The Persona: A Closer Look

Closeup of businesswoman writing on a flipchartHow to create one and what to do next.

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

At my firm, one of our big personas is a real estate investment firm. They like a one-stop shop. They like our personalized attention. They know that we have a certain amount of practical, specialized tax knowledge that they can use.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Happy Tax: Why You Need to Know Its Name | Product Management: Start with These 6 Steps | Product Management Meets Strategy | Transitioning to Radical: How Carl Famiglietti Did It | How to Develop Productized Services | Firm Product Management Is the Way to the Future
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What do they dislike? They dislike the detail, because they’re deal guys, they’re big-picture guys, they just want to know: Can they defer the gain, can they not defer the gain, what is the gain? They tell us to take care of the details. Hands off, get it done yesterday, keep me out of jail, I hate taxes. I’m sure you know the type.
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Product Management: Start with These 6 Steps

Scrambled thoughts enter man's head, straightened ones come outHow well do you know your potential customers?

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

So, you’re in your new role. Now what?

MORE ON RADICALISM: CSH’s Brad Self on Revolutionizing HR | 3 Challenges in Shifting to Product Management | Tips from a Veteran Product Manager | Productized 1099s the New Vision Way | Karbon Builds a Practice Management Platform on Steroids
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It’s time to get organized and start rolling your plans out to the team. Here are the first steps to take in your new position as product manager.
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3 Challenges in Shifting to Product Management

Confident businesswoman looking straight at cameraAnd 4 skills the product manager must have.

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

Are you ready to take the plunge? As a Radical CPA, you’re already used to dealing with change.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Product Management Meets Strategy | Father, Son Team Up to Capitalize on Capacity | Going Deeper into Product Management | Dean Quiambao: ‘If You’re Not Disrupting, You’re Not Doing It Right’ | Josh Zweig’s LiveCA Offers New Thinking from the Ground Up | How ‘Agile’ Applies to CPA Firms
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But I’m here to tell you, your customers (and the market) are demanding that you not only deal with change, but master it. So how do you start?
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Product Management Meets Strategy

Businessman with briefcase crossing the word "product" between two buildings against sunriseGet ready to move ahead with no map.

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

The product manager in a CPA firm is the leader in developing new products that complement the firm’s strategy.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Father, Son Team Up to Capitalize on Capacity | Tips from a Veteran Product Manager | Productized 1099s the New Vision Way | Karbon Builds a Practice Management Platform on Steroids | Why Our Clients Need Us to Be Radical | Introducing the Fifth Radical Tenet: The Business Model | Dear Midsized Firms: Yes, You Can Change | The Four Tenets of Radical Firms: A Brief Review
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Therefore, you must know your firm’s strategy for this person to be successful.
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Tips from a Veteran Product Manager

Man and woman looking at computer screenDon't be afraid to listen to the market.

By Bill Whitson

In my 20-plus years in the tax, accounting and finance world, I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’ll share some from the product management lens.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Transitioning to Radical: How Carl Famiglietti Did It | Going Deeper into Product Management | Dean Quiambao: ‘If You’re Not Disrupting, You’re Not Doing It Right’ | Josh Zweig’s LiveCA Offers New Thinking from the Ground Up | How ‘Agile’ Applies to CPA Firms | Our Pain Points Are Opportunities
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Product managers can be, in many ways, like trusted advisors: They have a strong opinion and an extensive toolkit, and they serve nearly everyone around them.
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Going Deeper into Product Management

Four businesswoman having a meeting around a tablePart of it is bringing people together.

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

If we are going to be acting like product managers, we really need to know what they do. The best place to start is defining product management.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Productized 1099s the New Vision Way | How to Develop Productized Services | Firm Product Management Is the Way to the Future | 10 Steps to Start Innovating | The Value of New Ideas
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According to Steven Haines’ book "The Product Manager’s Survival Guide," product management refers to the holistic management of products and portfolios – from the time they are conceived to the time they are discontinued and withdrawn from the market. In essence, it’s the business management of products. Product management can also refer to the organization that serves to lead and integrate the work of people from other functions.
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Productized 1099s the New Vision Way

Two women talkingThis is the ONLY way they're handled.

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

Here’s the old-school way of completing 1099s:

CPA calls customer before year-end reminding them 1099s need to be completed for January. CPA reminds customer to send in names, addresses and amounts for 1099s to be issued. CPA waits for complete data, usually missing at least one address. CPA rushes at last minute to enter data in 1099 system and issue 1099s. CPAs have multiple customers who act like this, creating havoc and late nights in January.

MORE ON RADICALISM: How to Develop Productized Services | Dean Quiambao: ‘If You’re Not Disrupting, You’re Not Doing It Right’ | Josh Zweig’s LiveCA Offers New Thinking from the Ground Up | How ‘Agile’ Applies to CPA Firms | Our Pain Points Are Opportunities | Transitioning to a Radical Firm: Bringing a Legacy Customer Along
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It doesn’t have to be this way!
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How to Develop Productized Services

Smiling businesswoman working at deskAn example using 1099s.

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

When you can clearly define a product line and its offering, it just becomes easier for all involved. Everyone knows their roles, their objectives and the to-dos to get there.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Dean Quiambao: ‘If You’re Not Disrupting, You’re Not Doing It Right’ | Firm Product Management Is the Way to the Future | Josh Zweig’s LiveCA Offers New Thinking from the Ground Up | Why Our Clients Need Us to Be Radical | 10 Steps to Start Innovating | How ‘Agile’ Applies to CPA Firms
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I am not naive enough to think we won’t have different iterations as we launch and learn from our customers and ourselves. However, when the whole team has a complete understanding of what is happening and the steps to get there, and an understanding that we will iterate all the way, it makes for a happier team.
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Firm Product Management Is the Way to the Future

Provider and customer have to be aligned.

By Jody Padar
The Radical CPA Guide

What is your firm’s purpose?

Let’s go back to the idea of innovation, or what I like to describe as the application of innovation and business model transformation.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Josh Zweig’s LiveCA Offers New Thinking from the Ground Up | Why Our Clients Need Us to Be Radical | Introducing the Fifth Radical Tenet: The Business Model | Dear Midsized Firms: Yes, You Can Change | The Four Tenets of Radical Firms: A Brief Review | The Radical CPA: Always Changing
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We’re not just managing change anymore. Change management is becoming obsolete – New Firms know they must be nimbler than just strategizing around any sort of targeted change. Managing change was fine five years ago, but trust me when I say we are beyond that.
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Why Our Clients Need Us to Be Radical

Woman unlocking car with fobThink customer experience, not customer service.

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

Innovation isn’t just about the technology you use and how you use it, it’s about how you create an experience for your customer. Still, after all this time, CPAs are unaware that they can create a phenomenal experience around the art of taxes and accounting. I think it’s hard for them to imagine the opportunities to serve and delight their customers in a new way.

MORE ON RADICALISM: 10 Steps to Start Innovating | How ‘Agile’ Applies to CPA Firms | Our Pain Points Are Opportunities | Transitioning to a Radical Firm: Bringing a Legacy Customer Along | The Radical CPA: Always Changing
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We all know our customers are built on relationships; however, in today’s fast-moving world, I’m not sure that is enough. The customer’s expectations have changed around service models and response times. CPAs need to figure out how to match these ever-expanding expectations.
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10 Steps to Start Innovating

Do you want your firm to last after you're gone?

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

CPAs are busy people – often to the detriment of their customers. When CPAs don’t have time to understand their customers, they fail to give them real value and creative solutions.

MORE ON RADICALISM: How ‘Agile’ Applies to CPA Firms | Introducing the Fifth Radical Tenet: The Business Model | Dear Midsized Firms: Yes, You Can Change | The Four Tenets of Radical Firms: A Brief Review
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This is really concerning to me. It concerns me that many CPAs are unwilling to do the work to keep their firms relevant. Although they know that the world no longer works the way it did 20 years ago, they simply shrug their shoulders or look the other way because confronting change seems like too much work.
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