Posts Tagged ‘manager’

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

First-Line Boss In A CPA Firm

Who is really the first-line boss in your CPA firm?

Unless you are an absolute solo (sole proprietor, no employees), then I hope you have a manager, and in most firms you have many, who are responsible for the growth and well-being of your employees.

In many firms the firm administrator plays this key role on the “well-being” side and your audit and tax managers fill the role on the “growth” topic. If you are a partner in a CPA firm, you often act as the “first-line boss.”

I continually find managers (the people with the title manager) inside CPA firms who do not manage. Sure, they manage the work fairly well but they really don’t know how to manage and inspire people BECAUSE the owners of the firm have not spent enough money on how educating them about management.

Firms are almost always generous with CPE dollars when it relates to tax, accounting and audit but no budget for learning the best and most progressive ways to help people achieve career success.

Tom Peters’ shares a weekly quote. This week it was as follows:

“Do you absolutely understand and act upon the fact that the first-line boss is the … KEY LEADERSHIP ROLE … in the organization?”

This comes from the Gallup organization:

“People leave managers not companies … in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue.”

Rally your partner group, your executive committee, your management team and establish a plan and budget for helping managers learn what they are really suppose to be doing.  This will solve your succession issues if you can pull it off…. Can you pull it off?

  • Start with the end in mind.
  • Stephen R. Covey

Monday, October 15th, 2012

When You Become Manager…. When You Become Partner….

It’s not easy moving from a great achiever to a great leader.

Here’s something I read about participating in an Executive MBA program. I think it is good advice to keep in mind as you move up the career lattice within a CPA firm. When you reach the executive level, things change. You must change.

Leadership means doing things differently and being viewed differently.  When you are the leader (boss) your suggestions become orders.  When you go higher and higher up in a firm, you have to watch what you say. You have to learn to let go. It’s very difficult to make that transition from a great achiever to a great leader. It’s no longer about you and your own ego. It’s about other people and helping them get better.

As a managing partner, are you letting go of the routine, comfortable work you have always done and spend more time coaching and mentoring your partners, helping them become more successful?

As a manager in an accounting firm, are you really managing (getting things done through other people) or are you still a hands-on worker bee?

As a professional CPA firm administrator, when the firm grows and your responsibilities grow, are you able to let go of being an all-star “doer” to become an first-class manager of people and processes?

Many leaders in CPA firms need to “learn to let go” and trust other people. If you don’t have people you can trust, you haven’t done your job very well so far.

  • Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.
  • Warren Bennis

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Leave It to the CPA Firm Administrator

Free partners from the administrative jungle.

I have two questions today for those of you who are CPA firm owners. Do you have a professional firm administrator handling the day-to-day operations of your firm?

As you ponder that question, hopefully you will contemplate these two items:

  1. If you answered no, why not?
  2. If you answered yes, is that person a highly-trained and motivated administrative (or operations) manager who you have empowered with significant responsibility? Shorter version: are you pleased with their performance?

If you would like more information about hiring a firm administrator, promoting someone from within or helping your current administrator become more successful, here are some options:

  • Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.
  • John Maxwell

Monday, March 12th, 2012

The Partner & The Apprentice – From Michelle Golden

Consider the CPA firm partner – typically very successful and dynamic. Could be described as a natural at marketing, an expert in a niche, cultivates a great referral network, demanding about quality and service and so on….

Consider that partner’s go-to person, usually someone junior (an apprentice) who has these traits: highly valued as a right arm to the partner, no significant book of business, backed-up on work, a forever-manager type, subdued personality, and so on….

Consider the dance that these two dance for years. Did the partner pick the right apprentice? Is the apprentice (the student) taking the right steps?

Find out by reading this insightful post by Michelle Golden on her blog last fall. It is titled, The Apprentice Who Can’t Take Over The Practice – it’s part of her “Fly On The Wall” series.

  • A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.
  • Oscar Wilde