Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Professional Courtesy – Flashback Friday

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James

Has professional courtesy completely disappeared? Do you talk to people and they are not even looking at you, they are looking at their phone or computer. Check out this post from 2019 about what a school is doing to instill professional courtesy in their students.

Have a nice weekend. I love summer!

  • And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Learn From History

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” – Abraham Lincoln

My husband and I are history buffs, especially Civil War history. We have visited many battlefields and other sites. Ken Burns’ Civil War has taught us so much and a movie I always recommend is Gettysburg. It tells the story from both sides and is quite informative. It was actually filmed on the National Battlefield site in Gettysburg, one we have visited many times.

At Gettysburg, you, of course, think of Lincoln. Last week we did a road trip (the first one since COVID) and visited Lincoln’s birthplace in Kentucky (and Jefferson Davis’ birthplace, also in Kentucky). Here’s the memorial at Lincoln’s birthplace.

Our road trip also took us to Graceland and Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo. We visited Shiloh National Military Park and Vicksburg National Military Park. I refer to this road trip as the birthplace and battlefield trip.

Now, think back on the history of your accounting firm. How has it evolved over time and what can you learn from your triumphs and your failures? I have observed that some firms that historically had a more dictatorship type of leadership changed to a very laid-back culture when new leaders took over. I have also seen the opposite happen. A very casual, and honestly disorganized type of leadership changed to a very structured and even rigid culture when the next generation took over.

What is your culture like now? Is it the type of culture you are proud of? Does your culture (and your brand appear attractive to potential employees and potential clients? Exploring your firm’s history might be quite eye-opening like American history is to me.

More pictures – the Jefferson Davis birthplace and, of course, Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo MS.

  • America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
  • Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Keeping It Simple

“How difficult it is to be simple.” – Vincent Van Gogh

CPA leaders working in public accounting have a bothersome skill. I have observed on many occasions that they have the ability to complicated almost anything. Maybe it is their inquisitive nature. Rather than just try something, test something to see if it works, they research, investigate, question an idea over and over and usually end up NOT trying something new.

They have high expectations for the team members but don’t often clearly (and simply) communicate them.

Here is some simple advice intended for a high school marching band as they depart on a road trip. I hope you can see how it could be used to communicate with your own team members. It also applies to your partner group.

  • You've got to change incentives for good behavior as opposed to just disincentivizing bad behavior.
  • Gavin Newsom

Friday, June 25th, 2021

Where Is Your Sense of Urgency?

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci

It’s Friday and time for a Friday Flashback post. I think this one is definitely needed right now.

It’s Friday and you probably have very few people in the office or even working remotely. Many firms actually close on Fridays during the summer months. Hopefully, Monday through Thursday there is a real sense of urgency within the firm and a lot of creative client service is happening.

Click here for a quick read about a sense of urgency.

  • Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.
  • Jim Rohn

Friday, April 30th, 2021

Keeping Poor Performers

“Be thankful for problems. If they were less difficult, someone with less ability might have your job.” –Jim Lovell

In the not to distant future, busy season will be over and you will be contemplating the performance of your employees.

For Flashback Friday, read this brief post on why poor performers stay at CPA firms even though they are unhappy.

  • Everyone rises to their level of incompetence.
  • Dr. Lawrence Peter

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

Wrapping Up 2020

“We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” – Joseph Campbell

To all my clients and friends in the CPA profession and especially to the followers of this blog – Have a wonderful holiday. Like mine, it might be very different than in previous years but treasure it all the same.

I will be enjoying a 4-day weekend, so look for my next post on Monday!

  • Let joy be in your journey - not in some distant goal.
  • Tim Cook

Friday, October 30th, 2020

Friday Musings

“Great ideas emerges from useless fragments of thoughts.” – Michael Bassey Johnson

On Fridays, I often provide you with a flashback post – something I have written about before. Sometimes I save Fridays for random thoughts, ideas, and comments.

Here’s a flashback post on an age-old topic – Getting Partners to Change.

Now on to other stuff.

This week I spent some time preparing for CPAFMA’s virtual Accelerator for people managing accounting firms. The virtual event will take the place of FMA’s 2020 annual conference and will provide practice managers with some timely and helpful information. This program is exclusively designed to help participants professionally manage accounting firms of varying sizes.

I will be involved in the Strategy, Leadership & Growth Accelerator – Monday, November 9th at 11:40a – 1:30p EST and also in the Talent & People Accelerator on November 10th at 12:20p – 2:20p EST.

This week I was featured via an AICPA PCPS podcast – Small Firm Philosophy. I hope you will set aside some time this weekend to listen.

Next week, I will be speaking (virtually) with one of the AICPA PCPS small firm networking groups.

Finally, my newsletter went out yesterday. Did you receive your copy? Be sure to check your spam filter. Here’s a link to one of the articles titled, Afraid. This article will only be available online for a limited time. Sign-up for my newsletter via my website.

Have a nice weekend. Monday will be November and you have a lot to do!

  • The best advice I’ve ever received is 'No one else knows what they’re doing either'.
  • Ricky Gervais

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

Friday Thoughts

“Life’s a bit like mountaineering – never look down.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary and his sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay succeeded in being the first to reach the summit of Mt Everest on May 29, 1953.

I was reading a post by @Leadershipfreak and the following excerpt caused me to contemplate how people and society have changed.

There are no pictures of Sir Edmund Hillary on top of Mt. Everest. He took a picture of Tenzing. Later Hillary said. “I never even thought about taking a photograph of myself.”

  • I think it all comes down to motivation. If you really want to do something, you will work hard for it.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

The Day After

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it. ~ Henry Ford

September 15th has come and gone. As you know it is a major due date for the CPA profession.

This year the due dates have been rather unusual but you all still felt the pressure of the September due date and there is still one on the horizon – the October 15th due date for extended personal returns.

You love what you do but, like most things of value, it requires hard work. I imagine you have heard the poem, First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Milay. It just might apply to you.

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But oh, my foes, and oh, my friends-

It gives a lovely light.

  • The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
  • Vidal Sassoon

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Think Time

“Take a rest. A field that has rested yields a beautiful crop.” – Ovid

I recently read a tweet by Chris McClure: “Sitting quietly is the conduit for receiving a million great ideas.”

CPAs in public practice (and the people who work for them) seem to never have time to actually sit quietly and do nothing. I assume they did when they were children and maybe even teenagers but they seem to have forgotten how.

They blame it on due dates, clients, and the IRS. I hear the we-are-so busy and the we-are-slammed comments over and over again.

In this kind of work environment, it is difficult to find time to sit quietly and let your mind wander. You must take positive steps to find the time to just think. You HAVE the time, it is just a matter of how you spend it.

Think about it, do minutes or even hours slip through your fingers every day? Why not budget just 20 minutes a day to sit quietly? I do it first thing in the morning, sipping a cup of coffee. It sometimes amazes me how interesting thoughts and ideas creep through my mind when I allow time for it to happen.

  • Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.
  • David Allen