Archive for the ‘Recruiting’ Category

Monday, October 11th, 2021

The Best People Work Here

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” – Jim Collins

Hopefully, you have worked very diligently on building a brand that attracts and retains clients. You have testimonials that stress the fact that your firm is knowledgeable, progressive, and meets your client’s expectations for awesome service. You have experts in many disciplines and are also very active in community and charitable organizations. All of that builds a brand that attracts quality clients.

That brand also attracts quality people but with people, you need more. How prestigious is it to work at your firm? Is it prestigious at all? Bruce Tulgan calls it the prestige factor. Per Tulgan, “Prestigious organizations send two messages: ‘Not everyone gets to work here,’ and ‘It is a privilege and an honor to work here.’”

Much of this falls on the shoulders of your managers. How much have you invested in their people management skills? When managers set high expectations for themselves and those they manage you begin to build a prestigious workplace. It is up to managers (and partners also fill the role of manager), to weed out low performers. Your “all-stars” do not like working at a firm that tolerates “falling stars.

In this era of the great resignation, you need to take immediate steps to build your firm’s prestige factor. Read more from Tulgan here.

  • The one thing that organizations with prestigious cultures have in common is a reputation for shining a bright light of scrutiny on performance.
  • Bruce Tulgan

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

When They Walk In The Door

“If you want to ignite the spark, focus on them from the moment they walk in the door.”  – Bruce Tulgan

I have often talked about young, newly graduated talent walking into the door, for the first time, at their new job in a CPA firm. My story stresses the fact that from a baby’s first step they have heard applause for each accomplishment through their growing-up years. Even at college graduation, they hear applause.

What do they hear when they walk into a CPA firm? Silence.

From Bruce Tulgan – “With a concrete onboarding plan, clear learning objectives, and supporting materials—and one or two daily one-on-ones—you will be amazed how quickly you can get a new employee on-board, up-to-speed, and operating at full capacity.”

Read this great blog post by Bruce Tulgan and watch the short video summary. What can your firm do to make onboarding and continual employment at your firm enjoyable, exciting, and rewarding?

  • Employees today want to know, “What do you want from me today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year?
  • Bruce Tulgan

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

Boundaryless Recruiting

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Elbert Hubbard

As accounting firms have adapted to a remote work environment, things have happened. Some of these things could be described as – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Team members have been working very effectively. Key people in your firm have become experts at training new hires remotely. Others have worked hard on guiding the culture of the firm. The good? Now, you can hire people no matter where they live. It is called boundaryless recruiting it is going very well for some firms.

Beware, the bad – Now firms from anywhere in the world can reach out to your valuable staff and hire them without the requirement of having to relocate. They can pay them a much larger salary than you are offering and that much larger salary goes even farther if your firm is in a lower cost of living location.

The ugly part is that while you are widening your horizons when it comes to hiring, other firms are doing the same. Boundaryless recruiting has become just one battlefield in the war for people. Don’t give up!

  • It always seems impossible until it's done.
  • Nelson Mandela

Monday, September 27th, 2021

Is It Really Too Hard?

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act.” – Amelia Earhart

Back in late August, Daniel Hood, Editor-in-Chief of Accounting Today asked the question, “Is it too hard to become a CPA?” He referred to the difficulty of the CPA Exam and the extra credit hours needed to sit for the Exam. You can read my opinion here.

Many other people, most of them CPAs, sent their replies and opinions to Dan. Last week, he published many of them.

I think you will find the answers interesting – the ones from practitioners and the ones from CPA want-to-bes. Read them here.

  • Difficult things aren't easy, but they're worth it.
  • Mia Love

Friday, September 24th, 2021

Remote Workers – Flashback Friday

“Friday is a day to finish your goals for the week. It is a day to celebrate that which you set out to accomplish at the beginning of the week.” —Byron Pulsifer

You have people who want to be fully remote. You have people who want to get back to the office. You have people who want a hybrid schedule. No matter which way you go, it’s still going to be different for everyone. Someone who has always been a key “go-to” person for staff might now be hybrid and not always easily accessible and so on.

Check out this post about Another View of Remote Workers.

Have a nice weekend!

  • If my boss knew how unproductive I am on Fridays, he wouldn't want me here either.
  • James Johnson

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

Cover Letters

“A well-written cover letter can be the difference between winning or losing a job opportunity.” – Larry Sheftel, Aprio

It is always great to be featured in The Journal of Accountancy. Thank you to Teri Saylor for contacting me to discuss the power, lack of power, and use of cover letters for resumes.

Do you expect a cover letter when someone submits a resume? Do you even care? Some beneficial information can be obtained from someone who writes an exceptional cover letter if the hiring manager at your firm actually reads it.

I believe that cover letters have almost become a thing of the past. Everyone seems to be in a hurry these days and do not think of including a cover letter. Those doing the hiring are also in a hurry too and don’t even read a cover letter if it is included.

I asked one of my clients if they always expect a cover letter with a resume. He said yes because they ask in the ad, “submit your resume and cover letter to…. ” They don’t care about the cover letter but they just want to see how many people follow instructions!

I hope you take the time to read the article. It was also nice to be featured along with my friend, Larry Sheftel of Aprio (pictured).

  • In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you.
  • Warren Buffett

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

Are You Hiring? Maybe Paro Is The Answer.

“We wanted to create a platform where freelancers could connect with the right client.” – Chad Taylor, Paro

The question in the title is really a stupid question. Every firm I talk to is looking for qualified people to help the firm provide exceptional client service. Some firms are so desperate that they are considering outplacing some clients. That probably needed to be done anyway, but considering not to take on new clients could be a disaster in the making.

So, how will you get through the 2022 busy season? Some firms have turned to Paro to obtain experienced tax and accounting skills. I have talked to clients who use Paro and they were very pleased.

I talked with Chad Taylor of Paro to get a better understanding of how they work. Here is the landing page for Paro For CPA Firms. Paro is a talent marketplace for US-based accounting professionals (freelancers). I learned that not just anyone can join their network – – they have to be vetted. They do test projects and they accept about 3 to 4% of those who apply. If you are matched with a person, you get to meet them and interview them before making a decision. They already have an onboarding process so that they can make sure it is a successful bridge between the firm and the freelancer.

Paro might not be the answer for you but it is worth exploring.

Following is information from their promo material:

The CPA Firm Solution to Staffing Capacity Challenges

What Paro Delivers

  • Highly vetted tax preparers, tax reviewers, accountants & auditors
  • Qualified experts with the precise skills, technical experience & credentials you need
  • Candidate matching in as little as 24 hours, driven by AI technology
  • Account management support to ensure successful project outcomes
  • Comprehensive guides & checklists for onboarding remote contractors

What Your Firm Will Gain

  • Flexible, convenient subject matter expertise to relieve workload compression
  • Seamless onboarding thanks to perfect-fit matching for your needs
  • Highly efficient support from public accounting experts
  • Cost savings compared to underutilized full-time staff
  • Pioneer the future of accounting via remote staff augmentation

  • I really believe that everyone has a talent, ability, or skill that he can mine to support himself and to succeed in life.
  • Dean Koontz

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

Starting Salaries

“When it comes to landing a good job, many people focus on the role. Although finding the right title, position, and salary is important, there’s another consideration that matters just as much: culture.” – Adam Grant

In my local newspaper today, I read a brief article that should make you think about raising starting salaries and not forgetting about the other perks.

An excerpt:

“Hardly a day goes by without a big bank announcing a significant rise in starting salaries for its youngest employees. JPMorgan Chase Citigroup, UBS, and Morgan Stanley are now paying first-year bankers $100,000, while Evercore, Jefferies, and Goldman Sachs will pay $110,000. In most cases, first-year salaries were $85,000-$95,000.”

I have observed that many accounting firms have not significantly increased their starting salaries over the last ten years! Of course, it depends on the size of your firm and on your location. But, boundaryless recruiting is changing all of that. Big firms are “raiding” the midwest and offering big city salaries without the person living in a big city.

What are you going to do about starting salaries? The old dilemma then arises. You have three-year staff making less than beginning staff. Other perks are also very important.

Here’s a link to the NYT article. Your partner group needs to discuss and identify how to address this challenge.

  • If you want to be a generous giver, you have to watch out for selfish takers.
  • Adam Grant

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Plant Seeds Early

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln

The AICPA is encouraging all of us working in the profession to urge high school students to consider becoming a CPA. I have advised practitioners to do that for many years. Practitioners need to not only give presentations to college students but also to high school students. Speak to them about the awesome opportunities when you become a CPA. Many famous people have accounting/finance in their backgrounds, as do many CEOs.

Here’s a recent quote from Barry Melancon:

“Because today’s high school students have spent more time with their parents and experienced more uncertainty, they’ll be making career decisions earlier. The profession’s pipeline efforts must move into every high school in the country.” – Barry Melancon

There is only one thing wrong with this activity. I believe that you need to go into middle schools and even elementary schools.

If you Google “encouraging kids to be architects” or “encouraging kids to be engineers” you will see many books for kids on the topic. Do the same for accountants and you won’t see near as many kids’ books.

If you want to continue to have very talented people in the accountant pipeline you better get busy this fall and speak to elementary, middle, and high school students. Maybe you should write a book for kids!

  • You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
  • Zig Ziglar

Friday, March 26th, 2021

Hiring Remote Workers – Flashback Friday

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” – Jim Collins

So many CPA firms are looking for experienced team members. This group has always been elusive and continues to be so.

My advice has always been you must grow your own. Hire them out of college (from a pool of interns you have used) and invest significantly in their training and development. As they become experienced, ask them to stretch and take on more difficult work. Don’t let your current managers cling to work.

Here’s a flashback post – Be Open-Minded About Hiring Remote Workers. It references an HBR article that you should read.

  • Every business is having to transform today, no matter the size, it’s up to us to transform to meet those expectations.
  • Barry Melancon