Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

Don’t Hold Back

“Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” – Seth Godin

Occasionally, I simply reprint an entire post by Seth Godin. Today is one of those days because I believe his message fits CPAs and their teams.

THE LIFEGUARD HACK

Who am I to walk up to someone at a party and introduce myself?

Who are you to start a new project?

Who are they to give a talk on the main stage?

Don’t raise your hand–someone else might have a better question. Don’t ship that work, it’s not ready…

There are endless excuses, comparisons, and reasons to hold back.

Unless…

Unless you’re on lifeguard duty and someone is drowning. In that situation, even if you’re not the best lifeguard in the world, and even if the water isn’t the perfect temperature, and even if you don’t quite remember how to do the latest version of the cross-chest carry… you jump in the water.

Because it’s not for you. It’s for them.

Generosity unlocks doors inside of us.

  • Anxiety is experiencing failure in advance.
  • Seth Godin

Friday, November 19th, 2021

Climbing The Ladder

“Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.” – Guy Kawasaki

It’s Friday and time for a flashback post. This week’s post comes from November, just last year (2020).

The post talks about how long it takes, in many firms, to climb the ladder up to being a partner. Today’s workforce is not going to wait around for decades. Click here for the post titled, Too Long.

  • Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous impatience.
  • Hyman Rickover

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

Review Your Holiday Benefit

“A holiday is an opportunity to journey within. It is also a chance to chill, to relax. It is when I switch on my rest mode.” – Prabhas

Accounting Today recently released their list of the 2021 Best Firms for Young Accountants.

Each year, Accounting Today and Best Companies Group recognize the 100 Best Firms to Work For in the U.S. — and then they pick the 10 Best Firms for Young Accountants from among those, based on the responses of their younger staff to a comprehensive employee survey. Click here to meet the ten firms.

As I browsed the list, something stood out to me. Only four of the ten best firms offered ten paid holidays. Four offered eight and two offered nine. I thought this was rather unusual. In my network of firms I believe ten paid holidays is very common:

  1. New Year’s Day
  2. First Friday after April 15
  3. Memorial Day
  4. Independence Day
  5. Labor Day
  6. Thanksgiving
  7. Day after Thanksgiving
  8. Christmas Eve
  9. Christmas Day
  10. One floating holiday

The floating holiday is often used to make a four-day weekend if July 4th falls on a Thursday, for example. Some firms give it as an employee’s birthday or any day of their choice.

Think about what your firm offers and see if you are in line with what is expected from future employees.

  • I look my best when I'm totally free, on holiday, walking on the beach.
  • Rosamund Pike

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

The Clock Is Ticking – Flashback Friday

“I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.” – Woody Allen

The major due dates have passed. Now, you have two months to get a lot done.

Read this flashback post about not wasting valuable time!

  • The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.
  • Stephen Covey

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

What Employees Want

“We can – and need to – focus on the right things now, so employees know the company is prepared to invest in their success.” – Sharlyn Lauby

According to a recent survey from Sharlyn Lauby (@HRBartender) the top two reasons employees would leave an organization are:

  • Increased opportunities for advancement.
  • Better compensation and benefits

This survey was not specifically for the CPA profession but I would guess that your current employees want the same thing. Lacking these two factors might cause some people to find other employment opportunities.

I was surprised that lack of flexibility was not one of the reasons people would leave but maybe because employers have, in general, embraced flexible work arrangements for almost everyone.

Do you know the reasons why your team members might leave your firm? Maybe it is time you did your own survey.

Young people entering the CPA profession today want to know what their career path would look like. Are you prepared to give them a clear picture of how that works at your firm? As to better compensation and benefits, I have found that most CPA firm employees are fairly satisfied in that area although I believe starting salaries should be enhanced as much as possible.

  • Money is usually attracted, not pursued.
  • Jim Rohn

Monday, September 13th, 2021

Leadership Development

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Once again it is time to remind you of the leadership development programs offered by Convergence Coaching. Too many firms have ignored the need for structured leadership development programs and thus limit their choices when considering firm succession.

Convergence’s flagship program:

Transformational Leadership Program™ (TLP) – Kicking off with a remote web seminar on November 1, participants pay $6,500 for the year. This one-year “finishing school” for high-potential managers, senior managers, directors, new partners and key administrators includes a combination of one-on-one coaching, two 2-day workshops (in-person or can pivot to remote if needed), 2-hour web-based roundtables, online self-study and a special in-firm project. Participants join a cohort of up to 26 other leaders from firms around the country, learning both from facilitators and each other in this year-long program.

There are also other programs for up-and-comers in your firm:

  • Leadership Development Program for Seniors and Supervisors (Kicking off October 25)
  • Client Advisor Program (Will soon be scheduling 2022 dates)
  • Rainmaker Development Program (Will be scheduling 2022 dates)

Here’s a graphical view of the programs available:

  • A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.
  • Rosalynn Carter

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

Cover Letters

“A well-written cover letter can be the difference between winning or losing a job opportunity.” – Larry Sheftel, Aprio

It is always great to be featured in The Journal of Accountancy. Thank you to Teri Saylor for contacting me to discuss the power, lack of power, and use of cover letters for resumes.

Do you expect a cover letter when someone submits a resume? Do you even care? Some beneficial information can be obtained from someone who writes an exceptional cover letter if the hiring manager at your firm actually reads it.

I believe that cover letters have almost become a thing of the past. Everyone seems to be in a hurry these days and do not think of including a cover letter. Those doing the hiring are also in a hurry too and don’t even read a cover letter if it is included.

I asked one of my clients if they always expect a cover letter with a resume. He said yes because they ask in the ad, “submit your resume and cover letter to…. ” They don’t care about the cover letter but they just want to see how many people follow instructions!

I hope you take the time to read the article. It was also nice to be featured along with my friend, Larry Sheftel of Aprio (pictured).

  • In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you.
  • Warren Buffett

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

Subscription Pricing

“You’re going to have to define the kind of customers you want, which is much easier if you’re niched.” – Ron Baker

Ron Baker has been talking about value pricing since 1994. You have read his books and heard him speak many times.

In a recent article, he makes the case for subscription pricing. We are keenly aware of subscription pricing. Many things from Netflix to shaving supplies can be bought via subscription.

Baker says, “It’s what I’m calling Value Pricing 2.0 – the subscription business model.”

Read Baker’s article via Thomson Reuters, titled: “Subscription pricing for tax and accounting services? I know this is a great idea because it scares the hell out of people.

Baker thoroughly explains the pricing model. He also covers how it is better for an accounting firm than traditional pricing models.

As with most things from Baker, I think you will find this very interesting.

  • It always amazes me that some firms have $100,000 clients and yet they have a bunch of $500 clients — that’s insane.
  • Ron Baker

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

Build A Marketing Culture

“Doubt is a killer. You just have to know who you are and what you stand for.” -Jennifer Lopez

As baby boomers retire and many of them have already, the firm is usually faced with a shortage of rainmakers. Of course, their knowledge and experience with technical work are also missed.

Firms have spent many years and a lot of money developing technical experts. But, have they spent many years and lots of money developing rainmakers? The answer is no.

It is so important to instill the responsibility and expertise for bringing in new business in everyone working at the firm, especially the younger accountants. I have observed that firm leaders don’t begin early enough to develop future rainmakers. Here are some suggestions on how to build enthusiasm for marketing.

Marketing Education From Day One – As part of orientation, be sure your new hire spends some time with your marketing director (or firm administrator) to learn about firm marketing efforts. One marketing director gives the newbies a “tour” of the marketing closet, showing them the firm marketing collateral and giving them their business cards on the first day. Set a goal for them to distribute their business card to twenty people their first week at the firm. Assure them that they can give it to friends and even relatives, just for the practice. The marketing director has a lot to teach new hires.

Provide Opportunities to Practice – Organize a marketing skills lunch and learn for staff. At my firm, we even talked about the proper way to shake hands and had them practice with each other. Have them develop their elevator speech (how they quickly describe what they do and who they work for in an informative and brief way).

Establish Accountability – A simple, easy-to-use marketing activity report is an important tool for new staff. Sometimes, even managers need marketing education. The marketing activity report is submitted to the marketing director every month.

Leaders Setting The Example – Young people learn from observing others. Do all your partners frequently attend community and business events? Are your partners writing articles for the firm newsletter? Do you have some partners who blog, tweet, or do podcasts?

Always Have A Shadow – Partners and more experienced accountants should always offer to take a beginner along on a prospect meeting. When you have a lunch meeting with a current client, invite a beginner. You can flatter your important client by saying, “Today I have asked Ned Newbie to join us for lunch. He is new to the firm and just learning how CPAs work. I thought he could learn benefit from attending a lunch meeting with an important client like you.”

Building the enthusiasm for marketing doesn’t happen naturally for accountants. Don’t wait until a manager is being considered for partnership before they know that bringing in business is an expectation.

  • Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.
  • Zig Ziglar

Monday, August 30th, 2021

How Does A Prospective New Client View Your Firm?

“Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.” – Steve Jobs

Those of you who know me, know that I am, and always have been, an Apple fan. I had the first Mac when it looked like a little robot box and of all things, it had something called a Mouse! Our son had an Apple IIe when he was in middle school. I wish I had bought stock back then!

I came across a great article via Inc. A story about a Windows devotee who had an Apple Store experience. Take a few minutes and read it. See if there is something you can learn about client service from the story.

I love this one sentence in the article, “I’m deathly allergic to inauthenticity.”

Here’s the story, “I Spent $2,000 at the Apple Store and Got an Invaluable Lesson in Consumer Psychology.”

  • You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out.
  • Steve Jobs