Strengthening the Connection between Current and Emerging Leaders in the CPA Profession
Featuring Gary Adamson, Mary Bennett, Sarah Johnson Dobek, Angie Grissom, Dustin Hostetler, Rita Keller, Roman Kepczyk, Tamera Loerzel, Terrence Putney, Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, and Rick Solomon.
The new comprehensive guide to finding and keeping top talent and developing the next generation of leaders
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Insights and Guidance on Every Page
- Solving the staff shortage problem, once and for all
- Building the future-ready leadership pipeline
- Moving to anytime, anywhere virtual and flexible work
- Learning to manage more people with less space
- Building a firm that can train, manage and replace anyone
- Managing the increasingly shorter-term workforce
- Successfully selling to different, younger clients
- Delivering services that offer more value to clients
- The eight expectations of Millenials you can’t ignore
- What it takes to win the “Best Places to Work” award
- Four steps to changing your firm’s culture you can take today
- How smart firms are using Lean Sigma change management techniques
- Five signs of a culture of continuous improvement
- Transitioning from leader to owner – earlier and younger
- The five critical skills every leader needs to master
- The nine-point plan that could solve your problems
- The unconscious assumptions that stand in the way of progress
- What Millenials can teach every firm about marketing and innovation
- Four keys to unlocking a new growth strategy
- Three strategies to engage everyone in your firm’s future
- Six tips for fostering leadership in any firm
- Five new technologies that can take your firm to the next level
- The new advantages in a diverse workplace
- Making ownership worth the work for next-gen leaders
- Seven ways smart talent management can drive success and increase firm valuation
14 Expert Authors, 14 Practical Chapters
with guidance for discussions and action plans
- A Call For Change: An Open Letter To Each Generation
- A Winning Culture is an Intentional Culture
- The Culture of Continuous Improvement
- They Don’t Want to Be Owners!
- Growing and Developing Future Leaders Is a Two-Way Street
- Eliminate The Mystery through Communication & Inclusion
- A Simple Way to Dissolve the Gap
- Marketing Is Not Just for Partners Anymore
- Keeping Your Team Members Connected, Engaged and Energized
- 6 Tips for Fostering Leadership in Your Organization
- What’s the Why?
- Collaboration Technology to Improve Your Firm
- Sponsorship-Barrier to Exit for Talent
- Making Ownership Attractive to New Leaders
Message from the Authors
Among the biggest challenges accounting firms face today is that of passing the torch from today’s established leaders, who are beginning to look toward retirement, to the emerging leaders who will lead firms into the future. This has always been a task fraught with difficulty, but for a multitude of reasons, many firms are now struggling more than they expected in their trek toward transition. There are questions between both sides of current and emerging leaders that contribute to the struggle:
• Do current leaders resist letting go of control?
• Are current leaders willing to make changes in their firms that will keep them competitive and sustainable to attract the next generation of leaders (and clients!)?
• Does the next generation of potential leaders have interest in leadership?
• Is there a lack of innate talent or acquired ability evident in the young professionals of today, or do we simply not have the luxury of time to gain the experience and knowledge our future leaders need to meet today’s transition requirements?
• In a profession that offers so much opportunity and is experiencing so much growth, how can moving smoothly from today to tomorrow be as difficult as it currently seems?
In this book, the members of the CPA Consultants’ Alliance examine this disconnect from a variety of angles. Each chapter represents the contribution of a particular expert who serves the accounting profession in a niche. Through their work, these thought leaders are intimately familiar with the profession as well as the challenge of bridging the gap between one generation of leaders and the next, and have devised various approaches to resolve it. Each chapter offers analysis and ideas that reflect the nuances of their respective specialties, which include cultural shifts firms should be considering, marketing and growth strategies, human resources and leadership development and technology and process improvement considerations.
The result is a useful compendium of insights and strategies to help accounting firms take concrete action that bridges the gap in expectations, goals and communication between today’s firm leaders and tomorrow’s. It is not enough to theorize; overcoming a business challenge of this magnitude requires accurate understanding followed by planned steps to initiate solutions and measure the results. Before taking action, however, it is imperative to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of both current and emerging leaders’ views to maximize the probability that the steps firm leaders take will bring about the desired results.
For this reason, we have included discussion questions following each chapter. These are designed to help firms and those who work with them examine their own relationship to leadership, change and each other. They are not meant to be taken as assignments that must be answered briefly or in any specific order before moving on, but as launch points for an earnest and open examination of the dynamics and practices within each firm that contribute to its relative success.
Note that we do not say "success in a particular area;" we simply say "success" because we firmly believe that addressing the issue of improving communication and building understanding will result in greater success for the firms that achieve such a goal, no matter how they choose to accomplish the task. Beginning this sort of initiative by gathering input from multiple team members with representation from all generations through book club-style discussions is often a useful approach. Readers are invited to use the questions thusly, or simply as aids to individual thought regarding the content of each chapter and how it relates to their own firms.
Taken as a whole, the information shared in this book describes a challenge that concerns many accounting professionals. Some will find it interesting to read straight through, as they join the respective authors in pondering the many different angles and viewing the big picture. That’s not necessary, though. Readers can feel free to skip around as they wish, picking and choosing the chapters that hold the most interest or focusing on the sections that seem most relevant to the challenges they are seeing within their organizations.
And finally, readers should understand that the advice and ideas here are not intended as an end all or definitive guide to solving generational disconnects once and for all. Strengthening the connection between current and emerging leaders is not a “one and done” kind of operation, nor is resolving the challenge of leadership transition a static issue. There are dozens of additional approaches, no doubt, and more will emerge to match shifting needs.
What the CPA Consultants’ Alliance offers here is a comprehensive approach to thinking about the many faceted challenges that firms are dealing with – an approach that explores the nature of the problem from many perspectives to promote understanding and facilitate creative thinking about solutions. The most appropriate and effective solutions for each firm will vary, of course. Some readers may spot in these chapters an idea that looks like a perfect match for their needs; others may find inspiration here for a different strategy that works well at their firms.
In most cases, a multi-pronged attack will yield the best results to reach across the divide between young and old, and in every case it is only through sustained effort that the payoff will become visible and accrue to the benefit of the firm and its long-term sustainability. Carefully formulated strategies will have to be refined and reevaluated in response to new information gleaned from feedback and observation. The goal is a worthy one, but the journey is a process that must unfold slowly over time, and the paths to success are as myriad and individual as the accounting firms that will traverse them. Whatever path your firm may choose to follow, we wish you the greatest of success in your quest to bridge the gap and strengthen the connection between emerging and current leaders.
Terrence E. Putney, CPA is the president of CPA Consultants’ Alliance and CEO of Transition Advisors, LLC, which exclusively consults on succession and growth strategies for accounting practices nationally and ownership transition. Learn more about his firm at www.transitionadvisors.com. See more Putney at CPA Trendlines
Mary Bennett is the owner of MLBennett Consulting LLC where she works as a consultant to public accounting firms in the area of organizational development, diversity and inclusion, and maximizing high potential talent. Learn more at www.mlbennettconsulting.com. See more Bennett at CPA Trendlines
Roman Kepczyk, CPA, CITP, CGMA, and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is Director of Consulting for Xcentric, LLC. He works exclusively with accounting firms to optimize their IT infrastructure and internal production workflows. See more Kepczyk at CPA Trendlines
Gary Adamson is a CPA and the president of Adamson Advisory, specializing in succession planning and consulting for CPA firms. For more about Adamson Advisory and find more of his articles, visit www.adamsonadvisory.com. See more Adamson at CPA Trendlines
Sarah Johnson Dobek is the Founder and President of Inovautus Consulting, an accounting marketing growth advisor that helps accounting firms identify and implement strategies to help them grow their firms and distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Learn more about the company and its services at www.inovautus.com. See more Dobek at CPA Trendlines
Angie Grissom serves as the President of The Rainmaker Companies, a leading provider of alliance, consulting and training services exclusively for the accounting profession. Her passion is helping firm leaders build firms that empower people. You can learn more by visiting www.therainmakercompanies.com. See more Grissom at CPA Trendlines
Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk is president of BBR Marketing which provides strategic guidance and tactical implementation for professional services firms in North America. For more about her company and its services, visit www.bbrmarketing.com. See more Ruszczyk at CPA Trendlines
Rick Solomon, CPA, has been a practice growth and profitability consultant for two decades. His company, Center for Enlightened Business, teaches professionals how to peel away unnecessary self-limiting views to manifest the practice or career of their dreams! www.enlightened.business. See more Solomon at CPA Trendlines
Rita Keller is the Founder of Keller Advisors, LLC. Rita coaches CPA firm leaders on management topics, facilitates management retreats and speaks at conferences and individual firm events. Learn more about the company and its services, visit www.ritakeller.com. See more Keller at CPA Trendlines
Carrie Steffen is a Founding Shareholder and President of The Whetstone Group. Carrie helps CPA firms throughout North America hone their competitive edge by setting the right goals, fostering business development skills, developing future leaders and measuring results for better accountability. Learn more at www.thewhetstonegroup.com. See more Steffen at CPA Trendlines
Sandra Wiley is the COO and Shareholder at Boomer Consulting, Inc. Sandra elevates top talent in firms through her P3 Leadership Academy and assists in building balanced teams, managing conflict, and hiring staff. Learn more about the company and its services at www.boomer.com. See more Wiley at CPA Trendlines
Dustin Hostetler is a Shareholder and Lean Six Sigma Consultant at Boomer Consulting, Inc., which guides accounting firms to increased performance and profitability by providing unique consulting services, peer-led communities and industry leading intellectual capital. Learn more about the company and its services at www.boomer.com. See more Hostetler at CPA Trendlines
Tamera Loerzel is a partner of ConvergenceCoaching, LLC, a national leadership, and management consulting firm. Tamera leads strategic planning and retreat facilitation along with executive coaching and leadership development programs to help her clients realize their goals and vision. To learn more, visit www.convergencecoaching.com. See more Loerzal at CPA Trendlines
Jennifer Wilson is a partner and co-founder of ConvergenceCoaching, LLC, a leadership and management coaching, consulting and training firm that specializes in helping leaders achieve success. Learn more about the company and its services at www.convergencecoaching.com. See more Wilson at CPA Trendlines
About the CPA Consultants Alliance
The mission of the CPA Consultants’ Alliance is to explore leadership issues facing the profession and develop and share solutions that benefit practitioners. CPA Consultants’ Alliance members support each member’s growth and collaborate to make
a difference in the communities we serve.
To inspire positive change in current and future leaders of the CPA profession by collaboratively developing tools and content that will educate, motivate and increase their wisdom. To be known for the quality of our content and the power of our collaboration and teamwork.
- Striving for continuous improvement
- Making a difference
- Operating with integrity and fostering trust and honesty
- Being open-minded, giving and collaborative
- Acting with unity and in the best interests of our group as a whole
- Speaking with a consistent voice and message
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