Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Where are those surveys when you really want them?

Over the past week, between flying, rental cars, purchasing technology components and then remaining on hold for 30 minutes with tech support and even shopping for a new pair of jeans, I’ve been asked to complete no less than five customer surveys.

Depending on my mood of the moment, I would estimate my completion percentage at about 50 percent. Obviously, when I receive superior customer service or conversely, when my experience rivals the voyage of the Titanic, I would push that percentage somewhat higher.

Last week my travel experience to a large Midwestern city rivaled the latter. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Thinking Differently

When he served as governor of New York Nelson Rockefeller forged a reputation for looking at problems differently than the norm.

One time a staffer approached him and explained that the reason one of Rockefeller’s pet infrastructure projects could not be approved was a lack of funding.

“The problem is money,” the disappointed colleague told the governor.

“No,” said Rockefeller. “Money is the solution. The problem is where to get it.”

Theories on how to approach problems and business differently are about in as short a supply as January icicles in Minneapolis.

Or the roughly 10,000 opinions on how to improve your golf backswing.

But I digress.

About two years ago, I read one of the more interesting books on business leadership  titled “Start With Why,” written by an Englishman named Simon Sinek which posits the theory that great leaders and innovators come to work each day inspired and examines the reasons why they do what they do and not the what they do.

And to think differently.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It’s still about attracting clients

Each year, I teach roughly 25-30 hours of CPE, both at live events and online.

Bear with me, as this is not an advertorial for my presentation services as impressive as they are if I say so myself in all immodesty, so you can stop rolling your eyes.

No, today’s missive is about the top challenges that firms are currently facing and likely will be well into the future.

In virtually all my presentations, I have one PowerPoint slide emblazoned with the bold headline “What’s keeping CPAs awake at night?”

It showcases the results of a number of surveys which state that far and away a firm’s No. 1 challenge is that of attracting new clients. For those who follow the profession closely, this may not exactly come as breaking news.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Taking Inventory

For lack of a better term the span between February 15 and April 15 is when most of us at our company go into a sort of involuntary hibernation.

That two-month window is when we get a lot of the tedious administrative work done – such as updating our records in Salesforce, preparing lists of potential merger candidates and generously spreading our bylines around various accounting centric publications.

Any calls or visits to firms during that period are usually to the much larger practices, where the managing partners don’t have a stack of 1040s on their desk the height of a double-pastrami on rye at New York’s famed Carnegie Deli. As I’ve mentioned previously in this space our calls are usually treated like a boiler room stock broker pitching a minimum investment of $5,000. And that’s the way our good clients treat us. Decorum and public decency prevent me from describing a typical cold-call conversation.