Friday, May 31, 2013

I’ve Been Thinking About It

About a century ago I was employed very briefly as a sales representative for European Health Spas, a long-defunct chain of fitness gyms whose main objective was to sign up as many unwitting people as possible to the most expensive and long-indentured membership contracts that the company offered.

Today, that strategy employed could easily be labeled a “bait and switch,” but then it was simply regarded as an “upgrade” but hardly in the same vein as say, “you want fries with that order?” Each Monday and promptly at 8:30 am, we would have an all hands on board staff meeting, where we would dissect and discuss potential roadblocks that each of us might encounter when making a presentation.

The most common was when a potential, who obviously had not been at, or near, a gym since the Nixon Administration, would remark, “Well, I’ve been thinking about it.” 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Here’s a Succession Plan for The Donald: You’re Fired!

Over the long holiday weekend, I admittedly, paid far more attention to the tenderness quotients of burgers, hot dogs and several choice rib eye steaks, than the succession crisis that is not only affecting the accounting profession, but the country as a whole.

I rationalized that the shortened work week would come soon enough.

And then one of the most annoying and ego-driven human beings on the planet went and spoiled my Monday morning as I tried to relax with a steaming oversized cup of French roast and my requisite trio of morning newspapers.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Zen and the Art of Accounting Leadership

Over the past dozen or so years I’ve given more presentations on the growing trends and how I envision the firm of the future in the accounting profession than is probably allowed under the Geneva Convention.

Whether it’s new regulations, updated technologies, or growing client niches – you name it and at one time or another I’ve created a PowerPoint slide on it and addressed an audience about it. Lately however, I’m getting a lot of questions about what skill sets are critical to the successful leadership of a firm – and more specifically, those that are decidedly non-accounting.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Career Path(s)

Shortly after declaring her college of choice and ending a decision period that made LeBron James’ appear instantaneous, my daughter somberly announced at the dinner table that she was worried about post-graduation and what she was going to do.

As I would later find out, no, not her high school graduation, which is roughly four weeks away, but her COLLEGE commencement. I looked at her incredulously and told her to examine the situation both calmly and rationally.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Taxing Time

Over the past several weeks, it seems that the subject of taxes has made more headlines than Kim Kardashian’s absurd maternity outfits or the ongoing enlargement of White House Spokesman’s Jay Carney’s nose when asked about the Benghazi debacle.

If it isn’t another numerical treatise on the length and complexity of the current Tax Code (seven times longer than The Bible for those keeping score at home), it’s the recent Senate passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act – which would allow states to collect sales tax from online retailers - or the recent kerfuffle over why the IRS suddenly decided to target organizations affiliating themselves with Tea Party or beliefs in limited government.

But what caught my attention was a recent poll from the Pew Research Center that indicated more taxpayers than you would think actually don’t mind doing their taxes. Since I equate filling out tax forms and researching alphabetic schedules on par with having a sharpened pebble in your shoe on a 10-mile hike, I read with more than a little surprise that about a third of more than 1,000 adults surveyed said they either liked (29 percent) or , now get this…loved (5 percent) doing their taxes.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Project MATS: The Free TV Guide for M&A and Succession

TV Guide used to be a staple at Chez Carlino, with an emphasis on “used to be.”

I still see people occasionally picking it up on the supermarket checkout line, but with the advent of the free online program guides supplied by local cable providers, along with their quarterly magazines replete with features and interviews, I long ago ceased seeing the point of spending money for a service that you can get for free.

So TV Guide and I parted company some time ago.

Which, in a sort of circuitous route, brings me to today’s topic: Project MATS – an acronym for merger, acquisition, transition, succession. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Here’s What I’m Looking For…

Yesterday I received a call from a buyer client who runs a fairly large and well-established practice in the New York metropolitan area. As managing partner, he was looking specifically for back-up for one of his owners and, ideally, it would be a young practitioner with a decent book of business who wants to merge into a larger firm.

I listened attentively to this all-too-familiar wish list and promised that should I encounter that type of seller whose growth strategy dovetails that perfectly into his, he would be the first call I made.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Dim Bulbs

Last week not only did I receive correspondence informing me of my 10th high school reunion (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) but also a personally addressed letter to yours truly from the district supervisor of ConEd.

For those of you situated outside the confines of the Lower Hudson Valley of New York State, Consolidated Edison or ConEd for short, is the premier power supplier to the metro New York area and often performs that service to what could be generously described as very mixed reviews.

In any event, the letter began as such…”Mr. Carlino, we are aware that your neighborhood has been impacted by a number of power outages in recent months (only four but who’s counting?) and we are about to take certain steps to boost our infrastructure….”