Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Drama, Fear & Conflict

“Leaders do not avoid, repress, or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity.” – Warren Bennis

Accountants, in general, are kind, caring, and sincere. They live their lives helping their clients become successful. They often have difficult conversations with their clients.

Inside their own CPA firm, they ignore conflict and avoid confrontation. Partners and managers often dodge conflict in the hopes that someone else will deal with it. Yet, they readily admit that there is way too much drama going on inside the firm.

Often the conflict is between two or more employees. However, the most troubling conflict is when employees actually fear one or more of the firm leaders, and other leaders hide from the drama, fear, and conflict.

Here’s a quote from Marlene Chism:

“If there are performance problems, workplace drama, or disruptive behaviors in your workplace, it’s because it’s been allowed. Avoiding difficult conversations causes a culture of dysfunction that affects every aspect of business.” – Marlene Chism

Read that quote again. From the mildest conflict to actual fear of an individual continues because IT’S BEEN ALLOWED.

Some issues eventually go away on their own but most do not. YOU must deal with it. Here’s a helpful article from Chism.

  • Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
  • Winston Churchill

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

News From the AICPA

“Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez

AICPA Encourages Firms to Aggressively Advance PPP Applications

SBA Expected to Reopen for All Lenders by Friday, Jan. 15

NEW YORK (Jan. 13, 2021) –The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) expects the federal government to open up the application process for all lenders participating in the latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program by Friday, and encourages CPA firms to advance the application process for small business clients seeking relief.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) began accepting  new applications on a limited basis this week through community financial institutions. But confusion about the timing for other lenders has led to anxiety among small businesses and their advisors. 

“We believe the full program needs to go live as soon as possible and we fully support the Treasury Department and SBA reopening the program for all lenders by Friday,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA. “What we’ve been telling CPA firms is be prepared and get to work. All indications, based on input from the Treasury and SBA, is there will be enough funding to meet all of the ‘first draw’ and ‘second draw’ PPP applications, so firms can help alleviate concerns their clients may have.”

The AICPA has been advising firms to collect key information from their clients such as average monthly payroll amounts, quarterly revenue comparisons for second draw borrowers and other required documentation to speed the process. Compared to the initial launch of the program in April 2020, firms now have substantial experience in business relief, more guidance and better tools.

The AICPA, CPA.com and fintech leader Biz2Credit in September launched a financing platform for CPA firms, the CPA Business Funding Portal, to help practitioners as they assist small businesses through PPP loan forgiveness. The portal, which has been used by thousands of firms, has been updated to accept so-called PPP2 applications and over three thousand applications have already been prepopulated.

“Small businesses should expect more scrutiny in this round of PPP applications,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. “The SBA is doing more vetting for potential fraud and in some instances is asking for more validation. It’s important that businesses and their advisors get it right, so that applications don’t get held up and pushed back in the queue. That’s why we think it’s vital that firms use the more robust set of tools that are available now.”

The CPA Business Funding Portal offers a free basic service, plus tiered subscription plans for firms that want a direct path to fund loans through an SBA-approved lender to ensure they receive agent fees.

“It is critical that business owners work closely with their trusted business advisors, especially their CPA, to ensure they qualify for the maximum loan amount and provide the right supporting documentation,” said Rohit Arora, CEO and Co-Founder of Biz2Credit. “Being prepared now is the best way for businesses to ensure they get the money they need.”

AICPA executives will discuss the latest PPP developments and their implications for CPAs and their small business clients at this week’s AICPA Town Hall at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday. For more information about the AICPA’s resources for firms on PPP, please visit aicpa.org/sba.  More details about the CPA Business Funding Portal can be found at cpa.com/business-funding.

  • Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
  • Dale Carnegie

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

We’ll Get Back to Where We Were… Wrong!

‘You did that this year; why not last year or the year before?’ – Allan Koltin

I hear it said over and over. “When things get back to normal…”.

Most CPA firms have made great progress since March 2020. Even the AICPA is saying that firms have achieved needed change that they (the AICPA) thought would take five years. Firms did it in a few days and continually improved upon it throughout 2020. I am talking about enabling and embracing a remote workforce.

Some very small firms did not make this leap. They think it is a good thing that they still go into the office and operate in the old school way. I’m not sure that is a wise decision.

I agree with this observation by Allan Koltin:

“It’s not about bricks and mortar anymore,” he said. “I believe in three to five years, we will get rid of that space. The metric will drop down to 150 square feet per person. We will redesign offices for what we want them to be — a center for collaboration and training, a place to have meetings — and build it out accordingly. It’s a difficult conversation — some of you think that after the vaccine, we will come back to 2019.”

  • I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.
  • Lawrence Bossidy

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

A Troubling Activity

“From a certain point of view our real enemy, the true troublemaker, is inside.” – Dalai Lama

In progressive, future-focused CPA firms, the partners have committed to core values and they live them. They have documented policies and procedures so that everything is clearly communicated to their valuable team members. If a question comes up, team members can almost always find the answer on the firm intranet. The partners always strive for transparency in what “the firm” believes and stands for. About the only secret is the actual amount of partner salaries.

In old-school firms, I still hear about some troubling activities. Here’s an example (I simply made this up but I’m sure it might sound familiar to some.)

At John Doe & Company, a team member (Sally Smith) is studying for the CPA Exam. Sally inquires about what the firm will pay for and how the firm will support her efforts. The firm administrator puts the question before the partner group at the next partner meeting. They decide that they will reimburse Sally Smith for 50% of her cost of the study materials and a $500 bonus when she passes. The firm administrator asks if this will apply, in the future, to all Exam candidates. A partner replies, “No, we don’t want to put anything in writing. We don’t want to be pinned down.”

There might be more troubling activities inside your firm. Hunt them down and get rid of them!

  • Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles.
  • Charlie Chaplin

Monday, December 21st, 2020

The Ordeal

“The only way you motivate people and change them is one-on-one. Everything else is window dressing.” – David Maister

This is the time of year when CPA firm compensation committees meet and determine “the year-end split.”

You know what I am talking about. Some call it the Compensation Committee Process. I call it An Ordeal!

Here is a post I did several years ago on this topic – The PCO (Partner Comp Ordeal).

I have several friends in the CPA firm consulting world who have some great tips about determining partner comp. They are featured in the post. I hope you find it helpful!

  • If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it you almost don't have to manage them.
  • Jack Welch

Monday, December 14th, 2020

No Whining

“Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all.” – Mandy Hale

For years, I have urged CPA firm team members to stop whining.

I guess you could say I have been whining about whining for years! Maybe I should take my own advice.

Last week, Seth Godin did a post on the topic of whining. Take a few minutes to read it here.

  • Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?
  • George Carlin

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

Hard Work & Dedication Pays Off

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King

Perhaps you are new to the CPA profession. Don’t think for a minute you will be stuck in a dead-end job for years to come!

If you have the passion for what you do and the drive to always strive to improve yourself, the sky’s the limit.

I was so pleased yesterday to see the press release announcing Eric Majchrzak has been named as CEO-elect of BeachFleischman, Arizona’s largest locally-owned CPA firm and a Top 20 largest CPA Firm in the United States.

I have known Eric for years and have always been so impressed with his professionalism, knowledge, and skills. Plus, he’s just a darn nice guy.

Congratulations and best wishes, Eric. I am so proud of you!

Board appoints Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer to lead firm

TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — BeachFleischman, Arizona’s largest locally-owned CPA firm and a “Top 200 largest CPA firm” in the U.S., announces that Eric Majchrzak, the firm’s chief marketing & strategy officer, is appointed CEO-elect. Effective January 1, 2022, Majchrzak will serve as the third CEO in BeachFleischman’s 30-year history and succeeds Marc Fleischman, who became CEO in 2016 following co-founder Bruce Beach. The board appointed Majchrzak following a comprehensive search process that was part of the firm’s formal succession plan. The transition occurs over the next twelve months after which Fleischman and David Cohen, President, will both retain leadership roles on the firm’s board of directors and serve the firm’s clients and community. Cohen continues in his role as president with Majchrzak as CEO.

“I am honored to be selected by my peers to lead our firm into the future,” Majchrzak said. “Our plans are bold and transformative. We’re profoundly aware of the speed of change in our world and profession. While we’re proud about what we’ve already accomplished at BeachFleischman, we are even more excited to continue our business evolution as we anticipate and meet the changing needs of our clients, employees and community.”

“From the beginning, BeachFleischman has been willing to do things differently than most accounting firms. It’s just part of our DNA,” said Marc Fleischman, CEO. “Appointing a marketing leader as our next CEO affirms our commitment to growth, innovation and outside-the-box thinking, all of which are important for our success and the success of our clients.”

David Cohen, President, said “Business development and forging creative partnerships are critical factors in our firm’s long-term sustainability. As our next CEO, Eric keeps our focus on building depth and expertise while adding service lines to remain an industry leader.”

Bruce Beach, Board Chairman added, “We have a proud history and a promising future. With Eric’s appointment, BeachFleischman continues to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit that’s made us who we are today. Innovation and transformation are key for thriving in the era of disruption, and Eric’s leadership will keep us on that path.”

Majchrzak joined BeachFleischman in 2012 as chief marketing officer and was elected shareholder in 2013. In 2018, he became the firm’s chief strategy officer. As the strategy leader, Majchrzak’s responsibilities include working closely with the CEO and firm management to develop and execute short and long-term strategic initiatives such as growth plans, joint ventures, M&A, transformation, advanced pricing, and business model innovation.

Majchrzak has held various leadership roles with the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM), where he received accolades including Inside Public Accounting’s 2015 “AAM Marketer of the Year” award and a 2018 “AAM Hall of Fame” induction. He was honored by AAM with a “Bruce Marcus Lifetime Fellowship” for his contributions elevating the accounting marketing profession. Accounting Today Magazine twice named Majchrzak to their list of the “Top 100 Most Influential People” in the accounting profession for using innovative digital marketing approaches to accomplish strategic growth objectives. Eric is a graduate of the State University College in Buffalo, NY with a Bachelor of Science in Business.

BeachFleischman has over 200 client service and administrative professionals, and provides accounting, assurance, tax, and strategic operations & advisory services to businesses (U.S. and foreign-based), organizations and individuals. The firm serves clients doing business domestically and internationally and specializes in a variety of Industry-related practice areas, including construction, healthcare, real estate, manufacturing, hospitality, technology, nonprofit and professional service businesses. In addition, the firm is expanding into the Cannabis Industry sector and is establishing a Family Office practice. BeachFleischman has subsidiaries, including Pinnacle Plan Design LLC, a national provider of qualified retirement plan consulting, design, administration and actuarial services; MOD Ventures LLC, a virtual client accounting services and consulting firm; and Contempo HCM LLC, a payroll and human capital management company. Offices are in Tucson (headquarters) and Phoenix, Arizona. Visit www.beachfleischman.com for more information.

  • Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
  • Abraham Lincoln

Friday, December 4th, 2020

Dress Code – It’s Still Business

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

Lighten up, it’s Friday. The following comes from Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady)

It seems a Judge in Florida was fed up with how attorneys appeared for hearings (via Zoom). The following was added to the Bar Association’s website as a pop-up message.

One comment that needs sharing and that is the judges would appreciate it if the lawyers and their clients keep in mind these Zoom hearings are just that: hearings. They are not casual phone conversations. It is remarkable how many ATTORNEYS appear inappropriately on camera. We’ve seen many lawyers in casual shirts and blouses, with no concern for ill-grooming, in bedrooms with the master bed in the background, etc. One male lawyer appeared shirtless and one female attorney appeared still in bed, still under the covers. And putting on a beach cover-up won’t cover up you’re poolside in a bathing suit. So, please, if you don’t mind, let’s treat court hearings as court hearings, whether Zooming or not.

Per Lucas: “Work is still work. yes, this is an abnormal situation. Yes, you should be forgiving of employees with childcare issues, or space issues, but it’s still work.

Today is Friday, maybe you can consider it casual Friday. Remember those days? They seem so long ago. Stay safe and enjoy your weekend.

Read the entire article here.

Just for fun – The 80 Greatest Fashion Quotes of All Time via Harper’s Bazaar for your weekend reading!

  • Trendy is the last stage before tacky.
  • Karl Lagerfeld

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

Upcoming Webinar

“Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” – Katherine Whitehorn

Save the date! – – Wednesday, December 9, 2020.

Guy Gage and I will be presenting an informative webinar for The CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA). Here’s the scoop:

Interview to Hire the Best Candidates

Date: Wednesday, December 09, 2020
Time: 03:00 PM EST / 02:00 PM CST / 01:00 PM MST / 12:00 PM PST
Presenter(s): Guy Gage, III LPC and Rita A. Keller
Objective: In this 60 minute MAPCast on how to interview to hire the best candidates, participants will learn:

• The three common mistakes that interviewers make;
• Questioning techniques that uncover what you want to know; and
• Examples of situations that demonstrate interview proficiency.
Field of Study: Personnel/Human Resources
Program Level: Basic
CPE Credit: 1 Credit Hour

No advanced preparation or prerequisites are required for this course.

Click here for the course description.

Click here to register.

  • Never wear a backward baseball cap to an interview unless applying for the job of umpire.
  • Dan Zevin

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

Too Long

“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” – Barbara Johnson

When you graduated from college and began working at a CPA firm you probably thought you would work your way up to partner someday.

The years went by and you worked your way up the ladder. You became a Senior, a Supervisor, a manager and perhaps, a Senior Manager. Maybe then you were offered something called Non-Equity Partner and you could actually use the title “Partner” on your business card. But, you were not really a partner.

How long did that take? I am guessing way too long!

Starting with the millennials (they are 39 years old now!) and continuing with Gen Z, young people want to become successful much more quickly than the culture of many CPA firms allow.

All this is prompted by some CPA firm websites I have visited recently. “John Doe joined the firm in 1996 and became a partner in 2018.” “Betty Smith joined the firm in 1994 and became a partner in 2017.”

Doesn’t that seem like a long time to you? And, are they equity partners or just the non-equity type? I am not a fan of the non-equity partner slot. It seems like a holding pattern to me.

Becoming a firm owner is not for everyone, of course. But, for those who have the ambition, the dedication and the skills to become a partner, twelve or thirteen years seems like a long time.

There is one factor to consider. The Baby Boomers are retiring at a rapid rate. If they actually retire, then you don’t have to depend so much on firm growth.

As the old saying goes, if you want to become a partner you have to make yourself too valuable to lose. Make yourself valuable more quickly!

  • I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.
  • Edith Sitwell