Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Being Visible

“The power of visibility can never be underestimated.” – Margaret Cho

I have written often about the importance of branding and how being visible helps build your firm brand and it is also how you build your personal brand.

Here is a link that will take you to a search I did on my blog for stories about brands and rebranding. You might want to read some of them.

This year has been a difficult year for branding and personal visibility. You haven’t attended Rotary meetings, you haven’t seen many clients face-to-face even though some of you are lifting the “no clients in the office ban.”

Many of you have done a great job of keeping your clients informed, especially on the PPP topic.

For your firm: Keep sending all clients informational emails and doing timely blog posts about current issues. They count on you for this information.

For your personal branding: Tell stories on your firm Facebook page about various partners and other team members. Send more personal, individual emails to your assigned clients (whether you are a partner or a staff person working on a client’s engagement).

Share your personal Facebook page with some clients (if you are sure it is appropriate). They just might be interested in what you are doing with your life during these unique times.

Do more than just use the phone – let your clients talk to you often via Zoom, Skype other video channels.

Being visible is a great way to build your brand. Visible is just different for the time being.

  • Out of sight, out of mind. The absent are always in the wrong."
  • Thomas a Kempis

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

Be Honest With Yourself

“This above all: to thine ownself be true.” – William Shakespeare

I hope, at your firm, you are asking your team members to do a self-evaluation periodically. I also hope that those evaluating the performance of others read the self-evaluations.

So many times I hear the stories about an accounting firm team member who is asked to do a self-evaluation. They take the task very seriously. They reflect back on the period of time being evaluated and expertly list their accomplishments and often also note some deficiencies.

It seems that the above Shakespeare quotation truly applies to them.

It has been my observation that people really do know themselves. They realize their strengths and their weaknesses.

When you compare their self-critique with the evaluations supplied by others, they usually align quite well.

The problem is, many people with power over the person’s career progress often do not study the self-evaluations or even read them at all.

  • A company could put a top man at every position and be swallowed by a competitor with people only half as good, but who are working together.
  • W. Edwards Deming

Friday, October 16th, 2020

Two Things

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” – William Shakespeare

For this Friday flashback post, there are two things to remember: Be prepared and work with people you trust.

Read more about these two things in this post from April.

  • The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.
  • Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

CPAFMA VIRTUAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITY

“The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.” – B.B. King

A great opportunity to learn what’s happening in the world of CPA firm management!

Understanding the challenges firms have faced in 2020, CPAFMA has designed this virtual opportunity to be affordable and inclusive, providing the opportunity for up to five members of the firm’s leadership group to participate for one low price from the convenience of one’s home or office. The two-day educational exchange has something for everyone involved in accounting firm management. The live online event includes high-level keynote sessions to facilitated discussions customized to provide information that can be implemented immediately.

YOU SHOULD ATTEND IF YOU ARE….

  • Responsible for management of an accounting practice
  • Responsible for the quality and profitability of your firm
  • Supervising and/or training staff in an accounting firm
  • Interested inn developing a team of outstanding professionals
  • Ready to promote your firm in today’s marketplace with expanded services and a desire to strengthen client relationships
  • New to the profession or an experienced firm manager, chief operating officer, human resource director or managing partner
  • Ready to deal with uncertainty with confidence

REGISTER HERE

  • Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
  • W. B. Yeats

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

There Is No Time To Rest

“Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators. We haven’t met yet.”

CPAs have a reputation for procrastination. It has been a very busy year and November is just around the corner. Don’t slack off now! There is so much more to do so that your firm can fully adapt to the new normal.

Here’s my story of the classic procrastination scenario inside a busy CPA firm. It goes something like this:

It’s tax season, we can’t possibly take the time to update our performance feedback process. It’s April 16, we desperately need time to recover from tax season. I call this the after-tax-season coma that you are in for about two to four weeks. It’s late May, early June, we can’t possibly work on the performance system because it is time to begin this year’s reviews. Our process will last at least through July. It’s August, too many people are on vacation. It’s September, we have extensions. It’s October, we have extensions. It’s December, we have tax planning appointments. 

So, that means you may have some time in November to catch-up on all the initiatives and projects you have talked about for months or even years.

Any of this sound familiar? As 2021 approaches, commit to avoiding procrastination. Take it in small steps and just keep moving forward with your initiatives even is you have a lot of various excuses not to.

  • You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Your Mental Attitude

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie

Perhaps your mental attitude has been a roller coaster ride this year. You try to stay positive and yet you sometimes throw up your hands in frustration.

Dale Carnegie gave us his suggestion:

Cultivate a Mental Attitude That Will Bring You Peace and Happiness

  • Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope.
  • Never try to get even with your enemies.
  • Expect ingratitude,
  • Count your blessings – not your troubles.
  • Do not imitate others
  • Try to profit from your losses.
  • Create happiness for others.

More wisdom from Carnegie in this post.

For more quotes from Carnegie (and others), follow me on Twitter.

  • If you want to keep happiness, you have to share it.
  • Dale Carnegie

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Friday Thoughts

“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” – Henry David Thoreau

If you are a follower of this blog, you probably know by now that I am an avid reader. One of the few good things about 2020 is that it has provided me with more time to read.

This morning I read this passage in a novel:

By temperament, he was a loner, if only because, although never wholly content in the solitary state, he was almost invariably even more miserable in the company of others.

This might describe one or two of the partners in your firm as it relates to the marketing director’s on-going challenge in trying to get them to participate in networking and marketing activities.

Have a nice weekend.

  • People inspire you, or they drain you - pick them wisely.
  • Hans F. Hansen

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

A Title Doesn’t Make You a Leader

“Leadership is personal, not positional.” -Skip Prichard

There is a young staff accountant who is always pleasant, polite, positive, and punctual. He sets a great example for his peers.

There is the senior accountant who seems to be the one staff person who cares about the first-year accountants and goes out of her way to make them feel welcome, gives good feedback and does not make them feel stupid!

There is the Director of First Impressions. She is always smiling. She makes callers and visitors feel special when they call or visit the firm. She offers them refreshments and is a skilled conversationalist. Her positive personality affects everyone working at the firm.

These people are not partners or managers. They are not classified as leaders, yet they are definitely demonstrating their leadership abilities.

  • To establish yourself in the world a person must do all they can to appear already established.
  • Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Monday, October 5th, 2020

After the Retreat

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” – Peter Drucker

Think about how you felt immediately after your last strategic planning retreat. I have observed it first-hand many times. During the wrap-up conversations partners and other attendees feel relieved, enthused, optimistic even happy.

Next, think about how you felt one month after your retreat. Do you even remember that you felt relieved, enthused, optimistic and even happy?

You return to the office and there are voice messages and emails that need attention. There are team members awaiting your return so they can ask questions or obtain your opinion and there are family and other personal commitments you must meet. That is why I strongly urge you to develop specific action steps that will help you accomplish the FEW important initiatives identified at your planning retreat.

Everything is changing so rapidly that it is difficult to really comprehend what your firm will need to do two years from now. To keep your firm moving forward, identify two or three initiatives, document the steps it takes to accomplish each one and commit to getting them accomplished in 12 to 18 months.

It is each participant’s duty to actively participate. See the quotation above. If you don’t commit, there are only promises and hopes, but no plans.

  • Duty is what one expects from others; it is not what one does one’s self.
  • Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

CPA Exam Benefits

“I’m forever testing myself. As a person and as an actor, I have no sense of competition.” – Michael Caine

I often receive inquiries about the benefits package a public accounting firm should offer. My advice? Be generous!

For example, firms approach paying for the CPA Exam and for the pre-exam study course in varying manners. Of course, some firms are more generous than others.

You are a CPA firm. You need CPAs. Communicate this fact to all your new accounting graduates (and others who have not yet passed the Exam).

Here’s an example of an Exam policy:

John Doe & Company CPA Exam Policy

(Name of firm) is first and foremost a CPA firm. The expectation has always been that, as soon as possible, each of us will sit for and pass the CPA exam. Including our college education, it is the completion of the basics and the foundation that each of us need to practice the profession of public accounting.

Effectively immediately, the firm’s policy on passing the exam is as follows:

  1. For new college graduates joining the firm, the expectation is that you will complete the exam by your two year anniversary with the firm.
  2. For the existing team, the expectation is that you will have it completed within two years of today’s date.
  3. As you will see in the firm’s goal-setting process, if you have not passed the exam your number one goal will be to do so. The achievement of this goal will have a significant impact on your compensation.
  4. Although we do not want to focus on the negative, if the exam is not completed within the above time frames it will be a serious impediment to your career with the firm. We will evaluate each situation on an individual basis.   

We are disassociating the passing of the exam to staff levels within the firm. In other words, you no longer have to have the exam passed to be promoted to senior. The level at which you are performing will be the only factor that determines your title.

We are enhancing our benefits related to the CPA exam as follows:

  • We will pay for 100% of Becker, Surgent, or another review course approved by the firm. This will be paid upfront and will be refundable to the firm if you do not complete the review course.
  • We will now pay the 50% reimbursement of exam fees upfront with no maximum.
  • The firm will pay a $1,000 bonus upon certification from the state licensing agency and will also have your certificate professionally framed.

To summarize, passing the exam is your top priority. The firm will do everything that we can to help you and to accommodate the process. We hope that the enhancements above will make a difference. But, you have to take it and pass it. Please give it the importance that it deserves in your career. 

Again, my message to all firms is to be generous.

  • Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.
  • Jack Canfield