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Do not let bad customers drive out your good team members!

Do not work unprofitably.

Do not work unprofitably.

You may have heard me quote Ron Baker, “Do not let your bad customers drive out your good customers”. That statement is still relevant today.

We now need to be extremely mindful and action oriented that we do not allow bad customers to drive out good team members.

Let me explain.

The past 4 business days I have been contacted by 4 firms where the Partner asked me for advice regarding a team member who came to them after 9/16 (word on the street is it was very painful) and said, “Mr. or Mrs. Partner. I can’t work the hours anymore.”

Here are key variables:  Read More…

Adapting to and methodically embracing technology

Technology will continue to displace jobs and if we want to excel we need to continue to adapt and methodically embrace!

Technology continues to displace jobs. If we want to excel we need to continue to adapt and methodically embrace it!

I attended the Xero conference in San Francisco last week and a number of firm leaders have gone back to their firms gung-ho to implement!

However, what they are finding is resistance from their team members (sometimes this is disguised as “our clients won’t like it.”)

My suggestion is to take one small step back and make change a core value or core competency in your firm.  Read More…

Thought about priority vs time management to focus on the right things?

Priority management trumps time management for focusing on the right things.

This is what I often hear at this time of year:

“I can’t get it all done.”

“I can’t get anything done.”

“The day seems to slip away.”

The issue is NOT time management.  The issue is priority management.  You don’t want to get more done.  You want to get more of the right things done.  Priority management trumps time management.  We all have 24 hours in the day.  We choose to do different things with the time.

What does it mean?  We need to focus on the right things.  Read More…

The only boundaries that exist for your firm are in your mind!

Groomer Trimming DogI went to get my haircut last week and the stylist (hold jokes please) who happens to be the owner told me her business coach she said she “had” to work with this firm who is in Nebraska

Pretty cool right?  Berkeley salon owner… has a local business coach who recommends a firm in Nebraska that has a salon niche.

There are a number of things I found interesting about this…

  • She completed a questionnaire (on their website) then submitted to the firm’s assistant.  She did NOT see that as an issue.
  • She did not care where the firm was located.  “We’ll use Skype and phone”.
  • Importantly, she was attracted to the focus of the firm on growing Salons….

The firm has a few niches.  Please note the following: Read More…

It’s Summer! To avoid the Summer Doldrums we need to engage our people

Hello.  I am re-reading a great book (and one that I recommend) by Dan Ariely (James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University),  Predictably Irrational.

predictably irrationalThe book is about decision making (behavior and economics).  Ariely has some very powerful examples on Price Anchoring and Price Relativity that I will share on our August call.  Ariely also has a free course which a CPA/CFO friend of mine has taken and said it is very good.

Finally, Ariely’s work led me to an interesting (TEDTalk) he did titled “What Makes Us Feel Good About our Work”.

Ariely has, not surprisingly, some very relevant findings about what makes us more productive and happier at work which is the reason for my post.  I believe his themes below are very consistent with our ongoing dialogue about how to engage our team members at more productive and higher levels. Read More…

Technology, labor supply and attitude shift impacts accounting firms and the roles people play

Technology, supply of labor, and a shift in traditional attitudes has dramatically impacted the accounting firm and, most importantly, the roles people play at all levels.

Accounting firms do more with less meaning at all levels accountants do varied things from varied locations. People do their work from home, the office, client sites and the coffee shop.

NICA suits

The new world of a flat accounting firm, along with a rapidly changing business climate, punishes fixed skills and rewards flexible ones. What those in accounting firms do stretches across functional boundaries including client service, sales, project management and workflow driven almost exclusively with technology.

In short, everyone in a firm must do everything. Read More…

4 Major Milestone Shifts

Many practitioners and partners experience a seminal moment as they move towards 50 or shortly thereafter where four major shirts occur

  1. time fliesYou realize your time on earth is finite! That is, you have had many successes, made many mistakes and for someone who ‘feels’ their time is finite you know there are some things that have to change! The sense of urgency you have been waiting for (or avoiding) has finally arrived.
  2. You have not made enough money. For the hours, stress and risk have endured you think you would be making more money. You have held onto that underperforming team member too long, held on to too many small clients, a good client went bankrupt or it always seemed like this year was going to be your breakthrough year. Did not happen. Read More…

Moving forward in tax ‘off season’

Congratulations again on the end of tax season! 

Tax 'Off Season'

Tax ‘Off Season’ kicks off right now

I hope it was successful and that you have a few days off (if not more) planned in the very near future!

Going into the “off season” one of the matters we are going to be focusing on and dialoguing about is how we allocate our time in a way that reflects our values, strengths and vision for our life and our firm?

We will also examine if we are holding onto old ways of thinking, or doing business that limits our abilities.

Just a few thoughts to ponder as you have some time to think!

Planning a tax season debrief with your team?

Hello and Congratulations on the end of tax season!

Office workers in meeting

Let your team get things off their chest

I know many of you are planning a tax season debrief with your team. The outcomes are typically two-fold:

  1. Let your team get some things off their chest.
  2. Develop an action item list.

Of course, the session needs to be constructive and do not let the team focus on the negative.  In order, to keep it positive always ask what went well with the function and ask that your team be constructive.

Here are some questions that you can ask.  This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list. It will get the conversation moving and you need to customize for your firm. Read More…

What TLAs and rodents have to do with managing your firm



I am not sure if this is original content but I was going back and forth with a firm and I asked would you like to address the issue now or ATS.

The Managing Partner asked me what is ‘ATS’?  I said After Tax Season.

He said, let’s do it RATS (Right After Tax Season).

My hunch is your RATS list of personal and professional items is gathering steam.  Well, now you have your acronym: RATS!