Team Expectations: A Checklist for Busy Season

What do you think your staff knows about tax season? Check again.

By Kristen Rampe

Busy season is here. Are you ready? Is your team ready?

You might feel your team “should know” your expectations, but that’s not always the case.

MORE RAMPE: Pandemic Lesson: Innovate Faster | Tax Season Savvy: Five Ways to Stay Sane | Why Host a Partner Retreat? | SURVEY RESULTS: Effective Stay Interviews for CPA Firms | The 16 Biggest #FAILs in Delegation | SURVEY: Work-Life Balance: According to Whom? | NEW SURVEY RESULTS: Two Ways Your Strategic Plan Can Reduce Turnover |

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A client of ours once assumed a five-year staff they hired from a Top 10 regional firm would know tax professionals work on Saturdays from February – April. She chose not to show up for any of them in February.

While the managing partner stewed over this behavior, we realized three key factors were in play:

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Pandemic Lesson: Innovate Faster

"Opportunity just ahead" road sign in desertBe prepared to seize unexpected opportunities.

By Kristen Rampe
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

COVID proved which firms were up to date on their technology and ability to manage via strong relationships and trust. It was fascinating (and occasionally tragic) to watch, and an eye opener for those on the less-prepared end.

MORE: Remote Work Is More Productive | COVID-19 Shakes Up M&A Activity | 2021: You’ll Never See ‘Normal’ Again | We Adapted to Remote Work … Now What? | 2020’s Disruptions Are Only the Beginning
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Most significant changes we noted:

  • CPAs gained confidence in their ability to work remotely. It may not have been pretty, but they did it! Some firm leaders even said they may never go back to their old commute.
  • Increased consulting engagements. This was driven because it was forced on firms (e.g., PPP loan assistance). However, the fact that many firms were willing and able to charge clients (when appropriate) for this work demonstrated their ability to be in the game beyond compliance work.

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Tax Season Savvy: Five Ways to Stay Sane

Why good boundaries make good workplaces.

By Kristen Rampe

After spending nearly 20 years with accountants (including myself!), I’ve come to recognize a common trait among our tribe. We’re a group of people who love saying “yes.”

MORE:  Why Host a Partner Retreat? |  SURVEY RESULTS: Effective Stay Interviews for CPA Firms |  The 16 Biggest #FAILs in Delegation |  SURVEY: Work-Life Balance: According to Whom? |  SURVEY RESULTS: Two Ways Your Strategic Plan Can Reduce Turnover

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We say “yes” to clients, firm partners, our team members, family, friends, volunteer engagements and so on. People love us for it. I mean, when you think of qualities you look for in people you work with, willingness and reliability are right up at the top of the list.

But as you’re working tirelessly to meet the needs of everyone you encounter, how are your own needs being met?

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Why Host a Partner Retreat?

People gathered for an office retreatPlus 8 tips for success.

By Kristen Rampe
Talent Retention & Development

It’s easy to find reasons to pass up having a partner retreat: things are running along just fine at your firm, you’re busy and so is everyone else, plus retreats take work to put together, not to mention you had one five years ago, so you’re pretty much set.

MORE: Effective Stay Interviews for CPA Firms | The 16 Biggest #FAILs in Delegation   Work-Life Balance: According to Whom?   NEW SURVEY RESULTS: Two Ways Your Strategic Plan Can Reduce Turnover
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Anyway, staff morale is at an all-time high, partners visibly support each other and the firm’s key priorities, and profitability is through the roof.
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SURVEY RESULTS: Effective Stay Interviews for CPA Firms

Two businessmen talking over coffeeWant to boost retention? This is how.

How some firms are beating the staffing crisis:
Join the survey. Get the results.

By Kristen Rampe
Talent Retention & Development

In a survey we conducted of over 300 CPAs, over one-third of respondents indicated that healthy effective communication at their accounting firm only happened “sometimes” or “rarely or never.”

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: The 16 Biggest #FAILs in Delegation | Work-Life Balance: According to Whom? | NEW SURVEY RESULTS: Two Ways Your Strategic Plan Can Reduce Turnover
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With many facets to overall communication between team members and from leadership to the organization, it’s hard to pick the next thing to try and improve the status of communication at your firm. One to try if you haven’t? The stay interview.
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The 16 Biggest #FAILs in Delegation

Angry businessman with document shouting at somebodyDo you expect your direct reports to read your mind?

How some firms are beating the staffing crisis:
Join the survey. Get the results.

By Kristen Rampe
Talent Retention & Development

We’ve all been there. Trying to make our work lives more efficient, transfer knowledge to newer team members and leverage our practice.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Work-Life Balance: According to Whom?  | NEW SURVEY RESULTS: Two Ways Your Strategic Plan Can Reduce Turnover
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Sometimes it works and, well, sometimes the result is embarrassing at best.
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SURVEY: Work-Life Balance: According to Whom?

Young father sitting on the grass holding a baby on his lap and texting on his mobile phoneWhat firms offer may not be what staffers want.

How some firms are beating the staffing crisis:
Join the survey. Get the results.

By Kristen Rampe
Talent Retention & Development

How is your firm doing in the work-life-balance arena? If you’re like half of our CPA firm partner respondents, you are a strong, frequent supporter of these initiatives.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: NEW SURVEY RESULTS: Two Ways Your Strategic Plan Can Reduce Turnover
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But do your staff see it differently? Preliminary data from our recent talent survey shows that only 28 percent of non-partner respondents shared the same sentiment of “mostly or always” when asked if “management supports a healthy work-life balance.”
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NEW SURVEY RESULTS: Two Ways Your Strategic Plan Can Reduce Turnover

Join the survey. Get the results.
How firms are beating the staffing crisis: Join the survey. Get the results.

Study links “flight-risk” staffers with poor leadership habits.

How some firms are beating the staffing crisis:
Join the survey. Get the results.

By Kristen Rampe
Talent Retention & Development

Your strategic plan is a great visionary document. First of all, because you have one, and have formulated where you want to steer your firm over the next few years. And secondly, because every owner of your firm knows what the plan is. They probably even nodded in agreement during the planning session (we’ll leave the topic of buy-in for another day).

With every living set of ideas like a strategic plan, there are undoubtedly changes, updates, progress, regress, adherence, and abhorrence. Overall, though, it’s meeting your expectations and serving as a solid drop in the ‘planning is everything’ bucket.

But is your strategic plan doing as much for you as it can? We have been surveying CPA firm team members and asking them what characteristics of their firm they felt were being done well or well communicated, and which weren’t. The strategic plan is a topic that came up with some strong data.

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