Archive for the ‘Partner topics’ Category

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Emergencies

“Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed.” – William James

I don’t often use a complete post by Seth Godin. However, this one hits so close to home for CPAs that I just had to share it right here – so you will read it!

Another important due date is approaching. So many of you tell me that much of the stress is caused by clients who fail to provide information. Then it becomes a fire drill to complete their tax return by the due date causing stress and frustration for the entire team. His first paragraph is exactly you. 

You must charge a significantly higher fee for emergencies. If those tardy clients won’t pay it then let them go elsewhere. Quit complaining about these clients and take steps to solve the situation.

Emergencies Cost Extra

If you work in a field where things need to be delivered by date certain, with zero defects, with high consequences if you make a mistake—then you need to charge a premium for exposing yourself to emergencies.

It doesn’t matter what something in a non-emergency situation costs. If someone wants the standard version, let them buy that.

The buyer is offered to pull it off the shelf, see if you like it. If it doesn’t satisfy you, take a different one.

Emergencies (or even the risk of emergencies) cost extra. Yelling at us costs extra. Panic costs extra.

Your entire organization (and your entire day) revolves around preventing the emergency or recovering from it when it occurs.

The reason custom work costs more is no longer a matter of production efficiency. Computers are happy to customize things.

Big companies that serve other big companies spend at least 80% of their overhead on being ready (or dealing with) meetings and emergencies.

The reason to charge more is all about ensurance, insurance and emotional wear and tear.

If that’s the sort of work you want to do, charge appropriately.

  • History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.
  • John F. Kennedy

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Fight Your Urge to Procrastinate

“Indecision and delays are the parents of failure.” – George Canning

You are working your way through some strategic planning with your partners. An item comes up that has been discussed on many occasions. One or more participants might say:

  • “Let’s put that one in the parking lot for later.”
  • “It is too late in the year to take that one on.”
  • “We can’t deal with that now, let’s wait until after tax season.”

It is the procrastination dance that many accountants know all too well.

From Psychology Today:

Everyone puts things off until the last minute sometimes, but procrastinators chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions. Procrastination in large part reflects our perennial struggle with self-control as well as our inability to accurately predict how we’ll feel tomorrow, or the next day. “I don’t feel like it” takes precedence over goals; however, it then begets a downward spiral of negative emotions that deter future effort.

Procrastinators may say they perform better under pressure, but more often than not that’s their way of justifying putting things off. The bright side? It’s possible to overcome procrastination—with effort. Perfectionists are often procrastinators; it is psychologically more acceptable to never tackle a task than to face the possibility of falling short on performance.

I hope you quickly address items that need to be resolved. Either deal with it or take it off the table permanently.

  • Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.
  • Napoleon Hill

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

Client Service

“There are two paths, really: “I will serve just enough to make the maximum profit” or “I will profit just enough to provide the maximum service.” – Seth Godin

Managing an accounting firm means juggling a lot of balls.

I have observed that often, firm leaders permit client service to gradually slip down the list of priorities.

New clients get so much attention. They are courted throughout the pursuit process. They receive lots of information from the firm. They are continually in touch with the partner assigned and several other team members who are serving them. Their calls are always taken or at least returned within a couple hours. They are special and you want them to feel that way.

Often, long-term, loyal clients seem to be forgotten. Of course, they receive good service during the annual engagement. But how often do you “touch” them throughout the year? Do they get recognized because they always pay on time? Do they receive links to articles about their industry from you? Does the firm acknowledge special life events for clients like a child’s graduation or marriage?

I have modified an old saying for you – – – “Get new clients but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.”

  • There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
  • Sam Walton

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Cul de sac

“If your job is a cul-de-sac, you have to quit or accept the fact that your career is over.” – Seth Godin

Cul de sac is a dead-end street. It goes nowhere. Seth Godin talks about cul-de-sac jobs in his book The Dip.

If you are working in a CPA firm, no matter what your title, you might find yourself in a cul-de-sac job. You work and you work and nothing much happens. It doesn’t get better, it doesn’t get worse. It just is.

Get off the cul-de-sac – why invest your life in something not getting any better.

Some of you work in cul-de-sac firms. There is a lot of talk about how things will get better but nothing much seems to happen. Years pass by.

Some of you are in cul-de-sac partner groups. Same as above, lots of talk but not much really happens. Years pass by.

Move your firm and/or yourself out of the cul-de-sac.

 

  • People settle. They settle for less than they are capable of.
  • Seth Godin

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Outsourced Accounting

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” – Anton Chekhov

CPA firms are seeing amazing growth in the area of outsourced accounting services. It not only is of immediate value to clients, it also provides the accountant with the ability (and information) to become even more of a trusted advisor.

Recently, Bill.com released the results of a survey they did regarding the use of outsourced accounting services. They have furnished a report on their findings – What Businesses Really Think of Client Accounting Services. You can download the report here.

In the introduction, Bill.com founder, Rene Lacerte, notes:

We are a nation of outsourcers.

In our personal lives, we outsource both simple and complex tasks—everything from grocery shopping to planning for retirement. We aren’t lazy or incapable, but we know that if we let the experts handle these tasks, they will be done right and allow us time to focus on what matters most. Outsourcing reinforces our priorities.

Businesses, too, are well acquainted with outsourcing. Disciplines ranging from IT to customer support to HR have all found their ways to hire experienced professionals outside of the corporate structure. Now, outsourcing all accounting is gaining traction.

The accounting profession has talked about client accounting advisory services (CAS) for a decade, speculating on the best ways a firm can solicit and handle all of a company’s accounting and finance department needs. For accountants, holding the reins to the company’s financial performance gives them unparalleled insight into the business and the ability to surpass a transactional state in favor of strategic advice and planning. It creates the platform for impactful contributions.

While accountants understand the benefits of CAS, what do businesses think about outsourcing their accounting? If you’re considering starting or expanding your CAS practice, it is good insight to have before you begin.

In this survey with CPA.com, we asked more than 1,700 small and medium-size businesses to share their opinions on outsourcing accounting. The results are summarized in the following pages. Respondents told us how much they’re outsourcing today, what they’d like to outsource, what they appreciate about it, and how it benefits their customers.

The survey data underscores just how important CAS can be to both firms and their business clients and how it will continue to grow and gain even greater value in the accounting world.

  • Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
  • William Shakespeare

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

A Learning Opportunity

unnamed

 

 

 

Don’t hesitate to invest in the success of your new partners and your future partners.

My good friend, Jeff Pawlow of The Growth Partnership, reminded me that it is time to register for The Partner Institute. Here’s the scoop:

Announcing The Partner Institute™ 2019

The Partner Institute™ is a three-year, multidisciplinary program designed to develop the needed skills and attributes for successful firm leadership. Session 1 starts January 16-18, 2019 at the Boardwalk Inn at Walt Disney World. Learn More

Our Curriculum 

The Partner Institute™ offers participants a robust, in-classroom curriculum led by facilitators who are experts in their particular topic and have a deep pedigree rooted in the accounting profession. This sets The Partner Institute™ apart from other offerings.

View the Full Three Year Curriculum Map

Don’t Take Our Word For It…

You can hear it from our graduates first hand!

Since its inception in 2004, The Partner Institute™ has developed future leaders in the profession. We are proud to have a proven track record of success. View Testimonials

Sign Up Today!
Reserve your spot in The Partner Institute™ by submitting your registration and a deposit of $500. Attend the initial course and then decide if the program is right for you. If you elect to continue, we will invoice you accordingly.

Register Now!

  • Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
  • Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

You Are Good With Numbers But Can You Write?

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac

I have observed that many CPAs in public practice do not like to write articles. They seem to love numbers more than words.

I have also observed that there is usually one or two partners who do have a talent for writing. The best ones are those who can explain complex tax and accounting issues so that their average client can better understand the topic and actually appreciate the information.

Many CPA firm marketing directors have voiced their great frustration with the “write an article for our newsletter” dance. The partner promises to write an article for the next issue. The Marketer begins nagging about two weeks before the deadline and continues to nag right up until the drop-dead date for publication. The partner always has a good excuse…. “give me one more day” is the battle cry.

CPAs who write for their firm newsletter – when you volunteer to write an article, write it immediately and side-step the drama.

Offer your articles to your local business newspaper. They are often looking for tax and accounting articles. Articles can be repurposed. Use them for blog posts!

If you want to build your personal reputation – write, write, write.

  • Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Busy vs. Busyness

“Leadership is about creating change you believe in.” – Seth Godin

I just had to share a post by Seth Godin. It is so right-on for the CPA profession. The title is Business/Busyness. I sincerely hope you take just a couple minutes to read the entire post.

You (and all your team members) are busy, but are you productive? Productivity is the amount of useful output created for every hour of work we do.

Take note of number three in his post. Productivity suffers when you are waiting – Waiting on answers from a partner, waiting on tech support, waiting on clients.

What are you going to do about the time killer – waiting on clients? The lost time wasted on clients who keep you waiting could be better spent on the kind of clients who value your services and your team.

Godin states: Busy is not your job. Busy doesn’t get you what you seek. Busy isn’t the point. Value creation is. 

You only get today once. Your team does too. How will you spend it?

  • People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.
  • Seth Godin

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

CPA Firm Best Practices Network

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” – Benjamin Franklin

I received the following press release yesterday. Another good resource for practice management ideas and trends.

CPA Leadership Institute and Adamson Advisory announce the formation of the CPA Firm Best Practices Network™ 

Effective July 15, 2018–The CPA Firm Best Practices Network™ is a ground-breaking initiative dedicated to CPA firms that would like to reach a higher level of performance. 

The Resources of the CPA Firm Best Practices Network™include the CPA Firm Self-Assessment Tool™ the CPA Firm Self-Assessment Survey,™ and the Best Practices Focus Group Program. 

The CPA Firm Self-Assessment Tool™ is an inventory of generally accepted best practices employed in virtually every segment of the business of CPA firms. Each best practice is accompanied by a description of what it means to be performing at a high level with respect to that best practice. 

Firms use the CPA Firm Self-Assessment Tool ™ to guide them in rating their performance. They submit their ratings to the Network, which periodically publishes the CPA Firm Self-Assessment Survey,™ for member firms to compare themselves with their peers. 

The CPA Firm Self-Assessment Tool™ helps develop insights into the strengths and weaknesses in firm operations– in their own view—to begin the process of developing the initiatives to move from good to great. 

The Best Practices Focus Groups are online sessions that help firms prioritize and work on best practices. They will expand on the answer to the question–what does it mean to perform at a high level with respect to each best practice?

The Panel of Advisors:
Gary Adamson, Adamson Advisory

Joel Sinkin, Transition Advisors
Lisa Tierney, Tierney Coaching and Consulting
Marc Rosenberg, The Rosenberg Associates
Randy Johnston, Network Management Group, Inc.
Bryan Eberle, Haydenrock Solutions
Joel Shiffrin, CPA Leadership Institute

  • Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
  • Abigail Adams

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Essential Questions

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy

You have gathered all of your partners for the annual partner retreat. You are not going to discuss day-to-day issues. You are all going to focus on strategic issues that will take your firm into the future.

You work diligently for one or two days and document a strategic plan. Allow time at the end of the retreat to discuss one more thing. It is David Maister’s essential questions of strategy (from his book Strategy and the Fat Smoker). Consider these questions, discuss these questions because they are the questions that are often avoided in strategic planning:

“Which of our habits are we really prepared to change, permanently and forever? Which lifestyle changes are we really prepared to make? What issues are we really ready to tackle?”

 

  • Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
  • Nelson Mandela