Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

Anytime, Anywhere Work Survey

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Convergence Coaching has announced the release of the 2022 ConvergenceCoaching® Anytime, Anywhere Work™ (ATAWW) Survey Results Summary! In its sixth edition, the ATAWW Survey examines the adoption of flexible work practices in accounting firms across the country.

The 2022 survey featured a series of questions exploring ATAWW programs as well as remote client service, non-traditional staffing strategies, and cultural shifts required. Some interesting findings include: 

  • 95% offer remote auditing, and the percentage who performed more than half their audits away from the client site soared from 14% in 2020 to 54% in 2022
  • 83% of firms allow Admin and Operations to work remote or blended
  • 81% who employ remote talent hired a “stranger” outside their geography (up from 38% in 2020)
  • 73% don’t dictate when extra hours are worked (no more mandatory Saturdays!)
  • 19% offer Unlimited PTO
  • 12% close the office between Christmas and New Year’s

The full Survey Results Summary is now available for download. In addition, they collected even more interesting data that could not be included in our Survey Results Summary. Click here to access the Anytime, Anywhere Work Bonus Content page. There is also an Accounting Today podcast on the survey results.

  • "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself."
  • Henry Ford

Monday, March 6th, 2023


 “I would say in the past couple months it’s come a long way, but I still don’t think it’s there yet,” Katie Tolin, CPA Growth Guides

There has been so much discussion about ChatGPT and what it means for many varying situations. Of course, I wonder about CPA firms. My first inclination is that it could be very helpful. Would it actually replace a portion of what a CPA firm marketer does?

Inside Public Accounting provides us with a very informative article about what ChatGPT means for public accounting firms by featuring opinions from CPA firm marketing professionals.

The article is titled: ChatGPT Didn’t Write This Article, But It Could Contribute to Firm Growth, Efficiency.

Consider if ChatGPT is right for your firm.

  • "I think that it’s going to give a path for experts who are bad writers to get to market. That’s what I’m hoping it will do, and then also streamline some drudgery that happens in marketing and other industries."
  • Raissa Evans, Digital strategy expert at Weaver

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

How Skilled Are Your Managers?

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” – Albert Einstein

This week for the Friday Flashback, I am going way back to 2010 and a post that asks: Do you have magnificent managers? The sad thing is this post still applies today, 2023!

I know you are busy, but find some time this weekend to recharge your batteries.

  • "Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

Let It Go To Voicemail

“It takes months to find a customer… seconds to lose one.” – Vince Lombardi

Here’s what happens inside many CPA firms.

In the old days, when a receptionist would receive a call from a client for a partner, the partner would say, “Just put it in my voicemail.”

Then direct inward dial came into fashion, and the partners would give their direct phone number to clients, telling them that they could use it to get directly to them. However, when incoming calls would come to their phone extension, they would just let all calls go to voicemail.

Now, with the widespread use of mobile phones, partners give their mobile numbers to clients. Yet, when they see that Joe Client is calling, they simply let it go to voicemail.

Managers have also learned, from partner examples, that it is perfectly okay to let calls go to voicemail. CPAs use the excuse that they are too busy and that they don’t want to be interrupted.

Clients have become accustomed to this phone tag world and usually never expect their CPA to answer their phone call on the first attempt.

You are in a service business. Do you have service standards for your entire team? You can get some inspiration from Ritz Carlton.

Besides, when you talk to a client, it can lead to additional services. All of this came to mind when I read a recent quote from Simon Sinek: “Posts get reactions. Phone calls start conversations.”

On a few rare occasions when I called a CPA, they actually answered the phone. I must say I was actually surprised. Try surprising your clients.

  • "Nobody raves about average."
  • Bill Quiseng

Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

Be Aware

“The paperless office is possible, but not by imitating paper. Note that the horseless carriage did not work by imitating horses.” – Ted Nelson

How much do new college graduates know about life?

You are desperately seeking these accounting majors for your firm. You might be surprised at what they do not know about general life skills that are put to use in the business world. Many times have you heard them say, “I never learned that in college!”

I recently heard a story from a grandmother about her granddaughter, a college student. I was amazed, but I think the more you know about your talent pool, the better you will be able to understand, manage, and mentor them.

A baby boomer lady was driving accompanied by her 20-year-old granddaughter, a college student. The lady couldn’t find a U.S. Postal Service dark blue mailbox where she could simply pull up and deposit her (paper) mail. She parked a couple of parking spaces away and asked her granddaughter to get out of the car, walk a few steps and put a letter into the mailbox. From the sidewalk side of the mailbox, as you know, you simply use the handle to open the mailbox and drop in the letter. The granddaughter admitted she had never mailed a letter this way and couldn’t figure out how to get the letter into the mailbox. Grandma had to give her specific instructions.

As your new recruits arrive in the office, you already know that you have to teach them SO much. Sometimes the little things are very baffling to them. Be patient. They are accustomed to a paperless world.

  • "I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think."
  • Socrates

Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

How Do They Describe You?

“A conversation is so much more than words, a conversation is eyes, smiles, the silences between the words.” – Annika Thor

CPAs in public practice attend a lot of civic and charitable events. I know you are all familiar with the value of “getting out there” in your business community.

When working at a CPA firm for many years, I understand how difficult it can be to recruit accountants from your staff, including partners, to attend these kinds of events. However, the best rainmakers I have known were very skilled at being out and about and being seen and heard in their business community.

I learned the skill of personal business networking from one such CPA. He was so smooth at working the crowd and making connections with people who just might refer business to our firm. He allowed and encouraged me to shadow him at some of the major business events in our city. I observed people light up, smile and engage when he approached them. He came to our firm via an acquisition, and I am grateful that I had the chance to learn from him.

Think about the last charitable fund-raiser dinner you attended. I hope you didn’t sit next to people from your own firm. I always encouraged our team to spread out and sit with people they did not know. Let’s say a potential client happened to sit next to you at that dinner, and you enjoyed the conversation.

What kind of impression did that person have about you when the evening was over? Here’s a great quote I read recently:

“When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.”
— A woman when asked her impression of the two English statesmen Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone after dining with them.

Maybe this is something to strive for at your next charitable or civic event. Practice makes perfect! Share this post with your younger, less experienced team members.

  • "Good conversation is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after."
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Monday, February 27th, 2023


“How can you have charisma? Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are making them feel good about you.” – Dan Reiland

A very simple question today. Do you have charisma?

I don’t think we often consider charisma as part of the job description for a partner. Or for a CPA in general. I have met many CPAs over my years in the profession. The most successful ones, the ones I grew to know and admire from various firms, had charisma. They are the ones who became a firm’s managing partner and then led that firm to amazing heights.

I recently read a description of charisma: Charisma is charm that inspires devotion.

Many CPAs have (or have acquired) charm. They use charm to build relationships with important clients. They use it to mentor younger CPAs. But a select few have charisma.

As a leader of a firm, how about you? Do you have it?

  • "There is no personal charm so great as the charm of a cheerful temperament."
  • Henry Van Dyke

Friday, February 24th, 2023

Friday Flashback – The Weather

“It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it.” – Amelia Barr

Once again, this week, the weather has been a major factor in the life of CPA firm workers. The weather prohibited many from “getting to the office.” No need to worry, you can work from home, or can you? Here’s a flashback from last December. “

  • "There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people."
  • Bill Bowerman

Thursday, February 23rd, 2023


“Panic causes tunnel vision. Calm acceptance of danger allows us to more easily assess the situation and see the options.” – Simon Sinek

It seems my entire career has been about change. I came into the CPA profession when it was moving from manual to computerization, and I have never looked back.

I focused my energy on streamlining processes and procedures and keeping up with all the changes that were happening throughout the profession. I have fought many battles with many CPA partners on why change is necessary, and the status quo means their firm will not become a firm of the future. Many partners that didn’t want to change eventually merged up and faced change that was quickly forced upon them.

I have observed that many CPAs are aware that change is happening yet, don’t think it has to be accepted by them. “Life is good, so why change?” seems to be their theme.

So, for all of you struggling with change, this quote from Nathaniel Branden applies:

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”

I hope you are accepting change and moving into the future.

  • "My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations."
  • Michael J. Fox

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023

Clients Who Appreciate You

“Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.” – Kate Zabriskie

The following is a recent blog post by Seth Godin. It seemed like a good message for CPAs in public practice. Are you attracting clients and keeping clients who appreciate what you do for them? Are you ridding yourself of clients who are frustrating?

Think about your clients. Who are the ones that you really enjoy and the ones that enjoy working with you? Get your team together and draft some bullet points that describe a great client. Compare every prospective client to that list. Find people who want to go where you do. Here’s the post:

Don’t know, don’t care

Clients and customers can be frustrating.

Perhaps they don’t know what you know.

Perhaps they don’t care.

It’s possible to educate and inspire.

It might be more productive to find the few that want to go where you do.

  • "It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want."
  • Steve Jobs