Posts Tagged ‘accounting firms’

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Holiday Closing Choices For CPA Firms

Since Christmas and New Year’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, I was curious about what accounting firms would do about giving their valuable team members some extra time-off.

When I am curious. I ask. Thus, I did a quick survey of some accounting firms of various sizes across the USA. It wasn’t a huge survey – I selected about 60 firms and about 40 replied – still a helpful sampling.

In recent years, many firms have adopted Christmas Eve as a holiday, or at least a one-half day holiday. Would they give people eve and day and ask them to come in for Friday? Would they give them a 4-day weekend? There are lots of choices and I received a variety of answers.

Question #1: Our Christmas holiday closing schedule is:

  • Close December 24 and 25 – – – 21.62%
  • Close half-day December 24 & all day December 25 – – – 18.92%
  • Close December 24, 25 & 26 – – – 18.92%
  • Close December 25 & 26 – – – 32.43%
  • Close December 25 – – – 8.11%

Question #2: Our New Year holiday closing schedule is:

  • Close January 1 – – – 57.76%
  • Close December 31 & January 1 – – – 2.70%
  • Close half-day December 31 and all day January 1 – – – 10.81%
  • Close January 1 and January 2 – – – 27.03%
  • Close December 31, January 1 & 2 – – – 2.70%


  • The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.
  • attributed to Jim Goodwin & Sydney Harris

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Identify Future Leaders Early – Part I

Gary Boomer, is that you with Rita?Gary Boomer’s recent article in Accounting Today “hits the nail on the head,” so to speak. As usual, Boomer and I are on the same wave-length. His insight into what accounting firms should be doing and not doing is always right on-target. The theme of his recent article is “leaders should be identified early in their careers….”

Current firm leaders often tend to wait way too long to identify future leaders. They may be thinking to themselves, “Young Ted is really sharp. He grasps things so quickly and he can talk to clients in an enlightened and mature manner.” 

The trouble is, firm leaders don’t communicate to young Ted that he has what it takes to be a major player in the game of public accounting, along with an earnings potential to match.

Meanwhile, young Ted is restless. He wants more responsibility, he wants to mentor the new hires and interns, he wants to be assigned to the firm’s premier clients, he wants to learn directly from the best performing partners and he would like the chance to accompany a partner to a client meeting or lunch.

If Ted’s expectations are not met, he will move on to find career fulfillment elsewhere. Your competitors will hire him in a heart beat!

My theory is that most experienced accountants can almost immediately assess the future potential of a young person entering the accounting profession. Yet, they wait and often suffer through failures with struggling employees for way too long and hesitate to invest very quickly in education and development of all-stars.

Read Boomer’s article and see what you think. Check back tomorrow and I’ll list Boomer’s 10 characteristics to look for in identifying future leaders.


  • None of us is as smart as all of us.
  • Ken Blanchard

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

New Type Of Intern Model For Small & Mid-Size CPA Firms

It really is tough for smaller CPA firms to attract the best and brightest accounting graduates. Even larger local and regional firms have a tough time competing on the college campus.

That’s why it is so important to help accounting majors learn more about some of the unique, challenging, supportive and career-building opportunities open to them inside, what I call, the bread and butter firms. So many of these small to mid-size firms really do offer a culture where “life if good.”

Recruiting on the college campus has changed over the years. Your firm founders might have visited the campus in the fall (September/October) to do on-site interviews with students entering their senior year. A few of the students interviewed made the cut and were invited to the office for a more in depth interview. Official offers, for full-time positions, went out just before Thanksgiving.

These days you can speed that up to about 200 miles per hour.  Now, your firm recruiter always makes sure your firm is visible in the spring before the students depart (by hosting a mixer, attending the end of year awards banquets, etc.). In September, firm representatives are ready to go early to interview 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students looking for interns for the upcoming busy season that begins in January. These interns are usually hired by the end of September or very early October – no more waiting until Thanksgiving! In mid-April when they depart, many have received an offer to work for the firm upon graduation, even if it is two years out.

cropped-cropped-WB-logo-web-banner-2Allen Bolnick of Chicago-area firm Weltman Bernfield had an idea to help his smaller firm compete and four other Chicago-area firms joined in. Unlike the usual intern programs you see in public accounting firms, this program does not expect billable hours from their interns.

This unique accounting intern program is based more on education, collaboration and cultural awareness. Read about this success story in an Accounting Today article by Danielle Lee.

  • Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.
  • Aldous Huxley

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Lighten-Up Thoughts About Mergers For Friday

IMG_0084Every where you turn there is something published about the merger frenzy that is occurring in the public accounting profession. Almost every day I read of another combination of firms. Some are larger firms gobbling up smaller firms and many are smaller firms banding together in hopes of survival.

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you know that my mind often drifts into some quirky thinking. I was thinking of all the mergers and this came to mind:

Merger, merger every where,

The number of firms to shrink;

Merger, merger every where,

What are we to think?

Of course, the inspiration for this comes from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. It is the longest major poem by the English poet Samual Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797-98 and published in 1798. It’s an interesting story. Read more about it here.

You probably learned the memorable lines as a child, as I did. Here’s a refresher:

Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.


Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where

Nor any drop to drink.

The phrase, “an albatross around one’s neck” also comes from this epic poem, meaning a burden which some unfortunate person has to carry.

This sailors was contemplating survival. The Mariner was carrying an albatross.

How about you?


  • The Devil knows how to row.
  • from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

National Meet The Firms Week – CollegeFrog

logo_MTFCollegeFrog is launching the Spring 2013 National Meet The Firms Week, a virtual recruiting event that runs March 25 – March 29.

The inaugural National Meet The Firms Week in October 2012 connected 200 accounting firms and 2,500 students across the country and offered insightful webinars to accounting students on such topics as the CPA exam and unique accounting career paths.

This spring it is expected that hundreds of additional accounting firms and companies nationwide will participate. The goal is to reach 10,000 students participating this spring.

I am thrilled to once again be part of Meet The Firms Week. You can see the full week’s agenda here. I’ll be facilitating the Accounting Career Paths Roundtable on March 25th at 2pm eastern.

I hope you’ll encourage your interns to utilize the sessions during that week and also pass it along to your local accounting professors to share.

  • When I'm hiring a cook for one of my restaurants and I want to see what they can do, I usually ask them to make me an omelette.
  • Bobby Flay

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Are You Aware of TaxConnections?

taxRecently, I have been talking with Kat Jennings and Tracey Glenn of TaxConnections. I am always trying to help CPAs and CPA firms become more visible and more successful. This could be a resource that will aid you in promoting your tax knowledge. Here’s some information about TaxConnections.

What is TaxConnections?TaxConnections is an interactive Worldwide Directory of Tax Professionals that connects consumers with tax professionals and tax services around the world.

What kind of tax professionals can be found on Tax Connections? – TaxConnections promotes tax professionals from corporations, law firms, public accounting firms, tax service firms, tax associations, government, independents and academia in more than 57 countries around the world. It is the very first social media site for tax professionals worldwide.

How does TaxConnections benefit consumers? – In one click, consumers can find tax professionals and tax services worldwide. Consumers can also ask tax questions and receive answers. It is all free.

How does Tax Connections benefit tax professionals? – Tax professionals who establish a media presence always have a competitive advantage. We improve tax professionals visibility nationally and internationally.

You can find lots of good tax information on their Facebook page. If you check-out the blog page, you’ll find me there, too.

The old saying, “the world is shrinking” sure applies to your tax practice these days. I like their worldwide focus.


  • The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.
  • Albert Einstein

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Looking At Your Market

As CPA firm practice growth guru, Gale Crosley says, “One of the most profound changes that firms can make is the way they look at the market.” Crosley stresses the need to change your perspective and look from the outside in.

Is your accounting firm providing pretty much the same services to clients that it did ten years ago, twenty years ago? Some firms have added valuation services and some have added investment services but many firms have not explored the market to see what their clients really need, want and will pay for.

For example, during a social media presentation at a well-known practice management conference, three highly-qualified professional service firm marketers were on a panel discussing the merits of Pull marketing vs. Push marketing. As they were about 10 minutes into their panel discussion, one CPA firm partner slowly raised his hand and inquired, “What is Pull marketing? I don’t understand what you are talking about.”

First of all, good for the partner for asking what many in the room were wondering about. Secondly, I admired the panel, they immediately refocused and turned their discussion into a more educational theme.

Most CPAs are comfortable with offering their services the same, old way. So, what’s the difference? Push marketing is when the client doesn’t want your product or service. Pull marketing is when the client does want your product service.

Progressive firms are using their website and social media to Pull clients to them; clients who want the service being offered. Sad to say, clients DO NOT want a tax return or an audit. The majority of what CPAs have been selling for years is something nobody wants!

Crosley suggests you look at your services from the outside in. Start fresh and take a look at your marketplace. Clear those old ideas and methods out of your mind. How do you know what they really want? Ask them!

During the next three months you will be talking to most of your clients. Develop a method for partners AND team members to actually ask clients what challenges they are facing. Follow it up in the spring with a client survey. Then assess your website and social media tools. Are you pulling potential buyers in your direction or are you still trying to force things on them they do not want?

Baby Boomer CPAs (firm owners for the most part) are so used to email. They blast things out to their clients and potential clients. The way generations operate in the business world now is so different. For the most part, business owners 45 and under grew up with the computer and matured with the internet. They equate unsolicited marketing info as spam and treat it that way by simply hitting the delete key.

Pull marketing is basic. Sure you use social media but you also do it the old way. Meet people, build relationships and find out what interests them.


  • To pull together is to avoid being pulled apart.
  • Bob Allisat

Friday, July 20th, 2012

How Are Accounting Professionals Adopting (Or Avoiding) Social Media

Are you a subscriber to SocialCPAs? It is the brainchild of Barry MacQuarrie. Barry is a consultant, social media enthusiast, technologist and a CPA with KAF Financial Group in Boston. He’s been a friend for many years and helps keep me on track when it comes to technology and social media.

SocialCPAs needs your help – here’s the message from Barry:

Take the 2012 SocialCPAs survey today!

We just launched our third annual SocialCPA Social Media Survey.  Our goal is to see how accounting professionals are adopting or avoiding social media. 

We hope you will participate in our survey and let us know what you think of social media.  You will be able to use the survey results to compare your social media efforts to peers in the accounting profession.

Click here to take the survey.

Follow the SocialCPAs link – above – to read some 2012 social media predictions for the accounting profession.

  • Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
  • Will Rogers

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Change Your Thinking And Embrace Opportunity

I’m in the conference mode this month – speaking at two highly-attended and influential conferences for the public accounting profession – AICPA PractitionersTECH – Association for Accounting Marketing, last week and today I am flying back to Las Vegas for the Association for Accounting Administration National Practice Management Conference.

What do I hear discussed at conferences focused on CPAs in public practice? Their need to change. Not only change how they act but also how they think. Of course they act professional and always in the best interest of their clients but do they act out their care and concern for their people, their partners and their firm?

In your firm do you impose limits on yourself? Perhaps you are one of many CPA partners who quietly thinks – “we can’t do that…” probably because you have never done it.

Gale Crosley calls these limits that CPAs put on themselves “thought borders.” In a recent article in Accounting Today, she explores the issue of international tax. In your partner meetings, you often discuss the fact that international is a hot market. Yet, you keep yourself from this vast opportunity because of what you consider logical reasons – you’ve never had a non-U.S.-based client and your don’t speak a foreign language.

I hope you’ll read her article, titled “Crossing Thought Borders.” 

I especially relate to her discussion on travel-phobia. “We can’t send auditors out of town because it costs too much and they hate to travel.” Welcome to the 21st century, when a firm headquartered in Peoria is no longer limited to clients in the 309 area code.

Don’t hide behind time-worn limitations. I talk with so many firm leaders who are mired down in “the same old thing” and are wasting huge opportunities for future success and growth.

  • Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
  • Winston Churchill

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Are You Suffering From Email Overload?

Email overload seems to be an on-going challenge inside accounting firms. I continually hear from many of you working in the accounting profession, “I can’t keep up with my email!”

I am seeing more and more firms using codes in the subject line, such as RSVP (then the subject) – when they really need a reply, NNTR (then the subject) if there is No Need To Reply.

Here’s an interesting and enlightening infographic titled, Should I Send This Email?  

I like the 3 tips for email near the bottom.

Email Overload
Created by:

  • Men won't read any email from a woman that's over 200 words long.
  • Doug Coupland