Everyone’s Skills Need Work

I am often asked how I keep my skills as a trainer/presenter/speaker honed. Improvisational skills are a big factor in my courses, how to use the tools that make improvisational comedy work, like the “Yes, and…” that I help my course participants learn.

To further develop my improv skills I decided to take a workshop on improv writing. It is a challenge to create short, effective screenplays, and it is great!  Thought I’d share one with you: Pete and Mr. IRS Agent.


Keep Talented Staff From Leaving Your Firm

This month Ernst & Young announced they would hire 6500 experienced professionals in the coming year and recruit another 9000 students, and they aren’t the only firm in the accounting world that is adding jobs. Where will all these talented, experienced professionals come from? They will be recruited from firms who are not paying attention to staff retention. They are being enticed to change jobs by their peers and college friends who receive bonuses for bringing in candidates.

You want to keep your experienced employees and not lose them to larger firms touting big dollars.  Develop a retention plan that shows them support, respect, trust, and appreciation. Get involved in real conversations, ask questions, garner input, and listen to them. Listen to better understand their views, NOT listen just to respond. Focus on their needs and development, and be able to adapt to ongoing change.

In other words, use the principles of improvisation to retain, engage, motivate and inspire your employees and see your ROI increase almost overnight.  It is far more difficult to convince an engaged, motivated employee to even consider leaving their job.

Try it. You have everything to gain, and a lot to lose if you don’t.

Top Skills CPAs Will Need In 2025

Horizons-Report-CoverAccording to an evaluation by MACPA  from the CPA Horizons 2025 Project, five critical competencies for the future (after the core technical accounting / financial skills) were identified:

Leadership: The ability to develop and share insights and the aptitude to mobilize and inspire others to action. Leadership is about finding possibilities and developing people, utilizing their strengths, and shaping the future.

Communications: Able to give and exchange information with meaningful context and appropriate delivery and interpersonal skills. It includes the ability to make thinking visible to others in a way they can easily grasp.

Strategic thinking: A future-minded and flexible mindset that thinks critically and creatively. The ability to link data, knowledge and insights together to provide quality advice for strategic decision-making.

Collaboration and synthesis: Being effective at engaging others and working across boundaries to turn challenges into opportunities, including the ability to consider the whole picture (past, present, and future context) and create alternatives and options for the future.

Being tech savvy: Anticipating technology changes and how they can benefit others. Being adept at standardizing data for transparency, efficient exchange, and visualization.

While I agree that these skills will be valuable in 2025, I know they are critical today.  Leadership, Communication, Strategic Thinking and Collaboration are not skills that magically emerge. They are developed through training and  behavior modeling to creating a culture that supports and rewards staff who are technically smart accountants and have the soft skills needed to succeed.

Download the full report here.

What Happens in Vegas…

With Peter at the 2014 SAGE SummitHope that what happened at the Sage Summit in Las Vegas last month does not stay in Vegas! The keynote speakers were very high profile:  Magic Johnson, Biz Stone, and Robert Gibbs, just to name a few. Bill Sheridan, Chief Communications Officer at the Maryland Association of CPAs wrote three excellent blogs about the Sage Summit; “The Investing Media Sells Fear. Stop Buying,” “If Strategy is the Cake, Culture is the Oven,” and “Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone: Be Human, Solve Problems, Help People.”

I presented two breakout sessions and the Sage Summit (“Communicating in the Workplace”and “Business Development for Accountants”) and I met many interesting people. Steven Shapiro who is a sole practitioner from Los Angeles, is one of the most extroverted accountants I ever met (next to me). Then there was Louie Prosperi, CEO of the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada based out of Toronto, who was highly engaged and an excellent networker. And last but certainly not least, Celia Phillips (l) and Kitty Bhogal (r) with Structured Accounting Services in Toronto who were brave enough to have their picture taken with me. I hope to see Louie, Celia, and Kitty in my Toronto courses (The 8 Hour MBA, Communicating in the Workplace, and Public Speaking and Presentation Skills) on September 2nd and 3rd.

Breaking News

steps-to-making-progress-onlineThe new revenue recognition standard has been issued by FASB.  This model is a principles-based approach which will require more judgment to determine the amount of revenue to recognize and when to recognize.

Earlier this year I wrote an article, How The New 5-Step Revenue Recognition Model Impacts Your Organization, outlining each step businesses will use to determine the correct revenue recognition method.

For publicly held entities, the standard is effective on or after 12/15/16 and privately held one year later.

For more addtional information about the standard, read this article from the Journal of Accountancy.

To help your staff better understand the impact of these new standards I’ve developed a course What It Means to You and Your Company.