Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Remember When

“People do what people see. Too many leaders send people where they have never been themselves.” – John Maxwell

CPA firm partners, never, never forget what it is like to be the new kid on the block. Think back to your first day in public accounting. How did you feel?

Times have changed. What most of your team members, especially your new hires, are experiencing are things that you did not experience when you were new.

One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habit’s of Highly Effective People is: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

As leaders, make an effort to understand the specific work your various team members are expected to produce. Learn what is most challenging and where most team members struggle.

It is not the same work, done the same way, you did as a beginner twenty-five or more years ago.

As Stephen Covey says, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

  • Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.
  • Stephen Covey

Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Two Things

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Attributed to Albert Einstein and many others

I have observed that many Certified Public Accountants have similar personality traits. Many accountants are conservative, traditional, reserved, kind, polite, cautious, curious, serious, and professional. They are confident in their knowledge.

Two traits you might be missing – 1) There are some things you do not know and, 2) A willingness to change.

For example, do you know everything about marketing and selling your services? Do you know everything about the kind of technology that will push your firm into the future?

I still encounter firms where there is a “we do it this way because it is tradition and we have always done it this way” mindset among the partner group.

As the old saying goes (above) if you keep doing things the way you have been, you will get the same results you have gotten before.

Do you have initiatives at your firm that you never seem to accomplish? Your leadership group acknowledges the changes that need to be made (usually at a partner retreat). They even draft a strategic plan. Then little if anything gets implemented.

The constant you have is change. It is time – now – to accept the fact that in the business world, the environment has changed and is changing dramatically. Embrace it and look forward not backward. Eliminate your “getting back to normal” thoughts.

  • “The only reason time seems to be moving rather fast is that sometimes we’re too busy living in the past.”
  • Dominic Riccitello

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

“May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold—and at the end of your rainbows ay you find a pot of gold.” – Old Irish Blessing

I like this post for St. Patrick’s Day. I have used it a couple of times before. It still applies – So eat some green bagels or cupcakes and have a green beer this evening and think about NOT being green. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Can CPAs relate to Kermit and his tale about:  It’s not easy being green?

As Kermit says, “Wouldn’t it be nicer being red, or yellow or gold?  Green seems like you blend in with so many other ordinary things and people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water.

Perhaps, because you are a CPA you might feel ordinary or under-appreciated.  Well…. YOU ARE NOT!

As Kermit continues, “But green’s the color of Spring and green can be cool and friendly-like and green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.  When green is all there is to be it could make you wonder why, but why wonder why wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful and I think it’s what I want to be.”

  • My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.
  • Jim Henson

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

Motivate Your Team

“Issues inside an accounting firm almost always can be traced back to someone’s communication failure.” – Rita Keller

I am very pleased that the AICPA asked me to do a guest blog post. It was featured yesterday on the daily CPA Letter Daily.

Check it out and learn 5 Ways to Motivate Your Team During Tax Season.

Keep in mind that tax season is showtime for CPAs and their teams.

  • People who cease to grow can't inspire others. Leadership begins with challenging oneself.
  • Daisaku Ikeda

Monday, March 15th, 2021

Sharing Information

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” – Margaret Fuller

One of the ways I progressed in my career in public accounting was to network with others working in the public accounting profession (firm administrators, managing partners, marketing directors, HR directors, IT directors, etc.). We shared information.

Most of this experience came from networking in the Association of Accounting Administration, now called The CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA), and attending management conferences sponsored by state societies and the AICPA.

I also learned so much from the speakers at conferences. These people were usually CPA management consultants. I got to know them and they helped guide me in my early years of consulting. I soon became a speaker and management consultant myself thanks to so many who mentored me.

I became the first female member of the New Horizon Group, a group of experienced CPA management consultants. We met annually to share best practices, etc. Those early members were: August Aquila, Allan Boress, Steve Erickson, Chris Frederiksen, Allan Koltin, Bob Martin, Jeff Pawlow, Marc Rosenberg, Don Scholl, Steve Weinstein and Jim Metzler. I learned so much because we shared information.

That golden opportunity, of learning from others is available to you today if you take advantage of it.

Now, when I encourage people in management positions in CPA firms to attend meetings and conferences, the problem I encounter is the fact that so many people say they are too busy and some people think they already know it all. If you know it all, it is your responsibility to share (and no one ever knows it all).

If you get a chance to attend a CPAFMA Chapter event. Set a goal to attend other management conferences such as the AICPA ENGAGE conference. This year the CPAFMA annual management conference is in conjunction with ENGAGE.

Never stop sharing information and learning from others. After all these years, I am still learning (and sharing).

  • Sharing knowledge is the most fundamental act of friendship. Because it is a way you can give something without losing something.
  • Richard Stallman

Friday, March 12th, 2021

The Wisdom Transfer – Flashback Friday

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle

Here’s a post from 2019 on the various aspects of succession planning. One important thing that is often overlooked is the wisdom transfer.

  • The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
  • Isaac Asimov

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

Always Be On-Time

“Soldiers should be minutemen. Punctuality is one of the most valuable habits a soldier can possess.” –Christopher Columbus Andrews, Hints to Company Officers on Their Military Duties, 1863

I bet the people inside your firm have had many conversations about “other” people inside your firm.

One of the most frustrating topics is the person who is always late. They are late for internal meetings (Zoom or in person). They are late for client meetings, for lunch appointments and even for CPE classes.

Their lack of punctuality often keeps groups of other people waiting and wastes a lot of time. In some cases, people just get used to it and don’t even plan on the person to ever be on time. Few people, if any, respect or admire them.

George Washington was known for his punctuality. Once his secretary arrived late to a meeting, and blamed his watch for his tardiness, Washington quietly replied, “Then you must get another watch, or I another secretary.”

I once knew a very high-profile (and very expensive) personal coach who worked with prominent corporate executives and some CPA partners. One of the first things he taught them was punctuality. Monthly calls were established and the partner had to place the call to the consultant. If they were a few seconds late, the coach would not accept their call the they had to pay the session fee anyway – no refunds and it was expensive. Every person I knew who used this coach benefitted greatly from the life lessons they learned from the experience.

Read more about George Washington’s punctuality and other important factors about being punctual here.

  • Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.
  • Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

Rocking the Boat

“Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.”- Jean-Paul Sartre

Years ago when Bill Reeb was facilitating one of our partner retreats, he told the story of partners in a boat. They had identified one of three islands where they wanted to go and they ALL started rowing. Then one partner said, “Maybe we should go to island number two?” They all changed course and started rowing to the second island. They were making progress when a different partner suggested the best decision would be go to island number three. You guessed it, they all agreed to change direction and go to island number three. This continued and they continued to go in circles, never reaching any of the islands.

A similar story can be applied to rocking the boat. All agree the firm boat should go towards the island of CAS or the island of Valuation. Then one or two partners (who aren’t rowing) start rocking the boat.

If you are part of a partner team or management team are you the one who moans and groans in the hallway after the partner meeting even though you agreed to set course for island #1? Quit rocking the boat and get busy rowing. Or, get out of the boat and go to another firm.

I hope you appreciate my artwork!

  • My penalty for rocking the boat was being traded.
  • Ted Lindsay

Monday, March 8th, 2021

Another Long Tax Season

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” – Albert Einstein

Here’s a press release from the AICPA from last week.

AICPA Calls for Postponement of Filing and Payment Deadline for the 2020 Tax Year

Washington, D.C. (March 4, 2021) – In a letter sent today to the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) called for the extension of the filing and payment deadline for the 2020 tax year until June 15, 2021.

Last year, the IRS acknowledged the challenges created by the ongoing pandemic during the 2019 tax year by announcing a payment and filing deadline extension. Those challenges and more still exist in the system, and taxpayers are struggling to resolve issues related to 2019 tax returns due to the IRS inventory backlog.

The AICPA believes that more should be done for taxpayers during this filing season stating in the letter, “…in the current environment, it is simply not possible for many taxpayers and their tax advisers to meet their filing and payment obligations that are due on April 15.”

The letter also recognizes the difficulties a postponement of the filing and payment deadlines could create; however, COVID-19 and other circumstances necessitate action to ensure that the millions of affected taxpayers have sufficient time to meet their tax obligations.

“The effect of numerous legislative changes overloading tax busy season compels us to speak up now,” said AICPA Vice President of Taxation, Edward Karl, CPA, CGMA. “We understand that there are some challenges associated with extending the payment and filing deadlines. However, time is a critical factor. Taxpayers and tax professionals need this postponement, and they need to have certainty about the filing date now.”

  • The American people are not undertaxed, the government in Washington is overfed.
  • Ronald Reagan

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Be Positive – Keep Smiling

“Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” – Marilyn Monroe

As I have said before, there is way too much drama going on inside accounting firms.

I always explain to young people just beginning their careers that they should keep in mind that CPAs have been trained for auditing. Their role is to question, research, explore and look for mistakes. So, don’t be offended if they are critical of almost everything. Smile, learn and move on.

Experienced CPAs provide something called review notes to their subordinates. They review the less experienced persons work and give them written notes on what they did wrong. I have known groups of beginners to laughingly compare…. “I got 15 review notes from old Joe!” “That’s nothing, I got 28 from him last week!” Smile, learn and move on.

Betty, the long-time firm bookkeeper has been with the firm for 32 years. She is often gruff and demanding. So, you better not make a mistake on your expense report. Smile, learn and move on.

All of this is fodder for drama inside the firm. Don’t let it get to you. Keep Marilyn Monroe’s quote in mind: “Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”

  • Fear is stupid. So are regrets.
  • Marilyn Monroe