Wednesday, December 9, 2009
There are just a few days left to volunteer for a TSCPA committee. If you’re passionate about recruiting more students into the profession, meeting the needs of young CPAs, exploring resources for members in public practice or business and industry, promoting the image of the CPA, planning CPE conferences, or other committee charges, it’s time to volunteer for the TSCPA committee of your choice. Dec. 11 is the deadline to volunteer for a TSCPA committee for the 2010-2011 service year that starts June 1. Not only can you give back to the profession, but you can extend your CPA network as well.
Committee Volunteer Opportunities.
Volunteer for a Committee.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
We are in the process of organizing next year's conference and would like additional feedback from you! The date (sometime in May 2010), time and location (somewhere in Austin) has yet to be defined, but we want your suggestions for topics, speakers and other ideas.
With that said...let the ideas flow!
Here's a good quote that I came across from Blaise Pascal:
"You always admire what you really don't understand."
There's a bit of truth behind that statement and thought I'd share.
Hope everyone is having a great week!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Want to leap to the top of your CPA career in a single bound or know someone who does? Join the Texas Society of CPAs and be a part of our Super League of Colleagues. Here’s the link, and be sure to use the secret promo code of CAM09: http://www.tscpa.org/general/Membership/Recruit2009.asp
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
He focused his inaugural speech on four main areas. They are:
- Sustainability - environmental and social costs of business,
- Re-regulation, and
- Involvement of Young CPAs.
This is exciting news for young CPAs as Harris is desiring to appoint at least one CPA professional under the age of 36 per AICPA committee. This is an opportunity for us to get involved. I would love to hear every one's thoughts on this matter.
To learn more of the chairman's goals outlined in an interview from November 2009, click here. To watch excerpts from his inaugural speech, click here. To read his entire inaugural speech, click here.
Thank you for your readership, and have a great week of work!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
First, I want to thank Michael Brown for creating this blog and putting effort forth to keep it going. For those of you who are new to this blog, WELCOME!
So here are some tidbits of information about me. I'm a relatively new CPA - obtained my official license in September 2008. It was a proud moment for me as I never thought I would be a CPA. I remember the horror stories that I heard from every individual that has taken the CPA exam. All you hear about are the low passing percentages around 40 percent - so then you start thinking, approximately 60 percent do not pass. As the Accountant stereotype requires, my analytical side feared I wouldn’t ever be able to pass, but I did. The point of me mentioning this is that if you study hard for the exam, then you can pass it.
I am married to a wonderful blessing from God, and we've been married for one year and a few weeks. Also, we just bought our first home a couple of months ago and are enjoying the experience of being home owners. However, I will add that there are many hidden costs in being a home owner that very few people think about, and, if you don't know of these hidden costs, then it could make a significant impact to your discretionary spending once becoming a home owner.
I work for a Big 4 accounting firm in the advisory practice located in the DFW area. It's a great experience, and I thoroughly enjoy the place that I work for - hard to believe, I know. I've gained some very valuable experience in some of the projects that I have worked on - from IPSAS/IFRS to implementation of financial systems. I've enjoyed the opportunities that have been put before me and the many lessons that I have learned. I'll post more on my work and other experience related to it later. If you are reading this blog, then you might wonder what life is like as a new CPA. Three words: Busy, but fun.
The education I received from Texas A&M University in College Station was superb. My memories of attending TAMU were priceless, and I wouldn't trade them. Honestly, I miss being in school. Sure the football, baseball, soccer, and other games were amazing, but I miss the times when I could nap during the day, play Frisbee outside during the afternoon with friends, wear t-shirts and shorts, and hanging out with my friends between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Honestly, I love what I do and am very blessed to be where I am at, but there is no other experience like college.
A few more things about me…I love to run, cook, build things, yard work (for now), music, reading (although I never have much time), and watching movies.
So I think I've written enough for now for my introductory blog. I will have more postings later.
Please feel free to leave me any comments, and I promise I will have some insightful or conversational postings later.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
There has been good activity on Twitter from conference attendees.
Stay tuned for more updates.
If you're faithful in the little things, you'll be faithful in the big things. Successfully negotiating small things, greatly improves your ability to negotiate the big things.
Dr. McCormick led the group thorough a role play simulating the negotiations for buying a house.
Reservation vs. Aspiration points:
Aspiration point is what the seller would like to sell for and what the buyer would like to buy for. Reservation point is what the seller is willing to take and what buyer is willing to pay.
In negotiations, most people focus on their reservation points. If you focus on your reservation point, you will be pulled toward the "worst case scenario." Don't have only a reservation point, you should also have an aspiration point. Justify your aspiration point.
Zone of possible agreements. There is a high probability of outcome at the midpoint between the two anchors.
Who should make the first offer in a negotiation?
Myth: You should never make the first offer.
Science: First offers often serve as anchors for the final outcomes.
Should you cross your fingers and hope that the competitor makes a dumb mistake, or should you be prepared to make a first offer?
Only open when you have prepared your offer.
How do concessions work? (The Negotiation Dance)
Extreme opening positions
Final last offer
"Would you be willing to chaperon a group of juvenile delinquents on a day trip to the zoo?"
17% Agreed 1st Trial
"Would you be willing to spend 2 hours per week for 2 years serving as counselors for juvenile deliquents?"
"Well, then would you be willing to chaperon a group of juvenile delinquents on a day trip to the zoo?"
50% Agreed 2nd Trial
Ben Franklin: One of the greatest entreprenuers in American History.
He helped build the first hospital in America.
After this Rev. Tennent asked Ben Franklin to help raise money for a church building.
1. Challenging proposal -- Will you help me raise money?
2. Reasonable proposal -- Will you give me the name of generous people you know?
3. Minimal proposal -- Will you give me advice?
Ben Franklin's advice:
Approach first, the people that you know will give money. Then approach the people about whom you are uncertain and show them the list of people who have already given. Finally, ask the people you know will never give to your project, because you can underestimate people.
Outrageous - Know the difference between Outrageous and Challenging
Challenging - Create three proposals
Starbucks uses bundling strategy when they ask you, "would you like some coffee cake with your coffee?"
How do I inject creativity?
Think: Here are 3 things I can say "yes" to today . . .
Look more flexible
Allow you to be an advocate
Get more agreements and higher satisfaction
Generally results in better agreements
What should happen in the last five minutes of a negotiation?
The correlation between length of colonoscopy and patient's evaluation of the procedure is not existent. There is a correlation between the maximum pain and the mean pain in the last 3 minutes.
Disney Land has the fireworks and parade at the end of the day to create a memorable experience that customers take away.
From colonoscopies to Disney Land, end on an uptick!
If you can do something nice for the other party in the last five minutes of a negotiation, it will increase satisfaction.
White Hat pattern
Extreme opening offer
Generous opening concession
More stingy second concession
Begrudging final concession
Black Hat pattern
Extreme opening offer
Small first concession
Small second concession
Mutually generous final concession
The Black Hat pattern has a higher rate of success, and it ends up on an uptick. This also results in higher satisfaction.
It is important to see the problem.
Two naive views of conflict:
Talking will only make things worse
Talking will always make things better
A more realisitic view of conflict: an increasing line with peaks and valleys. The valleys are temporary stalemate.
The most important thing you can do in conflict is to have a soft (i.e. not harsh) startup.
The "No Sandwich."
Think: "Yes - No - Yes"
Affirm - Refuse - Affirm
Thank for the invitation/opportunity
Decline to participate
Affirm the relationship and future invitations
You grow your business through Marketing, Sales, and Networking. Only 2 universities in the U.S. offer business networking courses.
There are four primary types of networking.
1. Social: It is important to not get overloaded to the point that you can't follow up
2. Relational-ship: This involves regular, ongoing meetings among professionals to build relationships. Accountability is important
3. High-Tech: Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, etc. It is important to understand whether you are using this for personal or business purposes. Keep the business for business, and keep the personal personal.
4. Nspired Networking: a combination of the other three types of networking. Develop a plan of action for each type of networking.
Your firm has a marketing plan and sales goals. You should have a networking plan.
Know how to tell people who you are and what you do. A 5-step training moment.
1. Intro: Name, Company Name, Location
2. Specific product or service you provide
3. Describe product or service and what sets you apart in the market
4. How can I help you? Ask for a referral. Ask for your target market. Ask for your strategic alliance market.
5. Close: Name, Company Name, your memory hook (tag line).
The elevator speech consists of your name, your company name, and your memory hook.
Always be listening for ways that you can help others with their needs, be they accounting or other.
What to do:
Train you partner
What to avoid:
Selling. The purpose of a networking introduction is not to sell yourself. It is so they can get to know us to the point that they trust us. Once they trust you, they will refer business to you.
How to network a mixer:
It is not about collecting the most business cards.
1. Have your networking tools with you at all times. Name Badge (from your company). Have business cards, pens, business cards of your close network.
2. Set a goal for the number and type of people you want to meet. Once you meet your goal, go home
3. Act like a host, not like a guest. Greet people. Introduce people to others they want to meet that you know.
4. Listen and ask questions. Talk about yourself for a couple of seconds, then turn it over to them. Ask follow up questions. Always leave them with "how can I help you?"
5. Give a quality referral whenever possible. A lead is a name and a phone number. A referral is telling them about someone and calling that person to let them know you sent them your way.
6. Describe your product or service in 60 seconds or less.
7. Exchange business cards with the people. Give them 2 - one they can write notes on and another they can give to others. Take notes on business cards. Understand culture -- In Japan, don't write on the business card.
8. Spend 10 minutes or less with each person you meet. You are not there to build a relationship in one meeting. Relationships take time -- this is the first introduction.
9. Write comments on the back of the business cards you collect.
10. Follow up with the people you meet. You will lose clients quickly by not following up on emails, phone calls, etc. Email or handwritten card. A handwritten card will set you apart.
The magic words of networking:
"How can I help you?"
What type of networker are you?
Spinning out of control? Moving through too many networking events.
Has the blues? Cold Calling, and can't get past the gatekeeper.
Clueless? Not sure what you are doing or why.
How to become an Nspired Networker
Have a networking goal
Have a networking plan of action
Have a desire to help and be immersed in a culture of ongoing education.
Have fun and remember your networking fundamentals.
Networking happens every day, everywhere, even at funerals
TX Young CPAs Conference: Client Relations & Practice Development - Kym Anderson and Roxie Samaniego
"I put all my genius into my life; I put all my talent in to my works"
Much influence comes from the "people in between" in an accounting firm. The people that talk to the clients and the people that talk to the partners.
Clients are the same as you are, they want to deal with a firm they are comfortable with.
How do you want your firm to interact with its employees and clients? Employees have the ability to impact this.
Sometimes small firms take communication for granted.
You went to college not to be a CPA, but to learn how to learn.
"Bringing 'em in"
You need the right kind of clients. 80/20 rule. When this happens, your good clients can get neglected. A scarcity mentality can cause you to take clients that you should not accept.
Know your firm and what they are looking for. This is important for both employees and employers. Understand the core values of the firm and what type of clients you want to attract. Seek input from management.
Develop rules that the firm can live with:
Firm comfort zone
Concentration of work and deadlines
Relationships with other firms
Firm liability for client actions
Are you alone out there?
Develop rules that You can live with:
You are unique
You never stop learning
You represent your firm and your profession
Don't do anything you wouldn't tell your mother about
Know your environment
Know your MOJO . . . and share it
Develop an inner circle
Don't be afraid of failure
Pick your Comfort Zone
Clubs and Associations
Roxie shared her experience of leaving a large CPA firm and starting a new practice. In her prior firm, client management and contact was left to the manager level. This abdication made it easy for these clients to move with them.
Everyone in the company is responsible for marketing. Your receptionist is the first line of contact with your clients. This position is important.
What can you do to meet people?
Get involved. Volunteer - not for profit organizations, professional organizations. The TSCPA is a great organization to network with other CPAs. It is a great opportunity to meet mentors in the profession. Sometimes, you need advice from someone that is not local. The TSCPA connects you with other CPAs throughout the state. Non-profit organizations are looking for good people, and every one needs a treasurer. Attend social events - Chamber of Commerce, client gatherings. If you are not outgoing, it can be difficult, but take a friend with you.
Roxie attributes the success of her firm to their community involvement as well as her connections with other CPAs through the TSCPA.
What is the best way to bring in business?
Do great work and your clients will market for you. Listen to your clients, listen to your prospects. Pick up on common interests.
Word of mouth referrals:
Do great work
Tell people about it
Ask for their business
When meeting prospective clients, being interested about their business is important. Find out about their business, and leave yours for the last. Don't just say "I'm a CPA." You can get pigeonholed this way. Explain what you actually do. There are a lot of people who don't understand everything that CPAs do.
There are now four generations in the workplace.
These generations each have different defining events and characteristics. The mixture of these different characteristics in the workforce can be challenging. However, the key is communication and understading of the differences between the generations.
Baby Boomers are work-a-holics. They can view Gen X and Y's desire for less work hours as laziness or not working hard. Boomers need to understand that someone can do a good job and not work 3,000 hours per year.
Tips for dealing with Baby Boomers:
Communication is the key. This requires an investment of time to understand where they are coming from.
Understand what you can get from your boss, so you can make reasonable, actionable requests for mentoring
Make a list of skills and knowledge you want to accumulate.
Before approaching the Boomer Boss for changes.
Identify what you want to be different:
Compose your thoughts
Research and document support
Identify options to implement
Prioritize the items
Rehearse what you plan to say
Identify who among management is most open minded to hear your suggestions.
You want an open dialogue, not "labor negotiations."
Begin and end your discussion with sincere acknowledgement of the things thy are doing right.
Are there policies and procedures in your firm that are only there because someone wrote them in the 50's? Sometime status quo for status quo's sake exists in today's firms. The key to changing the status quo is having an open, respectful dialogue.
We need to give positive, sincere feedback - going both directions.
Ask for what you want.
Accept each other as human beings
Learn each generation has strengths to offer
Be quick to forgive their weaknesses
Be quick to admit when we are wrong
Be patient - "Rome was not built in a day"
Little Abner expected everything to go wrong -- and his expectations were met. We need to expect things to go right.
Jerry has substantial insight, and has studied this subject extensively. He successfully transferred some of this knowledge to the group.
Bryan's presentation focused on the practical application of the current hardware and software options available. Below are a few of the items discussed:
Notebook computer options:
Sony -- Generally are priced at a premium, lightweight, and reliable
Apple -- Apple has gotten into the business notebook sector. The MacBook Air is ultraportable. These days, Apple computers can run any software that a PC can. Apple computers generally are also marketed at a premium price point.
Lenovo -- Formerly IBM. These computers have good pricing and are good quality machines for business.
HP -- Very high quality graphics, generally higher failure rate, higher priced.
Dell -- Good quality and competitive pricing. They now have some ultraportable models. Dell is begining to branch out on design and offer models other black or gray notebooks.
Laptoplogic.com is a good source of independent reviews for notebook computers.
SAAS -- Software as a service. "Cloud Computing" provides several advantages over traditional hardware and software configurations. These strengths include adaptability, reliability, increased productivity, price, back-end integration, longevity, ecosystem. System outages used to be acceptable, but they are not acceptable any more.
Broadband access is pervasive these days. Before, this was a limiting factor for SAAS, but the limitation has gone away.
Microsoft CRM Online
Hosted Microsoft Exchange
SAP Business One
Why should you do backups online? Peace of mind, someone else is responsible, data is safe (?). The important features of online backup are around the clock support, mapped drive support, web based controls, cross platform support.
Personal online backup options:
Microsoft Skydrive offers 25gb of free storage.
Adrive.com offers 50gb of free storage.
Questions you should ask an online storage company: How long do you keep my data? How do I get my data restored?
A few online storage companies for business include:
Amerivault, Ibackup, Mozy Pro, Backupmyinfo
MOSS is Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server. This provides substantial search functionality. MOSS is a supercharged outlook that integrates VOIP, Mobile Apps, faxing, live meeting, video conferencing.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
A message from the TSCPA:
Dear TSCPA Member:
Since the economy has slipped into a deep recession, more Texans are searching for personal finance information as evidenced by the recent surge in traffic (nearly 32,000 visitors during the last three months) to TSCPA’s consumer Web site at ValueYourMoney.org. As TSCPA members, let’s leverage the power of social media to reach out to as many people as we can with the financial literacy message.
Please join me and participate in TSCPA’s Financial Literacy Social Media Outreach Day Thursday, April 30 so we can further spread the word about ValueYourMoney.org’s free information and resources and Texas CPAs’ role in financial literacy.
Whether you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or you just have e-mail addresses, TSCPA would like you to send the following message or a similar one of your own to your friends, connections, followers, or distribution list this Thursday:
Looking to improve your personal finance I.Q. or know someone who is? Visit the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants’ consumer Web site at www.ValueYourMoney.org.
To measure our reach, please e-mail Jennifer Nimmo at firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 a.m. Friday, May 1 and let her know the number of people to whom you sent the message.
As CPAs, we know we help our clients and employers on a daily basis. Through ValueYourMoney.org and TSCPA’s other financial literacy resources, we now have an opportunity to showcase the profession’s public service platform to a broader audience.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes this Thursday and participate in the Financial Literacy Social Media Outreach Day. That’s what CPAs do best. We help people.
Steven R. Goodman, CPA
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Registration Now Open for May 22 Young CPAs Conference in Houston
(Online registration only for CPAs and candidates; students must call the CPE InfoLine at 800-428-0272.)