Archive for the ‘CPA’ Category

The Best Darn Payroll Guide…for Federal and Pennsylvania guidance.

December 11, 2009 Leave a comment

For a great number of years…Stambaugh Ness has provided a free, annual payroll tax seminar for the business community in South Central Pennsylvania. This December event has always been well-attended by our clients and friends.

This year was a record-breaking year! We experienced a 49% increase in attendees, including 120 first-time attendees.

What do we attribute this to? Most probably it’s a direct return from our strategic CRM (customer relationship management) and social media efforts.

We’re so delighted …and in the spirit of the holiday season…we are giving/providing a very valuable payroll seminar take-away – The Stambaugh Ness @2009-2010 Payroll & Payroll Tax Guide for the benefit of those who are responsible for the payroll function.

SN 2009-2010 Payrol & Payroll Tax Guide

(patience required as it is a large file)

We hope you find this of value and we look forward to your feedback.

Categories: CPA

How are you doing with Delegation?

December 10, 2009 Leave a comment

We have all heard it before “…to be effective, you must learn to delegate”.

Very few of us do it well, and most of us struggle with it on a regular basis.

In a recent article I read written by a consultant to the CPA profession, it was estimated that many partners and other senior members in CPA firms often spent 60% to 80% of their time on tasks that they are comfortable doing, but which could easily have been done by someone at a lower staff level.  If this is even close to being accurate for you…imagine what you could accomplish if only you would “delegate” ½ of the so called 60-80% of work!

Here is what Peter Drucker says about delegation:

“I have never seen a knowledge worker confronted with his time record who did not rapidly acquire the habit of pushing on other people everything that he need not do personally. The first look at the time record makes it abundantly clear that there just is not time enough to do the things the executive himself considers important, himself wants to do, and is himself committed to doing. The only way he can get to the important things is by pushing on others anything that can be done by them.”

The Effective Executive, pp. 37-38

How Capable Leaders Blow It

“One of the ablest men I’ve worked with, and this is a long time back, was Germany’s last pre-World War II democratic chancellor, Dr. Heinrich Bruning. He had an incredible ability to see the heart of a problem. But he was very weak on financial matters. He should have delegated but he wasted endless hours on budgets and performed poorly. This was a terrible failing during a Depression and it led to Hitler. Never try to be an expert if you are not.

Build on your strengths and find strong people to do the other necessary tasks.

“Interview by Riuck Karlgarrd, Peter Drucker on Leadership,”, November 19, 2004

David Maister also weighs in on this topic…”It is the worst and most prevalent bad habit among professionals adversely affecting the interests of clients, partners and juniors. However, it is ingrained and takes a tough, insistent managerial program to remove it. There should be no tolerance for under-delegation.”

Which of the activities on your time log/calendar over the past month could have been done by somebody else?

Which activities do you continue to do mainly because “…you’re comfortable doing them”?

Which ones are routine, repetitive, or require very little skill?  Is it low-risk?

Still not certain what you can or should be delegating?…ask for and be willing to accept constructive feedback.

Your development as a professional and your contribution to your organization’s future successes can be accelerated by your mastery of delegation. Delegation techniques/processes can be learned. If you want to learn more about delegation, check out this blog post on Effective Delegation.

Categories: CPA, Leadership

Let Go of the Old!

December 3, 2009 1 comment

When I reflect on today’s current technology and business processes, and the sea of changes in how we do business today vs just a few years ago, my first reaction is …Wow! Aren’t we so blessed to experience these incredible advances?

My second reaction presents this question, “how are we adapting to these incredible advances and the never ending changes?”.

Some recognize that change is just part of life, and their attitude is one of exciting anticipation and embrace. Others are overwhelmed by change, tend to fight it, and are finding it increasingly difficult to “keep up”.

If you are one who is feeling overwhelmed, my recommendation for you is to adopt the mantra “Let Go of the Old!”, and embrace the new. I know, easier said than done.  But, as with many things in life, this is really about adopting the right attitude in these fast-paced times

How do you know if you are one who may be holding onto the “old”? Every environment has its clues, depending on the business processes and specific advances in technology. Here are a few clues that you’d find in a CPA firm environment.

  • Still using a day-timer to manually record your time?…then entering your time at a later time.
  • Do you print WIP sheets to do your billing…instead of billing on-screen?
  • Do you print client invoices and file them?
  • Are you printing tax returns so that you can review them?
  • Are you printing other documents to read, highlight, forward to others?
  • Are you using our desktop instant messenger?
  • Are you thinking “…this paperless environment talk doesn’t pertain to me”.
  • Still presenting a paper expense report for reimbursement?
  • Are you daydreaming/reminiscing about the “good old days”?
  • Are you storing lots of emails into various folders ?…you shouldn’t be.
  • Do you have  lots of documents haphazardly saved to your desktop?…you shouldn’t.
  • Is your Groupwise calendar not reflective of your current intentions and obligations?
  • Still holding onto a lot of client work?…because everyone seems busy.
  • Are you still commenting “…if only there was more communication” yet, you haven’t made it a priority to read the latest communication in the firm’s weekly newsletter and its intranet.
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 10 as an expert…if you rate a 6 or below in word, excel and adobe, you aren’t keeping up.
  • Do you find yourself at the copier on a regular basis?..walking away with paper.
  • You regularly walk to the fax machine to retrieve your fax. You should be receiving most faxes directly to your desktop.
  • Do you send an email to staff requesting meeting dates & times? How about sending an appointment.
  • Still preparing manual “to do” lists?

If any of these struck a chord with you, be careful not to dismiss it too quickly or rationalize that “your method” is best for you.

By continuing to hold onto the old, you are choosing not to experience the growth opportunities and efficiencies that the new can bring.

By continuing to hold onto to the old, your organization cannot maximize the return on investment that it has made  in technology and processes.

By continuing to hold onto the old, you will find yourself with an ever increasing skill set gap, which will cause you even more frustration as we move forward.

Action item to consider:

Take inventory today of the 3 things that you need to change…and be prepared to struggle through a number of days until you break the old habits. Write down the 3 items and identify the specific steps you will take to make the change. Seek out an associate or trainer to assist you and/or to hold you accountable.

Let me know how you’re making out…I love to hear success stories, and if you’re struggling, let’s talk about it!

Categories: CPA Tags: ,

CPAs & Social Media

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Below is a link to an informative presentation made recently by Tom Hood, CPA, CITP, who is the CEO & Executive Director of the Maryland Association of CPAs. Tom is an interesting and forward-thinking CPA who I enjoy following on Twitter. He has emerged as a leading voice in the application of Web 2.0 technologies and social media in the CPA industry.

Check it out…

CPAs and Social Media – Passing Fad or Valuable Tool?


…and discover why it just may be “all about your Whuffie”!



Categories: CPA, Social Media Tags: ,