Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

Unexpected and Helpful Ways

“The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” – Richard Branson

How are you serving your clients in helpful and unexpected ways?

Have you ever thought about it? I bet you give a brand new client significantly more attention than you do a long-time, loyal client.

Clients really don’t expect anything unexpected from their CPA. If you do something helpful and unexpected they might just recommend you to some of their friends.

Just a few ideas:

  • Send a greeting card on their birthday. Even an email will do.
  • Send a congratulations card when a child graduates from high school or college.
  • Send a thank-you for “allowing us to serve you” card at the end of an engagement.
  • Drop off a pumpkin pie a few days before Thanksgiving.
  • Keep them updated on significant changes such as the minimum wage increase.

…. and I know you can add a lot more items to the list.



  • "Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans."
  • Ken Blanchard

Monday, January 6th, 2020

Less Talk, More Doing

“Power should be reserved for weightlifting and boats, and leadership really involves responsibility.” – Herb Kelleher

January is here. Now you have an excuse for procrastinating on many things that need to be done inside your firm. Things that will help you keep pace with current trends in the CPA profession.

You have clients to serve – audits to perform, taxes to prepare – that’s a big part of what you do, especially January through April 15.

For many, the strategic plan, that you talked about last summer goes on hold for a large portion of the year. I suggest you follow Herb Kelleher’s advice:



  • "You don't hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills."
  • Herb Kelleher

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

CPA Management Newsletter

“One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment. If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

My January Solutions For CPA Firm Management newsletter went out yesterday. If you did not receive a copy and would like to – sign up here.

Hopefully, it will help you keep pace with the changing world of CPA firm management.

  • "You'll never get bored when you try something new. There's really no limit to what you can do."
  • Dr. Seuss

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

Reminiscing Today

“A whole stack of memories never equal one little hope.” – Charles M. Schulz

Today is a special date for me. It is my blog anniversary. I have completed 14 years of blogging.

I started blogging on January 2, 2006, and I have written a blog post every business day since then. There may have been two or three exceptions over all those years but I honestly can’t remember not posting. I did not miss posting on trips out of the country, across the International Date Line to Australia, while rafting on rivers in Costa Rica, visiting Canada and Mexico and on many trips to national parks across the country. The easy access to Wi-Fi is amazing.

Here’s that first post:

Happy New Year 2006 and Welcome to Rita Keller’s Blog.

I know that many of you, visiting this blog, are part of my expanding team of CPA firm management explorers – seeking new ways and revisiting proven, old ways of efficiently and profitably managing the CPA firm of the future – the firm where young professionals will want to build their careers.

I am just getting started, so check back soon for more information.

I am sending you the same message today – let’s continually explore ways to improve your firm and yourself.

I have also been tweeting for many years. I started in April 2008 and continue to tweet several times a day – every business day. Follow me on twitter!

  • "I think it would be interesting if old people got anti-Alzheimer's disease where they slowly began to recover other people's lost memories."
  • George Carlin

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

The Year – 2019

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” – Robin Sharma

2019 is making its exit. It made me feel better about this past year by watching a link inserted below today’s Google Doodle.

I inserted it below. If it doesn’t show on your phone, go to my blog site to view it or simply go to Google’s home page today (December 31, 2019). It will be two minutes well spent. 2020 will be a leap year – use it to make your firm LEAP ahead.



  • "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 30th, 2019

Think About The Good Stuff

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

As the year draws to a close, I hope you take some time to think about all the good things that have happened at your accounting firm this year and the things that made you smile and laugh. Often, we focus too much on mistakes and all of the negative drama that happens in the workplace.

  • How often has someone stepped in and helped you without asking?
  • How often has a mistake created a reason to simply laugh out loud?
  • Wasn’t the sack race at the firm picnic a hoot?
  • How did the team look in their Halloween costumes?
  • Didn’t that group of women from your firm have a great time at that Habitat for Humanity project?
  • Wasn’t it nice when that law firm provided donuts for the entire team?
  • Didn’t that particular manager do a great job of training everyone on that new software?
  • Wasn’t it amazing how hard those two young partners worked to land that huge client?
  • How did you feel when that special client sent a referral your way?
  • "Life is not just about the good things or not just about the bad things. It is both. It all depends where you focus your attention."
  • Ann Marie Aguilar

Friday, December 27th, 2019

What People Think About Their Manager (Boss)

“Management’s job is to convey leadership’s message in a compelling and inspiring way. Not just in meetings, but also by example.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

Here is some feedback from employees regarding what matters most to them in relation to their manager (or leader). It will serve as some food for thought if you are a leader in your accounting firm.

“Practicing humility, that is, serving your people rather than insisting that they serve you.”

“A willingness to get into the trenches. In college, I worked for a deli. When we were very busy, my boss would get behind the counter and ask, “OK, what do you need me to do?”

“The best leaders have the ability to express kindness. My last two managers (one in a huge company and one in a small company) took the time to get to know me as a person and find out what motivated me.”

“Leaders need to be consistent in their principles. When you are unpredictable and make declarations based on whims, you paralyze the people beneath you.” 

“A leader should separate friendships from professional relationships. I loved one manager because she asked for input from every person on staff instead of playing favorites. She didn’t always give the easiest jobs to her “friends.”

“I like a person who has the ability to help people with opposing viewpoints find common ground.” 

What kind of leader/manager will you be as you begin your journey through 2020?

  • "Many people hear your words, but they feel your attitude."
  • John Maxwell

Thursday, December 26th, 2019


“Being cool is when you win, you don’t get too happy; and when you lose, you don’t get too mad.” – Ice T

You are responsible for the management of a CPA firm.

It is a challenging role and can often be very stressful.

Don’t ever let them see you rattled. If you are nervous, everyone will be nervous. If you look tired, everyone will be tired. If you are angry, everyone will notice and feel the negative vibes.

That’s why I am suggesting three little words that will be your leadership mantra for 2020 and beyond.

Just remember A – B – C.


  • "If you've gotta think about being cool, you ain't cool."
  • Keith Richards

Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

Merry Christmas

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

Warmest holiday wishes to all my clients and friends in the CPA profession. Celebrate with family and friends and bask in the warmth and joy of the season.

Thank you for allowing me to be a resource to you and your firm and for following my blog and reading my tweets! Do all you can to make 2020 your best year ever!

(To see the video, below, you have to go to my website.)

  • "Never eat more than you can lift."
  • Miss Piggy

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

Stress Can Be Your Friend

“Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.” – Kelly McGonigal

This is an important topic. Working in a CPA firm, we have always looked upon stress as a fact of life and as a bad thing.

I urge you to take 15 minutes over the holidays to listen to this TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, PhD. She is a research psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. Part scientist, part storyteller, she translates the complexities of neuroscience into inspirational yet practical advice that helps people lead healthier, happier, more creative, abundant lives.

If you have teenagers at home, share it with them.

  • "Let yourself notice whether the upsetting thought is an old, familiar tune - that's your first clue that it is not critically important information you need to believe."
  • Kelly McGonigal