Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sometimes You Just Have to Ask!

Following a performance, the great Louie Armstrong was once questioned by an interviewer about his definition of jazz music.

“Satchmo” glared at the writer and curtly replied, “Man, if you gotta ask, you’ll never know.”

I thought about that long-ago response by one of America’s musical icons and its seemingly anachronistic application to the M&A arena.

Six years into my second life as a consultant to the accounting profession, I’m still amazed about how many of our existing or potential clients are still unsure of what success looks like.

Sometimes you do have to ask.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

When You Don’t Listen to Your Accountant

For 12 years through the late 1980s to 2000, I worked at a family-owned retail publishing company that had been in business for nearly 40 years prior to my arrival. It was founded by the patriarch who, when he retired, predictably passed the leadership reins to his son.

It wasn’t long before I realized that as it often happens, the scion possessed little or none of his father’s business acumen and made a series of head-scratching investments and personnel appointments worthy of their own mention in a Dilbert cartoon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The check is in the mail. Yeah right!

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that outstanding invoices are one of the most frustrating aspects of owning your own business. Most of you in practice for yourselves can speak volumes on the frustration of weeks dragging on to months and repeated promises that the proverbial “check is in the mail.”

We’ve all been there.

In fact, this weekend, during a conversation with my long-time landscaper, he complained that one of my neighbors hasn’t paid him in nearly two years. TWO YEARS. My first question to him was why does he continue to service her lawn? I can safely say that after six months I would have cut my losses (pardon the bad pun) and try and recover what I could in small claims court.

But I digress.

I’m sure you’ve all encountered clients that are shall we say, a bit sluggish in opening their checkbooks. The alligator arms-deep pockets image will fit nicely here. For example, many CPA firms that I’ve spoken to will not send a client’s 1040 until they receive full payment. If they don’t then by law the preparer is required to return all documentation to a deadbeat client and wish them best of luck in completing it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Two Annoying Phrases

For those of us in the Northeast this has been one hot summer.

To put the last two months in perspective, my monthly invoice from the power company is averaging $20 more than I paid for my first car.

My air conditioner has been running non-stop seemingly from Memorial Day and I’m sure that my situation is not unique to other parts of the country as I scour the national weather reports. This is not exactly what I envisioned after a particularly brutal and unforgiving winter.

But what compounds an already uncomfortable situation and makes my ears screech in that “fingernails on a blackboard” sort of way is when someone remarks, “It’s not so much the heat but rather the humidity.” It may not be everyone’s most annoying phrase, but it certainly merits a place in the discussion.

I immediately want to go to my local gym and take a few well-aimed whacks at the punching bag.

Now in our business, the weather doesn’t usually make an impact – unless of course, we’re talking something on the order of Category 3, but you know what does? Perhaps the second most annoying phrase – “I’ve been thinking about it.”