Posts Tagged ‘accounting’

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, February 21st, 2013

What’s Going On At The AICPA Via Accounting Today & Mark Koziel

Want to get a quick update on happenings at the AICPA?

Dan Hood, Editor-in-Chief of Accounting Today talks with Mark Koziel, VP of firm services and global alliances at the AICPA about current happenings as of February 8, 2013. It’s a quick and easy way for you to keep current. Watch the video here.

Koziel talks about the financial reporting framework for SMEs, the diversity project and other AICPA initiatives. He also discusses something coming out of the Fall Council meeting – – I am pleased to hear that the new AICPA Chair, Rich Caturano, wants to focus on diversity in the profession.

Now, for a lighter topic. Many of you know Mark Koziel. Many of you may know the recently retired CEO of the Ohio Society and Top 100 Most Influential People In Accounting, Clarke Price.

Maybe it’s just me but I think Koziel and Price look a lot alike.

MarkKoziel280X154 clarke

  • The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.
  • Oscar Wilde

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Client Portal Talking Points

In the January issue of Xcentric’s Partner Brief, Roman Kepczyk has an informative and helpful article on how to encourage your clients to take advantage of the “client log-in” or portal on your website. The article is titled Promoting Portal Adoption. I was also pleased to have an article featured in the Xcentric January Issue, Employee Engagement Inside An Accounting Firm.

Roman provides –  7 Portal Talking Points Everyone in the Firm Should be Able to Share with Clients:

  1. Almost everyone is already familiar with using a portal for services such as online banking or payroll, so putting one to work for accounting needs is the next natural step.
  2. Portals are among the most secure ways of transferring information both to and from clients. Most CPA vendor-hosted portals are housed in enterprise-class data centers and run by teams of IT/security personnel who continuously monitor activity, a luxury that few firms can afford themselves.
  3. Portals offer 24/7 accessibility via Internet-enabled devices to upload or access files, which is just not possible with paper files available only in one place at one time.
  4. Portals notify the recipient whenever a file is uploaded or accessed, which means more timely access to the files at the convenience of the recipient.
  5. Portals are bi-directional in that they can be used by both the firm and clients or trusted third parties to transfer information digitally. Most portals today make it possible to limit who can see which specific files or who can have access in “read only” format.
  6. Portals allow for larger file size transfers, such as huge PDFs or QuickBooks files, which are often too big for email systems.
  7. Portals promote a more eco-friendly environment, using digital files sent electronically rather than paper files moved by people.

He also elaborates on educating firm users, selecting a portal and encouraging client use. Be sure to follow the link to read his entire article.

Picture: Roman Kepczyk, is that you with Rita?

  • May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
  • Edwar Abbey

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Where Did They Get That Guy/Gal?

An important time is nearing for most accountants working in a public accounting firm.

It is a time, as a firm leader, that you should be thinking about. Your accountants, of all ages and experience levels, will be appearing inside many of your clients’ offices to perform services relating to the year-end engagement. What kind of impression do your people make on your clients?

I’ve talked a lot about first impressions and the importance of how “professionals” should look. If a CPA firm employs you – you are a professional and should look the part.

Today, I want to touch upon how they look in writing. How’s their grammar?

As stated in the title of an article on the HBR Blog Network by Kyle Wiens – “I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.”  Weins is the CEO of iFixit. In his business, they write for a living, but he notes that good grammar is relevant for all companies. When it comes to programming, the devil’s in the details – he hires people who care about those details.

Doesn’t that apply to public accounting?

Wiens is a grammar stickler and takes a zero tolerance approach to grammar mistakes that make people look stupid. He demands that every potential new hire take a mandatory grammar test. If job hopefuls can’t distinguish between “to” and “too” the application goes into the bin.

I doubt if your CPA firm is using a grammar test, however, I am sure you are paying attention to sloppy mistakes on resumes. Sloppy and careless are a couple of words that should not be used to describe any team member working inside an accounting firm.

This busy season, as your accountants make an appearance in your clients’ offices and correspond with them via email and other media, I hope your client is not thinking, “I wonder where they found that guy?”

Okay, I admit it, I make my share of typos and grammar mistakes writing this blog. The thing is, I’m continually trying to get better. Are you? If you need a resource, like I do, check out Grammar Girl.

  • Grammar signifies more than just a person's ability to remember high school English. I've found that people who make fewer grammar mistakes also make fewer mistakes when they are doing something completely unrelated to writing.
  • Kyle Wiens

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

High Demand For Accountants

Now It Is Even More Important To Keep Your Top Talent

Most of you managing an accounting firm are fully aware of the important responsibility of hiring and keeping good people. I like to use a 3-word description: Hiring, DEVELOPING and Keeping Good People.

If you don’t already have career enrichment activities, career development programs, flexible work arrangements, leading-edge technology, well-trained, responsive managers plus a blended, yet balanced, life-work culture as one of your 2 or 3 strategic initiatives for 2013, I hope you will gather your partners in January (before the REAL crunch begins) and at least talk about it. Why? So partners and managers can set the tone and set the example during February, March and April for a firm that is extremely professional, dedicated to client service, and one that appreciates and recognizes its people.

Prepare now to keep your top accountants because according to a recent article on, accountants are in a wonderful position in the job market per Robert Half.

  • The average starting salary for finance chiefs at big companies will rise 3.6%.
  • Accounting and finance positions, in general, will rise 3.3%.
  • Joblessness isn’t a problem in accounting and finance.
  • Some companies have been leaving finance positions vacant for three to five months because they can’t find the talent they need to fill the role. (Where will they go to find people for these jobs? You guessed it, they will go directly to your accounting firm.)
  • CPA candidates are the hottest candidates today.
  • A CPA with 3 to 6 years experience who enters the job market will have multiple job offers within two to four weeks.
  • CFOs at companies with more than $500 million in annual revenue can expect a salary between $280,500 and $430,250 (per Robert Half).
  • The Controller role is a stepping-stone to CFO with controllers making $140,500 to $192,500.

I believe there is an up side for you in all this. How do you keep your best performers? You involve them earlier in client relationships. You educate your managers (and partners) on how to be skilled managers, not just great technicians who have a secondary responsibility of keeping other people busy.

If accountants have strong, caring relationships with clients and their supervisor they feel a stronger responsibility for staying in public accounting.

  • Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life.
  • Napoleon Hill

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

People Simply Want To Be Recognized

People work for many reasons. Some work for personal fulfillment, some for accomplishing certain personal goals and some because they like the interaction with people. Some people simply find work that they love and stick with it. That’s the category that I believe most accountants fit in. I talk accountants across the country and almost every one of them say “I love what I do. I love the work.”

However, the bottom line is that almost everyone works for money – compensation and benefits. Fair benefits and pay are the cornerstone of a successful business. Don’t underestimate the importance of this foundational piece of why your employees stay with you.

So, you provide competitive pay and solid benefits. How do you then motivate people? Reward and recognition guru, Bob Nelson, says “More than anything else, employees want to be valued for a job well done by those they hold in high esteem.” Many years ago I heard Dr. Bob Nelson speak and I believe he was one of the first people to inspire me to RECOGNIZE people and their efforts.

Yesterday, I was honored to be part of a great employee recognition event for the team at Accounting & Consulting Group, a growing CPA firm in the Southwest. Over 100 people came together from all seven offices for the 7th Annual ACHIEVE Awards Day. Each year there is a theme. This year it was Rock & Roll and there are awards for the best costume. Each office did a 3-minute rock video that was shown at the event, there was the state of the firm address by Ray Roberts, there was a fun team-building exercise and I got to talk about teamwork, each person’s role in practice growth and the power of client service. The day ended with the ACHIEVE award presentations (one for each letter in ACHIEVE). Team members nominate people for one of the 7 awards – finalists are named and the winner announced.

It is a major statement for a CPA firm to close ALL their offices and bring everyone together. At yesterday’s event, people were having so much fun, they were enjoying meeting face-to-face some team members they had only talked to via phone.

Many firms do similar events. YOU can do this for your people.

Pictured: Award winner Robert Gonzales and Team Member of the Year, Shelley Olson.

  • Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they're doing it because they care about the team.
  • Patrick Lencioni, author of 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Nostalgia Inside A CPA Firm

I once found a quotation attributed to Jeffrey Sonnenfeld a Dean at Yale and used it often in my presentations:

“Founders’ memories of the early days also can hinder change. Nostalgia can be dangerous. A company is not a museum.”

I added:  Your firm is not a museum. It is not meant to be preserved.

Your accounting firm should be living, growing, evolving and changing. Nostalgia – kaput!

Remember when it was cool to have a Sony Walkman?

What’s the “Walkman” that is still alive and well inside your firm?

  • If you are yearning for the good old days, just turn off the air conditioning.
  • Griff Niblack

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Firm Administrator Salary Survey

I receive many inquiries about hiring a firm administrator, coaching a firm administrator, setting expectations for a firm administrator and how much to pay a firm administrator.

The role of the professional CPA firm administrator has been elevated to a key management role in most CPA firms. As the expertise, experience and reputation of firm administrators has grown so has the salary.

If you are wondering how much to pay or if what you are paying is on target, you can find out from the 2012 AAA Salary Survey.

The 2012 Association for Accounting Administration’s Compensation Survey was designed as a quick reference tool providing information relative to professionals managing accounting practices. The survey addresses gross billings for firms, firm size, compensation and benefits, hours worked, years of administration experience, administrator billable hours and location. The results indicate the spirit of a profession whose future is growing and evolving.

Members ONLY may view the survey results. Yes, that means if you are not a member, you do not have access. However, for most firms, it’s worth the cost of membership just to have this one benefit. Visit the Association’s website and select the Membership tab, select Join AAA to see the categories and costs. AAA membership is a great investment in the success of your firm.

  • It's not your salary that makes you rich, it's your spending habits.
  • Charles Jaffe

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Solutions For CPA Firm Management – July Newsletter

I hope you received your copy of my monthly newsletter for professionals managing accounting firms.

If you are working inside a CPA firm, no matter what your role, I think you will find it interesting.

If you are a CPA firm leader, please encourage your new hires to read my blog and sign-up for my newsletter. It will help them understand the challenges of managing an accounting practice.

Read this month’s issue here.

Sign-up here.

July articles:

Accountants Acknowledge The Most Common Management Mistake

Stop Being Late

Rita Keller’s CPA Firm Management Advisory Services

  • Catch someone doing something right.
  • Ken Blanchard

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend – Time for something fun, off-topic or even weird

Not everyone in the accounting profession gets excited about bar graphs and pie charts. I’m one of them. Thanks to my friend, Michelle Golden, for leading me to this great photo of my kind of pie chart.

  • Sometimes the smartest people don't think at all.
  • Michael Scott, The Office