Archive for the ‘Talent’ Category

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Salaries For CPAs

“Waste your money and you’re only out of money, but waste your time and you’ve lost a part of your life.” – Michael Leboeuf

CPAs are accountants but not all accountants are CPAs. There is a big difference and there is also a difference in what kind of salaries are paid to CPAs.

I receive many questions about what kind of salaries firms are paying their employees. Entry-level salaries are always of great interest to CPA firm leaders. Many are wondering what they need to offer to next year’s graduates. Entry-level accountants intending to become CPAs should also realize that their starting salary is “just a drop in the bucket” in relation to what their future earnings can become.

Thanks to Accounting Today, here is a good visual – read the full article here.

salary range

  • Financial peace isn't the acquisition of stuff. It's learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can't win until you do this.
  • Dave Ramsey

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Be Open-Minded About Hiring Remote Workers

“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” – David Ogilvy

The accounting profession traditionally has not been very open-minded about hiring remote workers. I believe that is changing rapidly because of the scarcity of talent. Even some of my smallest CPA firm clients have people working from other parts of the country and even the world. So can you.

You continue to be challenged to find talented people. If you remove location as a limiting factor, it gives you access to all the talent in the world. It also gives you the opportunity to create more diversity and allows talented people to live where they want.

Per a great article via HBR, you need to assess whether the person is independent, passionate about their work, and collaborative. They need to be flexible and willing to travel and know that the firm headquarters is still where the action takes place. It is also important for you to do more intense due diligence when hiring

Read the article and make the decision to be more open-minded about hiring remote workers.

  • Great vision without great people is irrelevant.
  • Jim Collins

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

Leadership Wisdom

“Too many managers spend too much time focused on the wrong things.” – Dave Christiansen

As a partner or a managing partner in a CPA firm, do you cultivate your leadership wisdom? Do you realize that you are watched closely and that everything you do sets an example?

So many accounting firms are desperately struggling with succession, the constant chant being, “There’s no one who can replace me!” Whose fault is that?

Bruce Tulgan, in a recent LinkedIn post, featured Dave Christiansen, President and CEO of Mid-Kansas Coop (MKC). Christiansen spends the majority of his time clearly communicating expectations and vision to, establishing a culture for, and developing future leaders from roughly 400 full-time employees.

Aging CPAs have found themselves in need of future leaders but have spent minimal time focused on developing leadership skills in others (or even in themselves). Most CPA partners have spent considerable time developing CPAs possessing amazing technical skills.

Christiansen has great tips on hiring and developing today’s top talent:

  • Remember that you will end up with the staff you deserve
  • Staff for the company you want
  • Paint a picture for top talent
  • Most formal “coaching” or “mentoring” programs are ineffective
  • If you want to retain people, find out what they value
  • Invest in your people until it hurts
  • Have a structured approach to high-potential identification
  • Don’t hire people you have to motivate
  • The emerging young workforce will put more pressure on managers

Read more about each of these tips here. This is a great article to share with your partners and other management leaders.

  • If you’ve spent your time wisely defining what you’re looking for in an individual, recruited well and created a picture in the new employees’ mind as to how they fit into your organization, what their role is, and how they’ll make a difference, you’ve won 80% of the battle.
  • Dave Christansen

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

In Accounting Firms Do Managers Really Manage?

“Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.” – John Rockefeller

In accounting firms, managers are promoted because they have accumulated experience in public accounting and they are highly skilled technicians. They need more than that.

Managers become partners in firms. They still often lack the most important skill, managing people.

As noted in a recent HBR article, Dr. Jim Mitchell a computer scientist who made the leap into management from an engineering position, eventually retiring as Vice President at Oracle Laboratories, said that people skills, including empathy and self-knowledge, were the most important characteristics he himself needed to possess when he transitioned to management.

Anna Ranieri, the author of the article noted that moving into management requires divesting oneself of some individual contributor duties and taking on new duties as a team leader. This rarely happens in accounting firms when promoting people to manager and promoting managers to partner.

Managers hold things up by:

  • Doing tasks that should be delegated to team members
  • Taking back the tasks that they have delegated because they believe they can do them better
  • Under communicating with direct reports, making them unsure of their duties
  • Micromanaging in a way that doesn’t allow team members to expand their own capabilities

These are exactly the things new managers demonstrate when they are promoted inside an accounting firm.

Read the entire article (How to Know if  Someone Is Ready to Be a Manager) and share it with all the managers in your firm.

  • Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.
  • Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Invest in Educating Yourself

“Never begrudge the money you spend on your own education.” – Jim Rohn

How much of your own money are you spending on educating yourself?

I find that people working in accounting firms assume the firm should pay for any and all resources to educate the staff. Yes, firms should be providing the appropriate dollars for CPE. But, have you ever decided not to read a book because the firm won’t pay for it? Have you been disappointed when the firm would not pay for a training course or for you to go to a conference?

If you want to grow your career you should continually be investing in yourself. If you need to be better at public speaking, join Toastmasters and pay for it yourself if the firm won’t. Subscribe to Success magazine. Carve out time to buy and read novels. Take a peer to lunch and pay for it yourself.

It’s your career. It’s your life.

  • Every moment of one's existence, one is growing into more or retreating into less.
  • Norman Mailer

Friday, June 21st, 2019

Flashback Friday – Young CPAs Start Sooner!

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking

If you are not a young CPA – I hope you share this blog post with young CPAs. There is so much more to becoming a successful CPA than just knowing how to do the work.

  • It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.
  • John Wooden

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Continuous Testing for the CPA Exam

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”     Jack Canfield

Great news for your future CPAs. In case you haven’t heard, continuous testing for the CPA Exam has been approved.

Be sure you are constantly encouraging your new hires to take the Exam! Here’s some information released by the Ohio Society of CPAs:

Soon CPA exam candidates won’t have to wait until the next testing window to retake a section, thanks to a revised NASBA rule.

In April the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy approved the Uniform Accountancy Act Model Rule 5-7(a)(2) rule, stating “…a Candidate can retake a Test Section once their grade for any previous attempt of the same Test Section has been released.” The news was announced in the May board report.

“It’s one of those things that everyone has always wanted,” said Laura Hay, CPA, vice president of The Ohio Society of CPAs. “It’s just now the administration and technology have all caught up.”

Most states, including Ohio, will have to change their rules to permit the revision, but Hay predicted most states will be in favor, and it will be a question of resources and how quickly they are able to make the change.

For future test-takers, this means saving valuable time on that 18-month countdown that begins once candidates pass the first section. According to the AICPA website, with the current system, if you take a section of the exam on July 20, you would have to wait until October to take the next section, despite receiving your score on August 6.

The plan is to roll out continuous testing by July 2020.

  • Exams test your memory, life tests your learning; others will test your patience.
  • Fennel Hudson

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

Firing a Pregnant Person

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” ― Tom Bodett

I am often consulted about various HR issues inside an accounting firm. I’ve received questions of many types and some of the same questions over and over again. I am not a legal law attorney. So, I may give you advice as to how many accounting firms have handled various problems but I strongly advise you to check with your attorney before you proceed in some troubling situations.

One repeated question is basically, can we fire a female who is pregnant? Experts tell us you can fire a pregnant person but not because they are pregnant. Here is a very interesting and educational article for you to read. Please read it. If the issue hasn’t come up at your firm, sometime in the future it will

It’s from Inc. and written by Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady, titled: 7 Lawsuits Claim Amazon Fires Pregnant Women.

  • Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.
  • George Carlin

Monday, May 6th, 2019

Everyone Loves Them

“Safety and comfort come with complacency, and that’s never a good place to be working from.” – Elijah Wood

Many firms are already providing stand-up desks to their team members. Most of what I have heard has been very positive. While I don’t have one myself, I have visited several clients and checked them out first-hand. It seems they are greatly appreciated.

If you want to provide them to your people, you can do it in phases to make it more affordable. Big surprise, certain partners got them first but now firms are even providing them to the entire admin team.

Here’s a real-life report from Karen Farino, Firm Administrator at Pasquesi Sheppard LLC, Lake Forest, Illinois:

“I definitely recommend the sit/stand desks. If you can I highly suggest purchasing a sit to stand desk rather than a unit that sits on top of the desk.

We have replaced 90% of our desks over the last two years with Sit to Stand desks from Haworth. They are “L” shaped and we had them custom made. It is really very affordable. Everyone here LOVES them. Our managing partner likes his so much that we bought one for his home too.

standupdeskThe L desk is 69” in each direction from the corner, and 29” deep. You can custom size them smaller. I am attaching a photo – it isn’t the greatest but will give you an idea as to what we did.

Our admin staff is stuck with the Varidesk units on top of their desks. They like them but don’t love them because when you are standing there is still a lot of items that are on the desk that they have to access which means it is inconvenient and you have to bend down. Not optimal. They also all have two monitors (by choice). If they had three the Varidesk units would not work. I’ve yet to see a decent three monitor sit-to-stand desktop unit. Each admin has their own printer and scanner at their desk.”

How about an office refresh project for your firm this summer?

  • Instead of being 'heads down' we should be 'heads up' so we can spot trends.
  • Josh Linkner

Friday, April 12th, 2019

Managing Remote Employees

“A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.” – Simon Sinek

It is finally becoming fairly commonplace in the world of public accounting. Firms are hiring more and more remote employees. Firms also seem to be struggling with exactly how to manage these somewhat invisible people.

First of all, don’t let them be invisible. There are just too many technology tools available today that can make a remote employee feel almost like one working inside your office.

Google, who employs nearly 100,000 workers spread over 150 cities in more than 50 countries (on five continents) did a study of more than 5,000 employees. They measured well-being, performance, and connectedness (and other things). They came up with recommendations on how to keep things consistent.

Here are three things they recommend for remote teams:

  1. Get to know your people
  2. Set clear boundaries
  3. Forge connections

Read this article via Inc. and learn more about these three things and how to make remote employees (and your firm) more successful.

  • "We were happy to find no difference in the effectiveness, performance ratings, or promotions for individuals and teams whose work requires collaboration with colleagues around the world versus Googlers who spend most of their day to day working with colleagues in the same office,"
  • Veronica Gilrane, Manager of Google's People Innovation Lab