Archive for the ‘Partner topics’ Category

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

The Cost of Recruiting

“Stay calm and aggressive.” – Gabrielle Reece

Today, I am just sharing some interesting comments I have heard recently about how some firms respond to the huge challenge of recruiting new team members.

These examples are not from small firms, nor are they from huge firms. The comments are from what I call mid-size firms.

  • One firm works with seven different professional recruiters.
  • Another firm paid over $300,000 to recruiters in 2022.

Maybe you don’t have to go to these links, but I hope you are acting aggressively when recruiting.

  • Certainly, if you look at human behavior around the world, you have to admit that we can be very aggressive.
  • Jane Goodall

Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

Don’t Do It

“Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts.” – Nikki Giovanni

Busy season is unfolding. The workload on managers and partners will steadily increase. You will be in a hurry to get jobs out the door.

It has happened many times before, whether it is February and March or July and August. You review a tax return and find a couple of oversights by the preparer. You fix the mistakes and, as mentioned, get it out the door. You don’t even take the time to notify the preparer about their mistakes.

This practice has been going on inside busy CPA firms for decades. Don’t do it!

Return the tax return or project to the preparer so they can learn from their mistakes. If you don’t, they will continue to make the same mistakes, and you will continue fixing mistakes for the remainder of your career.

  • What is done cannot be undone, but at least one can keep it from happening again.
  • Anne Frank

Monday, January 16th, 2023

A Learning Culture Is A Plus For You

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I continually read about all kinds of ways to hire and keep talented people. Of course, that is a big thing on the minds of CPAs. It has been a huge concern for years. It is right now and will be well into the future.

Today’s workforce wants to be part of a learning culture. What better place than a CPA firm?

CPA firms:

  • Provide focused, immediate training, both formal and casual, the day a new person joins the team.
  • Pay for ongoing continuing professional education (CPE).
  • Never hesitate to send people to outside CPE courses to enhance their careers.
  • Provide a significant amount of internal CPE and other training that never stops.
  • Have a mentoring culture and everyone, no matter their age and experience, must commit to lifelong learning.
  • Reward individuals who continue to learn and build their knowledge base.

If you haven’t already, it is time to spread the word about all the learning opportunities when a person joins a CPA firm.

  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were going to live forever.
  • Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, January 13th, 2023

Do You Trust? Are You Trusted?

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein

For this week’s Flashback Friday, I urge you to consider trust within your CPA firm. Is this something you need to work on? Read this post.

A good book on this topic is The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey.

In the SEARCH box on the right of this page, type in the word Trust. There are many blog posts on this topic.

  • Keep your promises and be consistent. Be the kind of person others can trust.
  • Roy T. Bennett

Thursday, January 12th, 2023

Upcoming Webinar – Register Now

 “It’s time to embrace a whole new personality as a skilled business consultant and finally become a business consulting firm.”  – Rita Keller

You’ve worked diligently and have built a glowing reputation grounded in your excellent skills in tax, accounting, and auditing. You’re known as the “go-to” person when a client is faced with tax and financial decisions. You have a very successful firm — but that’s not enough.

I am pleased to present a timely webinar titled “The Evolution of Your Firm From Compliance to Consulting” for Accountant Advocate.

The webinar will be on February 16th, 2023, at 11:00 am PDT, 2:00 pm EDT, and 7:00 pm BST.

Join me for an insightful discussion on:

  • Why change is now more important than ever
  • How to convince your partners to move out of complacency and embrace new challenges
  • Learn how to overcome the battles you will face with technology, talent, growth, and client services

Read all about it and register here.

  • Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
  • Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi

Wednesday, January 11th, 2023

Keeping Them

“The responsibility of a company is to serve the customer. The responsibility of leadership is to serve their people so that their people may better serve the customer. If leaders fail to serve their people first, both customer and company will suffer.” – Simon Sinek

You have worked hard to attract enough talent to be able to master this coming tax season. Now, you have to work at keeping them.

Per an article via Bloomberg, there are five benefits US employees want:

  1. Remote work
  2. Flexibility
  3. Sustainable work
  4. Financial health
  5. Job security

The CPA profession offers so many key benefits. I be you’ve got these!

Read the article to learn more about each one of these five.

  • I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.
  • Thomas Edison

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023


“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” – Dale Carnegie

Since 2020, CPAs have experienced more emotions in their work lives than ever before. 2020 opened up a new world for how accountants and their teams work. While accountants are pictured as stoic, and many are, the pandemic brought forth emotions not usually experienced in the CPA profession.

The rapid growth of technology advancements and the unveiling of various programs and applications that could do work more quickly, efficiently, and profitably than humans caused some concern for many.

Owners are concerned about having enough workers and having workers who want to work remotely. Employees are concerned that their desire to have a significantly more flexible work schedule will not be accepted by their bosses.

So many changes have happened and continue to happen for both for the firm owners and employees. Some of the changes came easily, and some did not. Some are still struggling with changes other CPA firms changed 25 years ago.

Identifying how people feel and how they are best managed is so important. It is time to revisit your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you. The term was first coined in 1990 by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey but was later popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman.

Read more about EQ in this blog post from 2019. Read the quotes above again.

  • CEOs are hired for their intellect and business expertise – and fired for a lack of emotional intelligence.
  • Daniel Goleman

Tuesday, December 27th, 2022

Developing Trust

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” – William Shakespeare

Over my many years working in public accounting, I have had many conversations about trust. People feel like they DO have trust within their firms. However, when I talk to partner-only groups or talk to CPA team member-only groups, both sides almost always describe activities that display a definite lack of trust.

To help bring it down to real life, here’s an example I hear over and over.

  • Team member: I don’t know when to tell them I’m leaving; I’m not sure how they will react, they might escort me to the door right away, and that would be embarrassing.
  • Owner: When someone gives notice, we usually ask them to go ahead and leave right away. We’re afraid that they will be such a negative influence on everyone around them.

I have seen cases where the team member is right about being hesitant because owners have demonstrated that you can’t predict their reaction. I’ve also seen cases where the owner should be concerned because the team member would probably spread negative vibes on purpose.

Trust is a tough topic, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. I have often found that partners (owners) don’t trust the staff, and the staff doesn’t trust all of the partners. Think about what you can do about this situation as you work your way through busy season.

Talk about it openly and maybe host a round-table lunch and learn where trust is the topic of discussion. Have each table explore ways to build more trust inside the firm and then take steps to implement some of the ideas.

  • Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.
  • Albert Einstein

Wednesday, December 21st, 2022

Too Many Meetings

“There is one kind of robber whom the law does not strike at, and who steals what is most precious to men: time.” – Napoleon

You have heard about it and read about it. Meetings are a dreaded part of work life.

CPA firm leaders are very time conscious. They worry about how much time team members spend on productive work, yet they often waste everyone’s time in meetings.

As you enter tax season, you will have meetings in January to get everyone up to speed on tax issues, internal procedures, etc. Plan now on how you can shorten these meetings, eliminate some of these meetings, and break them into smaller group meetings. Don’t include people in meetings that don’t need to be there. Communicate as much information as possible via your firm’s intranet and through other technology tools.

Investigate other things management does that interrupt people who need to focus on work. Determine what you can do to “fix” these interruptions and then fix them. Your team will thank you.

  • You may delay, but time will not.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Monday, December 19th, 2022

Silent Partners

“Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.”- Jean-Paul Sartre

Often, when attending or facilitating partner planning retreats, I have observed that many partners don’t actually speak up and say what is on their minds.

I believe that one of the most important responsibilities of CPA firm partners is to contribute verbally in partner meetings and retreats. When a conversation becomes confrontational, several partners avert eye contact and look at their laps!

In order to move your firm forward, you need to have robust conservations as a partner group. You need engagement among the group and everyone helping row the boat in the same direction.

That is why a recent tweet by Deb Mills-Scofield hit home with me (and it should with you!). Here’s her tweet:

“Nodding the head does not row the boat.” – Irish Proverb

  • There are always a lot of people so afraid of rocking the boat that they stop rowing. We can never get ahead that way.
  • Harry S. Truman