Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Here’s What Is Important

Sometimes we forget what is important. Thinking, planning, and discussing are important. But, none of that matters if you do not get busy and do things.

  • To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, June 1st, 2020

Oh, No! Another Meeting!

“Meetings are a symptom of bad organization. The fewer the meetings the better.” – Peter Drucker

I hate to admit it but I write about this topic very often. The trouble is, this problem never seems to go away or even improve.

Right now, rather than in-person meetings at the firm, people are becoming exhausted because of too many ZOOM meetings! I hear this from many people who are now working remotely.

This topic has been addressed, very humorously by Dilbert, on many occasions:

Boss: We’re having a meeting to discuss employee retention.

Dilbert: Tell them that employees quit because there are too many useless meetings.

Boss: We won’t be getting into reasons at the first meeting.

Seriously, does your firm have too many meetings? It is an on-going danger inside CPA firms because:

  • Partners want to be sure they are communicating with everyone.
  • Partners want to show their people that they care about their opinion.
  • Partners and managers think that what they discuss is of interest to everyone.
  • Partners have a strong “need to know” about way too many things!
  • Partners think they have to be in on every decision.

Some suggestions:

  • Don’t make most meetings mandatory.
  • Invite and involve fewer people.
  • Invite and involve the right people.
  • Be sure the technology works for everyone.
  • Always have an agenda.
  • Set an end time and stick to it.
  • Leave the meeting with Action Steps.

If you involve people in meetings that are important and they don’t talk or contribute. Don’t invite or involve them again.

The most recent story I heard is that one manager had so many ZOOM meetings that she had to actually conduct the meetings in a closet because it was so disturbing to the rest of her family because her spouse and even her children were also working online.

  • A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.
  • James T. Kirk

Friday, May 29th, 2020

The Power of Recognition

“I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.” – William Shakespeare

This week for my Friday Flashback post, I hope you will take a few minutes to read about the importance of “Hello. Good Morning. Thank-you.”

It’s a post from April 2014 and it still applies today. You might even find the 3-minute video helpful that is referenced in the post.

You are probably beginning to welcome people back into the office. Keep in mind that your people need appreciation and recognition, in person, and also when they are working remotely.

Have a great weekend.

  • We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
  • Cynthia Ozick

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Show Them

“A good example has twice the value of good advice.” – Albert Schweitzer

Nothing works better than a good example.

You are beginning to bring people back into the office. You have worked very hard to develop a plan that will ensure everyone’s safety. You have guidelines prepared to help everyone adapt to the new normal.

Extensive cleaning and sanitizing practices are in place. No group meetings will be held, in person. Team members should eat at their desk and not gather in the lunch room. Everyone should have a mask and wear it when they are not at their desk or in their office.

Some firms have very extensive rules and guidelines. The most important rule? All partners must adhere to the guidelines and set the example. They will be watched and imitated.

Whenever I ask a live audience made up of people who work at CPA firms who broke the rules at their firm the answer was always the same. The partners!

The rules and guidelines are even more important now.

  • I have ever deemed it more honorable and more profitable, too, to set a good example than to follow a bad one.
  • Thomas Jefferson

Monday, May 25th, 2020

A Memorial Day Memory & A Call to Action if You Can Play the Trumpet or Bugle

“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” – Adlai Stevenson II

It’s Memorial Day. It is memorable for me in a strange way. In high school, it was the annual Memorial Day parade in my little town. I carried the flag in the marching band. It was very hot that day.

I did fine during the parade, probably a mile to a mile and a half. The band was standing at attention in the cemetery as the speaker said a few words. His few words seemed like an eternity to me. I began to see black closing in around the corner of my eyes. It kept getting darker and I began to sway. Yes, I almost fainted and would have completely blacked out if a band mother hadn’t grabbed me, sat me on a low tombstone and forced my head down toward my legs. That was a close call and the only time in my life I have been near to fainting.

This year, there will be no parades but Steve Hartman of CBS news and retired Air Force bugler Jari Villanueva want to keep the spirit of the holiday alive.

Hartman and Villanueva are asking veterans, musicians, teachers, and students of all abilities and ages to sound Taps on their front lawns, porches, and driveways at 3 p.m. local time this Monday, May 25th.

It is only 24 notes but few can play it perfectly. Here’s a link for more information. I’ll be listening at 3:00p today.

  • A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.
  • Bob Dylan

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020

Some Good

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. – Brian Tracy

So far, 2020 has been a bummer. Being an optimist, I like to look for the good things that have happened and will continue to happen.

Many experienced CPAs have been forced into the digital world. Their fear of “the Cloud” has dissipated and they are serving clients effectively.

I talked with one of my clients recently and he mentioned that he was so thankful that back in the Fall they committed to becoming truly paperless and moving things into the Cloud. They headed into tax season with new software and a renewed commitment to making it work.

When March rolled around they shifted to remote work without a hitch. He made a very important statement: “This year has been really good as it has finally pushed me out of my comfort zone.”

Being in public accounting is all about continual learning and improvement and dealing with things you are not always so sure about. Accountants do not like taking risks. However, taking some risk should become even more comfortable as 2020 unfolds. Trust your own judgment.

  • Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.
  • Jim Rohn

Monday, May 18th, 2020

The Importance of Following

“Be a better follower if you want a better leader.” – Dan Rockwell

Per John S. McCallum, Professor of Finance at the I. H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, followership is a straightforward concept. – – It is the ability to take direction well, to get in line behind a program, to be part of a team, and to deliver on what is expected of you. It gets a bit of a bad rap!

I definitely agree with McCallum. We hear so, so much about developing leadership skills and yes, that is important. If you are working in a team environment, as is true of accounting firms, it is very important to develop followership skills.

Nothing disappoints me more than when I hear a familiar story from a firm. The partners elect a managing partner and ask him/her to lead the firm into the future. But, many of the other partners are truly not on board with having a boss (leader). They think (and often say), “Yes, that is a good idea for the firm…. but I’m not going to do that with ‘my’ clients.”

Not everyone is destined to be a leader. Many accountants don’t ever want to be a leader. They have many of the traits of followers – the are good workers, diligent, and committed. They are competent, have a strong work ethic, have courage to be honest with leaders and demonstrate discetion.

I be that describes many people working at your firm. Be proud that you are a great follower. It is a valuable skill that even leaders must learn. Read my blog about the importance of followership that is being taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

As McCallum says, “Followership will always be in the shadow of leadership.  But there are no leaders without followers and on-going success with weak followers will usually prove elusive.”

  • It is true that an organization is only as good as its leaders. It is also only as good as its followers.
  • John S. McCallum

Friday, May 15th, 2020

Flashback Friday – There is more you need to know

“The sooner, the better!” – Franklin W. Dixon, author of The Hardy Boys

If you are NOT a young CPA, I hope you will share this flashback post with a young CPA.

There is more to being a CPA than knowing the technical work!

Young CPAs – Start Sooner!

Much of this can certainly apply to more experienced CPAs, too.

  • Most people would sooner die than think, in fact, they do so.
  • Bertrand Russell

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Flashback Friday – Too Busy

“If you are too busy to develop your talents, you are too busy” – Julia Cameron

Are your clients becoming distanced from you because they are too busy trying to save their business and their employees’ jobs?

While many larger firms are letting people go, I find that smaller firms (the vast majority of firms in the U.S.) are very busy,

Here’s a post titled: I Can’t. I Am Too Busy. Read it and make sure you are not too busy doing the wrong things.

  • Anyone too busy to say thank you will get fewer and fewer chances to say it.
  • Harvey Mackay

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Lighten-Up, It’s the Weekend

“If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” – Will Rogers

Lighten-up this weekend and enjoy some positives vibes from your social media feeds.

Follow UPS Dogs on Facebook and UPS Dogs on Instagram. UPS Dogs is also on Twitter.

When I see these every day, it makes my day brighter.

  • The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.
  • Charles De Gaulle