Tuesday, May 23, 2017

After Pomp and Circumstance, What’s Next?

Years ago, I went to a local comedy show where one of the performers remarked, “look at me, I’m ashamed to admit that I’m 30 and my parents still live with me.”


Actually, according to a recent survey by the financial concern TD Ameritrade it only takes until age 28 when a child finally becomes embarrassed that they’re still living at home.

I thought a lot about that this weekend when I sat through my second (and thankfully, last) graduation from college as my youngest received her diploma from Binghamton University – Magna Cum Laude – I may add (read: brag).

Just when the Mrs. and I were becoming used this empty nest thing.

Our eldest moved out last year – three years earlier than the Ameritrade tipping point for those keeping score at home and now we’ll see how long her sister decides to remain. By the amount of clothes and traditional hoarding of collegiate collectibles, I will give her at least a two-week grace/rest period to put everything in its proper place.

Then hopefully she’ll embark in earnest on that career thing.

By contrast when I left college, I had exactly one regulation Army footlocker that easily contained all my worldly possessions.

But I digress.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Little Vetting Goes a Long Way

A while back some psychologist came up with a theory that for many of us, our worst nightmare is being caught naked in public.

Now I guess that would all depend on who was being observed sans clothes.

That, I would assume, is like performing a basic pre-due diligence fact check on a potential merger partner and discovering their background more resembles Bernie Madoff than the little unassuming CPA practitioner down the block.

Case in point.

Recently, we were working with a seller in a large Midwestern city and the dialogue between him and who we hoped would be the successor firm was going smoothly until the larger practice ran a search.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Management by Objection

How many times have you stopped and wondered how some people find their way into a top management post?

If you’re like me, meaning someone who has worked for a number of mid-sized companies during their career, I would think it was probably on more than one occasion.

Some attain it through birth like the CEO of a publishing company I worked for some 20 years ago whom we nicknamed “Florsheim” after the shoe brand. Because, had his father not founded the company, his career would have entailed asking folks if they wanted to see a particular style in a size 9.

Others just get lucky and throw in when the market is ripe for a service or need.  Yet despite their success many have no clue what to do afterwards. Like the founder of my wife’s company who, to this day, continually denies employees access to work remotely despite losing a cadre of good and efficient people because of it.

This brings us to the topic de jour.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The “Village” Idiot

You know what’s worse than getting no help in a bad situation?

Getting the wrong help.

Sort of like the friendly guy who helps you change a flat tire and forgets to tighten the lug nuts.

I’m sure we’ve all been there.

Sadly, I found it’s often no different in the CPA profession.

Case in point.

I was speaking to a two-partner firm in the Northeast recently about succession, which was not even a blip on either’s respective radar although with no discernable alternative with regard to an internal transition, it certainly should have been.

In any event, one of the owners said they had retained a consultant to lead their firm retreat the year before and said consultant recommended that they build a “village” internally rather than look toward an upstream merger.

Yes, you heard correctly – he advised them to look for young talent and stock their bench with high-potentials who would someday take the leadership reins.

Again, stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Friday, May 5, 2017

CPA Insomnia

As I have gotten older this strange nocturnal phenomena has sort of manifested itself. At roughly 2 a.m., my body gets this peculiar urge to rise from a deep sleep and see what’s playing on HBO or Showtime.

Let me tell you, the cable programming at that hour is, well, shall we say, far different than what you see during the average family viewing time slot.

In medical parlance I think this is referred to as insomnia. I prefer to label it a change in circadian biorhythms.

But I digress.

I can only imagine that condition worsens if you’re a small to midsized owner of a CPA firm.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

There Ought to Be a Law!

My stunning lack of expertise in technology has been well documented, so when I need assistance in that area, I almost always defer to far brighter minds than my own.

And more often than not, I get the help I need, no matter if it’s software or hardware related – and sometimes both.

Unfortunately this was one of those “than not” occasions.

I thought my problem was fairly simple to diagnose – I needed a larger screen for my PC. For nearly two years, I have labored under a 13-inch display which to be honest, has not worked wonders for my neck and back. On occasions, my morning rise from bed has sounded like a bone-cracking contest at a county fair.