Tags: Accounting News
Fourth of July week is here! There's plenty to do - beach parties to go to, watermelon to eat, and fireworks to see. This is the 241st commemoration of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. Historically young, the United States has experienced growth alongside the rest of the world in greater ways during this period than any other in history. We've created automobiles, travel through the air, have gone to space, most own or have access to a computer, and our phones fit in our pockets. One of the only consistent things during this time has been accounting.
Tags: Accounting News
Summer is officially here and brings back memories of younger days, less worry, and for most of us, our first job. High schoolers usually enter the workforce for the first time during summer vacations. Fewer students these days get to experience and mature in this way as sport and scholastic camps and/or experiences becoming a job (albeit unpaid) in their own sense during the summer. For those of us who did get to experience the love-hate relationship with scooping ice cream, tearing tickets at the theater, or waiting tables, there are valuable lessons we could use to apply to our jobs today.
Tags: Accounting News
As a professional in the finance and business, accountants are usually way ahead of the game when it comes to analyzing their budgets, but sometimes assuming you are an expert can lull you into thinking there are no improvements to be made. Regardless of how on top of your finances you are there are a few things which sneak into the budget you may have forgotten about, or a better way to spend your money. Today we take a look at some CPA budget tips to fine tune the way you spend and save your money.
Tags: Accounting News
Earlier this month The Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary was a keynote speaker at the AICPA ENGAGE Conference and had encouraging news for the CPA. There has been a lot of talk about the impact technology and robotics will have on business operations. Mark Cuban, O'Leary's counterpart on Shark Tank, previously had an interview with the AICPA on his comments that he would not want to be an accountant right now due to the increased role of technology in the business world. He expressed that increased technology will decrease the need for accountants.
O'Leary countered these statements, saying that there will always be a need for accountants and even an increased need to "mitigate risk at every stage". O'Leary went on accountants will be the voice of reason, showing ‘If we do it this way, here is the tax implication. If we do it this way, this is the cost implication.’ The profession is going to continue to flourish,”
He expressed as well how accountants are the personal connection, the ones to explain everything in a way technology can't. He's right, because a machine may be able to generate numbers but it can't understand how a company wants to operate. Robotics can't foresee the clients wants the way an accountant does or give knowledgeable advice that is both functional on a business and personal level, let alone understandable to the untrained mind.
What O'Leary is talked about with the AICPA was the role of an advisor. Right now, technology is an increasingly effective tool for accountants rather than a replacement for them. The CPA can utilize information provided by technology to better understand the challenges and offer solutions, but it's still going to take a trained analytical mind to translate the numbers into decisions.
So what does this mean for you? Well, it means you are going to need to stay up to date with the technology and processes to you can offer the most advanced services. Falling behind on the times here could mean an employer sees you as outdated. You'll want to be actively involved with resources offered to accountants by the AICPA's Information Management and Technology Assurance (IMTA), new CPA's should check out the AICPA's Young CPA Network, the American Association of Finance and Accounting (AAFA), and the Professional Association of Small Business Accountants (PASBA). They'll all offer great resources and community to connect and learn from.
The topic of Millenials is not going away anytime soon, but while a lot has been said and written degating what type of people they are and will be, they have been busy building their professional life. They've gone from new kids on the block to influencers - freshman in the workforce to Chief Executive Officers. They're casting their weight to change work life balance, paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, office atmosphere, and if they come into the office at all to work or work remotely. Perhaps most importantly, they now hold the steering wheel to the economy, making up the largest percentage of the workforce in the U.S. and spending more than any other generation this year.
Tags: Accounting News
We've all got our roles at work. There's the girl who always brings in food for the office, the coffee runner, the extra helper who's always willing to pitch in, and of course, the funny one. Humor can be a touchy area. You're not a stand-up comic, so there is definitely a lot that is off limits in the workplace and doesn't fly under the guise of humor, even before it reaches HR.
A good sense of humor is actually one thing potential emplyers look for in job interviews and can be key in answering their question on if you fit into the office environment. Just the same, it can be the reason you don't get called back. Follow these suggestions to make sure your humor stays on point.
Your humor is an extension of you, so keep it that way
This comes in at number one because you don't want to ever force a joke or try to get a laugh when it's not the right time. If "too soon" or something with a level of severity is taking place, avoid trying to lighten the moods until it's already heading in that direction. While a well placed joke can brighten the entire mood of the office, but if it makes people cringe and you want to hide, it's totally not worth it.
Make sure you don't feel pressure to be funny either. It's okay to let a mood sink in or bad news take it's course. Just because you are the funny one doesn't mean you need to be all the time. If it's not coming naturally that is perfectly okay. A lot of the time humor takes a turn south out of good intention, albeit forced because there really isn't humor in a situation. Also, feel free to let the little nuances and quirks in your personality brighten people's day, but understand when it's not coming across. If you "speak fluent sarcasm" for instance, make sure people know! If there's a new co-worker or client around that doesn't know your personality it's best to keep the sarcastic low-hanging-fruit pun alone, otherwise you might be facing some sour grapes. In all seriousness, knowing how a joke will be recieved and if it properly represents you is key to letting your lighter side show.
Avoid jokes over email
While something might be hilarious or have you chuckling at your desk as you type up a response, it might not always be received so kindly. Emailing co-workers is super useful, but when you can't control context, tone, and even body language it becomes easier for things to be misinterpreted. There's also a possibility the email is forwarded to someone or there is a reply where the joke is further down in the email responses and becomes a distraction which will annoy people. Try to keep the jokes in person as much as possible or be very clear with your intent to joke. The worst case would be if you say something in an email intended to be sarcastic or taken with a grain of salt and the person receiving the email actually does what you said to do or becomes offended. Also, as always things should stay appropriate. If it's something you would share over email but not in person, it's not worth sharing... just ask Michael from the show "The Office" about his Sandals trip with Jan.
Humor should be fun for everyone
If your jokes are consistently coming at the expense of one person you need to stop. While Jerry Gergich of "Parks and Rec" is fun to make fun of and takes it in stride, in real life it hurts people and can drive valuable employees away from the company. It's one thing to joke around as the office dynamic becomes closer, but if it ever burns a little too much or becomes too personal and feels like middle school again, then you've just made the transition from humor to drama. Drama, in any sense, is never a positive thing for the work place.
Like we said in the first section, your humor is an extension of yourself so you should remember that you could get labeled as a jerk even if you think what you said is okay. Don't be too surprised if you walk the line with your jokes and it catches up with you. And the very worst thing would be to actually hurt how someone feels in their standing within the company due to repetetive teasing.
Timing is everything, but when in doubt take a couple seconds to ask: Is this something I'd be proud of? Is this the right place and time? Is this something everyone can laugh at without feeling guilty? If it passes those three questions, it's probably okay. Just remember to trust your gut, but a better bet would be to trust HR's.
Tags: Accounting News
With a growing number of startups becoming successful your company is likely to experience the change of reality when dreams turn to success. The small company you started working with will turn big profits and their business model, as well as the way you approached them in the beginning, will change in some ways. This is a good thing, but we often see the growing pains belonging to each side can cause a fracture within the relationship. Here are some ways to prevent this from happening.
1 - Develop new plans before you reach goals
For the initial part of your relationship, your firm will be hard at work to achieve the client's goals as well as developing a solid professional connection. Prove yourself early, and this can turn into a bit of a honeymoon phase where the flowers of success are budding and the birds are singing. A few months at this rate will most likely reveal what the real grind is going to be. You'll start to see the true colors behind the success as well as the potential road blocks.
The best way to sail smoothly through this transition is to anticipate it and prepare accordingly from a long way out. Understand the expectations of the client and the reality of growth. Don't doubt them, but prepare to be encouraging if they begin to doubt. Conversely, if there is a chance they will grow rapidly, you need to make sure you'll be able to handle the workload and new demands before they come. Map out the many possible directions and adversities that may arise and create plans for each one. When they do come up they won't be exactly what you anticipated but you will at least have a solid structure in place to build upon.
2 - Have meetings from their point of view
Another reason things can begin to fall apart is one side feeling the other "just doesn't get it". The fact is, this is often true. As the relationship grows it becomes harder for each side to be perfectly understanding of the other. The client and firm see things from different perspective, so it's natural for this feeling to come up now and again. As a practice, it may be helpful to hold board meetings and approach issues as if you were seeing things completely from their angle. Talk about the things about your company that make you nervous, cause doubt, and wonder candidly about the unknowns of the relationship. Then you'll be able to see and solve the areas you can work on or communicate better. Understanding from someone else's point of view will help state your own concisely and efficiently, eliminating the feeling of misunderstanding or worry that may come up.
3 - Don't forget where you came from
Like we talked about on monday it is important to take time and reflect on the history. Include growth and progress in ideas as well as numbers in your report. Encourage the idea of unity through a maturing confidence as time goes on. Then include the questions of where you will go and how you intend to get there. Take time to consider the life of the client outside the office too. Invite them to celebrate milestones with you. Know their employees from top to bottom and encourage their brand voice and mission at the corporate and individual level.
Keep a level head and an atmosphere of confidence and humility as you grow. You should have every bit of confidence in your company but not feel the need to overstate your ability or ride on the wave of a past accomplishment for too long. Make sure to approach relationships as long term endeavors rather than stepping stones. In other words, don't let yourself become opportunistic and earn the reputation of someone who is in the games merely for themselves.
Lastly, if you want to last you need to enjoy what you do. Putting so much pressure on yourself and those around you often results in making promises you can't keep, pushing people too hard, and causing internal resentment, resultin in a fire within that is hard to put out.
Tags: Accounting News
When it comes to generating new business, it's going to be those who are not only proactive but also proficient at building relationships with individuals and companies. How do you prepare for the initial conversation? What's the best way to earn trust and show the value you bring? Beginning this process - and doing it well - is easier said than done.
No matter your track record, you still need to prove yourself. While there is a lot of competition, there is a need for the services you are offering. Someone will provide it, but who it does so often depends on your reputation followed by the first impression you make. Here are some basic ways you can approach new relationships.
1 - Don't be too serious
You are offering them and option, not an ultimatum. Letting prospective clients know they don't have to say yes or no immediately is a great first step. From there, they better know you are going to show them what you can provide without having to sign on any dotted lines. Even going so far as to letting them know they can decide to change or walk away in the near future is fine. This shows you are both confident in what you can do, but also understand they need to be able to manage their freedom to decide the direction the relationship goes.
You also shouldn't force them into sharing their exact needs right away. Not many are looking to show their insecurities as a business right away, and you should respect the vulnerability it takes to form a strong relationship. Your best clients probably won't click with you immediately, and that's perfectly fine. This relationship is like any other where growing together will take you a lot further than focusing on solving every problem right away. Don't make too many promises right away and watch out for clients who present as if they may become solely dependent on you.
2 - Do your research on the past before talking about the future
This can be as simple as a quick home page search of their about section and some quick incognito viewing on LinkedIn. These two things can show you the age of the company, number of employees, clientele they serve, and how they started. You may even want to take a quick look at their social media to see what their day to day operations and goals look like.
From there, you'll be able to ask better leading questions when it comes to who's, what's, where's, and exactly why's of their company. You can also give a subtle leading idea of a direction they could move that shows you are already in the mindset of providing services based on the company they are. If you do this without knowing exactly the climate of the enterprise is it will be obvious, and they won't feel there is any personal interest coming from you. On the other hand, showing concern, confidence, and transparency can create a bond among most small business owners. Remember, many people come to these potential clients offering services, so they are likely to turn most everyone down, but if they feel like they've found someone who is like them they are much more liable to do business with you.
3 - Start with common connections and move towards the future
If you are young and looking to drum up business, looking to your peers, alumni from your alma mater, or even back to high school mates is a great place to start. There is an intrinsic trust people have with those they share even the smallest bit of similar history with. Drawing on these mutual experiences already makes both sides feel like they're far past step one. Consider talking about how far you've already come from where you were and then talk about two years from now. Ask where they've seen their biggest growth? Then ask where they see themselves going in the near future - two years and five years down the road, with their business and their family. Then, you can both discuss how you can help each other get those places.
Having the confidence to open doors is important but getting those who are on the other side to invite you in takes more than knowledge. You have to prove you're good company. Conversely, if you feel uncomfortable about the relationship you should feel free to turn away. No business can be better than bad business. Invest your time, resources, and employees wisely.
Wednesday, we'll look into what you can do after the professional relationship moves past the beginning and turns into a mutual path to success.
Tags: Accounting News
When you're a bleary-eyed sweatpant-clad student studying for the CPA exam, it can be hard to imagine wearing a suit and tie the next month. In fact, it can be hard to take on a lot of the new responsibilities and different atmospheres that come with the job. The focus changes on getting a 75 or higher to getting everything right, all the time.
Tags: Accounting News