Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Skimpflation

“Courtesy is the one coin you can never have too much of or be stingy with.” – John Wanamaker

Have you been reading about skimpflation?

The quality of service, in various places like The Magic Kingdom, airlines, restaurants, etc. have deteriorated since the beginning of the pandemic. It is a problem that the NPR show “Planet Money” has labeled “skimpflation.”

The definition of skimp: expend or use less time, money, or material on something than is necessary in an attempt to economize.

Many businesses, especially small businesses have skimped in order to stay alive. Airlines cancel flights and put people on hold on the phone for hours. Some restaurants have eliminated menus and you must use your phone to see what is offered. Hotels and stores provide fewer services than in the past. Service seems to be very poor just about everywhere. Much of this is because businesses are simply understaffed.

Per NPR: While it may lurk in the shadows, make no mistake: Skimpflation is a form of inflation. As with normal inflation, it means we’re getting less for our money.

Read more about it here and consider the service in your own firm. I have talked to CPA firms who are concerned about obtaining new clients because they fear they won’t be able to offer the awesome client service they were once able to provide.

It is important that your long-time clients don’t feel that they are not getting the same level of service they have received in the past.

Are you guiding your small business clients through the minefield of skimpflation?

  • Fear will make you stingy.
  • Kenneth Copeland

Friday, May 28th, 2021

Which One Are You?

“Reading is departure and arrival.” —Terri Guillemets

Summer is on the way. This weekend is often referred to as our first summer holiday and to me summer means more reading.

For Flashback Friday this week read one of my posts that describes a book you should read. The post asks if you are a Linchpin or a Hurdle? Enjoy the 3-day weekend. Click here to read the post.

  • The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
  • Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Head of Remote

“The mark of higher education isn’t the knowledge you accumulate in your head. It’s the skills you gain about how to learn.” – Adam Grant

Last year at this time, could you ever visualize needing a person with the title Head of Remote Work?

Darren Murph is Head of Remote for a software firm that has been all remote since 2012. He lives near the Outer Banks in North Carolina and the 700 other employees of the firm are sprinkled around the country. He believes that his title might be the next evolution of the COO (or, in the CPA world, the Practice Manager).

He wears many hats and what he does daily sounds a lot like what a current CPA firm practice manager (firm administrator) does. Other companies are also hiring people who can help the company make the transition to remote work.

What about your firm? For most, it seems, it will become a hybrid model where some work remotely all the time and some work remotely part of the time. It might make sense to have someone devoted to helping and coordinating remote workers so that the firm’s practice manager has more time to focus on the on-site workers and over-all firm initiatives.

It would take somebody with an HR background, strong communication skills and they need to also be highly skilled at technology.

Maybe it is something you should be thinking about. Read the informative article via The Washington Post.

  • Soft skills get little respect, but will make or break your career.
  • Peggy Klaus

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

Constantly Work on Your Communication

“Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.” – Jim Rohn

If you want your firm to be a place where communication flourishes, then you (no matter what your role) must constantly work on your own communication skills. Sometimes it is called the Art of Communication and that title is meaningful.

Per Jim Rohn, there are many tools available to you as you communicate; you just have to be aware of them and then use them purposefully. The better you become at using these tools, the better you’ll be at communicating.

You communicate through both verbal and nonverbal methods.

Verbal Communication:

Your Words – People will judge you by the words you use. Think about it.

Your Vocabulary – An expanded vocabulary will set you apart. If you are an avid reader and learner you are expanding your vocabulary daily. Keep it up.

Those are just two of the ways you communicate verbally. Also, consider Emotion and Enunciation.

Nonverbal Communication:

Your Hands – Use your hands, for sure but don’t go overboard.

Your Eyes – The eyes speak volumes. It bugs me when people don’t make eye contact.

Also, think about your arms and your speaking position.

Read more about each of these via the Jim Rohn site. You can find so much good information there.

A reminder: Follow me on Twitter for more CPA practice management topics.

  • Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.
  • Jim Rohn

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

The Source of Truth

“How to give people feedback is one of the hottest topics in business today.” – Marcus Buckingham 

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about giving and receiving feedback. It is an excerpt from the article, The Feedback Fallacy, via HBR, written by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall.

Just in case you didn’t read the entire article, here is a segment that speaks volumes.

The Source of Truth

The first problem with feedback is that humans are unreliable raters of other humans. Over the past 40 years psychometricians have shown in study after study that people don’t have the objectivity to hold in their heads a stable definition of an abstract quality, such as business acumen or assertiveness, and then accurately evaluate someone else on it. Our evaluations are deeply colored by our own understanding of what we’re rating others on, our own sense of what good looks like for a particular competency, our harshness or leniency as raters, and our own inherent and unconscious biases. This phenomenon is called the idiosyncratic rater effect, and it’s large (more than half of your rating of someone else reflects your characteristics, not hers) and resilient (no training can lessen it). In other words, the research shows that feedback is more distortion than truth.

This is why, despite all the training available on how to receive feedback, it’s such hard work: Recipients have to struggle through this forest of distortion in search of something that they recognize as themselves.

Next summer, when all the unique and unusual circumstances surrounding work has calmed down. Your firm should be ready to give feedback in a new and refreshing way. Do the homework and begin now. Maybe even some new behaviors surrounding feedback should begin happening much sooner than next summer. How about starting January 1st?

  • Just as your doctor doesn’t know the truth of your pain, we don’t know the truth about our colleagues, at least not in any objective way.
  • Marcus Buckingham

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

The Rosenberg Survey

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” – Bill Waterson, Calvin & Hobbes

The 2020 Rosenberg Survey is NOW available!

The 4-day Thanksgiving weekend would be a good time to study the Rosenberg Survey. It has so much great information.

The number of firms that have mandatory retirement provisions in their partner agreements remained relatively steady after an upward trend for the past few years. In working throughout the industry, we have noted a general acknowledgment of the importance of mandatory retirement provisions. For more information on partner retirement, purchase The 2020 Rosenberg Survey.

CLICK HERE to Order the Survey!

  • Working people have a lot of bad habits, but the worst of these is work.
  • Clarence Darrow

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

The CPA Profession 2027

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker

Today, I am sharing a press release from the Illinois CPA Society. I think it will definitely be of interest to those working in the CPA profession. They are providing seven predictions for the future titled, “CPA Profession 2027: Racing for Relevance.”

CHICAGO, Nov. 11, 2020– Unveiling seven provocative predictions for the future of the CPA profession, the Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS)—one of the largest state CPA societies in the nation—has released its 2020 Insight Special Feature, “CPA Profession 2027: Racing for Relevance.”

The result of more than a year’s worth of strategic planning conversations and reviewing countless articles, interviews, reports, studies, and surveys—and conducting some of its own—“CPA Profession 2027” coalesces ICPAS’ findings from these authoritative, and sometimes disparate, sources into a powerful report detailing the underlying trends and challenges driving change in the CPA profession and how they may shape its future.

Inside “CPA Profession 2027,” ICPAS outlines how the CPA profession is facing a pace and type of change unlike any it has experienced before, where the rules of the race are literally being rewritten by technology. Key predictions include outlooks on how artificial intelligence and robotic process automation will forever change accounting, audit, finance, tax, and more;  the ways services are provided to companies and clients, and the ways companies and firms are staffed, will shift dramatically; and how implications of the global pandemic, along with rapidly changing company and client expectations, will demand CPAs change both mindset and skill set. The most provocative prediction of all is that the number of CPAs will decline in the years ahead as technology becomes more pervasive.

“While many strategic plans and reports look just one, two, or maybe three years out right now, we believe we cannot risk being shortsighted given the long-term implications of all that is changing around us,” says ICPAS President and CEO Todd Shapiro. “We understand the risks of making predictions. We acknowledge it’s unlikely each one plays out perfectly. But we firmly believe they’re directionally correct. Our hope is that the insights compiled here will rev up conversations that help us chart a roadmap for ensuring the sustainability, relevance, and growth of the CPA profession for many years to come.”

“CPA Profession 2027” is available now in PDF and digital formats at www.icpas.org/CPA2027, and print editions are available upon request. Shapiro welcomes feedback and is available for further comment.

  • The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Influence

“Leverage your uniqueness.” Bruce Tulgan

Over the years I have worked with and talked with a lot of support professionals working in public accounting.

They are the firm administrators, COOs, practice managers, HR directors, marketing directors, IT managers, training managers, etc.

What I have told firm administrators for years, and it applies to all the others, is that you may not have power but you have influence – make that influence work for you.

Sometimes it seems like an uphill battle but I have observed some awesome initiatives accomplished mostly through the use of influence to guide a diverse group of partners in the right direction!

Bruce Tulgan tells us:

The problem is that too many people believe influence is about playing workplace politics, building personal rapport, or establishing a quid pro quo with others. That’s what I call false influence. Real influence is a generous, other-centered focus based on adding value in every single interaction.

If you understand the mathematics of real influence—and believe in it—you can make yourself incredibly rich in a very potent source of power by dedicating yourself to serving others, moment by moment, in every interaction.

There are four tactics of real influence.

Read this recent article from Tulgan where he shares the four tactics of real influence: 1) Interpersonal influence. 2) Specific commitments. 3) Rational persuasion. 4) Facilitating success.

I hope you read all of Tulgan’s books. I have shared “It’s Okay to Be the Boss” with many clients and friends over the years. I was fortunate to have him sign my dog-eared copy several years ago.

  • Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
  • Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Getting Things Done

“I’ve found that employing even one of these five strategies can save you hours each week.” – Elizabeth Grace Saunders

You always have so much to do. You are busy, busy, busy. There is always a new due date around the corner.

Last week as I talked with several clients about how it felt to have the September 15th due date behind them there was a common theme. They noted, “We still have twenty trusts to get done by September 30 and then there are 75 1040s still to do for October 15th!

You know how this goes in an accounting firm.

Elizabeth Grace Saunders, an internationally recognized expert on effective time management offers us 5 Strategies for Getting More Work Done in Less Time via HBR.

She notes: You’ve got more to do than could possibly get done with your current work style. You’ve prioritized. You’ve planned. You’ve delegated. You’ve tried to focus. The next frontier is increasing your efficiency so that you can spend less time and still do a good job.

The Five Strategies

  1. Clarify Actual Expectations
  2. Re-Use Previous Material
  3. Develop Templates and Checklists
  4. Make it a Conversation
  5. Time Box Your Work

Read about each of them here.

  • Without hustle, talent will only carry you so far.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

Your Foundation

“The important thing is that you’ve got a strong foundation before you start to try to save the world or help other people.” – Richard Branson

Does your CPA firm have a solid foundation?

I often talk about the internal workings of a firm as the foundational issues. Do you have effective and efficient processes and procedures as it relates to client service and also how it relates to human resources issues? If there are many different ways to accomplish client work, it cannot be as efficient as having one way, the FIRM way. In too many firms, the way work is completed depends on the partner-in-charge of the client engagement.

Of course, there are other foundational issues relating to the services you offer and the needs of your clients. Those issues are changing. The once-solid foundation of the CPA profession consisting of accounting, tax, and audit is becoming rather shaky!

Joey Havens, CPA, CGMA, is the executive partner at HORNE LLP. He offers us a closer look at your foundation in his article, Five Ways Firms Can Solidify Their Business Foundation via the AICPA, CPA Insider. Take a few minutes to read his tips.

  • Great persons are great because of good, strong foundations on which they were able to build a character.
  • Alfred Armand Montapert