Posts Tagged ‘accounting’

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Will Much Of What You Do Be Replaced By Machines?

All of us, in the business world, have been dealing with significant changes in the way we work. Accountants have been automating many of their tasks for years now. Remember the first “portable” computers we used in accounting firms? They weighed about 30 pounds but we still thought they were cool.

I am sure that, by now, you have been reading about the massive changes that are continuing to come our way. McKinsey & Co. estimates that 45% of all activities humans perform in the workplace can be done by software or machines.

McKinsey also estimates that somewhere between 85% and 100% of the labor, in 5 categories of jobs, can be done by machines rather than humans. Here are those 5 categories. Take note of #2.

  1. Production workers
  2. Bookkeeping, accounting, auditing and billing clerks
  3. Mechanics and automotive technicians
  4. Construction equipment operators
  5. Bakers and butchers

Maybe the talent shortage in the CPA profession will lead CPAs to more quickly move down the road to automation.

Read more about this topic here.

  • The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots.
  • Erich Fromm

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

A Change In Overtime & The Average Work Week

How and when a CPA firm pays overtime is something that has been discussed and argued for years. It is not always easy deciding who is “exempt” and who is “non-exempt”.

I have found that most firms are very careful about these rules. I just wanted to give you a heads-up about some new overtime pay protections for low-salaried managers that are in the works.

Here’s the article on CNN Money – be sure you are in the know for your firm and for your clients.

Here’s another interesting fact. According to a Gallup poll from last fall. The average U.S. employee works 46.7 hours per week. So, don’t think it is just the accounting profession that has extended hours.

The best thing about public accounting hours is that, for many accountants, the extra hours occur in winter and when summer arrives it’s a 40-hour work week.

  • Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.
  • Tim Notke

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Women In Accounting – Thriving In Challenging Times

Women BrochureI speak and write a lot about various topics and issues regarding women in the accounting profession. I also do the same about generations working in public accounting.

I want women to STAY in public accounting. They soon become skilled CPAs, they build relationships with people, inside the firm and with clients. They simply need flexibility, as do all people working in public accounting. It has become a generational issue.

Our society has changed, young men are much more involved in raising their children than the prior generations. Families with moms and dads building careers need flexibility.

If you are a member of the Michigan Association of CPAs, I hope you will attend the Women’s Leadership Luncheon in Grand Rapids on December 12th. I will be speaking on a Workplace Transformation…Women Thriving in Challenging Times. Here’s a link to the brochure and a link to more information on the MACPA website.

There is a huge dark cloud hanging over the CPA profession…. it’s called Succession. Women are key to successful succession.

  • It is better to be looked over than overlooked.
  • Mae West

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend – Time For Something Off-Topic

IMG_1375Because I am on an extended traveling saga (work-related, not for pleasure this time), I thought I would share this & that about my week.

On Monday I headed to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. My first trip to Mexico and the wonderful folks at DFK (CPA firm association) kindly invited me to spend an extra day since I was traveling so far to speak to their North American managing partner group. The event was held at the Fiesta Americana Grand resort and it was a stunning setting for my visit to Mexico.

Wednesday morning I did my presentation and then on Thursday headed back to the states via Phoenix and on to Oakland where on Friday I spent a day filled with great conversations with the members of the Northern California Chapter of the Association for Accounting Administration. Needless to say, I went from laid-back, 90 degree environment to extremely crowded freeways and 50-ish temperatures.

Today, it is back to the warmer weather in Phoenix for the CCH User Conference – I speak on Monday and Tuesday. If you are there, seek me out and say, “Hello”.

I’ve talked with lots of people this week about the challenges of managing a CPA firm. What do you do when you feel like you are about to “lose it”? In my readings I found a passage from The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, that might help:

“Do what boxers do, sway with the punches. Don’t resist. If any of what happens at work gets to you, just let it. You won’t be able to shut it out in the long term anyway. Take it bit by bit, release it like a dam, don’t let it collect until the wall develops cracks.”

I took the picture, above, at the resort in Mexico. Page down to see my post from Thursday with another picture.


  • For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.
  • Lily Tomlin

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend – Time For Something Off-Topic, Informational, Humorous Or Even Weird

Fall is in the air. Yes, it’s back-to-school and time for football. However, to me it is marching band season.

I have been an official and unofficial band booster (that’s a bunch of band parents and band member family and friends who suffer through heat, cold, rain, snow and often a beautiful full-moon evening to watch their student march and play music on a football field) for many years.

Ben and MariaAnother special season is beginning – Maria (my granddaughter) is a freshman this year marching in the Fairbanks High School Marching Band. The band director is my son, Ben. Here’s a picture Ben took last night.

Does this have anything to do with CPAs working in public accounting firms? Yes! I think it does.

What if your firm were a marching band?  What if EVERYONE in your marching band (CPA firm) was determined, proficient at their tasks, well-rehearsed, dedicated, tireless, and committed with skilled section leaders helping others to their best? What if your marching band (CPA firm) was led by a director who ALWAYS, enthusiastically demonstrated positive feedback with high expectations and a good dose of discipline? What if everyone in your marching band (CPA firm) worked extremely hard, even to the point of exhaustion to please their audience (clients) AND still had lots of fun?

In Ohio, when high school marching bands compete, they are judged on the following 1-5 system:  Superior, Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor. Where would your firm rank?


  • Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
  • Victor Hugo

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

2013 Top 100 Most Influential People In Accounting

2010 Ritav5As a CPA firm management consultant, I continually wonder, am I doing enough.

Am I visible enough? Do I make it easy for practitioners (looking for resources to enhance their firm) to find me? How’s my brand holding up? Are my speaking engagements and presentations on target? Is this blog helpful and relevant? Am I helpful and relevant? And, most of all, are my clients receiving value when using me as a resource?

So, yes, like many of my peers, I always anticipate the publication of Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People listing. To me it is verification that I am still “fighting the good fight” of helping accountants attain continued success through my writings (articles, blogs and my newsletter), my speaking engagements/presentations and my consulting work with individual firms.

I was first named to this prestigious listing in 2005 and I guess you could say I have become one of the Old Timers. I am thrilled with that and in 2013, as I did in 2005, I feel overwhelmingly honored, humbled and simply delighted. Thank-you, Daniel Hood and the editors of Accounting Today.


  • Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
  • John Wooden

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Do The 20-Somethings Inside Your CPA Firm Get-It?

Sadly, I must report, that inside many CPA firms many people do not “get it.” Get-it applies to a wide variety of things, such as how long it takes to get a job done.

Sometimes you just have to laugh. Do you have the 1.5 hour partner? This is one of the several partner-types I hear described over and over again as I work with firms. This partner, when asked how long it should take to do a particular client project (you know, the time budget for this job)…. always replies, “It should take about an hour and a half.”

I could go on and on about what the mature partners inside CPA firms “don’t get.” However, today I want you to consider the things that the 20-somethings inside your accounting firm might not “get.”  Share this information with them.

Jason Nazar, a contributor on the Forbes site, highlights 20 Things 20-Year Olds Don’t Get. This is a good read for all ages of professionals working in an accounting firm. Here are the 20 Things – read the article to get advice on each topic.

  1. Time is Not a Limitless Commodity
  2. You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated
  3. We’re More Productive in the Morning
  4. Social Media is Not a Career
  5. Pick Up the Phone
  6. Be the First In & Last to Leave
  7. Don’t Wait to Be Told What to Do
  8. Take Responsibility for Your Mistakes
  9. You Should Be Getting Your Butt Kicked
  10. A New Job a Year Isn’t a Good Thing
  11. People Matter More Than Perks
  12. Map Effort to Your Professional Gain
  13. Speak Up, Not Out
  14. You HAVE to Build Your Technical Chops
  15. Both the Size and Quality of Your Network Matter
  16. You Need At Least 3 Professional Mentors
  17. Pick an Idol & Act “As If”
  18. Read More Books, Fewer Tweets/Texts
  19. Spend 25% Less Than You Make
  20. Your Reputation is Priceless, Don’t Damage It


  • The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Accounting Grads Are In Demand

Are you a “grow your own” type firm?

That is how I describe a firm culture where leaders prefer to hire directly from the college campus rather than try desperately to find experienced “seniors.”

Last week I facilitated a meeting of top Chicago area CPA firm administrators. Out of 15 or so firms represented in the room all but one firm was looking for experienced people.

Think about your competitor down the street…. they want your people and will probably pay $5,000 to $10,000 more than you are paying them. Thus, the reason for hiring from campus.

12240-331 2013 Supply and Demand.inddThe AICPA recently released the results of Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits, which showed a record 40,350 accounting graduates hired by public accounting firms in 2012 and 89 percent of those firms forecasting the same or increased hiring of graduates this year.

To better understand, read this interview with Scott Moore, AICPA Director of Students and Professional Pathways, who led the effort to compile the Trends report.

  • If you don't have a competitive advantage, don't compete.
  • Jack Welch

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Xero – Online Accounting

I have posted about Xero before, just to keep you informed about new trends and developments in the accounting profession.

In April I did one featuring Jason Blumer talking about how firms are changing.  You might want to check it out again.

Now that Xero has established a foundation in the US, they are ready to unveil their platform to the accounting community. You can join them at Xerocon 2013 in San Francisco on September 4th or 5th. Learn more from this video from Jamie Sutherland, President of Xero U.S.


  • We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new path.
  • Walt Disney

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Allan Koltin – Yes, he’s cherubic and chirpy

IMG_2335I’ve known Allan Koltin for a very long time.

When I first met him he was simply selling newsletters to CPAs to send to their clients. We have become good friends over the years and he has always been an advocate, mentor and advisor as I have made my way through a complex career within the CPA profession.

Allan moved with ease from salesman to consultant/advisor to some of the most prestigious CPA firms in the country. Now, according to Crain’s Chicago, he’s “the most interesting man in accounting.

Check out the article published on July 8th to read about how Koltin has become the #1 “mover and shaker” when it comes to CPA firm M&A. They call him “cherubic and chirpy.” It makes me smile because I would never have thought of those words to describe him, but they are true.

Congratulations on the great article, Allan.

  • There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
  • Helen Keller