Posts Tagged ‘accounting’

Monday, June 24th, 2013

The Basic MAP Stuff – On My Mind

This is one of my “On My Mind” type posts. I don’t do them often but I just want to ramble so that you can contemplate.

CPAs in public accounting love MAP (managing an accounting practice) statistics. They can’t wait until the newest survey comes out to find out if they are average – what a thrill (yes, like Sheldon Cooper, I’m not very good with sarcasm).

If you are a professional managing an accounting firm, don’t settle for being average.

The one statistic that I see so much of that is out-of-line is net revenue vs. number of partners.

I talk to so many firms, in person and via phone who tell me something like this….. “Our revenue is roughly $6,000,000. We have 12 partners.”

Firms keep adding partners when they are not adding revenue. If you are over a $2M firm, your net fees per partner should be over $1M per partner (per the Rosenberg Survey). The largest non-big four firms are nearing $2M per partner.

If you are considering adding new partners this year, I hope one of the requirements is that the firm revenue has grown to support them.

  • If you are a $6M firm with 6 partners, don’t add more. 
  • If you are considering adding a partner who has not proven they can generate business, think again.

I’m not saying that each partner has to manage $1M. Some of your partners can manage $1.5 and another can be responsible for $500,000, that’s okay. You do need a mixture of skills.

FYI – The newest Rosenberg Survey will be released in September.

  • 40% of CPA firm partners should not be partners.
  • Marc Rosenberg

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Sarah Galley Named AAA ACE Award Winner

Last night at the Annual Association for Accounting Administration Gala, this year held at the beautiful, historic Fox Theatre in Detroit, Sarah K. Galley, PHR was named winner of the ACE Award.

This annual award has been awarded to some of the most experienced and respected CPA firm administrators since its inception in 1989. The ACE Award stands for Achievement, Commitment and Excellence.

Sarah is the Firm Administrator for Pohlman & Talmage CPAs, Inc. in Dayton, Ohio. Managing Partner, Doug Talmage, was on hand to congratulate Sarah and to talk about value that Sarah brings to the firm each and every day.

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  • Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.
  • Abraham Lincoln

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Summer Interns – Hire Them Even If You Don’t Need Them

New CPAs Freed MaxickTraditionally, public accounting firms focused all their recruiting activities around the “fall season.” Students were fresh.. back on campus… and their professors had prepared them for the beauty contest of the very active fall season.

I talk to many firms that still operate this way. I also talk to many firms who are just finishing-up the “spring season.”  It involves just as much work and intensity from firm HR professionals, firm administrators and partners as the fall campaign.

If you are not hiring summer interns – wake-up. If you are not identifying and getting to know the students you will be talking to in the fall – wake-up. If you think that being visible on campus just in the fall is enough – wake-up.

Accounting majors at prominent universities don’t know much (if anything) about local and regional accounting firms. Read more about why and how four students were surprised to learn that they could have the resources and support they thought was only available at the national firms at a local/regional firm.

Just a few years ago (including at my former firm) we did not hire summer interns because we didn’t have anything for them to do. Now, you must find something for them to do to keep them in your hiring pipeline. Some of the best students need a summer job!

Find projects where they can help. Let them shadow the summer auditors – there is always some repetitive work they can help with on an audit. They can also shadow in the tax area – have your tax team become your tax teaching team in the summer by establishing mini seminars on tax research, state & local tax, etc.

Check-out these good ideas via HBR, Hiring an Intern? What to Do Before the Summer Starts.

Some advice:

  • Craft your sales pitch. Even if you think your firm’s value proposition is obvious, dig deeper. Think hard about what a twenty-something is going to get out of 8 to 10 weeks of working side by side with your experienced, knowledgeable people.
  • What will your intern walk away with? What skills and insights will he/she learn on the job that will shape their career path, strengthen their network or help them decide once and for all that accounting is the way to go long term (and that your firm is flexible, fun, cool and prestigious).

What do you say to interns when they arrive? Check-out my Intern Speech and modify it to fit your firm.

Picture: Picture of new CPAs at Freed Maxick CPAs Buffalo office at their celebration lunch last week. How active are you at posting to your Facebook page?

  • I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.
  • Carl Sagan

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Describe What You Are Trying To Achieve

Many CPA leaders will soon be gathering for the annual retreat, summit, planning meeting – whatever your firm calls it. The partners, key functional area leaders and accounting managers will gather and discuss and debate where the firm is going and what they all need to do this year to keep moving forward.

Once it is over, the group will return and tell the rest of the team what to do to help achieve the firm goals. This plays out in smaller ways by managers and partners telling the team what to do relating to their daily duties that involve serving clients.

While I believe in lots of communication with your team – – continual, brief conversations on how they are doing and if they need your help – – I don’t think you should tell them every single step in great detail. You should not expect them to do it exactly how YOU have always done it.

Give them some room to explore and to actually THINK about what they are trying to accomplish. There is a difference between active, hands on management and micro management. I think you get the picture – hands-on means you are available and helpful. Micro means you are breathing down their neck and hovering.

Yes, checklists are a good thing when you are training young, inexperienced accountants but don’t develop a culture where if it is not on the checklist we don’t do it.

Do you have a team of box-checkers or entrepreneurial thinkers?

Here’s a good story from HBR about sharing what you want to achieve versus telling someone exactly what to do. It’s titled, Stop Telling Your Employees What To Do.

  • Telling a teenager the facts of life is like giving a fish a bath.
  • Arnold Glasow

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

2013 Salaries Up For Accounting Graduates

I always get lots of questions about hiring activities within CPA firms.

The questions are usually along the lines of how do we stand out from our competition? What kind of recruiting activities have the best results? What can we do to be more visible on the college campus? And, the most often asked question, what salary should we offer a new college accounting graduate?

There were two good articles this week from the media:

$53,300: the Average Starting Salary for New Accounting Grads from AccountingWEB

Hiring, Salaries Up for Accounting Graduates from Accounting Tomorrow.

The data is based on the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2013 Spring Update Survey.

Check out the articles and be prepared for your 2013 recruiting season.

  • Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
  • Henry Ford

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Xero – Online Accounting Software

I think all of you know that I try my best to keep you informed of the various products and services “out there” in the accounting world that might help you make your CPA firm a better place. I like to share topics that might help you build strong teams within your firms and also help you serve clients.

Perhaps you have been hearing about Xero – Online Accounting Software. Many firms are already using it.

Today, I just wanted to share this video because it is interesting, fun and beautifully done.

Experts tell us that we learn more and better when we are told a story. Check out this story of a small business owner, Arthur, a tree-house architect, Lucy, his bookkeeper and Charles Green, his accountant.

Are you telling stories about your firm and how you serve clients?

  • When someone is mean to me, I just make them a victim in my next book.
  • Mary Higgins Clark

Monday, April 29th, 2013

How Firms Are Changing – What Real Time Services Actually Means

My mission is to help CPAs become and remain competitive by the way they focus on their own business. Below is a great video from Jason Blumer, CPA and Xero that will help you understand where the world of accounting is going. I like what he has to say about social media, “You use it to build relationships.”

  • It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
  • William Shakespeare

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

CPA Consultants’ Alliance – Infographic

infographicI am a member of the CPA Consultants’ Alliance. It is a group of consultants focused on the CPA profession who are collaborating to enhance leadership throughout the accounting profession.

We have developed our first infographic based on the valuable insights we shared from our 2012 leadership survey and white paper.

To see the entire graphic, check it out in Accounting Today. In the AToday article there are also comments on leadership from all the CPACA members.

  • Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.
  • John D. Rockefeller

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Top 50 Accounting Blog

masters-in-accounting-badgeBlogs are a great way for all of you working in public accounting to keep up with the latest news and trends. It is also a great way to get valuable advice from many experts in the field of accounting.

However, don’t just read about accounting. Follow a variety of business experts. You will improve your knowledge and also obtain information that you can pass along to your clients. Better yet, begin writing a blog yourself and urge your clients to follow your posts.

I am delighted  that Solutions For CPA Firm Leaders has been named one of the Top 50 Accounting Blogs by Masters In Accounting. Check out some of the other 49 blogs but remember you can subscribe to mine and receive it every day via email. I know, you don’t need one more email. But, if it comes to your in-box you won’t forget to read it.

  • There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
  • W. Somerset Maugham

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

More Information About Meet The Firms Week

CPA firms, once you complete your CollegeFrog profile, you will receive:

  • Access to every student’s profile in your state.
  • CollegeFrog free profile, job postings and candidate tracking through April 30, 2013
  • Accounting Today online subscription and entry to win a free registration to the 2013 Growth & Profitability Summit.
  • Two free MAPCasts from the Association for Accounting Administration.
  • Sage Accountants Network Membership for the firm for $199 ($499 value) for the first year of membership, available for signup until May 31, 2013.
  • 35% off regular membership to Institute of Internal Auditors.
  • Boomer Consulting Talent Development Advantage membership for $595 ($995 value) for the first year of membership, available for signup until July 1st, 2013.
  • Sage Accountants Network membership for $199 ($449 value) for the first year of membership.

  • I have no need for bodyguards, but I have very specific use for two highly trained certified public accountants.
  • Elvis Presley