Why Knowledge Maintenance Is Key

Businesspeople discussing chartsDon't let systems and processes leave with your employees.

By Steven E. Sacks

There are nearly 80 million Baby Boomers today, and this cohort ranging from ages 55 to 73 is projected by the U.S. Census Bureau to reach 83.7 million in the year 2050. By 2030, more than 20 percent of U.S. residents are projected to be aged 65 and over, compared with 13 percent in 2010 and 9.8 percent in 1970.

MORE: Set Your Staff on the Right Course | How Does Your Firm Leverage Its Talent? | The Lost Art of the Interview | The 5 Keys to Success in Accounting Careers | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet?
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A large part of this growth is because of the aging of Baby Boomers (individuals born in the United States between mid-1946 and mid-1964), who began turning 65 in 2011 and are now driving growth at the older ages of the population. As one source in 2016 put this into perspective, every day, 10,000 people turn 65. There are more than personal financial issues at stake here.
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Set Your Staff on the Right Course

People standing, holding food and talkingHelp them develop soft skills.

By Steven E. Sacks

In the famous words found in Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there.”

MORE: How Does Your Firm Leverage Its Talent? | Retention Starts with the Hiring Interview | The New Way to Handle Exit Interviews | Who’ll Quit Next? | Strengthen Your Firm’s Screening Practices | Smart Trust in the Workplace | What Aspiring Accountants Need to Know
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This is a lesson Alice learned much to her frustration. This, too, can be frustrating for professionals entering the workforce, especially in CPA firms. Firms often are not clear about establishing and communicating expectations for their new hires. The focus on billable hours takes precedence over building professional and personal growth.
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How Does Your Firm Leverage Its Talent?

Five questions you can't say "No" to.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals

With Millennials representing 35 percent of today’s workforce, 50 percent in the next couple of years and 75 percent by 2030, the career mindset will shift even more toward moving onward and upward – and out.

MORE: Retention Starts with the Hiring Interview | How Motivation Is Like Bathing | Be a Talent Magnet | Make CRAP a Badge of Honor | The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition | 10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ Needs | A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement
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Unless you are a business owner, the days of 40-year employees have disappeared.

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Retention Starts with the Hiring Interview

Two women shaking hands across a tableAsk about real-life situations and look for fit, not personality.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms

What are your strengths and weaknesses? All potential hires are asked this. If you had to plan for these two questions, what would you do to be ready to respond?

MORE: How Motivation Is Like Bathing | The Lost Art of the Interview | The 5 Keys to Success in Accounting Careers | The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent | The Power of ‘Real Influence’ | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet? | Outsourcing the C-Suite | Getting the Accounting Firm Agreement Right | Today’s Workplace Challenge: Communicating Across Generations, Cultures, and Diversity | Negotiate For Success, Not a ‘Win’ | Does Busyness Really Mean Productivity?
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There have been scores of books offering guidance on interview preparation; what to avoid; how to turn a negative to a positive; and skillfully and persuasively transform what you perceive to be a weakness into a strength.
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How Motivation Is Like Bathing

Two businesswomen sitting at table and talking in office courtyardIt's just one key to employee retention.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms

Salary used to be the main driver behind a young professional’s choice of employer. No longer. In fact, salary is now ranked as fourth or fifth among the important criteria.

MORE: The Lost Art of the Interview | The New Way to Handle Exit Interviews | Who’ll Quit Next? | Strengthen Your Firm’s Screening Practices | Smart Trust in the Workplace | What Aspiring Accountants Need to Know | Improve Job Satisfaction or It’ll Cost Your Firm | We Hear But Do We REALLY Listen?
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The Gen Y cohort is looking at meaningful and challenging work, increased responsibility, rapid upward mobility, the freedom to innovate, an opinion to be respected, a system for frequent performance feedback and a work environment that encourages the use of technology – specifically social media.
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The Lost Art of the Interview

Two men sitting across from each other shaking hands5 things you're trying to find out.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms

“You've gotta understand – when you interview someone, it's not an interrogation. It's not the Nuremberg Trials.” – Joan Rivers

The process of interviewing candidates can be done more effectively if less reliance is placed on the resume. Much has been written on this, from psychologists to organization behavioral scientists and everyone in between. The prevailing view is there needs to be the “knowing of the unknown.”

MORE: The New Way to Handle Exit Interviews | Be a Talent Magnet | Make CRAP a Badge of Honor | The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition | 10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ Needs
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Filling a position, after all, is a two-way street of mystery: The candidate will have no idea of what the actual work environment will be like, and the organization will not know if the candidate matches up with his or her resume. If you are responsible for selecting candidates or at least screening them in the early phases, use your time wisely and ask relevant and insightful questions. It will be a mutually beneficial exercise.
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The New Way to Handle Exit Interviews

Woman and man shaking handsKeep the door open and don't burn bridges.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms

A more mobile workforce should make accounting firms think seriously about how effectively they handle staff departures.

MORE: Be a Talent Magnet | The 5 Keys to Success in Accounting Careers | The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent | The Power of ‘Real Influence’ | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings
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In fact, the whole process of recruitment and retention needs careful evaluation so the same mistakes are not repeatedly made. Otherwise, firms engage in the act of insanity, the definition of such usually attributed to Albert Einstein is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

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Be a Talent Magnet

Five young business people at work in an office setting.Retention will naturally follow.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms

Younger professionals are looking for CPA firms that will enable them to move up the career ladder faster than what had been the traditional time frame. Depending on the existing firm structure and size, there may not be any partnership opportunities until such time there is retirement, resignation or death.

MORE: Got Great People? Work to Keep Them | The 5 Keys to Success in Accounting Careers | The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent | The Power of ‘Real Influence’ | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet?
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At the same time, the roles and responsibilities of a partner have evolved; clutching tightly to a book of business or pulling needed staff from others when engagements are not concluded has reduced the sense of collaboration and entrepreneurship. This has made the attainment (and the pursuit) of partner less appealing.
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Got Great People? Work to Keep Them

Sword hanging over businessman running with briefcaseAh, the Damocles sword of staff retention.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms

There is an old adage: “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” This covers everything from people to technology and things in between. Some people might make the argument they know or knew what they had, they just always thought they would have it – whatever “it” is.

MORE: The 5 Keys to Success in Accounting Careers | Who’ll Quit Next? | Strengthen Your Firm’s Screening Practices | Smart Trust in the Workplace | What Aspiring Accountants Need to Know
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This situation reveals itself in the work environment. You have done all you could (or so you think) to attract and recruit a high-performing team; created programs to keep your team members enthusiastic and jazzed about coming to work; and spent vast sums on training and education.
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The 5 Keys to Success in Accounting Careers

Man looking at 5 keysTwo ears, one mouth.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms

Young professionals or those who will graduate college in the next few years should understand there are important ingredients to progress in their careers.

MORE: Who’ll Quit Next? | Make CRAP a Badge of Honor | The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition | 10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ Needs | A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement | Performance Reviews: No Need for Teeth Pulling | Battling Staff Turnover | 7 Steps to Take As Your Firm Grows | How Enthusiastic Is Your Staff? | Can You Recite Your Mission Statement? | Your Firm’s Biggest Assets Walk out the Door Every Day
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There are at least five principles you should follow to ensure you are moving ahead on the right track.
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Who’ll Quit Next?

Mentor showing project presentation to menteeSmart ideas for retaining and developing top talent. 

Who's going to quit next? And why?
Join the survey. Get the Answers

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms

Professional services firms always have their eyes on the bottom line with as much, if not more, intensity than on the top line. Salaries and benefits take up a considerable chunk of resources, and programs designed for professional and personal development are given short shrift, except when it comes to meeting continuing professional education credits.

MORE: Make CRAP a Badge of Honor | The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent | The Power of ‘Real Influence’ | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet? | Outsourcing the C-Suite
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The younger professionals – your future leaders – should be viewed as investments. Part of that investment is allocating funds for their participation in associations or networking groups, in addition to conferences and workshops that expand their knowledge.
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Make CRAP a Badge of Honor

Superhero businesswoman wearing shadow capeHow do your clients view your relationship?

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms

Performing Like CRAP. A strange concept, you might think. When someone acknowledges that your actions reflect crap there is no positivity in this assessment. And because this term is baked into the American lexicon, people will always view it negatively.

MORE: The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent | Strengthen Your Firm’s Screening Practices | Smart Trust in the Workplace | What Aspiring Accountants Need to Know | Improve Job Satisfaction or It’ll Cost Your Firm | We Hear But Do We REALLY Listen?
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But what if we look at it another way – in the form of an acronym? Let's give it a try.
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The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent

Two businesswomen shaking hands in modern officeThere are 3 basic elements.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms

We get so hung up on generational labels: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and now Gen Z. As a result, we ascribe certain characteristics or behaviors to each one – whether fair or not.

MORE: Strengthen Your Firm’s Screening Practices | The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition | 10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ Needs | A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement | Performance Reviews: No Need for Teeth Pulling
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Adherence to the labels can cause a hiring manager or an executive to overlook the contributions each cohort can make to an organization. Potential stars are overlooked, and the usual reliance on outdated search approaches continues unabated.
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