Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021


“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” – Brady Paisley

This term has been used by CPA firms for decades. SALY – Same As Last Year.

Do you remember when a new team member was assigned a routine individual tax return and the partner or manager would send the client’s file with a note simply stating SALY? Everyone knew what that meant. You just had to follow what notes were in the file and draft this year’s return similarly to last year’s return. Simple.

SALY became a way to train new recruits and I’m sure it was very boring for those newbies.

The point of this is that you can no longer sidestep your responsibility for training by simply indicating SALY. The workforce has evolved and young people are more curious and demanding.

Besides that, you are still working through a pandemic. It seems it just won’t go away. You are also constantly dealing with new technology. Going forward nothing will ever be the “same as last year” again.

  • We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.
  • W. Somerset Maugham

Monday, August 16th, 2021

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. “Learning your trade” is one way you build a strong, personal foundation as a CPA. In addition to work experience, reading is critical to building a strong personal foundation. Read everything you can. Read business books, of course, but also read for pleasure. You can often find meaningful inspiration from reading fiction.

This same theory applies to your busy accounting firm. As an owner or leader, you let yourself get so busy that the firm just molds itself around you. You might even be so busy that you let your culture form on its own. That could be dangerous.

For 2020 and 2021, you have been busy, busy, busy. You reacted quickly to build a remote work environment to serve clients and to simply get you through the pandemic. During these times, it hasn’t mattered if the foundation was solid or shaky, you had to get the work done and you did. 

Hopefully, now that 2021 is evolving, I hope you will take some time to really contemplate the foundation of your firm. Your work processes and procedures make up the foundation of your firm. You must be prepared to inform current staff and new staff “How we do it here.” You need to have high expectations and then set the best example so that your culture reflects your beliefs.

Perhaps you had some well-developed processes but they all went by the wayside during the previous 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, onboarding,  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.”

  • The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.
  • Zig Ziglar

Thursday, August 12th, 2021

The Overwhelmed Managing Partner

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Not too long ago, I heard a managing partner in a mid-size firm lament that he was overwhelmed with what he had to do as a managing partner. His firm wasn’t big enough for an HR department or a full-time Controller, so much of the administrative management work fell on his shoulders.

This brought to mind the fact that even very small firms need a true firm administrator. I know firms that have under ten people and have a firm administrator in place. One very successful firm (a former client) had one administrative person and her title was Firm Administrator. She did it all! This sole proprietor was freed up to do what he loved to do and what made the firm successful – he consulted with clients in a special niche (what a concept!).

Even in small firms, a firm administrator can take on much of the work surrounding recruiting and hiring. They can handle the renewal of various insurance policies including professional liability. In many small to mid-size firms (headcount 50 or under), the firm administrator (practice manager is now the preferred title), is also the marketing person, the HR person, and the billing person. I refer to these multi-talented practice managers as “working” practice managers because they also process tax returns and financial statements. Obviously, these tasks are mostly handled by an administrative assistant but during peak times the practice manager must pitch in.

Does it make financial sense? Yes. If a professional practice manager can save an MP even 20 hours per month and he/she uses those twenty hours to consult with clients, that would amount to almost $70,000 per year (if your equity partner billing rate is $290 as noted in the Rosenberg Survey). I believe a practice manager can save you a lot more than 20 hours per month.

So, if you are a managing partner that is feeling overwhelmed with admin work, hire a talented, professional practice manager. The CPA Firm Management Association can be a great resource for learning more about hiring a practice manager and managing a CPA firm.

  • Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.
  • Ronald Reagan

Thursday, August 5th, 2021

Interesting Development

“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.” – Scott Adams

I read a press release yesterday that I thought would be of interest to you.

Rootworks (Darren Root) has acquired CPA Practice Advisor. As you probably know, Rootworks was acquired by Right Networks a while back. Rootworks is now “a company of Right Networks.”

Here’s a link to the press release via Yahoo.

  • All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021

COVID Policies

“Honesty is the best policy.” – Benjamin Franklin

Because of the COVID-19 variant some firms are revising or reinstating their COVID policies.

One member of the CPAFMA (CPA Firm Management Association) was kind enough to share their firm’s policy that was reinstated last week and allowed me to share it here.

Samples like this are so helpful to other firms who may want to copy them or use them to develop their own guidelines. I hope you find it helpful.


Clients are given the option of dropping documents at an outside table via clear plastic packets then calling to let us know they’ve put them in the dropbox. Once dropped off, the documents are sanitized and passed for project assignment.

  • Clients may come inside to drop documents but will be required to have a mask on and use the hand sanitizer provided at the front desk.
  • Clients who need to come in for meetings can do so but must wear a mask and participate in a temperature screening.
  • Clients who do not want to wear a mask may opt to have their conferences conducted via telephone conference.
  • Employees going out of the office are heavily encouraged to wear a mask while in client offices.
  • All office meetings and celebrations are being held via Teams Software.
  • Employees are urged to self-monitor daily.
  • Direct exposure within the home of a employee requires that employee to work from home for 10 days.
  • Direct exposure outside of the home requires self-monitoring and work from home for 10 days.
  • Indirect exposure requires the employee to wear a mask within the office, stay in their office as much as possible and avoid common areas.
  • Any employee stating they have covid must provide a confirmed test to the Firm Administrator.
  • Any employee who works from home for any period after any claimed exposure must provide a negative covid test to the Firm Administrator before they can return to work.
  • If an employee is a caregiver for a dependent who is required to isolate then that employee must work from home during that period.
  • Special circumstances are considered. 
  • Our pregnant ladies have been asked to work from home until we see how this virus kicks back up. 

  • All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.
  • Pat Paulsen

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

Steady On

“Frantic work is never your best work.” – Dan Rockwell

I enjoy reading tweets and blog posts by @LeadershipFreak (Dan Rockwell). His recent one, A Dairy Farmer’s Path to Success, has many good lessons for accountants. I especially liked the following excerpt:

Steady on:

I asked a farmer how he was doing and he said, “Steady on.”

You never see a farmer running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (Apologies to chickens.)

Days are long on the farm, so you pace yourself. Medium speed allows you to work all day.

Frantic work is never your best work.

Read the blog post from Dan to learn more success tips from dairy farmers.

  • The future isn’t predictable. Instead, it’s created by informed decisions, bold action, and agile responses.
  • Dan Rockwell

Monday, July 12th, 2021

The Good Things

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson

Hopefully, if you had your partner retreat in May or June, you have already scheduled your annual “state of the firm” event. It is a very important event, especially if you are wanting your employees to be “engaged” with the firm.

The annual event is done differently in various firms. Some firms focus on the firm’s performance for the last fiscal year. Some firms use it as a way to obtain feedback from the team.

It is most powerful when firms use it as a way to host a full-firm management day. At this special meeting, the partners report on what they accomplished at their strategic planning retreat and how they think the team members can help them in achieving the strategic initiatives. It is a way to build momentum and focus on the good things the firm has accomplished and the good things that firm leaders want to achieve in the coming year.

At your full firm meeting always review the “good things” that have happened during the past year. Leaders often talk too much and think about the bad things.

At this annual meeting, it is time for positive thoughts and direction. Some firms have a guest speaker to help with motivation and have break-out sessions to explore ideas that can help the firm move forward in the coming year.

Get busy! Focus on the good things!

  • Goodness is about character - integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.
  • Dennis Prager

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

What One Firm Is Doing

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Elliott Davis, a business solutions and accounting firm with nine offices across the Southeast,

In the new office, less than 10 employees have assigned workstations while the rest of the firm’s Greenville team members reserve seats a week in advance. By utilizing a reservation system, employees may be able to use a certain type of space at any given time such as a private office, collaboration space or open workstation.

Elliot Davis also added multiple monitors with an integrated web camera in each workstation and equipped meeting spaces with Microsoft Teams video technology to help connect with remote participants.

The above information is from a press release. What is your firm thinking about, planning, and/or doing? Your people will want to know.

  • Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
  • Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

You Know What I Like!

“Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.” – Tracy Morgan

I recently heard an old song by someone called The Big Bopper. He died on the famous plane crash with Buddy Holly. It happened on February 3, 1959, and has been called “The Day the Music Died.” It was referred to in Don McLean’s classic American Pie. If you are not old enough to remember or have never heard of Buddy Holly, click here.

Anyway, The Big Bopper (J. P. Richardson) had a novelty song that became a big hit titled Chantilly Lace. In the song he says, over and over, “Oh, baby you know what I like.”

I told you all of that so that I could talk about this – a recent article by Dan Hood of Accounting Today – “Accountants need to explain themselves.” Dan was on a recent Zoom session the AICPA leaders conducted last week. They (the AICPA leaders) urged all of us in the meeting and all CPAs to communicate what is good about the CPA profession. Dan’s article will be helpful to you.

They didn’t need to convince me. I love the CPA profession. But, are you, people working in a busy CPA firm, actively talking about all the good things to LIKE about the CPA profession? Talk to your kids, talk to students, talk to your spouse, your aunts/uncles, and especially your clients about the great rewards of being a CPA.

Read Dan’s article and keep in mind, “Oh, baby, you know what I like!”

  • If anyone asks you what kind of music you play, tell him 'pop.' Don't tell him 'rock'n'roll' or they won't even let you in the hotel.
  • Buddy Holly

Sunday, July 4th, 2021

Happy 4th of July!

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” – Erma Bombeck

  • The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.
  • President James Madison