Archive for the ‘Talent’ Category

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Working Remotely Works

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell

I recently noticed a discussion on the CPAFMA discussion board. Someone wanted guidance on designing a remote work policy.  Some firms are really strict about having a documented agreement that outlines the do’s and don’ts of staff working remotely.

I thought a great reply was provided by my friend, Donna Marlarkey, Firm Administrator for KWC in Alexandria, Virginia. The firm doesn’t stress that working remotely is a privilege, it is something offered to everyone. Here is Donna’s reply to the question.

donnaWe have so many staff who work remotely… some even work from other states (we have them in NC, Colorado, North Dakota and Rhode Island). Our staff loves the flexibility of working from home when they need to. We try not to get wound up in whether it is a right or a privilege… as long as the employee is getting their work done.

The courtesy is extended to everyone… from Partners to our administrative staff (to the extent admin staff has work they can do remotely, like billing, setting up new clients, etc.). We are on a cloud and we are mostly paperless, so working from home is no different than working here at the office. We do ask that they update the EIO board to let us know when they intend to work from home so that we can plan for it (the EIO board “electronic in/out” status site that we use to know where our staff are and what their schedule is). 

I had lunch with someone the other day who used to be with BB&T and they worked under the presumption it was a privilege. They made staff sign annual statements that showed their kids were enrolled in daycare, and they had some kind of program that could tell by the lack of keystrokes whether someone was working or not… if someone was home “working” they were supposed to be working, not going to the store, doing laundry, etc.

Our firm takes the position that we want to be competitive, so we want our staff to have options to have work/life balance, so again, as long as the work is getting done, we let them control their schedule. It’s surprising how many of our young staff prefer to work at really odd hours… they will log in at 10:00 at night when they are most productive! 

I wish you all the best with coming up with an agreement that works for you and your firm.

I agree with Donna – I also wish you much success in offering remote work opportunities to your staff.

  • Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.
  • Voltaire

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Hiring of Accounting Graduates Is Down

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

How will this affect your CPA firm?

Bob Dylan’s theme “The Times They Are A-Changin’” continues to apply to the CPA profession.

Acctg grad hiring down

  • If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
  • Maya Angelou

Friday, July 27th, 2018

July Newsletter – Employee Engagement

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams

My July newsletter went out this week. The feature article was written for MNCPA and published in their Footnote newsletter for members.

Articles:

Engagement For The Benefit of All

Organizations with high employee engagement experience 22 percent higher profitability. Reprinted with permission of MNCPA,

Need to talk?

Sometimes you just need a sounding board or someone outside the firm to simply listen and offer suggestions. Read more about my personalized advisory program for management leaders in CPA firms.

You can sign-up here to receive my newsletter via email.

 

  • Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.
  • Marie Curie

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Beware of Helicopter Parents

“A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.” – Peter De Vries

Fall recruiting season is fast approaching. Your recruiting team will be on college campuses for job fairs, networking events and interviews. Beware of helicopter moms. They have been spotted roaming the halls of accounting job fairs gathering intel for their student.

Over the last several years, I have heard more and more stories about helicopter parents (almost always Moms) getting involved in the job search and actual hiring of their children by accounting firms. I know, many of you will say this is unbelievable! It’s not. It happens.

It probably begins when their younger teenager gets their first job. Maybe that first job is a fast food chain or a summer job at the local pool. Moms are protective and they check things out.

Here’s a great, short story from Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady. You’ll love the title of her post: Dear Moms, Do You Want Your 35-Year-Old Living in Your Basement? Because This Is How You Get That.

Check out this amusing video in one of my previous posts.

  • Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.
  • Pearl S. Buck

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

You Probably Have One – A Bad Apple

“Bad apples spoil teams and healthy team dynamics, it is more important than top talent.” – Will Fleps

Over the years, I have often talked and written about bad apples inside accounting firms. A recent blog post by @leadershipfreak brought this important topic to light again.

As I always say, “One bad apple can ruin the whole barrel.” that means that the constant whiner inside your firm is doing significant damage in the long-term. Yet, CPAs are nice people and they just shy away from firing people – even bad apples.

Per the article, one bad apple lowers team performance up to 40%! Maybe that gets your attention.

Read the blog post here. Maybe it will inspire you to have a more critical look at some team members.

The first step is to let the bad apple know they are causing problems. Be honest and straight-forward. Give them a chance to change – but, don’t give them too long.

Warning! – Make sure your culture isn’t cultivating bad apples.

  • In marketing you must choose between boredom, shouting and seduction. Which do you want?
  • Roy H. Williams

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Changes To The CPA Exam

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

The Journal of Accountancy has a podcast titled, How Tax Reform – and Excel – Are Changing The CPA Exam. It is hosted by Chris Baysden of the AICPA.

Tax reform will have an important impact on many aspects of the accounting profession — including the CPA Exam. In this week’s episode of the podcast, we talked to Mike Decker, the vice president of examinations at the AICPA, about the changes being made to the exam as a result of tax reform — and about how Excel will now be available for use on the test.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How the AICPA’s exams team has gone about collecting feedback on the exam.
  • Why continuous testing could be on the horizon.
  • The timeline for implementing changes due to tax reform.
  • How and why a practice analysis will be initiated.
  • The changes that test takers will see to monitors and software used in the exam.

Here’s a link to the podcast (it’s only 11 minutes long). You need to know so you can advise and encourage the young accountants in your firm to take the Exam and get it behind them!

  • Nothing happens until something moves.
  • Albert Einstein

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Important Survey

“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” – John Naisbitt

My friends at ConvergenceCoaching®, LLC, are committed to helping firms succeed through the adoption of NextGen strategies, including flex. They are seeking participants in their Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey 2018.

The goal of this survey is to collect data on the adoption of flexible work programs (Anytime, Anywhere Work™ programs) by public accounting firms and the experiences firms have had with these initiatives.

Follow the link to find out more and please consider participating in the survey. The survey is open through June 15. By participating you will receive a copy of the survey results.

  • It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Young CPAs – Start Sooner!

“Life is short, and it is here to be lived.” – Kate Winslet

If you are not a young CPA – I hope you share this blog post with young CPAs.

You are fairly new to your CPA career. You graduated with a history of good grades. You landed an entry-level job, right out of college, with a prestigious, growing public accounting firm.

Major accomplishment: You passed the CPA exam and are now a twenty-something CPA – congratulations, you have the momentum going for you!

You have been working on a variety of client engagements. You may be focused on tax and you may be focused on the audit side of things. You might be in a small to mid-size firm and have the opportunity to work in both areas and will probably soon declare your future focus.

You are focused on the work. You are getting better and better at the work. It seems the partners are happy with your technical abilities and the way you complete the work.

Wait! There is so much more to becoming a successful CPA than just knowing how to do the work. You must be:

  • A great conversationalist
  • A “reader” of people
  • An interesting dinner (or lunch) companion
  • A good speaker
  • Known as a “professional”
  • A contributor to your community
  • Good at time management
  • Good at motivating other people
  • Good at setting the perfect example for subordinates and peers
  • Thinking about the future
  • Able to change and evolve with the times and influence the firm to do so
  • And more – –

Don’t wait years and years to get started on this list. Learn the success skills as you are learning the technical skills. Life is short – get busy!

 

  • Life is short and the older you get, the more you feel it. Indeed, the shorter it is. People lose their capacity to walk, run, travel, think, and experience life. I realize how important it is to use the time I have.
  • Viggo Mortensen

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Do You Like Working In Public Accounting?

“Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” – Conan O’Brien

I was recently reading an article about things to consider when you feel unhappy at work. I applied the items to the CPA profession and from what I observe, I think most people working in public accounting do really like their work.

Do you like what you do for work? Most staffers tell me that they really enjoy the work. They love working with clients and feel satisfied that they are actually helping people with their financial challenges.

Do you feel like you have ownership at work? Firms have come such a long way in involving team members in firm decisions and initiatives. People are encouraged to contribute ideas and efforts to keep the firm on the leading edge of technology and work environments.

Are you encouraged to learn at work? This is definitely a yes if you are working in a CPA firm. You are encouraged and supported in passing the CPA exam and receive formal, firm-paid CPE annually plus the day-to-day learning that comes with client engagements.

Do you feel appreciated at work? If you don’t feel appreciated working at a CPA firm these days, maybe you are working for the wrong firm! I always almost beg young accountants, if they are not happy in public accounting, to try working at another firm before they drop out and go private.

Contemplate the pluses and minuses of working at your firm. I bet the pluses out-weigh the minuses. I also think, that if you stick it out and gain experience, the reward and satisfaction gets better and better as the years pass.

  • If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.
  • John Wooden

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Entry-Level Hiring Is Changing Quickly

“Be Prepared” – The Boy Scout Motto

Be aware. You will not need the same type of talent going into the future. Here’s a brief excerpt from an article by Dustin Hostetler via CPA Practice Advisor:

The convergence of technology (namely more artificial intelligence), along with the gig economy, is going to change the way CPA firms hire entry-level staff in the very near future. Basic compliance work will be automated through technology and what isn’t fully automated will be sourced to the gig economy. The new staff you bring in must demonstrate the ability to grow/develop into a client-facing advisor much earlier in their careers than has historically been the case. They also need to possess more skills in the areas of data analytics, financial analysis and strategic thinking.

Now is the time to plan.

  • Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program.
  • Spencer Kimball