Posts Tagged ‘CPA’

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Build Your Brand – Be Visible

“The power of visibility can never be underestimated.” – Margaret Cho

You have heard it over and over in recent years, you have to be visible on social media to attract and retain clients.

Yes, I agree with that. But, I ask more of you!

Don’t forget the old fashioned way. You must be visible in your business community – up close and personal.

Each person working at your CPA firm helps build a reputation for the FIRM. Remember those elevator speeches (describing what you do in 30 seconds)? Are you still teaching your newest team members how to do that? Remember, when someone asks you where you work you don’t say, “I work for an accounting firm.” You say, “I work for Acme CPA firm, the fastest-growing, most knowledgeable and progressive CPA firm in town! I am on the tax team.” Each person crafts their own story.

All your partners and managers should be involved in a charitable or community organization and eventually take a leadership position in that organization.

A basic visibility activity that partners sometimes forget – you eat lunch outside the office every day. Eat lunch with a client, a banker, an attorney or with another person from the firm. Dine at the most popular business lunch place in town where you will be seen by clients, bankers, and attorneys.

An on-going motto for the firm – “Let’s get visible!”

  • A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.
  • Victor Hugo

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Discussing Fees

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffett

I hear stories that have a similar theme:

  • I inherited the firm from a sole proprietor. The clients are just not used to paying what would be a normal fee.
  • I am working so many hours and need to increase my fees. But, I am afraid I will lose too many clients.

I ask, “How do you describe your fees to clients?” What I usually discover is that the CPAs who have such a great fear of losing clients are not actually talking about fees WITH the client, at all. I also learn that CPAs who charge an appropriate fee don’t talk with clients about the fees either.

My friend, Sarah Johnson Dobek of Inovautus Consulting gives us some excellent advice:

  • Initiate the conversation
  • Describe the services you will provide
  • Present your fees with clarity
  • Write it down
  • Don’t be defensive

Read more about each of these points on Sarah’s blog post. Take the time to teach your entire team how to talk about fees with clients.

  • The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.
  • Meister Eckhart

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend – Nothing Like A Bunch Of Puppies To Relieve Stress

“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.” – Aldous Huxley

Here’s a stress reliever that maybe your firm has not thought of for a Saturday break during busy season. Research tells us that dogs can be a stress reliever. They visit hospitals, etc. Why not accounting firms?

puppies staff and dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gray, Gray & Gray arranged a visit by a “pack” of puppies last Saturday. I love this idea – what fun.

Visit their Facebook page to see more adorable pictures.

  • Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell
  • Emily Dickinson

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Landing New Clients & Keeping Them

I have always believed that the best marketing strategy is how you serve your clients. It’s sort of the the “build it and they will come” mentality.

If your firm wins the reputation for over-the-top client service, your current clients will talk about you and potential clients will seek you out.

This week’s quote from Tom Peters says volumes about the CPA profession:

“Obviously there is a role for marketing, strategy formulation, and the like. But, ultimately, it all boils down to perceived, and appreciated, and consistently delivered service and quality to customers.”

Your competitors can find out what services your offer, what niches you pursue and the names of your employees and rainmakers. They cannot easily judge how you serve your clients. Serve your clients better than your competitors and you will win the race

Service begins with the pursuit of the potential client. It is not about selling to them or “pitching” them, it is a longer process of simply building a relationship.

Jeffrey Gitomer says it so well:

“The relationship is the biggest advantage you have in selling. People want to do business with people they can relate to. Finding out what your customer wants will help you discover your competitive advantage, but this is not as powerful as building a relationship. Coming to work early is a great habit, but may not affect your relationship building skills. The worst scenario is to try to learn a competitive advantage from your competitor. Which came first, the competition or the relationship? The relationship comes first and the sale will follow.” –Jeffrey Gitomer, excerpted from The Little Red Book of Sales Answers

To me, maybe the most important quote for CPAs to take to heart is featured below in my quote of the day section – from Harvey Mackay.

  • To me, job titles don't matter. Everyone is in sales. It's the only way we stay in business.
  • Harvey Mackay

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Social Media & CPAs – An Interview With Rita Keller

I was delighted when the Ohio Society of CPAs asked me to be interviewed for their Spotlight Series. We did a few segments and yesterday they released the one about social media: Social Media & CPAs – How To Get Started & Why.

I hope your firm is taking full advantage of social media:

Also, here’s the link to the OSCPA YouTube copy.

  • Smart phones and social media expand our universe. We can connect with others or collect information easier and faster than ever.
  • Daniel Goleman

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Engage & Retain Talent With Mentoring

I have talked about, written about and helped firms implement mentoring programs for years. Still, I am receiving lots of feedback about the lack of dedicated mentoring inside CPA firms.

I contend that mentoring is the foundation of the CPA profession. An older, more experienced accountant guides and teaches a younger, less-experienced accountant. It has been going on for decades. It is how young CPAs have always learned their trade.

Take that basic approach and incorporate more recognition, honest feedback, skilled listening and career advice and you have a mentoring program.

Engaging and retaining talent is a hot topic for the accounting profession. Mentoring can be an important tool.

Experienced CPAs question me…. Where do we meet? How often do we meet? What exactly do I say? What do they expect of me? It will take too much time…. on and on.

Please keep in mind, when it comes to actually implementing a mentoring program, KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetheart. You can actually mentor and guide someone with two words. Here’s how, from a presentation I did for Boomer Consulting:

  • I am not a teacher, but an awakener.
  • Robert Frots

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Women In Accounting – Don’t Feel Guilty

IMG_4100CPA firms lose so many bright, savvy females because of the long-talked about stigma that when you want to start a family, you cannot work in public accounting.

Too many young female professionals tend to heed the old-fashioned advice that they should work in public accounting for a few years, get their CPA designation and then get a job in a private company so they can then raise a family. Fewer actually become “stay at home” moms because the millennials need two incomes to live the life style they desire.

So, I urge all young women in accounting, stick it out. The accounting profession is becoming more and more flexible all the time. It is a profession that can provide the career development and prestige that you desire.

Don’t feel guilty if you are working and also raising children. Children of working moms actually reap many benefits because they have working mothers.

According to a survey of 1,000 grown children of working mothers, many substantial benefits were identified

Strong Work Ethic – The grown children reported that watching their mothers go to work every day instilled in them a strong work ethic.

Independence – Working mothers know they won’t be there for everything so they have deliberately taught their children to be more independent.

Resilience – The children of working mothers reported being able to solve their own problems and bounce back from tough times better than children of stay-at-home mothers.

Prepared For The Work World – Watching their mothers face the many challenges at work helped the children feel better prepared for the working world. They have a better sense of what to expect when they enter the work world.

Daughters Benefit Most – Harvard found that daughters of working mothers earned 23% more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers.

All of this and more is in an article on FAST Company by Lisa Evans. She also references a book by Pamela LenehanMy Mother, My Mentor: What Grown Children of Working Mothers Want You to Know. 

Many female CPAs working in public accounting have told me, “The partners just don’t understand because their wives don’t work.”

By the way, my mother was a working mother. So was I.

  • Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.
  • Ambrose Bierce

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Managing Remote Employees

More and more CPA firms are facing the challenge of how to effectively manage remote workers.

I hear many success stories of being able to retain talented professionals even if they have to relocate to another city or state…. or even country. Remote connectivity for all firm team members has solved that issue. They can actually do the client work no matter where they are sitting.

It’s all the other things that are troublesome. How do we communicate with them? How do we make them feel part of our daily routine? How do we build the camaraderie that people working side-by-side in an office feel? How to we infuse them with our culture?

These challenges will only grow and expand as we move into the future. There are several software solutions to help reinforce communication, teamwork and share work status. That’s just the first step.

Here’s a recent post by Randy Rayess on Fast Company: 3 Tips For Managing Remote Workers. While remote workers is something rather new for the CPA profession, it will be a major factor in the future for the CPA profession.

The 3 tips are:

  1. Just be compassionate
  2. Check in personally – even if you can’t physically
  3. Encourage team members to interact

Follow the link, above, to read more about each of the 3 tips.

  • To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless.
  • Mike Krzyzewski

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Advisory For Keller

IMG_3168For many years now I have maintained a simple email group comprised of people working daily in a CPA firm that I call my unofficial advisory board.

When I am doing research on a certain topic or if one of my clients has a specific challenge they are facing, I send an email inquiry to my valuable group. I call the group: Advisory4Keller

For example, I have a current question before my group about how, exactly, they are handling scheduling.  After I receive responses (I give them a few days), I summarize and share the information with all those who replied. I do not over-use this valuable tool – I don’t want increase the workload for the members of the group! For example, in 2013 and 2014 I surveyed the group 6 to 10 times. In 2015, so far it has been 3 times.

If you are a CPA firm administrator, managing partner or other management leader in a firm (HR, marketing, technology, department head, etc.) and would like to be part of the group, simply email me to let me know and I will contact you. The information, about you, that I need is on my contact page.

The picture was taken a few years ago of the Ohio Chapter of The Association For Accounting Administration – These people know what really going on!

  • The future depends on what you do today.
  • Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Lighten-Up, It’s The Weekend

The weekend is time for something off-topic, humorous or even weird.

This weekend, I direct my lighten-up post to all of the young accountants just entering the CPA profession. You have such an exciting, challenging and never-boring life ahead of you that, if you focus, work hard and keep your sense of humor, it will give you an enormous payback. Not only a monetary payback but also the satisfaction that you have served your clients and employees well.

You will age and so will your peers and clients. So – lighten-up – and watch this young couple age from their 20s to their 90s – – enjoy the ride because you will be at retirement age in what will seem like a blink of an eye!

  • Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt