Archive for the ‘Partner topics’ Category

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

Recognition & Inclusion

“You will find meaning when you bring purpose to work with you.” – Dan Rockwell

Last week Dan Rockwell (@LeadershipFreak) tweeted the words below.

As a firm leader, it is up to you to recognize, include, and consult your team. I am using his words to encourage you to do what he suggests:

Practice: Once a week say, “I’m trying to make this better, but it’s not working like I’d hoped. What suggestions do you have?”

  • If you had room to grow and didn’t, you’re a failure – regardless of your achievements.
  • Dan Rockwell

Monday, June 6th, 2022

I Wish This For You

“Now that I’ve been away from work, I realize that it just wasn’t that important.” – David Letterman

Letterman’s quote above should be read and taken to heart by every CPA, especially CPA partners in public practice who are nearing retirement.

It is easy to get sucked in. Your clients count on you, they need you. You feel the same applies to your partners and your team members. But, it is not all about you.

I have seen too many people working in public accounting, who think they are very important to the firm, that the firm can’t possibly go on without them. Then they leave for one reason or another and, in about a week or two no one even gives them a second thought.

CPA firms have lost people, over and over again, and yet, the firms go on and continue to be very successful.

Develop your transition plan and follow it. My wish for you is that you will feel like David Letterman.

  • There is a whole new kind of life ahead, full of experiences just waiting to happen. Some call it 'retirement.' I call it bliss.
  • Betty Sullivan

Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Excuses – Flashback Friday

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

Here’s a flashback post from June 2016. I still hear the same excuses in 2022!

Have a great weekend!

  • He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

Who Are You Traveling With?

“In life, it’s not where you go… it’s who you travel with.” – Charles Schulz

Of course, the above quotation refers to Charlie Brown and Snoopy. They are different species and have different experiences. They enjoy different things and don’t speak the same language. Yet, they are on life’s journey together.

According to a Peanuts fan page, Charlie Brown loves Snoopy and cares for him deeply, and thinks he is a great dog. In early strips, Charlie Brown seems to miss Snoopy when they go to sleep, even though he knows that they will see each other first thing the next morning.

In strips from later years, Charlie Brown gets a little annoyed by Snoopy’s laziness. All Snoopy ever seems to do is sleep on his doghouse, and wait for Charlie Brown to bring his dog food out.

Does this sound somewhat similar to how you feel about some of your partners? I imagine it does, yet, you are on life’s journey together.

  • Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.
  • Charles M. Schulz

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Be Creative – Do Things!

“Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.” – Albert Einstein

I have observed that many CPAs wait for other CPA firms to go first and then they will follow that new idea, software, process, or procedure.

So many partners, over many years, have asked me, “What are other firms doing?” I urge you to enlist your entire team in being more creative. What suggestion does that 2-year person have that might save everyone a lot of time? What has your firm administrator been urging the firm to try for a couple of years? So what if it doesn’t work. Try something else.

Once again, I offer a complete blog post from Seth Godin.

EVERYONE ELSE IS

Well, not everyone. Just most people.

When you do something that everyone else is doing, you’re likely to get what everyone else is getting.

But in almost every population, “everyone” leaves out the people who go first, who change things, who are weird and who challenge the status quo. That’s an option, even when it doesn’t seem that way.

Mass culture gets us more mass culture. It’s not the only choice.

  • A creative life is an amplified life. It's a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

Together or Apart?

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

In the world of CPA firm management in a multi-partner firm, the best possible thing that can happen is ALL partners are on the same page.

Sounds simple, right? If you live in a multi-partner firm, you know that it is a distant dream or even a fantasy. It is only natural that individuals have different wants and desires.

If you have two or three partners, things run fairly smoothly. If you have hundreds of partners, they stay out of management and focus on clients and mentoring staff. It is the six to 15 partner groups where I see the most discord.

For years consultants have been advising partner groups that if the majority is in favor of a certain initiative, those not in favor must leave the partner meeting or retreat and act as if they are fully on board with the decision. Does that happen? Rarely.

With two or three partners, decisions are made and acted upon. Four to 15, or so, partners, discord happens. Of course, as the firm expands, it is very important for leadership to know and understand the partners’ preferences and be able to lobby or politic to get the result that is best for the firm.

As the business world has changed, some partners are even outplaced or asked to retire early. I hope things are going smoothly at your firm. Don’t fear confrontation and deal with problems as they arise. The longer you ignore important issues, the quicker your firm will fall behind.

“May the 4th be with you.”

  • Do or do not. There is no try.
  • Yoda

Monday, April 25th, 2022

The Managing Partner (CEO)

“If you are the CEO, you are the brand.” — George Farris

The above quotation inspired this post. If you are the Managing Partner, you are the brand.

CPA firms operate under the partnership model even if they are not legally a partnership. There is a group of owners, usually titled partners. They elect one partner to take on the role of Managing Partner (MP), meaning he/she is the person charged with managing and leading the firm.

Larger firms have mostly evolved to a more structured system where an executive committee, led by the MP, deals with most firm management decisions. But, the majority of firms in the U.S. are considered smaller and the MP leads the firm. The role has great responsibility but yet, the other partners still want to be involved in almost everything! Still, the MP is expected to be out and about in the community being the visible “face” of the firm. The MP is on various community and charitable boards, attends many civic events, and speaks at various venues when given the opportunity. The MP really does generate and develop a brand for the firm.

Something I have often heard from MPs is the fact that they have become the firm’s MP because no one else wanted the job! Makes me sad. It is such an opportunity if you do it right, for the individual and for the firm. A great MP should be rewarded substantially because of the management duties plus they are expected to have a significant client load. They should be bringing in business and passing it along to other partners.

My simple reminder today is that as MP, you should never lose sight of the fact that you have a responsibility to build the firm brand. The firm brand determines how many clients you will attract and how many accounting graduates and other prospective employees decide to join the firm.

If you want to learn more about the role, there is a great webinar coming up on May 3 titled, The Role of the ManagingPartner: A Guide for Managing Partners to Achieve Greatness for Their Firms. It is via CPA Leadership Institute and presented by Gary Adamson.

  • It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.
  • Warren Buffett

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

Plan It Now – Your CPE

“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” – Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind

For the most part, depending on which state you are in, the bulk of tax work is now behind you. You suffered through a tax season without as big of a workforce as you would have preferred. You tolerated way too many tardy clients. You kept it going even when, earlier this year, some of your team contracted COVID. You can breathe a sigh of relief and you can kick back somewhat.

Don’t go into the ATSC (After Tax Season Coma). I have observed it for many years. It is the, I need to relax, I need a vacation, I need a change of scene, I need to catch up on my emails time of year. Lots of excuses for not doing what needs to be done to propel your firm forward and to focus on your own personal growth.

One thing that often sits on the back burner for many months is obtaining your personal Continuing Professional Education credits. They have become easier to obtain via videos, webinars, and other remote opportunities. You do not have to travel somewhere, in person, to obtain the necessary credits. Yet, you procrastinate often until the last month of your reporting period.

Save yourself some hassles and draft your CPE plan for the remainder of 2022. Get it documented now and get it off of your procrastination list.

  • You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.
  • Bill Watterson

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Flashback Friday – Know Your Competition

Your competition used to be down the street. Now, it is worldwide. I say, don’t worry about them much. You don’t need to if your firm is doing what it should be doing. Even if you don’t worry about them, you should know them. The following is a flashback post from 2017:

Know Your Competition

“It is nice to have valid competition; it pushes you to do better.” – Gianni Versace

As I have interacted with many firms over the years, I have observed that some partners are not worried at all about their competition and some partners are almost obsessed with beating their competition.

No matter your degree of concern, it is a good practice to be aware of your competition, their strengths, and their weaknesses. In reality, they are strongly targeting your best clients (just like you are targeting theirs).

As Jeffrey Gitomer (sales guru) says, it is a sales war and the winner takes all. He also suggests some Competition Success Strategies:

  • Speak kindly of your competition, or say nothing.
  • Respect competition and others will respect you.
  • If others speak negatively about anything or anyone, DO NOT join in.
  • Know your competition’s weaknesses, but focus on your strength and value.
  • Know why they won, when you should have.
  • Know how they speak about you, and build response into your presentation.
  • Know how to beat them until they hate you (hating them is a waste of energy).
  • Your only victory is when you get the job.

Read more here.

  • Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed - there's so little competition.
  • Elbert Hubbard

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Real Work vs. Busy Work

“The No. 1 cause of burnout is doing the same thing over and over again and not seeing results.” — Steve Kaczmarski

I am convinced that if CPA firm workers were able to do more REAL work, they could easily get it done working four days per week. Of course, I mean more chargeable/billable work. This applies whether you still bill by the hour or by the project.

Here’s a good article for you titled: People spend more than half their day doing busy work, according to a survey of 10,000-plus workers.

Constant interruptions have resulted in some workers saying their attention span is shorter than it was a year ago. Checking email and other tech platforms often result in being “on-call” 24/7. Often this will result in burn-out. You may have noticed some of your team are definitely stressed. They must deal with technology interruptions and also questions from other team members.

Check out my post about interruptions – and read the article referenced above.

Sahar Yousef, a cognitive neuroscientist at UC Berkeley says, “Having a clear beginning and ending to the day is important to not only avoid burnout but it also helps people feel good about their work.”

  • Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.
  • Etty Hillesum