Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Rejection Letters

“To the old, the new is usually bad news.” – Eric Hofer

I often get requests from my clients (and others) for samples of various types of letters. I have observed that CPAs are much more open to new ideas, processes, etc. if they can see samples.

That’s why a recent article via HBR seemed an important one to share. It is titled, Writing a Rejection Letter (with Samples).

I am sure there are many instances where you must turn someone down. You know, let them down gently. I believe it is the proper thing to to when you have interviewed a job candidate and decided they were not the best fit for the job. It can often be an unpleansant task so do not put it off!

Keep in mind that you don’t have write a long or detailed explanation. The article suggests four steps:

  1. Say thanks.
  2. Deliver the news.
  3. Give the main reason.
  4. Offer hope.

Read the entire article. The samples are very helpful.

  • Bad news isn't wine. It doesn't improve with age.
  • Colin Powell

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Are You Talking?

“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something.” – Plato

If things are not going so well at a firm, if the partner group is not on the same page and there are undercurrents of discord, it is usually a lapse in communication. The partners have skipped or canceled their partner meetings.

Read this Friday Flashback post. Partner communication is key to the success of the firm.

  • Most people talk too much, and what they do say is often just noise or irrelevant gibberish designed to keep themselves entertained.
  • Stuart Wilde

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

Lack of Communication

“Communication works for those who work at it.” – John Powell

July is winding down. Maybe you aren’t as inspired and invigorated as you were a few weeks ago. You have relaxed after the July due date and maybe taken a few days off.

It seems really difficult to focus on what to do next. Don’t let this temporary lag result in a lack of communication. Your team and your peers still need to hear from you and see you (via video).

When communication disappears or lags, a positive culture can quickly turn into a negative one. Guard against this at your firm. Communicate and inspire your team. Give them some good news. Compliment them. Thank them. Challenge them. Inspire them. And, never stop doing it.

  • Communication is your ticket to success, if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively.
  • Theo Gold

Monday, July 20th, 2020

The Rosenberg Survey

“Great firms continually reinvent themselves.” – Marc Rosenberg

Want to know more about what is going on in the CPA profession? Take part in the Rosenberg Survey and receive key information about how you stack up with your colleagues in the CPA profession.

ONLY TWO WEEKS LEFT!

For over a decade, The Rosenberg Survey has provided accounting firms with key benchmark statistics. Did you know? The Elite Firms from our 2019 survey (firms with income per partner > $500k) had the following metrics:

  • Ratio of staff to equity partner – 8.8
  • Net fees per equity partner – $2,410,918

The Survey has dozens of other metrics from the elite firms so be sure to participate!
Why is The Rosenberg Survey Valuable? 

  • Customized comparison of like sized firms in similar markets for participating firms.
  • Accurate and valid results reviewed by three CPAs.
  • Reliable year-over-year comparisons, 89% of the firms in our 2019 survey also participated in 2018.
  • Robust pool of over 310 participants makes our data relevant to firms of all sizes.
  • Clear cut data displayed by firm size for comparison.

Click Here to Participate in 2020 Rosenberg Survey

  • 80% of firms never make it to the second generation.
  • Marc Rosenberg

Friday, July 17th, 2020

Flashback Friday – Tax Season is Over

“We must care for each other more, and tax each other less.” – Bill Archer

We all know that the “normal due dates” for taxes like March 15 and April 15 never means that it’s over, that you don’t have to worry about your client’s taxes for another year.

To celebrate July 15th this year, here’s a fun flashback. Now, I hope you have a real weekend and that many of you have closed your offices this Friday in July to thank your people.

  • We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Take Care of Your People

“Your employees come first. And if you treat your employees right, guess what? Your customers come back, and that makes your shareholders happy. Start with employees and the rest follows from that.” – Herb Kelleher

I have often written about Herb Kelleher and I used his quotes often in the many presentations I did over the years. The reason is…… he believed in taking care of your people!

It has been very trying times. Your people have done the best they could with the situation that was forced upon them. They worked (and are working) diligently to serve clients fully and passionately.

As a firm leader, it your job to not only take care of clients but also take care of your people. Don’t put them at a lower position on your priority list.

Let them know you care. Let them know you appreciate how hard they are working. Let them see you… use video chats. Some employees would be simply amazed if they got a video invitation from the managing partner.

Other non-CPA professionals… marketing directors, HR directors, firm administrators, technology leaders… touch base with individual team members whenever possible. It would be good for them and also good for you. You don’t want them to forget you exist!

Show your team (and our peers) your passion for life and work. Show them your kindness, your sense of humor and your sense of true teamwork.

How about just simply sending individual emails to team members thanking them for being on your team?

  • Power should be reserved for weightlifting and boats, and leadership really involves responsibility.
  • Herb Kelleher

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Partners Doing Partner Work – Friday Flashback

“Money often costs too much.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do you want your firm to be as profitable as it can be? Read this flashback blog post from July 17, 2019: Partners Doing Partner Work.

This is the last weekend before the July due date. I hope you are not working all weekend but I suspect many of you are. Maybe you should seriously consider training your clients.

  • Differentiate to succeed.
  • Seth Godin

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

A Strong Foundation

“In order to achieve great results, you first need to do the deep inner work to build a solid foundation that can support your success.” – Chris McClure

Building a strong foundation, personally, is very important. It will be the guiding light that supports your success and leads you to even greater heights. As mentioned in the quote above, you have to do deep inner work.

This same theory applies to your busy accounting firm. You let yourself get so busy that the firm just molds itself around you (and your partners).

For over one-half of this year, you have been busy, busy, busy. You have quickly reacted to build a remote work environment to serve clients and to get you through the pandemic. It didn’t matter if the foundation was solid or shaky, you had to get the work done – you are essential.

Soon it will be July 15th, that new magical due date. Hopefully, you will have some time to really contemplate the foundation of your firm. Your processes and procedures are the foundation of your firm. You must be prepared to inform current staff and new staff “How we do it here.”

Perhaps you had some well-developed processes but they all went by the wayside during the last few hectic months. Refocus. Seek input from your people and your clients. Shore-up your foundation so you are prepared to move forward into the new normal.

Foundational pieces of an accounting firm, in addition to how your complete engagements and handle workflow, are: HR policies, internal accounting (billing and collection, monthly firm financial statements, etc.), technology processes, training, and marketing/sales activities.

Remember, from the quote above, “In order to achieve great results, you first need to do the deep inner work to build a solid foundation.”

  • Successful people begin where failures leave off. Never settle for 'just getting the job done.'" Excel!
  • Tom Hopkins

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

Relax. Enjoy.

“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” – Peter Marshall

You and your team have been working so hard and tax season has certainly been a long one and it’s not over yet.

I hope you can take time off and enjoy this 3-day weekend!

Have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July.

  • The essence of America—that which really unites us—is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion—it is an idea—and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.
  • Condoleezza Rice

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

People Problems

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” – Kurt Vonnegut

I wrote the following article for the June issue of my newsletter. If you are not on the mailing list, you can sign-up here.

If you are on the mailing list and are not receiving my newsletter, check your spam folder. Some people are reporting that is where they find their issue.

I heard from several readers that they really enjoyed this article and could definitely relate. Here are some of the comments:

I just wanted to send you a note, I usually don’t get to read your newsletter the same day you send it, but boy am I thankful I did…..the People Problems – that’s me!!!!!!!!

I LOVE your article!!!  It made me roll with laughter.  I resemble the PM in the role as the’ air conditioner adjusting monitor’.  Had I only had the fortitude to be more like the maintenance person. 

So true. As a firm administrator that also takes care of
our 25 person office, I can relate so much! Smiles for the day!

People Problems

You got the job! You are now the CPA firm’s Practice Manager (COO/Firm Administrator). You will be “in” on all the management activities of the firm, deal directly with all the partners and be on the front line dealing with operations and people. You know you will be good at it because you really like people.

A year later, you finally admit you really don’t like people! 

Of course, this is an exaggeration. But, the people game is a very complicated and frustrating game inside accounting firms.

As Practice Manager (and sometimes it is the managing partner), you deal with problems and, most of these problems are caused by people. The vast majority of the problems are not anything serious. Actually, most problems are rather petty. 

Here’s a classic story (and a true one). It’s a story of trying to please everyone and, as you know, that’s not possible!

In a mid-size CPA firm, the bookkeeping department (or CAS as they call it now) is staffed by five females ranging in age from thirty to fifty-five. The members of this group cannot agree on the room temperature. It is always too hot or too cold. They continually complain to the Practice Manager about the heating/air conditioning. 

One member of the team says it is too cold in their area. The Practice Manager asks the building maintenance man to adjust it for them. So he brings in a ladder, opens a section of the ceiling and, adjusts the heating/cooling for that area. They agree that it is much better and they are all happy, for a while.

A week or two later, a different member of that team reports that it is way too hot in their area. The maintenance man goes through the same exercise. Over the period of six months, he repeats it several times and after each adjustment for a while, they are all happy.  

The Practice Manager is kept in the loop by the maintenance man. Finally, the PM asks, “Don’t you get aggravated with having to adjust the heating/cooling all the time with that group?” His reply, “I don’t adjust anything. I just get up in the ceiling and pretend I’m doing something, then they are all pleased for a while.”

Practice Managers in accounting firms have similar and unique personalities and characteristics. They enjoy the challenge of dealing with problems, solving them and, also dealing with the many people problems with patience and perseverance. And yes, they really do like people.

The problem in this example was, at least temporarily, solved by having everyone working remotely. They could control their own thermostats. Many new and unforeseen problems and challenges are now being faced by the practice manager as the firm begins to bring people back into the office.

The following quote is attributed to the poet John Lydgate and later adapted by President Lincoln: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”