Posts Tagged ‘HR’

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Keeping Your CPA Firm Competitive – Being More Generous With PTO

John SmithSometimes I am puzzled by CPA firms. I know, you are probably laughing out loud right now! After so many years working with CPA firms you would think I would have a complete understanding of what makes CPA leaders tick. I guess it could be described this way: I know how they think and what they think but sometimes it amazes me WHY they think the way they do.

Once again I will stress to CPAs – the Talent Wars are here again. Your firm becomes who you hire and who you retain. These people help form your culture and your brand in your marketplace.

I frequently hear CPA firm administrators and HR Directors talk about their various personnel policies. PTO is often a topic. What I am CURRENTLY hearing is that many firms are very frugal with their PTO. Here is where I ask WHY?

Maybe to justify, I need to give you real life experience. At the CPA firm where I worked for so many years, SIX years ago when I left we were offering starting salaries that are very much in line with what I am hearing TODAY – 2014.

Probably about 8 to 10 years ago our PTO policy was extremely generous – 2 weeks PTO to new college grads the day they walked in the door. Upon the arrival of May 1st (the beginning of our “vacation” year), all accounting staff with 0-2 years of service received 15 days. Staff with 3-5 years received 20 days and all staff with 6+ years received 25 days.

I am still hearing that new hires, in many firms, become eligible for  PTO (or vacation) after one year of service and maybe 10 years before they get 3 weeks and never for 5 weeks.

Why was our firm generous, why did we keep in-tune with market trends and attempt to hire the best talent?

Simple answer and one you should heed: Our competition was doing it!

  • A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking.
  • Earl Wilson

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Performance Appraisal and Assessment Software

silkAs the loyal followers of this blog know, I am not aligned with any particular vendor or supplier of services to the CPA profession (except for my sister company, SurveyCPA).  I try to stay independent so that I can continually let CPAs working in public accounting know about various resources available to them.

Today I had an interesting conversation with Randy L. Hultz – Director, Performance Strategies with SilkRoad’s WingSpan a performance review, evaluation and management software. I was talking with Mr. Hultz on behalf of one of my clients who is investigating their product.

I was impressed, especially because Mr. Hultz, as a CPA, used to work for a large CPA firm in the HR area and actually used WingSpan. This product has specific features to meet the complex needs of public accounting.

Just wanted to make you aware in case this is the summer you are going to finally embrace an HR software package to make all your HR functions operate more smoothly.

  • If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn't need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.
  • Jim Rohn

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Do What Partners Do Best

waltdisneyWhen I talk with partners from very successful and growing firms, what do I hear?

There is a common theme and it is expressed in different ways, but it goes like this:

Don’t make partners/shareholders responsible for management items. Hire the infrastructure and hold the Managing Partner accountable. By investing in non-billable professionals, like a qualified, professional firm administrator or COO, you free up the managing partner to focus on coaching the other partners and representing the firm in the marketplace. Also, don’t be frugal in hiring professionals to handle the management areas of the firm.

CPAs were not, and are not, trained in HR, marketing, administration – they are trained and highly skilled accountants and should focus on what they are good at and what the best CPA partners do: Take care of clients, train and mentor younger accountants and bring in new work for the firm. Even if they are not strong rainmakers, they do have very strong client relationships and should focus on increased services for their current clients.

Does it work? One successful firm’s MP noted: We have 26 partners with $2.5 million average book and we drop 47% to the bottom line.

It works for both large firms and small firms.

  • Success is relative. It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things.
  • T S. Eliot