Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

What’s Important? It’s All Important.

With Memorial Day behind us, we now thinking summer. Ah, summer…… at least as far as the weather goes. Although, in some parts of New England they had significant snow on Memorial Day.

Yes, that reminds me of life inside an accounting firm. Just when you think the worst of “it” is over, you get hit with a blizzard. Many firm leaders are telling me that we got what we wished for.

What I mean by that is, if you have been working in public accounting for 15 or 20 years you might remember that we agonized over the fact that we couldn’t keep people busy in the summer. We worked very hard at identifying niches and services where our people could be productive all year long.

What I am hearing from many CPA firm leaders is that there is no “down” time any more. We go from year-end season (the time from January through April when we provide tax and accounting services to our clients with December year-ends) into non-profit or pension audit season (summer), into our Fall tax season (working on all those extended returns due 9/15 and 10/15) into year-end planning season.

Seems like we got what we wished for and now it’s becoming very painful. Today, I just want to remind you that yes, client service and making a profit are very important but please don’t forget… as beautiful summer weather sweeps across the country, that Life is also important.

I recently read a quote from Alan Weiss in one of his Monday Morning Memos: “It’s tough to live when you’re not enjoying life.”

So – QUICKLY – get your vacation scheduled and don’t delay or postpone it. Be sure your entire team does the same.

Meeting the needs of clients is important but so is down-time, vacation-time and think-time. Embrace them all with enthusiasm. As a firm leader it is important that you set the example. If you are working 3,000 hours per year, who would ever want to be an owner in your firm? – – What’s important? It’s ALL important.

  • Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
  • Ralph Waldo Anderson

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Summer Interns – Hire Them Even If You Don’t Need Them

New CPAs Freed MaxickTraditionally, public accounting firms focused all their recruiting activities around the “fall season.” Students were fresh.. back on campus… and their professors had prepared them for the beauty contest of the very active fall season.

I talk to many firms that still operate this way. I also talk to many firms who are just finishing-up the “spring season.”  It involves just as much work and intensity from firm HR professionals, firm administrators and partners as the fall campaign.

If you are not hiring summer interns – wake-up. If you are not identifying and getting to know the students you will be talking to in the fall – wake-up. If you think that being visible on campus just in the fall is enough – wake-up.

Accounting majors at prominent universities don’t know much (if anything) about local and regional accounting firms. Read more about why and how four students were surprised to learn that they could have the resources and support they thought was only available at the national firms at a local/regional firm.

Just a few years ago (including at my former firm) we did not hire summer interns because we didn’t have anything for them to do. Now, you must find something for them to do to keep them in your hiring pipeline. Some of the best students need a summer job!

Find projects where they can help. Let them shadow the summer auditors – there is always some repetitive work they can help with on an audit. They can also shadow in the tax area – have your tax team become your tax teaching team in the summer by establishing mini seminars on tax research, state & local tax, etc.

Check-out these good ideas via HBR, Hiring an Intern? What to Do Before the Summer Starts.

Some advice:

  • Craft your sales pitch. Even if you think your firm’s value proposition is obvious, dig deeper. Think hard about what a twenty-something is going to get out of 8 to 10 weeks of working side by side with your experienced, knowledgeable people.
  • What will your intern walk away with? What skills and insights will he/she learn on the job that will shape their career path, strengthen their network or help them decide once and for all that accounting is the way to go long term (and that your firm is flexible, fun, cool and prestigious).

What do you say to interns when they arrive? Check-out my Intern Speech and modify it to fit your firm.

Picture: Picture of new CPAs at Freed Maxick CPAs Buffalo office at their celebration lunch last week. How active are you at posting to your Facebook page?

  • I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.
  • Carl Sagan