Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

Your Dream

“The moment that you begin to think ‘we are great’ your slide towards mediocrity will have begun.” – Jim Collins

Do you have a dream about what the future could hold for you and your firm? Most of us do, even if it is deep down inside us.

It would be great if we could accomplish that! I bet we could get that done! I would be so cool if we could just…….!

If you are old enough, remember when you read Jim Collins’ book Built to Last. He mentioned a BHAG.

BHAG is a concept developed in the book Built to Last. A BHAG (pronounced “Bee Hag,” short for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”) is a powerful way to stimulate progress. A BHAG is clear and compelling, needing little explanation; people get it right away. Think of the NASA moon mission of the 1960s.

Many firms established a BHAG. I wonder how that turned out.

As for now, I hope you have a dream of what the future might bring. A big and exciting dream. My question for you is in this quote (via @leadershipfreak):

“Are the *habits* you have today on par with the *dreams* you have for tomorrow?” ~Alan Stein, Jr.

  • "We must exert self-control in a world that is out of control. 20-mile march, 20-mile march, 20-mile march, day in day out."
  • Jim Collins

Monday, February 20th, 2023

It’s Not The Right Time

“Change ‘nots’ to ‘not yets.'” – Dan Rockwell (@Leadershipfreak)

The first part of Dan Rockwell’s tweet (above) describes what too often occurs inside CPA firms.

Have you said the following or heard the following from others at your firm?

  • The time’s not right.
  • I’m not ready.
  • The firm’s not ready.
  • Not this year.
  • That’s not for us.
  • It’s not what other firms are doing.

Times have changed and will continue to change. It’s happening rapidly.

Now is not the time to procrastinate. Change most of your “nots” to “not yet.” Or better, change your “nots” to “let’s do it now.”

  • "Action will destroy your procrastination."
  • Augustine "Og" Mandino

Friday, February 17th, 2023

Flashback Friday

“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” – Mark Twain

There are many things you should be doing in tax season, and there are many things you should not be doing. This Flashback post urges you not to do it!

  • "I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care."
  • Lou Holtz

Thursday, February 16th, 2023

Analyzing Results of the 2022 Practice Management Survey

“Survey and test a prospective action before undertaking it. Before you proceed, step back and look at the big picture, lest you act rashly on raw impulse.” ~ Epictetus

I hope you participate and study the results of the Rosenberg Survey each year.

The 2022 survey disclosed some very interesting information. I could analyze and recap it for you, but why do that? The CPA Journal has already done it for you.

Find out about:

  • Economic growth.
  • Alternative workforce.
  • Compliance to advisory.
  • Non-traditional hires.
  • Average age of partners.
  • Gender mix & percentage of female partners
  • Private equity.

Read the summary here.

  • "Latest survey shows that 3 out of 4 people make up 75% of the world’s population."
  • Stephen Hawking

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

Speak Up

“Be a voice not an echo.” – Albert Einstein

If you are building a career in the CPA firm world, never hesitate to speak up.

Many new staffers are uncomfortable saying what is on their minds. The firm’s leadership wants to hear your ideas and comments.

I bet you have been in a staff meeting and had an idea or comment. You lean over and tell the person sitting next to you. Then that person raises their hand, states the comment/idea, and gets recognition. This is especially true for females. It has probably happened to many of you, and I know it happened to me.

I have observed that the people who are not afraid of asking “the dumb question” are usually admired more than they realize. I have always appreciated those people because they ask what many others think but are afraid to ask.

Go for it. Speak up.

  • "Speak up. Believe inn yourself. Take risks."
  • Sheryl Sandberg

Tuesday, February 14th, 2023

The Greater Practice Management Issue

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” – Bertrand Russell

I recently read a comment from Jody Padar, author of The Radical CPA, that I think CPA firm leaders need to understand:

It’s never been about the tech… the tech is a symptom of the greater practice management issue or business model problem. Everyone starts with tech but soon finds all the other things that need to evolve in order for true technology innovation to happen–

  • "You're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem"
  • Eldridge Cleaver

Tuesday, February 14th, 2023

Reminder – Webinar February 16

You’ve worked diligently and have built a glowing reputation grounded in your excellent skills in tax, accounting, and auditing. You’re known as the “go-to” person when a client is faced with tax and financial decisions. You have a very successful firm — but that’s not enough.

I am pleased to present a timely webinar titled “The Evolution of Your Firm From Compliance to Consulting” for Accountant Advocate.

The webinar will be on February 16th, 2023, at 11:00 am PDT, 2:00 pm EDT, and 7:00 pm BST.

Join me for an insightful discussion on:

  • Why change is now more important than ever
  • How to convince your partners to move out of complacency and embrace new challenges
  • Learn how to overcome the battles you will face with technology, talent, growth, and client services

Read all about it and register here.

Monday, February 13th, 2023

Risk Assessment Guide

“Don’t be fearful of risks. Understand them, and manage and minimize them to an acceptable level.” – Naved Abdali

Here is some information I received from the AICPA about risk assessment in a financial statement audit:

The AICPA has published a new audit guide, Risk Assessment in a Financial Statement Audit. The authoritative guide will help auditors implement Statement on Auditing Standards No. 145, Understanding the Entity and Its Environment and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement, which takes effect for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after Dec. 15, 2023, with early application permitted. SAS No. 145 implements several changes to the risk assessment process, including:

  • A revised definition of significant risk
  • A new requirement to assess control risk at the maximum level such that, if the auditor does not plan to test the operating effectiveness of controls, the assessment of the risk of material misstatement is the same as the assessment of inherent risk
  • Revised requirements relating to audit documentation
  • New guidance on scaling the risk assessment process.

The guide is available in e-book format. 

  • "Risk Management lets you apprecite the risk while you let somone else shoulder all the worry."
  • Anthony T. Hincks

Friday, February 10th, 2023

The Way To Coach A Person – Flashback

“It’s not hard to find smart people. It’s hard to find people who inspire and motivate.” – David Maister

It’s Friday again and time for another Friday Flashback. This is one of my favorites about David Maister.

From January 2019:

An Effective Way to Coach a Person

If you never heard David Maister speak in person, you lost out on a memorable experience. He was vibrant and very direct.  He often would stop himself and say, “Okay, I’ve got to calm down.”

One lesson from Maister that I have never forgotten is an example he used in explaining the effective way to coach a person (a partner in a CPA firm, for example). The method is called “the pigeon story,” and he presented it in his humorous and logical fashion. I’ll try to summarize it briefly. 

If you want a pigeon (partner) to progress to another “place” that is too distant from them, they can’t do it in one huge step.

You draw a line very close in front of them and draw them there. You coach them by saying, “Come on Pigeon, you can do it, I will help you.”

When they get there, you celebrate and then draw another line not too far in front of them.

Same with people (partners). It is too hard to make a gigantic leap to an annual goal – it is too far in the distance. Instead, set a goal that is a small step away and continually repeat, “Come on partner, you can do it. I will help you.” After seven or eight lines (small steps, 9 or 10 for tax partners), they arrive at the larger goal.

  • "The way to get rich is don’t get sucked into doing dumb stuff for people you don’t like."
  • David Maister

Thursday, February 9th, 2023

Family or Community

“Some family trees bear an enormous crop of nuts.” – Wayne Huizenga

I read a couple of quotes this week that caused me to contemplate life inside a CPA firm.

So many firms proudly state that their firm (that employs people of different ages, backgrounds, cultures, and personal beliefs) is a family. The CPA firms I have interacted with that function as a family is a firm that family members own. And most family firms employ people who are not relatives.

So, does saying you treat everyone working at our firm like family really a true statement?

Here are the two quotations.

“Unless you are a family business, your team is not a family.” – Todd Henry

“A community is a group of people who agree to grow together.” – Simon Sinek

I hope you are building a community.

  • "The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going."
  • George Carlin