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The best people to ask about your performance are your team

Stop the madness! How not to repeat last tax season

How are you making your Firm its #1 Client?

Hello.  I presented a webinar to a group of firms last week which included a polling question asking them to respond to the question about which Profit Driver they need to focus on the most.

Interestingly, 60% (Wow!)of the firms responded we need to work on Making our Firm the #1 Client, which leads me to a question for you and your firm as you think about and prepare for next tax season:

  • What practices are you employing that are Making the Firm the #1 Client?
  • What practices are you employing that are NOT Making the Firm the #1 Client?

As a reminder, the best people to ask are your team members!

Related article: Stop the madness! How NOT to repeat last tax season!

Considering if an industry speaker can enhance your business in 2014?

Already thinking about 2014?

Wondering if an industry speaker might add value to your business planning process?

Accounting industry speaker and recognized expert Shannon Vincent at work

ReNew Group delivers industry topics which are relevant and timely to CPA firms.

Often an external speaker who is a recognized industry expert can deliver information with fresh eyes and provide insights that you don’t normally have when running a firm on a day-to-day basis.

To that end, we’d appreciate if you could let us know your budgeting and planning requirements for external speakers – either short or long format presentations – in 2014?

If there is a formalized process to which we need to submit information in advance, do let us know as we’d be grateful of the opportunity to apply.  Read More…

Stop the madness! How NOT to repeat last tax season!

Time to put a stop to tax season madness!

Time to put a stop to tax season madness!

4/15 and 9/15 have been some of the most stressful in years for tax practitioners.

To get on top of that, we know many firms who held tax season debriefs to get some things off their chests and develop actionable items around the issues of clients, technology, team and creating value.

Thinking about the forthcoming tax season, one of the matters to focus on is how CPA firms allocate their time in a way that reflects their values, strengths and vision for their life and firm, and examining if they might be holding onto old ways of thinking, or doing business that limits their abilities.

Thankfully, there are some questions that CPAs can ask now

This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list, but will get the conversation moving and help determine how your firm might be better equipped:  Read More…

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 http://www.kopsaotte.com/salon-spa.

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…