5 Ways to Build Teamwork

Set the tone for your staff.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: My staff seems to have “wandered” away from feeling this is a firm – that we are all in this together – to becoming a bunch of people who happen to work at the same address. Do you have any suggestions to get them to pull together?

MORE PRACTICE DOCTOR Q&A: How Many Hours Should Staff Work? | Is This a Rut?  | Taking Over Poorly Done Work | When to Offer Profit Sharing | What’s In a Title? | Managing Partners Should Drop their Book of Business | What’s Lousy, the Client or Your Approach? | Not the MP, Still a ‘Managing’ Partner | Checklist for Running a Practice
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ANSWER: Yes – it’s called leadership.

Re-Thinking Today’s Firm with Five Global Leaders

Are you building a cathedral or merely breaking stones?

New imperatives, from the U.S. to Spain, Australia, and back: McConnell, Fay, Tomasi, and Majchrzak.

By Bill Penczak

The combination of the summer doldrums and the COVID shutdown has provided some firm leaders pause to get in touch with their right-brainedness.

MORE MARKETING in the COVID ERA: 5 Things Your Firm Should Do Differently This Summer Do You Have the Guts to Beat the Covid Crisis?How to Inoculate Your Firm against Covid Competition‘Found Money’ Delights ClientsDon’t Buy a Rolodex, Buy a ProcessThe Three R’s for Beating the Corona Crisis6 Reasons Why Your Marketing Sucks |

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These are difficult times for the economy and the industry, and while some firms hope to return to the good old days, COVID and other societal changes may cause a long-overdue sea change in the accounting industry, which has been doing the same thing the same way for more than 100 years.

Sometimes it takes a catastrophe to spur fundamental change, and that’s what we’re seeing today.


Bill Reeb: New Rules for the COVID Era

Steven Sacks explores how the Coronavirus crisis is exposing all the bad habits of bad management.

With Steven Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals

CPA firms are ill-prepared for the new era of virtual, work-from-home partners and staff, according to Bill Reeb, a leading CPA firm practice consultant, in this conversation with CPA Trendlines contributor Steven Sacks.

More COVID Conversations:  When COVID ‘Got Real,’ with Gabby Luoma’ The COVID Outlook with Darren Root and Joel Hughes: A Long, Slow Climb back to Recovery | Steven Sacks: COVID Crisis Management | Jean Caragher: How to Fight ‘Fear’ and ‘Insecurity’ | Sarah Dobek: Learning How to Operate in the New Normal | August Aquila: What Comes Next? | Jody Grunden: COVID and Client Communications | Andrew Argue: On a Mission | Martin Bissett: COVID Slams U.K. Accountants, Too | Bill Reeb: Separating the Winners and Losers |

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Management at all levels will need to adapt, Reeb says, requiring new processes and procedures.  But more than anything, it requires new metrics of productivity. And, most of all, new habits.

Or, listen to the podcast:

After a painful, wrenching re-positioning, Reeb says, firms will emerge stronger, more agile, and more profitable than they were before.


When COVID ‘Got Real’

Tax season turns into ‘advisory season,’ and a whole new niche is born.

^ Click to play

By CPA Trendlines Research

Gabrielle Luoma, long one of the profession’s leading innovators, says the future under COVID-19 belongs to the quick and the smart, in this exclusive video interview with CPA Trendlines. Firms will need to deploy new services to attract new clients who may have not realized that they needed a firm like yours but now do.

MORE COVID CONVERSATIONS: The COVID Outlook with Darren Root and Joel Hughes: A Long, Slow Climb back to Recovery | Steven Sacks: COVID Crisis Management | Jean Caragher: How to Fight ‘Fear’ and ‘Insecurity’ | Sarah Dobek: Learning How to Operate in the New Normal | August Aquila: What Comes Next? | Jody Grunden: COVID and Client Communications | Andrew Argue: On a Mission | Martin Bissett: COVID Slams U.K. Accountants, Too | Bill Reeb: Separating the Winners and Losers |

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^ Play or download the podcast version

In this conversation, Luoma talks about what’s going on in the business, what’s going on with tax season, and what the future holds for CPA firms and the clients of CPA firms.

Speaking from her base in Tucson, Ariz., the CEO of MOD Ventures is bringing some of her DNA to regional powerhouse Beach Fleischman through a joint venture.

We started by asking about “when it got real?”

She responds, “We truly are affected by the whole world. We have clients in New York. Things changed for them rather quickly. And when they started changing, we started realizing, ‘Oh, my goodness, we’re going to have to really buckle down.’ In Arizona, we started seeing shutdowns mid-March. That’s when things really got real for us because then we started seeing that the businesses that we work with on a regular basis – we’re outsourced accounting, so we work with clients weekly, – we knew that we could be in trouble. We started working really hard on transitioning, and seeing what we needed to do to help our clients quickly.”

For PRO Members-Only: Get the transcript:

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Prepping for Post-Crisis Opportunities

Free Video Learning: Get ready today for the rebound to come with these top ten practice management video courses.
In partnership with CPA Trendlines, The Succession Institute is offering free access to their top ten video training programs to help firms prepare for the New Normal. Offer expires June 30. Use the password “free”for each video and get all the details here.

Don’t Let Opportunities Become Detours

Perception vs. reality: How opportunities can cause chaos.

How to stay on track toward your goals amid chaos and confusion.

By Bill Reeb

Without clear direction, every alternative seems like an opportunity.

But with direction comes a course of action, whether that is to preserve what you have or achieve something different.

MORE: Covid Crisis Requires New Mindsets | Do You Have a Goal or Just a Speed? | What Are You Giving Priority? | 3 Early Warning Signals for Overachievers | Learn More By Letting Go | Don’t Let Others Block Your Path | How Overachievers Can Get ‘Unstuck’
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Knowing what direction you want to head will drive the creation of a plan. And the greatest benefit of planning is that it provides you with a sanity check to know when you are drifting off course.

Regardless of whether we are talking about your personal life, career, or business, I believe it is nearly impossible to get to your desired destination or to accomplish your goals in a straight line.

We end up straying from our original course because of the mistakes we make along the way. Opportunities become detours. And chaos ensues

Beat the Covid Crisis with These 20 Steps for Your Firm and Your Clients

The ultimate checklist for focusing on cash, communication, continuity – and accepting uncertainty.

CPA Trendlines Business Barometer
Your best advice to colleagues and clients?
Join the survey. Get the results.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The toll of Covid-19 on business will be an ongoing trauma. It ain’t gonna be over ’til it’s over, and that ain’t gonna be for a long, long time.

MORE on COVID CRISIS MANAGEMENT: How to Inoculate Your Firm against Covid Competition | Pro Tax Prep Stalls to a Crawl amid Covid-Extended Season | Covid Kills 67,600 Jobs in Tax and Accounting | Client Accounting Services Poised to Surge in Post-Corona World | Clients, Revenues, Profits – Trending Down, Down, Down | Andrew Argue Is on a Mission | 3 Questions for Determining Your Value | Covid Crushes Rosey Forecasts | The Seven Factors Keeping Accounting Firms Afloat Amid Covid-19 | Feeling the Pain? The Biggest Job Losses by Client Sector |

See: All CPA Trendlines Special Coronavirus Crisis Coverage

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To survive, tax and accounting practices are going to need to take precautionary and proactive measures to ensure their financial continuity. Those measures must necessarily include guidance for clients to help them survive. Because failing clients mean failing firms.

Crisis management is a lot easier if it starts before the crisis hits. Here are some steps that accountants can take for themselves and their clients, gleaned from the thousands of accountants and advisors we’ve been hearing from over the past several weeks. READ MORE →

Covid Launches a New Reality: Now What?

^Click to play: Aquila addresses Covid crisis response strategies.

Eight new trends you can’t ignore in the new normal.

By August Aquila

Every day we get a clearer picture of what the future holds for the accounting profession, business in general and the overall population. While the future may look daunting, we will do our best to make the most of it and come out stronger. It’s what we have always done.

MORE: 6 Action Steps for a Smooth Retirement Transition | 7 Succession Planning Best Practices | Grissom and Aquila on Partner Performance Evaluations | Gross Profit in a Professional Services Firm: Opening a Dialogue | CHECKLIST: 18 Essential Steps to Effective Billing | How to Get Partners to Accept a New Pricing Philosophy
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Nevertheless, don’t plan on the old ways coming back. I just read that more than 60,000 accountants have already lost their jobs. Perhaps, the war for talent will be over. There will be further reductions in the professional service workforce and firms will be able to pick and choose from the talent pool.