CPA Career Advice Changes with Age

"Get along with people" is the wisdom of age.

But apparently it takes a lifetime to learn that.

Retired CPAs are virtually unanimous: The ability to relate to people, get along and communicate are the most important ingredients to a successful career in accounting, according to most CPAs, especially retirees. But not as many new and aspiring CPAs understand.

Bay Street Group's CPA Trendlines research shows that most CPAs agree on six keys to success:

  1. Relating to people
  2. Integrity and good character
  3. Constant, life-long learning
  4. Up-to-date technical knowledge
  5. Knowing how to balance life and work, and
  6. Making the right connections.

In this question, we asked 890 CPAs: "What are the most important ingredients in a successful career as a CPA?" And here, we slice the responses by age.

Clearly, career advice changes over time.

Young newbies start their careers with the best of intentions, believing in all the right things. But after a few years in the workforce, we see some disillusionment set in -- with declines in work-life balance and the importance of integrity and character.

Later in life, we see the march of maturity -- with rising ratings for skills development and a new focus on work-life balance.

11 Questions You Should Be Asking

A few easy-to-ask, feel-good questions can get a client or prospect comfortable and talking. It's up to you to know how to listen and how to find ways to help.

From Bob Burg,
Author, "Endless Referrals." 

1. How did you get your start in the "widget" business?

2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?

3. What separates your company from your competition?

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25 Ways to Grow Your Practice

In a tough economy, many firms go back to basics to find success.

Here's a list of 25 ideas for growing your practice from management consultant August Aquila.

How many are you currently doing?

  1. Start with current clients. Look at clients that are only using one of your services. For example, a high income individual tax return client who is not using your wealth management services, an audit client that is using any of your consulting services. A client relationship services call is certainly due.
  2. Compile a list of clients by SIC codes and niches (e.g. not-for-profits, construction, manufacturing, professional services firms, etc.) READ MORE →

Herding Cats: Change Management for CPA Firms

Eight good tips for getting everyone on board when change is scary.

Change is inevitable. But with a crashing a crashing economy, it is also treacherous, which makes these suggestion from August Aquila all the more urgent.

1. Know where you want to go. What are you trying to achieve as a firm and a partner group? While it's always difficult to address the elephant in the room, now is the time to take advantage of the economic turmoil and bring all issues to the table.

2. Get others involved. If you are the only one in the firm who is pushing for the change, you might as well forget about it. When others get involved they also get committed. They provide you with feedback so that you can develop the best steps in the change process. READ MORE →