Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

Gossip & Rumors

“Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.” ~ Shannon L. Alder

Rumor: A currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.

Gossip: A casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.

Have you read about, or watched shows about Henry VIII (like The Tudors, etc.)? I was fascinated with the way the royal Court operated on rumor and gossip. It seemed to be very much a part of Royal life. Current day, just consider all the rumors surrounding Harry and Meghan.

It all brings to mind what I call the “Grapevine” inside accounting firms. I have never encountered a firm where there is absolutely no grapevine. I always advise people new to working in a public accounting firm to stay away from The Grapevine.

Gossip and rumors thrive when communication from the top is inadequate. The is why I consider communication as the root of all evil inside firms. Rumors and gossip begin when someone drops the communication ball.

Always make communication a priority. Your people want to feel included; they want to know what is going on. If leaders do not tell them they will form their own opinions that are usually not true.

Some say that malicious gossip led to the death of Anne Boleyn. Don’t let gossip and rumor thrive inside your firm.

  • "Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?"
  • Sean Covey

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Keeping It Simple

“How difficult it is to be simple.” – Vincent Van Gogh

CPA leaders working in public accounting have a bothersome skill. I have observed on many occasions that they have the ability to complicated almost anything. Maybe it is their inquisitive nature. Rather than just try something, test something to see if it works, they research, investigate, question an idea over and over and usually end up NOT trying something new.

They have high expectations for the team members but don’t often clearly (and simply) communicate them.

Here is some simple advice intended for a high school marching band as they depart on a road trip. I hope you can see how it could be used to communicate with your own team members. It also applies to your partner group.

  • "You've got to change incentives for good behavior as opposed to just disincentivizing bad behavior."
  • Gavin Newsom

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

Friday, July 9th, 2021

Stay Away From Day-to-Day

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” – Yogi Berra

As summer moves along, you are probably giving lots of thought to your Fall partner retreat.

For this Flashback Friday, read this post from 2019 – Don’t Let Day-to-Day Take Over Your Retreat.

Have a great weekend!

  • "The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones."
  • Maynard Keynes

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

Wednesday, July 7th, 2021

Engage Your Employees – Don’t Lose Them

“You give loyalty, you’ll get it back. You give love, you’ll get it back.” – Tommy Lasorda

Now, more than ever, it is so important to engage your team members. As you all know, finding, hiring, and retaining people has become even more of a concern for public accounting firms.

Some firms are holding their partners accountable for engaging and retaining valued team members. Firm management is asking each partner these three questions. Leaders need followers. Many people working in public accounting say they stay with the firm because they are loyal to a particular partner. Who are those partners at your firm and why do they deserve such loyalty?

  • "A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down."
  • Robert Benchley

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

Friday, July 2nd, 2021

A Long Weekend – Time For Contemplation

“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” – Aristotle

Beginning today and through the long weekend. I hope you take some time to think and reflect.

Every day, in your leadership position, you create works of art. It might be a simple process, a procedure, valuable insight for a client, a smile for a co-worker, or a helping hand for your team.
Remember leadership is not a position, it is a state of mind – anyone can be a leader.

I like this one:

“It is about leaving a mark that I existed:
I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated.
I was happy. I was sad. I was in love.
I was afraid. I was hopeful.
I had an idea and I had a good purpose
and that’s why I made works of art.
– – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

  • "Contemplation is the root of awareness and creativity."
  • Sandra Chantry

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Improve Your Productivity & Focus

If you want to be more productive, you need to become master of your minutes.” – Crystal Paine

Have you heard of the Pomodoro method? According to an article I read, it has helped millions of people to become more productive and improve their time management skills.

Plus, according to a very efficient friend of mine who has worked in the CPA profession for years, it has really worked for her.

Also from the web: The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have—rather than against it. Using this method, you break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros.

It reminds me of a method practiced by my former marketing director. She would have a pressing task and would be down to a deadline. She would say, “I’m going to play Beat the Clock.” That meant she would completely focus for one hour (usually typing or researching something) and get what she could done in one hour. I have tried it at various times and it worked for me. Sometimes you just agonize over things too long!

  • "Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort."
  • Paul J. Meyer