Monday, May 18th, 2020

The Importance of Following

“Be a better follower if you want a better leader.” – Dan Rockwell

Per John S. McCallum, Professor of Finance at the I. H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, followership is a straightforward concept. – – It is the ability to take direction well, to get in line behind a program, to be part of a team, and to deliver on what is expected of you. It gets a bit of a bad rap!

I definitely agree with McCallum. We hear so, so much about developing leadership skills and yes, that is important. If you are working in a team environment, as is true of accounting firms, it is very important to develop followership skills.

Nothing disappoints me more than when I hear a familiar story from a firm. The partners elect a managing partner and ask him/her to lead the firm into the future. But, many of the other partners are truly not on board with having a boss (leader). They think (and often say), “Yes, that is a good idea for the firm…. but I’m not going to do that with ‘my’ clients.”

Not everyone is destined to be a leader. Many accountants don’t ever want to be a leader. They have many of the traits of followers – the are good workers, diligent, and committed. They are competent, have a strong work ethic, have courage to be honest with leaders and demonstrate discetion.

I be that describes many people working at your firm. Be proud that you are a great follower. It is a valuable skill that even leaders must learn. Read my blog about the importance of followership that is being taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

As McCallum says, “Followership will always be in the shadow of leadership.  But there are no leaders without followers and on-going success with weak followers will usually prove elusive.”

  • "It is true that an organization is only as good as its leaders. It is also only as good as its followers. "
  • John S. McCallum

Friday, May 15th, 2020

Flashback Friday – There is more you need to know

“The sooner, the better!” – Franklin W. Dixon, author of The Hardy Boys

If you are NOT a young CPA, I hope you will share this flashback post with a young CPA.

There is more to being a CPA than knowing the technical work!

Young CPAs – Start Sooner!

Much of this can certainly apply to more experienced CPAs, too.

  • "Most people would sooner die than think, in fact, they do so."
  • Bertrand Russell

Thursday, May 14th, 2020


“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

I have observed that many CPAs are pessimists.

I have talked to many CPAs, usually managers, who are what I call Eeyores. In their mind, it is always something negative, bad or frustrating….. ” Oh, me, oh my, the sky is falling” type people.

Pessimism won’t get you very far. There is no time like the present to give the gift of optimism to yourself. You can do it – simply change your outlook and mindset. Don’t spoil the present with doom, gloom, worry, and despair.

You know if you are a pessimist. Others have most likely told you. Listen to them and learn. Become more hopeful because hopeful people always get more done. Become a recovering pessimist. It won’t be easy but you can do it.

  • "Don't blame me if it rains."
  • A.A. Milne (Eeyore)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Don’t Rescue

“Let others perform. Ego creates silos.” – Dan Rockwell

An on-going complaint by CPA firm managers – “The staff person didn’t finish the job. They sent it back to me!”

What’s rather sad about this scenario is the fact that while the manager complains, they just go ahead and take the work back, finish it or fix it.

The team member almost always sends the job back to the manager, unfinished, because they don’t know what to do next. They came upon an issue that they were unfamiliar with and have learned that if they give it back to the manager, the manager will finish it!

Dan Sullivan (@LeadershipFreak) says, “It’s dangerous to do other people’s work for them. When you rescue competent people, you minimize talent and promote disengagement.”

Managers defend their actions with the excuse of having to get the job moving, out the door and not put too much more time in the job. Don’t rescue them, send the job back, and help them address the unfamiliar issue.

Here is a simple, 4-step training method that seems to make so much sense for interns and new hires working in accounting firms.

  1. I do – You watch
  2. I do – You help
  3. You do – I help
  4. You do – I watch

If you keep rescuing them, they will never gain the knowledge and experience for career success.

  • "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."
  • William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Changed Forever

“The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” – Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea

Consultants and profession leaders have been continually prodding and pushing many CPAs toward significant change. Mostly, it has been by asking practitioners to take baby steps toward change. I have been talking about baby steps for years because most accountants have a great fear of quick, even if it is meaningful, change.

COVID-19 did what consultants and profession leaders couldn’t accomplish in decades. That is, forcing CPAs to suck it up and make immediate adjustment to their operation behaviors.

There is no going back now. The changes most firms made rather quickly will endure.

Gary Shamis, former managing partner of SSG, a large, progressive firm that got gobbled up by BDO has an interesting article via Accounting Today titled, Our Profession Has Changed Forever.

Three things that have changed:

  • The virtual practice
  • The client experience
  • Office real estate

Three things that have stalled:

  • Advisory services
  • M&A
  • Diversity & inclusion

Be sure to read the article to learn what he says about each.

  • "Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win."
  • Max McKeown

Monday, May 11th, 2020

News About Rootworks & Right Networks

“You make different colors by combining those colors that already exist.” – Herbie Hancock

Two “works” are becoming one – Right Networks has acquired Darren Roots’ organization, Rootworks.

This combination will be of interest to probably hundreds (or thousands) of firms using these organizations.

Here’s a quote from Root whose organization boasts 700 member firms – –

“We’ve been growing rapidly over the last several years, with over 700 member firms today,” Darren Root said of Rootworks. “And we’ve been evolving on the technology side. We provide a business model for the modern firm, and we help educate firms for that business model; but we also have a platform that helps accountants organize and grow that firm. Being able to leverage Right Networks’ long history of solid security and infrastructure and customer service will greatly benefit our member firms.”

Here’s the article describing the combination via Accounting Today:

  • "When it seems that someone has shattered your dreams..pick up even the smallest of pieces and use them to build bigger and better dreams."
  • Jeremy Irons

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Flashback Friday – Too Busy

“If you are too busy to develop your talents, you are too busy” – Julia Cameron

Are your clients becoming distanced from you because they are too busy trying to save their business and their employees’ jobs?

While many larger firms are letting people go, I find that smaller firms (the vast majority of firms in the U.S.) are very busy,

Here’s a post titled: I Can’t. I Am Too Busy. Read it and make sure you are not too busy doing the wrong things.

  • "Anyone too busy to say thank you will get fewer and fewer chances to say it."
  • Harvey Mackay

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Don’t Let This Be Your Plan

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” – Peter F. Drucker

I recently read a Facebook post intended make fun of a plan to re-open a state. We have to smile and keep our sense of humor in these COVID-19 times.

It immediately reminded me of partners’ strategic plan that comes from a two-day retreat of discussing and re-discussing the same topics they talked about last year at the retreat.

I have modified the original post to fit a CPA firm, just for your amusement.

We have identified a 6 phase strategic plan. The plan will be a phased plan that we will plan to utilize in phases. The phases will be planned and the planning will be phased. We will move quickly and slowly to change but will remain the same. We have created a staff of staffers who will plan the phase and planning while phasing their phases. And that is our phased and planned strategic plan.

  • "Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans."
  • Peter F. Drucker

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

What Are You Doing?

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” ~ Andrew Carnegie

People are watching what you do.

Whether you are a firm leader or a first-year accountant. People are watching what you do.

Do you live what you say? Or, do you say one thing and do another?

During this unusual time, firm partners are doing things they have never done before. Everyone is serving clients in a way they have never done before. You get distracted. Sometimes you feel invisible because you don’t have much face-to-face contact. Does that change how and why you do things?

You are not invisible. People are watching you. It’s up to you to set a good example.

  • "Look at people for an example, but then make sure to do things your way. Surround yourself with positive people."
  • Queen Latifah

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Practice Management Webinars

“Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future.” – Denis Waitley

On May 6th and May 7th, Gary Adamson, President of Adamson Advisory will be hosting two webinars for CPA firm leaders. The sessions are sponsored by CPA Leadership Institute.

May 6th – Valuation is Driven by Terms of CPA Mergers – And Other Keys to Success

  • Date/Time: May 6, 2020 @ 1-1:50pm ET

During this session, you will receive an overview of the M&A frenzy in the profession today and give you tools to help you, whether you are a potential buyer or seller. Adamson will discuss the trends in valuations and the terms, and why the terms drive the multiples that we all hear about.

For more information and to register, click here.

  • May 7th – How to Maximize Performance of Best Practices in Partner Admission, Transition, and Buyout

Date/Time: May 7, 2020 @ 1-1:50pm ET

This session focuses on partner admission, transition and buyout. Adamson will discuss the 25 best practices in both admitting a new partner, buying out a parter and the transition issues associated with the buyout.

For more information and to register, click here.

  • "Any fool can know. The point is to understand."
  • Albert Einstein