Friday, June 24, 2016

Is Good Help Really That Hard To Find?

There’s been a lot written in the space over the past several years about the dearth of young talent in the accounting profession and the stunning number of calls I receive each month from firms with identical wish lists –find me a young CPA with or without a book of business.

If only it were that easy.

Along those lines I was speaking with a partner of a firm in the Northeast earlier this week who lamented that not only did he need a young high potential (or several for that matter) to come aboard, but also bemoaned that fact that they did not have the recruiting resources of some of his larger competitors.

For example, he admitted that due to his staffing shortage and quite honestly lack of name recognition, he was unable to attend any of the recruiting days at the local colleges. And even if he did, how many candidates could he successfully attract?

I must admit I had never thought about it in those terms.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Of Summer Grilling and Tax Compliance

With the onset of summer, I decided (or more accurately, my wife and kids decided) it was time to put our 7-year old grill out to pasture and buy a new one for the 2016 grilling season.

Since the newspapers are filled with flyers from various home improvement chains trumpeting great deals on grills, there was no shortage of models and options to choose. So after a brief discussion and consensus, we chose one that could easily handle a dinner crowd of 20 or so.

Then the fun began.

Turns out, most models were at least $25-$50 more if you opted for the retailer to assemble them.

The missus would not hear of it and strongly suggested (emphasis on strongly) we put it together ourselves.

I’m from the Woody Allen School of mechanical problems and assembly instructions. I try something twice and if it still doesn’t work I begin to hit. The bride is far more patient and after 4 hours or so, our gleaming new Weber four-burner was ready for its maiden voyage.

Now to me four hours is a lot to spend on most things.

But how about something that consumes 8.9 BILLION hours?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Don’t Try This At Home

I’ll have to admit it took a bit longer this year than in the past, but apparently getting three extra days to finish up the stockpile of 1040s has put most people at least a week or two behind with regard to preparing their firms for the rest of 2016.

Case in point: last week I spoke to a three-partner firm in the Northeast whose owners’ ages are, in ascending order, 55, 62 and 68. And perhaps to no one’s surprise, least of all mine, they have no one on the bench to assume the reins when the older partners begin to slow down. Their technology is, to be kind, about a decade past a much needed upgrade  and their revenues have been either stagnant or falling (depending on the year) for at least the past five years.

Perfect, an ideal candidate for an upstream merger, an aging firm that with the help of a larger practice with greater resources and expertise could slowly begin to resurrect it.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Let’s Put These Buzzwords to Sleep for Good in 2016

I once had a colleague who, in the course of everyday conversation, seemed to almost despair if at least one of his sentences within a complete paragraph didn’t contain a common buzzword.

“Bill, at the end of the day we have to get this out the door.”

With pearls of wisdom like that lobbed at you on a daily basis, you sort of get the idea.

So, along those lines and at least once a year, I feel the need to vent about the absurd overuse of workplace buzzwords and jargon, which unless it’s my imagination or perhaps paranoia, has seemed to proliferate exponentially over the past several years.

Perhaps it’s collateral damage from the abbreviated world of Twitter or texting, but I’ll let far brighter minds than mine sort that out.

So with that in mind, here’s my 2016 list that should long ago have been put out to pasture (I didn’t just say that did I?) and some suggested alternative phrases that can be used.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Certain Things Should Never Go Virtual

More years ago than I want to remember, my father and I walked into an automobile dealership that showcased cars of the now defunct American Motors Corp.

I was all of six years old, but the sight of gleaming new automobiles of every color and size is something that is not easily erased, even in the aging memory crypts of yours truly.

That afternoon, pop plunked down $150 and we drove home in a new cherry red Rambler American, a boxy 4-door with what car enthusiasts often refer to as “three on the tree” – a three-speed manual transmission on the steering column.

Even today, I still tingle on a showroom floor while examining each model and often shuddering at the pricing stickers pasted to the window – especially considering that our Rambler cost all of $1,600.

But that feeling may gradually become a thing of the past.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Retiring Procrastination

There’s an old joke about saving for retirement and it goes something like this:

“My accountant assured me I have enough money to live on for the rest of my life; provided I die by 5 o’clock this afternoon.”

I’m here all week ladies and gentlemen.

Now all kidding aside, it’s estimated that more than 100,000 CPAs perform some type of financial services for their clients – from simple product referrals to more complex estate planning.

And yet I find it astounding that even without the luxury of a personal financial planner there is virtually an infinite amount of free information about investing for retirement, money management, debt avoidance and everything in between that remains largely overlooked.

I read an article last week that unveiled, sadly, it’s not only the 20-somethings who are literally placing retirement savings on the proverbial back burner, but roughly 30 percent of folks over 55 surveyed by GoBankingRates, have no retirement savings whatsoever.