting to go to a conference (or attend virtually) and obtain all kinds of ideas that spark your own ideas. You are invigorated, enthused, and committed to meeting with others on your team and sharing your ideas and intentions.

Then you get sidelined. The phone rings and a client or two or three need something and that seems more important than your idea. You will take care of these clients needs and then work more on that great idea.

Then you get sidelined. Your partners remind you that you have to get that selection of a new software finalized. You have to deal with performance feedback sessions and then you will work more on that great idea.

Someone else in thee firm talks about a great idea that is similar to yours. They work on getting others involved and soon that great ideas is becoming reality.

They found the time to get it done. You did not. They made it a top priority. You did not. You intended to do it but they made the time and succeeded.

Have you ever, in a meeting, a class or a training session, whispered a great comment to the person sitting next to you, and then they raise their hand and vocalize the great comment? It happened to some of us in high school or college. It happened to some of us in a staff meeting. It makes you feel sad and resentful.

Next time, raise your hand, speak up, and take action. You have the time, you just did not make it a top priority. Intending to get it done someday is no longer an option.

  • The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.
  • Steve Harvey

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Are You Talking?

“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something.” – Plato

If things are not going so well at a firm, if the partner group is not on the same page and there are undercurrents of discord, it is usually a lapse in communication. The partners have skipped or canceled their partner meetings.

Read this Friday Flashback post. Partner communication is key to the success of the firm.

  • Most people talk too much, and what they do say is often just noise or irrelevant gibberish designed to keep themselves entertained.
  • Stuart Wilde

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

Billing Clients

“Never take your eyes off the cash flow because it’s the life blood of business.” – Richard Branson

Billing clients should be routine. It should be a well- established habit. It’s not difficult so don’t make it so.

Document your billing guidelines and then live by them. Much of the task of billing clients can be automated now. Your admin team can assist in making the process easier.

Billing clients was a recent discussion on the CPAFMA discussion board. If you are not a member, the discussion board by itself is worth the annual dues.

Victoria LeStrange, is the firm administrator for Heymann, Suissa & Stone P.C. of Rockville, MD. The process she shared is very similar to what I recommend. Teach your partners how to use the software! In this day and age, partners must be computer proficient.

Here’s Ms. LeStrange’s firm’s process:

Each partner does their own billing from soup to nuts.   It’s all done onscreen with CCH AXCESS…we typically bill business clients on the 16th of each month and most all bills are done and emailed by the end of the day. Individual tax returns are often billed upon completion.

Many firms bill weekly, especially during busy season. Again, the software and the admin team facilitate the process. Individual tax returns should be billed immediately upon delivery.

An efficient billing and collection process speeds up cash flow. That should be very important to your partner group.

  • Entrepreneurs believe that profit is what matters most in a new enterprise. But profit is secondary. Cash flow matters most.
  • Peter Drucker

Friday, July 24th, 2020

Is It Time To Retire? – Flashback Friday

This week, for Flashback Friday, I have selected a post from February, this year. It was before the you-know-what hit the fan. Maybe retirement is now on your mind more than ever.

Here’s the post:

IS IT TIME TO ACTUALLY RETIRE?

In yesterday’s blog post I mentioned that I had recently re-read Tuesdays with Morrie.

One of Morrie’s wise sayings was:

“Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hang on too long.”

He was talking about life. To me, because I have worked with so many Baby Boomer CPAs over the years, it is something that applies to their retirement.

Many are in denial about retirement. They plan to work until they drop. Very short-sighted, indeed. There is so much more in life to experience if you wish it so.

Several situations I know about involve partners retiring but they do not quit working at the firm.

A couple of others involve 80-somethings continuing to come into the office even though they are not able to use the technology any longer.

My advice: Don’t hang on too long.

  • It's not too late to develop new friendships or reconnect with people.
  • Morrie Schwartz

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Partners Doing Partner Work – Friday Flashback

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

Do you want your firm to be as profitable as it can be? Read this flashback blog post from July 17, 2019: Partners Doing Partner Work.

This is the last weekend before the July due date. I hope you are not working all weekend but I suspect many of you are. Maybe you should seriously consider training your clients.

  • Differentiate to succeed.
  • Seth Godin