Posts Tagged ‘success’

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Kindness, Toughness & Honesty For Women In Accounting

IMG_1112Yesterday, there was a post on the Ohio Society Women’s Initiative Committee LinkedIn site titled, The False Choice Between Kindness and Success.

The topic of women in business being “nice” and “kind” and how it might hold them back, is certainly a valid discussion topic.

I believe that kindness and toughness go hand in hand. If you are kind, build relationships and win people’s loyalty, they will come to understand that some toughness, and honesty, must go along with the kindness. It is the way I have always operated.

The honesty aspect also plays into this topic. This quote from the article says so much relating to the CPA profession:I think people just want straight talk. It saves time and in the end, it is honest. That is the bottom line. Everything else is meaningless if you don’t have honesty. Be honest and true to yourself. And from there, we can do anything.” 

Absolute honesty is often avoided inside CPA firms because it can be a tough discussion. Yet, CPA firm employees crave honesty. I observe so many male (and female) CPAs avoiding being honest because it might lead to confrontation or to uncomfortable conversations. People see right through it – not being completely honest and coming across as self-serving is a losing combination.

To me it is a false choice, as the title of the article reflects. You do not have to choose between kindness and success. In my situation as a CPA management consultant, I know I do not win “jobs” because I am a woman. I have even heard feedback that other, male consultants have actually told potential clients that “Rita is too nice.” Give me honesty and kindness any day and results will follow.


  • Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.
  • Samuel Johnson

Friday, November 29th, 2013

What Would You Pay For the Secret To Success?

JPMorgan-YoungAt your CPA firm, things are hectic. You have many priorities and you often find yourself running in circles.

I love this story that I learned from Tom Peters (you should follow his writings. Plus, he gives away so much great information for free!).

Here’s the story:

A man approached J.P. Morgan, held up an envelope, and said, “Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.”

“Sir,” J.P. Morgan replied, “I do not know what is in the envelope, however if you show me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.”

The man agreed to the terms, and handed over the envelope. J.P. Morgan opened it, and extracted a single sheet of paper. He gave it one look, a mere glance, then handed the piece of paper back to the gent.

And paid him the agreed-upon $25,000 …

The formula:

  1. Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that day.
  2.  Do them.




  • The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.
  • J. P. Morgan

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Good Advice To Ease Your Frustrations

IMG_1366I was checking out of my fellow bloggers over on the AccountingWEB blog site and I noticed one by well-known CPA firm Chief Marketing Officer, Sally Glick, a principal at Sobel & Co. Sally’s posts are always on the money but the title of this one puzzled me.

The title: SWSWSW – What The Heck Does This Mean?

After I read her post, I realized that it sure applies to me. It applied to me as I worked my way up inside a CPA firm for 30 years, trying to get everyone on the same page and open to embracing constant change. It applies to me now as I do my best to help my clients (CPA firms) adapt to change and embrace new trends.

Sally learned from a speaker at a CPA firm marketing event that SWSWSW means…..

“Some will, some won’t, so what – SWSWSW!”

Early on in my career, I was told to “try to get ALL the partners on the same page and behind your initiatives.” Well, that was impossible. So, I adopted a theory and advised others to look at it the same way – – work with the healthy part of your firm.  Don’t let one or two partners side-track the entire forward movement of the firm – work around them. In many cases, once they see success, they will jump on the band wagon (then again, maybe they won’t). So what!

After you read this and then you read Sally’s blog post, you might think it sounds like she and I have faced some similar barriers. We have. So what!


  • So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don't sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we've satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.
  • Lee Iacocca

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Look For The Helpers

As we enter into this last week-end of the year, perhaps you – like me – take time to reflect on the past year and on things that have much more meaning than the day-to-day drama (or comedy) that plays out inside your accounting firm.

After the sad events in Newtown this month, many people were searching for a way to talk about such tragedies with children. A group called 170 Million for Public Broadcasting posted the following words from a voice that many Americans grew-up with, Fred Rogers:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in the world.

 Watch the following one minute video on talking to children about tragic events in the news.

Now, think about your work life. What a great lesson you can take from Mr. Rogers and actually become “a helper” inside your firm. It seems we always have those, often very successful individuals inside the firm, who seem to fit the title “taker” rather than “helper.”

In 2013, cultivate, educate and reward more helpers. Develop an environment where your valued team members – young ones and more experienced ones – are comfortable talking about issues – any issues.

Part of the communication puzzle inside your CPA firm is the fact that your people watch the partners – all the partners. They make assumptions about their actions and comments. Those assumptions might be completely wrong. In 2013, develop ways to make it easy for your people to ask questions and obtain answers.

When an issue, concern, or rumor arises, address it immediately. As Mr. Rogers advises, “Ask what they know about it. Their fantasies are often far from the actual truth.”

  • There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.
  • Fred Rogers

Monday, September 10th, 2012

If Your CPA Firm Is Not Growing, It’s Shrinking.

“If you don’t continue to grow you’ll die” – Allan Koltin

I’ve been trying to get it across to CPA practitioners for years and years. So has Koltin and many other management consultants to the profession.

Koltin adds to his statement and says, “Worse than that, you will die a slow death.” Sound dreadful? Sound familiar? Why aren’t you taking action now?

To me, one of the biggest issues inside accounting firms is that success breeds complacency. The current group of senior partners experienced amazing success for many years. It seems they reached their goals and were well rewarded. They appear to be coasting off into the sunset.

Now, a new generation of firm leaders is beginning to take over. They were trained and mentored by those who have become complacent. If you are one of these new managing partners or newer executive committee members, don’t do as they did.

I love action. I base my past success on the fact that I am never, never content. I always want to do things better, faster, more efficiently, try new things, not be afraid of failure (learn from it and move on), learn new things, stay current in a rapidly changing business world…. how about you?

I just want you to take a few minutes today to view this video clip from Allan Koltin.

  • Business isn't forever. Clients aren't forever.
  • Allan Koltin

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Accounting Firms and Hard Work

I was listening to some of the best movie directors being interviewed about how to get started and become successful as a movie Director.

This quote from one of them says it all: “Everything takes hard work, if you want to become successful. That’s what a lot of people don’t want to hear.”

Some of the best accounting firms to work for lavish praise on their team, pay them extremely well, communicate clearly and often, provide great benefits, a culture of mentoring, the opportunity to learn a great deal and most of all a great deal of flexibility, something everyone seems to desire these days.

Maybe there are some people in your firm who want all of that and miss the point….. reread the quote above, share it with your entire team.

One more thought. I don’t believe it ever ends. You may have become very successful but it doesn’t stop there. To remain successful and relevant in the changing accounting profession, it takes hard work. If you see someone coasting, you know that eventually the down-hill ride will sadly end. There’s always another hill to climb.

  • All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. They very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today
  • Pope Paul VI