Friday, August 9th, 2019

Flashback Friday – You Didn’t Act

How many times have you contemplated the fact that you should have done something but you didn’t?

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” – William James

Click here to read this flashback post from 2017.

  • "Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy."
  • Leo Buscaglia

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Podcasts

“I am still learning.” – Michelangelo

Podcasts are becoming more and more popular within the CPA profession. Many of you listen to podcasts as you commute back and forth to the office.

Check out this infographic via Podcast Insights that gives you some interesting facts about podcasting.

If you want to learn more about CPA practice management, firm governance and trends, listen to my podcast with Brannon Poe of Poe Group Advisors.

  • "The older I get, the more I see a straight path where I want to go. If you're going to hunt elephants, don't get off the trail for a rabbit. "
  • T. BOONE PICKENS

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

Merging Up – Be Aware

“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” – Benjamin Franklin

As the title says, be aware. Maybe I should also add, beware!

It has always been in the back of your mind that when the time comes, you will fund your retirement by simply merging your firm “up” into a larger organization. After all, the M&A market for CPA firms has been very hot for several years. No need to worry because you have no one in your own firm that has the skills, ambition, and desire to buy you out.

Beware, because that is beginning to change dramatically. The larger firms are not so eager to acquire another compliance accounting firm. They are seeking to make their firm more diverse and to bring in companies offering complementary services such as technology consulting, technology security and data analytics.

Here’s an example from a firm I have always admired, LBMC in Nashville:

LMBC, a leading accounting and consulting firm in the US Southeast, has acquired Nashville-based Think Data Insights, a national data analytics company.

Click here to read the article.

  • "Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance."
  • George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Sense of Urgency

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Every due date, CPAs complain that the clients are the reason for the last-minute added pressure. They are the reason the team has to work longer hours as the due date approaches.

It’s not all the clients’ fault. Perhaps you have lost your sense of urgency, especially over the summer. Those fall due dates are approaching. How much effort did you and your team spend on getting the clients to help you spread the work over the entire summer instead of the first two weeks of September?

This also applies to the winter busy season. Create a sense of urgency relating to getting the client work out the door before the last minute.

I also see a loss of the sense of urgency by partners when the firm is doing well and they are making good money. They are not hustling to bring in new business and expand services to current clients.

Some of my clients have created “keep the work flowing” initiatives this summer. They made it a priority to continually communicate with the clients to obtain their information sooner rather than later. Each partner was held accountable – it’s wasn’t deferred to the staff.

Did you lose your sense of urgency this summer? Read the quote above again.

  • "We have to live life with a sense of urgency so not a minute is wasted."
  • Les Brown

Monday, August 5th, 2019

Effective Communication

“In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, it’s deadly.” – Mark Sanborn

Almost every problem I encounter in working with CPA firms, whether it is a partner group issue, a procedural issue, or a people management issue, can be traced back to poor communication.

Every person working in public accounting needs to have the ability to effectively communicate.

Perhaps the partner group has discussed a certain issue so much and so long that they just assume everyone in the firm is aware of the issue. Many are not.

Managers believe they are so busy that they shouldn’t take their precious time to actually talk in-person to a team member about an issue. They use email or text and end up creating a lot of misunderstanding.

Employees are troubled about a certain aspect of their job but they are actually afraid to speak up and discuss it with the boss.

Open, honest communication should be part of your culture. Ask your team to give feedback to the leaders on the topic of communication. If you rank poorly, it is a wake-up call!

Sharlyn Lauby, @hrbartender, in a recent post gives us 4 Practical Tips for Effective Business Communication. Check out her post to read more about these four:

  1. Clarity
  2. Commitments
  3. Documentation
  4. Interaction

 

  • "The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said."
  • Peter F. Drucker

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

Flashback Friday – Say Things Differently

“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” – Eric Hoffer

Sometimes it is nice to phrase the way you say “thank-you” differently.

Click here to read this post from February. You might not have had time to read it then!

  • "You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late."
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

Managing An Accounting Practice Newsletter

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain

My July newsletter went out this week. Did you receive your copy?  This month I feature my podcast on the topic of CPA management. I also provide information about my advisory services. If you are not on the mailing list, you can sign-up here.

July NL

  • "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it."
  • Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Professional Courtesy

“When someone is there for you, has your back, that’s somebody to pay attention to because that’s a friend.” – Martin Landau

High school students are being taught to use professional courtesy.

What does that mean in the classroom? It is a call to every person in the space for their eyes and ears to

be focused on the teacher. Computers are at half-mast, headphones are out and students are completely

present with the teacher.

Watch this very short video to see what it is like.

I believe that professional courtesy could be utilized in a CPA firm. How many times have you walked into a

person’s office to talk face-to-face with them and they are constantly glancing at their computer or device?

  • "Pay attention, don't let life go by you. Fall in love with the back of your cereal box."
  • Jerry Seinfeld

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Be Open-Minded About Hiring Remote Workers

“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” – David Ogilvy

The accounting profession traditionally has not been very open-minded about hiring remote workers. I believe that is changing rapidly because of the scarcity of talent. Even some of my smallest CPA firm clients have people working from other parts of the country and even the world. So can you.

You continue to be challenged to find talented people. If you remove location as a limiting factor, it gives you access to all the talent in the world. It also gives you the opportunity to create more diversity and allows talented people to live where they want.

Per a great article via HBR, you need to assess whether the person is independent, passionate about their work, and collaborative. They need to be flexible and willing to travel and know that the firm headquarters is still where the action takes place. It is also important for you to do more intense due diligence when hiring

Read the article and make the decision to be more open-minded about hiring remote workers.

  • "Great vision without great people is irrelevant."
  • Jim Collins

Monday, July 29th, 2019

A Growth Issue

Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

Currently, we are in a time of rapid growth for accounting firms. The whole merger & acquisition scene is creating firms that are becoming larger and larger and larger.

As firms get bigger, some of the personal touch culture is in danger for both the clients and the employees.

Your mission/vision says you care, you provide the best possible service for your clients and the best possible workplace for your people.

Have you lost some of that culture? Is it much more difficult to be sure that you are “keeping your word”?

If you are at the top of one of these larger organizations have you become too disconnected to know what is really going on?

  • "The only to really care is to have human beings who care (and give them the authority and resources to demonstrate that)."
  • Seth Godin