S5E37: Return on Ingredients and the Restaurant Institute with Mark Kelnhofer

“Cost structure is a process; it’s about applying managerial cost concepts to the restaurant industry.” Mark Kelnhofer

My guest is Mark Kelnhofer, president, and CEO of Return on Ingredients LLC. Mark is an international speaker and author on recipe costing and menu engineering. In addition, he has more than 25 years of experience in the bottom line, boosting accounting. After graduating from Ohio Dominican University with his undergraduate degree, he immediately entered the manufacturing Academy. He spent eight years in various industries, including plastic injection molding, lighting equipment, transit buses, and tire repair products. Mark incorporates his extensive background throughout the episode as he discusses his entrepreneurial mindset.

Mark talks about cost structure and what it entails in a restaurant business—giving practical examples from his brush with the restaurant industry. His ability to make the lessons he has gotten from the diverse industries that he has been in and put them all in his company Return on Ingredients LLC.

In the restaurant industry, different things can lead to cost implications, and a lack of instructions on cost controls can significantly improve efficiency and measure waste and profit. The data being gathered daily helps an organization respond to a situation not only then but also on how to respond to the problem quickly. You may have the mechanism in place, but if you do not understand how to make proper decisions, you can easily create a wrong decision.

Click to Download the Full Transcript PDF

S5E36: Off and Running Vulnerability & Generosity as the Fuel for Selfless Leaders (part 1)

“Improv is not about being a solo performer. It’s about relationships.” Peter Margaritis

Leaders who lead with an Improv Leadership Style have a foundation of respect, trust, and support for their organization and people. These leaders know how to prepare in advance and, at the same time, empower the people who are under them to shine. These leaders understand that it is not only about themselves and what they bring to the table; it’s also about their leadership in delegation and listening to their teams’ suggestions and opinions.

Peter gives us amazing insight into how a leader can make himself valuable to his team and those he leads. He also puts into perspective through his demonstrations of the effects a leader can have if not taking the chance to listen to their subordinate staff.

Individuals require a leader who will act as a unifier and believe in individual contributions. Trust is the virtue required to achieve this kind of respect and unity. And when it comes right down to it, it’s up to the leader to create that environment of mutual trust and respect.

S5E33: From Auditor to Executive Director of People and Culture with Stacey Rodgers

“People who want to help people further their business and solve their problems.” Stacey Rodgers

In today’s episode, we welcome Stacey Rodgers to the podcast. Stacey is the executive director of people and culture at Cohen & Company CPA firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. Stacey offers a unique perspective when it comes to helping the firm to develop and maintain outstanding client service teams. As a former auditor who built her career within Cohen & Company, she has a dual understanding of what clients need and expect from their accountants and how to help the firm train and develop employees to be successful.

Being at the center of the firm’s goal of employing the best and the brightest, Stacey oversees the execution of all people and culture initiatives, including performance management, employee engagement, employee development, and recruiting. In addition, with a focus on attracting, developing, and retaining talent, she works to ensure the firm exemplifies its foundational principles. Stacey is also very passionate and very knowledgeable about the accounting profession’s challenges.

Over time, three things have remained the same: first, hiring the right talent; second, training that talent; and third, keeping that talent engaged and excited about their careers. That is the three-legged stool that is critically important to any organization. So it does boil down to the people and ensuring that you have all of those things working together, despite what’s happening around you, within and outside your organization.

The pandemic has helped organizations to learn that they need to be more open to the different working styles of their people and become much more people-centric in their decision-making. A lot of the research shows that during this time of the pandemic, people had the opportunity to step back and reflect on what they wanted. Similarly, opportunities opened up in a way they’ve never been available before because of the changing market in that dynamic.

Leaders have stronger and better relationships today because of the adoption of technology and its capacity to enhance what they do daily. If leaders find the right way to use it going forward and take all the lessons they’ve gained due to this pandemic, they can come out in a much stronger position than they did going into it.

New hires need to learn how to communicate, both internally and externally. They also have to learn how to manage their time. So, for example, there is a difference when someone comes in with the ability to navigate a client problem without having someone to teach them how to do that, as compared to doing that through instinct.

At the end of the day, people who want to help people further their business and solve their problems. However, people underestimate the power of communication and building relationships and the importance of everything we do. Public accounting enables people to acquire these networking skills, which translate to success no matter where your career takes you.

Once you surround yourself with people who are experts in their fields, you will build a relationship and network that will last you a lifetime that goes beyond the purpose of building a business. The most successful people are those who recognize that they can’t do it alone. If you think you can accomplish all your goals on your own, you will only go as far as your ego and head can go. It is only when you start to understand who are the right people you need to surround yourself with that your business can begin to be successful.

Click to Download the Full Transcript PDF

S5E31: From Birdies to Serving Clients with Anne Gannon

“Accounting is all about how hard one works at it, and it is a skill more than it is something that someone is born with.” Anne Gannon

In today’s episode, I welcome Anne Gannon. Anne is a certified public accountant who specializes in providing a monthly accounting and tax service that works for the business owner, not just the accountant. What makes Anne unique is that she is anything but your stereotypical accountant. After all, she spent her earlier years chasing the dream of professional golf. The time spent traveling the country playing golf had an impact on Anne, but she quickly realized that all the entrepreneurs and members of the hospitality industry she had met along the way were being underserved by their accountants. In 2016, she founded the Largo group, a firm specializing in over-delivering for entrepreneurs and business owners.

There are a lot of similarities between sports and being an entrepreneur or business owner. You have to keep looking forward, not dwell on the past. The one good thing in business as an owner is that you can control your business and improve it daily. If you can see a path forward, then you can make it happen.

When the pandemic happened, things were not very clear for a large number of businesses. The business owners that made it through had to change their mindset because some models just didn’t work anymore. Businesses had to listen and pay attention to their customers. They had to be more data-driven and not so bottlenecked into thinking they know what their customers want but realize they had all this data where they could find out what their customers wanted and answer.

Everyone in accounting should try to teach accounting as it makes you look at it differently when trying to communicate to people who don’t understand it. When you have to teach accounting, you realize that not everybody speaks that same language. It’s taught well in school, but there are a lot of things that they leave, and also, it is taught by a lot of people who haven’t failed in the public accounting world.

Accounting is all about how hard one works at it, and it is a skill more than it is something that someone is born with. If you really work hard and train yourself, you can teach yourself accounting. A lot of times, when people don’t get it right away, they get discouraged.

Accounting is not an option. If you’re going to run a successful business, you have to understand the fundamentals. When training non-accountants, it’s good to start slowly and then get people to open up about how much they understand.

With technology, providing that extra level of customer service to clients is important. To improve your communication, start with your favorite clients so as to focus on what it is that these clients love about you.

Click to Download the Full Transcript PDF

S5E29: Best Practices are dead batteries. Let’s talk about next practices with the workforce with Karl Ahlrichs

“As a leader, you have to know your people and be aware when their behavior changes.” Karl Ahlrichs

In today’s episode, we are joined by Karl Ahlrichs. Karl specializes in helping professionals make order from chaos. He’s a national speaker, author, and consultant presenting on people issues in all industries and is often quoted in the local and national media. Karl’s experience is ideally suited for times of organizational change, as he pulls up on risk management and organizational development theories to replace best practices with next practices. He owes much of his communication mastery to working as a writer and editor in daily media, to the on-the-job writing experience, and to the process of becoming a published author.

Karl Joined Gregory and Appel insurance in 2010 after serving as the founding partner of Exact Hire, bringing his HR operations diversity and belonging in learning and development skills. Karl’s affinity for design, composition, and learning started at a very young age by taking and examining 1000s of boring pictures with the goal of improving his craft. In 2003, he was named the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Human Resource Professional of the Year for the state of Indiana. He is also on boards of several organizations, including the Maryland Society of CPAs.

What motivates high performers only comes from a quality relationship with a boss they respect, and that only comes from intentional conversation where the boss appears to listen to them. Money is a very small part of why employees quit.

Leadership requires somebody with communication skills. However, there is a heightened hunger for empathy, where the leader shows their team that they’re invested in them as people, not just employees. Empathy goes beyond attention and means being willing to say, ‘I feel your pain without being judged or called out.’

The topic that is never discussed enough is mental health. When a person is in pain, all they can think of is the pain. When the person is not in pain, they can think about anything and everything. As a leader, you have to know your people and be aware of when their behavior changes. When someone has a mental health issue, they exaggerate their core behaviors and become more of what they are.

When your people exhibit extreme behavior, pull them into privacy, make good eye contact and ask if there is anything you should know. Leaders should also ensure that they look after their own mental health so that they can be prepared and tuned in to their teams’ mental health.

Click to Download the Full Transcript PDF