Why Small Firms Can Win the Talent Wars

Seven keys to beating the staffing shortage.https://cpatrendlines.com/2020/09/18/better-talent-drives-better-results/

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

The following story brought tears to my eyes while I sat in a Barbados resort drinking some alcohol concoction. Was it the alcohol talking or the happy ending where I got a profit distribution check? Maybe a little of both.

MORE: The Fool in the Room | Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time | Debunking the Demise of the CPA Firm | How Many Tax Preparers Do You Need? | How to Teach Reviewing and Time Management | 3 Tips for Handling Rookie Tax Preparers | Some Uncommon Advice on Hiring Full-Time Staff | What Goes Into a Client Project?
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The afternoon before I left for beautiful Barbados, the partner group of our outsourced accounting practice met for a state of the practice meeting conducted by our director of outsourced accounting.
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The Fool in the Room

Which employee is most valuable? You might be surprised.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

We have been heavily in the numbers so far. Let’s take a break from that to discuss a factor that, while not heavily numeric, plays a big factor in managing WIP – employee productivity. Because capacity is the denominator in the Lean Six Sigma equation, and employee productivity is a big factor in capacity, employee productivity becomes a big factor in determining turnaround time.

MORE: Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time | There Are No Easy Answers | How to Thrive as a 21st-Century Firm | Farm-Aid for Accountants? | Whittle Down WIP | The Tax Practice Traffic Cop | How to Coach Your Staff | How to Create Good Managers
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First, let’s dismiss from the room all the consultants, who tell us that time tracking and productivity metrics don’t matter. For the most part, these consultants have never managed or owned CPA firms. Rarely have they worked in firms for any length of time.
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Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time

Time is money : clock hands on $100 billsAlso known as the laziness equation.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

One of the funniest parts of launching Clarity Practice Management has been watching my business partner, Peter Daniel, learn about the business acumen of CPAs and accountants. Peter and I founded Clarity as a collaboration between a CPA firm client (Peter) and a CPA firm (me.). He knew what he wanted from a client perspective, and I knew what we wanted as a CPA firm.

MORE: There Are No Easy Answers | The 3 Biggest Tech Failures of Accounting Firms | 7 Steps to Effective Project Management | WIP-ing Clients Into Shape | Maximize Your Role as Visionary | The Land Mines in Tax Returns | Give Your People the Resources They Need
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Peter owns a software development company and believes in the rational decision-making model for businesses. The rational decision-making model is totally irrelevant to the way most CPAs and accountants run their practices. For instance, consider this interchange between Peter and a practitioner at our Clarity booth during a trade show.
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There Are No Easy Answers

Scrambled thoughts enter man's head, straightened ones come outBut we still can make more money, have happier clients and lead saner lives.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

I’m back. Since writing the “Relentless CPA – The New 21st Century System for Driving Success at Tax and Accounting Firms,” I have spoken to dozens of CPAs and accountants, been called a dozen names (some of them deserved), and received a few death threats.

MORE: The 3 Biggest Tech Failures of Accounting Firms | Debunking the Demise of the CPA Firm | How Many Tax Preparers Do You Need? | How to Be the Chief Communicator | How to Teach Reviewing and Time Management | 4 Steps to Take Before Next Tax Season | Some Uncommon Advice on Hiring Full-Time Staff
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Actually, the death threats came from my wife, who said she’d kill me if I said “yes” to any new projects. She watches lots of crime shows, so the FBI regarded her threats as serious. I am writing this to buy a bulletproof vest for when she gets out of jail. Thank you for your contribution to saving my life.
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Clarity Practice Management Releases Updated Software

SaaS-based practice management software for accounting and tax firms now at Version 12.0.

CHANTILLY, Virginia – Clarity Practice Management, LLC today announced the release of version 12.0. The new version includes new functionality including:

1. Recurring projects that can be created from:

  • Project types
  • Project templates
  • Existing projects

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The 3 Biggest Tech Failures of Accounting Firms

Stop waiting for the one solution that will solve all your problems.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Technology is a constant challenge for accounting firms.

MORE: Debunking the Demise of the CPA Firm | How to Thrive as a 21st-Century Firm | Farm-Aid for Accountants? | Whittle Down WIP | The Tax Practice Traffic Cop
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We’re learning to get a lot right, but there still are some things that firms get wrong on a regular basis.

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Debunking the Demise of the CPA Firm

AI and blockchain aren’t replacing us.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Industry pundits subject us to a nonstop barrage of predictions that CPA firms will cease to exist very shortly. You know how much I love our industry pundits, who have never worked a day in a CPA firm. I dislike the ones who have not worked in CPA firms in the last 20 years only slightly less. Their predictions are total and utter nonsense.

MORE: How to Thrive as a 21st-Century Firm | 7 Steps to Effective Project Management | WIP-ing Clients Into Shape | Managing People: The Heart of Effective Project Management | Beware the Leeches and Consultants
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I see two main types of doomsday predictions from our pundit buddies. First, they tell us that artificial intelligence will replace us. Next, if AI doesn’t get us, blockchain will.
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How to Thrive as a 21st-Century Firm

Computer monitors morph into chain links“Professional staff without higher-level skills will be out of the business.”

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

If you believe accounting industry pundits, artificial intelligence and blockchain will decimate accounting firms the way an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs. But paleontologists don’t think dinosaurs really went extinct. They survived as today’s birds. In the next 10 years, or sooner, accounting and tax firms will evolve from offices full of employees dutifully typing data into workstations to organizers of terabytes of accounting data for our clients.

MORE: 7 Steps to Effective Project Management | How Many Tax Preparers Do You Need? | How the Annual Tax Meeting Died | How to Be the Chief Communicator | 4 Steps to Take Before Next Tax Season
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The pundits are wrong about our extinction. Effective project management will prepare your firm to thrive in the 21st century. I’ll take you there in a bit of a roundabout way via the coming of blockchain to the IRS.
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7 Steps to Effective Project Management

Three happy businesspeople looking at laptopTwo bad things will happen immediately. But they can be fixed.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

If you’re older than 50, you’ll remember this old skit from the TV variety series called “Hee Haw.”

MORE: How Many Tax Preparers Do You Need? | Farm-Aid for Accountants? | Whittle Down WIP | The Tax Practice Traffic Cop | How to Coach Your Staff
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Patient: “Doc, it hurts when I do this.”

Doc: “Then stop doing that.”
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