Archive for the ‘Talent’ Category

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

Solutions Rather Than Problems

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

CPAs, along with all others who are hiring, are looking to hire people who bring solutions rather than problems. As amazing as it seems, CPAs tend to keep people for years who are definitely problems.

Per FAST Company, when asked nearly half of recruiters and hiring managers cited potential as the number-one factor, beating out experience (37%), personality (16%), and education (2%).

When you are hiring, are you looking for potential? I have observed that CPA hiring managers are usually looking for experience. The fact is experienced accountants, no matter what their level, are very hard to find and even more difficult to keep. Plus, they always bring “baggage” with them.

Hopefully, you have a strong intern program and are hiring from that pool of talent in an effort to build your firm for the future.  In this day and age, you need to look for candidates who have the willingness and ability to grow and adapt to new circumstances. The best employees are lifelong learners and are always seeking new experiences. Does that sound like the accountants on your staff? I doubt it. Many CPAs, not all, are known for avoiding change (and new experiences).

As you hire the new generation of accountants, I think you will find candidates who have the willingness and ability to grow and adapt. Maybe it is time to update your interview and selection process. (I have an Interview & Selection Guide that is available for purchase. Contact me if you are interested.)

 

  • You cannot push anyone up the ladder unless he is willing to climb it.
  • Andrew Carnegie

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

New Beginnings

“When you repeat a mistake, it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision.” – Paulo Coelho

Whether you are a new college graduate or someone with experience joining a different CPA firm, you will make mistakes. It is expected and your new bosses (partners/managers) understand.

One of the most common complaints I have heard over my many years working with CPAs and one I continue to hear on almost a weekly basis is about the issue of people learning from their mistakes. I hear:

  • They keep making the same mistakes over and over.
  • They don’t listen.
  • They don’t learn from their mistakes.

Repeating a mistake is something your new bosses don’t understand. I love the above quote. Read it again and commit to not making the same mistake twice!

  • Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

What If They Stay?

“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard

I see it all the time, there are people who need to go. Owners hope and pray they will eventually quit. In fact, they subtly take steps to encourage departure. But, what if they stay? Is it worth demotivating your top performers because poor performers experience no consequences for their lack of engagement, low performance, and bad attitudes?
Here’s a tweet from Bruce Tulgan, author of It’s Okay To Be The Boss:
Of course, there are employees we don’t want to lose. But who are you afraid will stay? Identify those people. Are they low performers? Do they have an attitude problem? Are they simply not engaged? If you can fix the problem, do it! Otherwise, you’ve got to let those people go.
  • No man goes before his time; unless the boss leaves early.
  • Groucho Marx

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Fighting The Talent Wars

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson,

If you want to attract and keep outstanding people, you need to create a culture where top talent can shine. Your people systems matter most.

When was the last time you updated your people systems to keep pace with current trends?

Here’s a list. Get busy.

  • Recruitment
  • Orientation, Onboarding, and Training
  • Performance Management
  • Development and Opportunity
  • Leaders Leading by Example
  • The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.
  • Steve Jobs

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