Questions? Feedback? powered by Olark live chat software
Print Page  |  Contact Us  |  Your Cart  |  Sign In
Think, Plan, Grow!™ Blog
Blog Home All Blogs

3 Tips to Make the Most of a Peer Community

Posted By Deanna Perkins, Solutions Advisor, Thursday, April 27, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, April 26, 2017

As tax season winds down, we’re looking forward the spring meetings for several of our communities. Joining a peer community is an investment of time and money, and like many investments, the more you put in, the more you’ll receive in return. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good time to share my top three tips for making the most of a peer community.

Tip #1: Be Present

All of our peer community members are busy professionals. Occasionally they need to take a phone call in the middle of a meeting. Sometimes, they stayed up too late working (or playing?) the night before, and choose to sleep in instead of attending an early morning session. Once in a while, they need to book an early return flight to make it home in time for a prior commitment. While we certainly understand how hard it can be to balance competing priorities, we always recommend that our members do everything they can to be present for all sessions and agenda items.

Anyone who’s taken part in our peer communities for any length of time can attest to the spark that occurs when peers with similar interests, challenges and objectives come together. Tapping into the collective knowledge and enthusiasm of a peer group can be incredibly powerful, but to fully receive the benefits, you have to be there - body and mind. When you miss sessions or skip out on agenda items, you miss out on time with peers and a lot of the community benefits.

Tip #2: Plan Ahead

All of our circles offer plenty of time for structured socializing, but in the evening our members are free to do whatever they’d like. The most successful members plan ahead and set up dinners with other members and solution providers.

We sometimes see members head back to their hotel room to work or unwind. Others go out to dinner with the coworkers they arrived with. We see these as missed opportunities. One of the greatest benefits of a peer group is the meaningful professional friendships that develop between members. As valuable as the formal sessions are, some of the most interesting moments may come, not from the sessions themselves, but from informal interactions with other members.

Reach out to someone you want to get to know better before the event or start setting up dinner plans early in the day. A simple way to do that is to tell everyone you connect with to meet at 6 pm in the main lobby. Once you get a group together, decide on a nearby restaurant and go.

Tip #3: Follow Up

Conferences are great, but one thing that peer communities have that conferences don’t is that the connections continue between meetings. You don’t have to wait months to reach out for advice or accountability; you can stay connected anytime.

Staying connected with other members will help you maintain the momentum you brought back from a circle meeting. This year, we’re implementing Mightybell to facilitate those connections between community members. We’re excited to have a more visible means of communicating to help our members remain informed and better prepared to bring new ideas back to their firms.

Remember, a peer community is what you make of it. If you’re not sure why you’re going or what you want to get from the experience, you’re unlikely to get it. But if you are present and engaged, you will receive more value. Take it seriously, but remember to relax and have fun. This is all part of the larger goal of growing and learning.

 

  by Deanna Perkins

  Solutions Advisor

  Boomer Consulting, Inc.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Dustin Hostetler Discusses Lean Six Sigma with Accounting Today Podcast

Posted By Heather Robinson, Marketing Manager, Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Updated: Monday, April 24, 2017


We talk a lot about Lean Six Sigma, but have you ever wondered what it’s all about? What does it mean to be a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt? How does a person become certified and lead a Lean process improvement project in their firm?

Dustin Hostetler, Boomer Consulting, Inc.’s Chief Innovation Officer and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, chatted with Dan Hood, Editor in Chief of Accounting Today, for the Accounting Today Podcast to answer those questions and more.

If you’ve ever been curious about how to apply Lean Six Sigma to an accounting firm or what it takes to become a Lean Six Sigma green belt, black belt or master black belt, give it a listen here

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

#BoomerGivesBack at the Manhattan Emergency Shelter

Posted By Heather Robinson, Marketing Manager, Monday, April 24, 2017

Earlier this month, seven Boomer Consulting, Inc. team members volunteered their time at the Manhattan Emergency Shelter in Manhattan, Kansas. Deanna Perkins, Eric Benson, Erin Cheever, Heather Robinson, Megan Schottler, Sandra Wiley and Samantha Zerr spent two and a half hours on a Tuesday afternoon staining a new fence that provides privacy for the shelter residence and a safe place to play for their children.

While the Boomer team regularly donates their time and energy in service to their communities, this philanthropic effort was the first organized under a new initiative at Boomer Consulting, Inc. that gives all team members one paid day off per year to give back to their community.

The Manhattan Emergency Shelter promotes self-sufficiency and community integration by providing a safe and nurturing transitional shelter environment, supportive housing programs and housing stabilization services for the homeless of Manhattan, Kansas. It is the only emergency shelter available to homeless men, women and families in Riley County and the only agency in the region that offers supportive housing and rapid re-housing programs. In 2016, 571 homeless individuals, including 115 children, stayed in the Caroline Peine Transitional Shelter. Homelessness prevention services, rapid re-housing assistance and supportive housing programs served a total of 707 adults and children that year.

 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Teaching Sales Teams to Talk to Accounting Firms

Posted By Megan Schottler, Solutions Advisor, Monday, April 3, 2017

 

Part of my work at Boomer Consulting, Inc. involves working with vendors who want to market their products and services to CPA firms. A common issue for these vendors is how to teach their sales teams to talk to accounting firms. After all, salespeople and accountants rarely occupy the same space. It can be difficult for salespeople to talk the talk of a CPA in a way that garners their attention and respect. Here, I’ve outlined a few ways your sales team can learn to do just that.

It’s Not About Selling, It’s About Solving

Whether you are selling to an accounting firm or an individual consumer, sales are about solving a problem. Your first task is to figure out what problem you are trying to solve. Work to understand the real nature of a firm’s problem and how your product or service can solve that problem.

Be careful not to mistake a symptom for the problem. For example, let’s say you are selling software that assists accounting firms with billing. The firm you are speaking to has a problem: billing is a time-consuming and lengthy chore. Digging deeper, you discover that the managing partner of the firm insists on personally reviewing and approving every invoice before it is sent out. This is not a software problem, it’s a process problem. No software in the world will solve their problem.

When you do have the right solution, remember that you are speaking to financial professionals. While you should have a thorough understanding of the economics of your solution, selling to financial professionals is about understanding the real nature of their problem and showing them how you can solve it. Don’t spend too much time trying to demonstrate the economics of the situation. They will usually figure out those aspects of the deal on their own.

Know Who to Talk To

One of the most important aspects of selling to accounting firms is knowing who to talk to. This will vary based on the product or service you are selling. Too often, a sales person just calls the front desk and asks to speak to the person in charge of XYZ. When your call is invariably transferred to the wrong person, you are unlikely to be rerouted to the correct contact.

Do your research ahead of time. The person you need to speak to may be the Managing Partner, it may be the IT Director, or it might be the Director of HR. Consider who in the firm would have the problem you want to solve and would be a willing audience to listen to your solution. Search LinkedIn or the firm’s website to find the name and contact information for the person you need to speak to. A little time spent researching before making a call can save time barking up the wrong tree later.

Know When To Make Contact & When To Follow Up

Accounting is a deadline-driven profession so it’s imperative that your sales team knows when the deadlines hit, as it’s unlikely that they’ll find a receptive audience if they reach out during peak busy periods. Consider the type of services your target firm provides and who you are speaking to within the firm. Tax professionals will not have time for sales calls from January through April 15th and leading up to the September 15th and October 15th deadlines. Payroll professionals will have short attention spans when they are buried in quarterly payroll tax returns. Navigate the quiet times between deadlines to find a receptive audience.

Connect With Peer Groups

It can be difficult for salespeople with no experience in the accounting industry to know what accounting firms want and need. Connecting to them through a peer group can help you bridge that gap. The Boomer Technology Circles bring firm and IT leadership together with sponsors that can bring strategic partnerships to our members. Attending summits and meetings with these peer groups gives sales people a unique insight into the problems that keep accounting firm leaders up at night.

If your sales team has not worked with accounting firms before, even the most experienced salesperson can be intimidated working with these analytical professionals. Selling to accounting firms requires plenty of training and lots of research. Just remember, at the end of the day, CPAs are just people, too.

 

  by Megan Schottler

  Solutions Advisor

  Boomer Consulting, Inc.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Tips for Implementing Flexible Work Arrangements

Posted By Arianna Campbell, Consultant, Tuesday, March 28, 2017

 

In previous posts, I made the case for why firms need to consider flexible work arrangements and discussed types of flexible work arrangements. Now that you know why you need them and have selected a few types to experiment with, it’s time to share tips for implementation. Making flexible work arrangements work requires effort from both firm management and employees. With that in mind, take a look at the following tips for implementing flexible work arrangements in your firm.

Tips for Firm Management

Create a “sticky” firm culture. If your firm’s champion of flex work took a job elsewhere, would your flexible work policies wither on the vine? Firm culture – including support for flex work – needs to be so firmly embedded that it outlives any leaders who move on. Talk up your culture’s values, prove the benefits and engage leaders at all levels in communicating why flexibility is important for employees, leaders, clients and the firm.

Identify the best candidates. If you’re going to implement flexible work arrangements on a trial basis, select employees who are most likely to make the program successful. Low performers who don’t buy in to firm culture are not the best candidates for this program. Look for high performers who support the culture shift and want to see it succeed.

 

Understand main motivators. Instilling motivation isn’t easy, but it is necessary if you want your employees to remain engaged. Because everyone is unique with different values and ideas, there isn’t any one single strategy to keep your staff motivated. Instead, you need to recognize individual motivations and find strategies to reach each one. People are motivated by increased responsibility and challenge, money and benefits, flexibility and time off, camaraderie and fun, acknowledgement and response or personal and professional development. Consider how flexible work arrangements speak to each of these motivations.

Develop processes and leverage technology. Without the right processes and technology in place, communication can be more challenging. Create processes to ensure that projects don’t fall through the cracks just because people aren’t passing them along face to face. Take advantage of technology to automate workflow and allow collaboration from anywhere.

Embrace accountability. Some people may have trouble getting over the idea of measuring productivity based on “face time” spent in the office, but part of making flexible arrangements successful involves a shift to measuring productivity based on results rather than hours logged. Set expectations and clearly outline them in a remote work agreement.

Tips for Employees

Communication is key. Flexible work arrangements start with a culture of trust. Making it work requires willingness to be open and potentially vulnerable. Each employee should have a key contact for communicating when the inevitable issues arise. Be prepared to plan ahead and share information sooner rather than later.

Manage up. Build a relationship with your manager. When you are proactive and anticipate questions and needs, you make your manager’s life easier – always a good thing! Provide updates and schedule check-in meeting as needed. Hold yourself accountable.

Work with transparency. Be committed to following firm-wide processes designed to make flexible working arrangements possible. Be cognizant of documentation and providing enough detail that anyone in the firm could pick up where you left off. No hoarding work.

Pursue work/life integration. Work/life integration means different things to different people. Think about your definition and share it with your team. When work can be done anytime, anywhere it’s up to you to set boundaries and stick to them. Your calendar is a great tool for communication and accountability.

Be Flexible. Understand that arrangements will change and adapt over time. Be available for exceptions. Embrace learning and trying new things – especially new technology.

--

  by Arianna Campbell

  Consultant

  Boomer Consulting, Inc.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

3 Tips for Marketing through Busy Season

Posted By Heather Robinson, Marketing Manager, Friday, March 24, 2017

 

With busy season upon us, does your firm have a plan for maintaining client communications? Looming deadlines often mean marketing gets pushed to the back burner, but busy season is an especially important time to stay connected, while tax returns and annual financial statements are top-of-mind for your clients. Fortunately, with a little planning and help from some essential tools, you can continue marketing through busy season.

Keep the content coming

When you are focused on getting work out the door, writing blog posts is not top of mind, but you should try to keep up a regular posting schedule – even if you post less often than other times of the year.

January is an excellent time to “stock up” on blog content before the workload really ramps up. Put idle interns and staff to work writing a few basic, helpful posts that you can use over the next few months. Even if you don’t write all of the content now, create a content calendar full of useful ideas, so you don’t need to expend valuable brainpower coming up with topics later on. You can also update and repurpose old “evergreen” blog posts with a fresh perspective to keep your calendar full.

If you need more help, the AICPA’s CPA Client Bulletin Select provides a monthly collection of articles about taxes, financial planning and small business issues that can be edited and shared with your clients via email, blog, social media or firm newsletter.

Take advantage of client contact

Busy season may be one of your few chances to have a face-to-face meeting with your client, so capitalize on this opportunity to educate them about other services your firm provides.

Are your small business client’s books a mess? Talk to them about your bookkeeping services. Tax clients may need estate planning or wealth management. Remember, it’s not about closing a deal, it’s a process that involves building relationships and educating your client to make informed decisions. When you listen to your clients and make suggestions based on their wants and needs, you are not selling, you are adding value.

Schedule out your content

Promoting your firm on social media is an essential step in developing new business and staying connected to existing clients, but knowing when to post and finding the time to manage multiple social networks is a challenge. Take advantage of tools that do the grunt work for you.

Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to fill a queue with content and stagger posting throughout the days or weeks. You can maintain a consistent social media schedule without worrying about micromanaging the delivery times.  

The effort you put into marketing during busy season is not just about bringing in new tax clients, but about filling your pipeline with work for the entire year. Stay connected while accounting and taxes are top of mind for your clients. After all, busy season is every CPA’s time to shine.

 

  by Heather Robinson

  Marketing Manager

  Boomer Consulting, Inc.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Client Spotlight: Kevin Gienger, Boldt Carlisle + Smith

Posted By Heather Robinson, Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Firm Name: Boldt Carlisle + Smith

Location: Salem, OR

# of Offices: 3

# of Partners: 7

# of Employees: 40

 

Streamlining processes to focus on playing above the line!

When Boldt Carlisle + Smith went through a merger a few years ago, firm leaders, including Managing Partner Kevin Gienger, were already aware that the firm had a few processes that were not consistent. But Geinger says the merger “shined a big spotlight on how different things could be between people.” They needed to build consistency in firm processes, but they also wanted to help the new teams collaborate rather than mandating one particular way of doing things.

At the same time, Gienger says, the firm realized that tax preparation, while important, was not the most valuable service they offered from a client’s perspective.  Gienger began researching ways to make tax prep as simple and streamlined as possible so the professionals at Boldt Carlisle + Smith could focus their energy on providing higher-level advisory services.

The firm’s tax department went through a Lean Process Improvement Project with Boomer Consulting, Inc. to address both issues.

Gienger says revamping the whole department’s processes was not seamless, but it provided an opportunity for people who don’t normally work face-to-face to work on a project together in order to formulate the final process, hearing and understanding each other’s ideas and working together on solutions.

As a result of the project, the firm has seen a real increase in how quickly work is completed. Having simple, streamlined processes allows the firm to turn around projects faster. In turn, this has resulted in increased cash flow and revenue during tax season and created more space for projects outside of tax season because they’re doing fewer extensions.

Next up? The firm continues to utilize Lean theory in other areas of the firm. One of their professionals is attending Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification training, and their next project is aimed at the audit side of the firm.

Get to know Kevin

Kevin grew up in Springfield, Oregon. He took his first accounting class in high school and enjoyed it. His uncle, who had attended Columbia Business School and worked in banking before returning to run the family’s dairy farm, encouraged Kevin to major in accounting in college, knowing that an accounting degree would open many doors professionally.

Boldt Carlisle & Smith was Kevin’s first job after graduating from Linfield College in 1997. Although he left for five years to work as a Division Controller for Allied Waste of North America, Kevin returned to BCS in 2006

Outside of work, Kevin enjoys camping with friends, his wife, Dawn, and their sons, Austin and Tyler, age eleven and nine.

--

Boomer Flowtivity Process

Most CPA firms want to increase productivity, but they mistakenly believe that simply adding new technology to existing processes is the way to achieve it. Inconsistent processes, poor communication and lack of collaboration result in inefficient processes, frustration and poor engagement performance. The Boomer Flowtivity Process can help you find and eliminate inefficiencies in your firm by combining Lean Six Sigma with project management and workflow management techniques. The result? You’ll maximize the value of your work and improve your bottom line.

Click to learn more about the Boomer Flowtivity Process!

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Intentional Gratitude Actions

Posted By Heather Robinson, Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Intentional Gratitude Actions

Taking simple steps to show gratitude to those in your firm is one of the best ways to increase motivation, good health, teamwork, personal knowledge and a strong firm culture. Luckily, showing gratitude is easy and doesn’t require a big investment of time and money. The more you practice gratitude toward your coworkers, the more you will learn the actions that are meaningful to them. Start receiving the benefits of showing gratitude by practicing one of the actions on this worksheet.

  1. Take time to specifically tell someone why you are grateful for them.
  2. Hand write a thank you note.
  3. Put a stickie note somewhere random in a co‐worker’s work space to thank them for something they have done.
  4. Take a quick walk with a person for whom you are grateful and thank them for the work they do.
  5. Give someone a book with a note marking a specific part that reminds you of something they have done.
  6. Take a person on your team a cup of coffee or other treat “just because…”
  7. Write a letter of gratitude to your manager or partner instead of a holiday card.
  8. Send an email or better yet, an e‐card. (Justwink.com is a great source).
  9. Do someone a favor; like picking up lunch, running an errand or doing some client work without being asked.
  10. Go on Pinterest and search for “Creative Gifts and Ways to Show Appreciation” for hundreds of other ideas!
  11. If you’re running a meeting, keep it short to show them you appreciate and respect their time.
  12. Conduct a team‐building exercise and have everyone on your team state how they like to be shown gratitude. Keep track of each team member’s answer and distribute the summary to the team. Encourage team members to refer to the summary so they can express gratitude to team members according to their preference. 

Download Worksheet HERE! 

This PCPS 2017 PCPS Intentional Gratitude Actions Worksheet is an example of the turnkey tools and solutions PCPS delivers.  PCPS is an add-on firm membership section within the AICPA.  A PCPS firm membership at only $35 per CPA, up to a max of $700 per firm, is a great investment for the wealth of resources.  Find out if you are already a PCPS member or take a quick tour to learn more.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

A Simple Idea Vetting Framework

Posted By Eric Benson, Director of 10X Operations, Friday, March 10, 2017

Have you ever returned from a conference, nearly bursting with ideas about changes you want to make in your life, your work or your firm? Our consultants attend conferences all over the country, and when they return, the idea spill is enormous. But everyone has limited time and resources. We can’t possibly implement every idea, no matter how exciting. We use a simple vetting framework to determine which ideas we should pursue and which ones take priority.

The 3 Is

The first part of the framework consists of three questions or the “Three Is.”

  1. Does it increase profitability?
  2. Can this initiate gains in productivity?
  3. Will we improve the client experience?

If you can easily show that the answers are yes to all three questions, it’s easy to see why you should pursue the idea. However, some ideas may not be a yes on all three questions but are still a good idea. In that case, we add two more questions to the framework:

  1. Why do we need to change?
  2. How would this make us better?

Take a firm that is considering implementing paperless scanning to improve their workflow. There will be significant upfront costs to purchase and install scanners, additional storage capacity and software. The value is not readily apparent to clients and implementing a new process tends to decrease productivity in the beginning as staff needs to be trained and adjust to new policies and procedures.

Using the first three questions, you can identify that 1) If rolled out properly, paperless scanning will increase profitability, 2) the client experience may be improved through faster turnaround or fewer errors, and 3) over time, productivity will increase.  However, these will be deferred results.  In this case, you have three “Yes” answers, but they all have the caveat that it will take time.

In this case, you need to address the last two questions.  Why do we need to make this change?  How would this make us better?  If you don’t have solid reasons for both, then the project will fail.  Use these two questions to identify your metrics for success, and you will be on the road to solid project planning for a successful paper to paperless transition.

Over time, your firm will be able to prepare more returns when they reduce the amount of time spent organizing, sorting and indexing client source documents. Clients will enjoy quicker turn-around time. Your staff will be able to spend less time handling paper and more time offering high-value advisory services to your clients. When you run the idea of paperless scanning through this five-question framework, it becomes clear that this is a good idea, and the firm should move forward.

You may still have more good ideas than you have the time and resources to implement, but this simple framework can help you identify the biggest opportunities going forward as well as put a governor on those that aren’t so urgent.

 

 By Eric Benson

 Director of 10X Operations

 Boomer Consulting, Inc.

 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Client Spotlight: Randy Nail, HoganTaylor

Posted By Heather Robinson, Wednesday, March 8, 2017


 

Firm Name: HoganTaylor LLP

Location: Tulsa, OK

# of Offices: 4

# of Partners: 30

# of Employees: 235

 

Getting intentional about innovation.

For Randy Nail, CEO of HoganTaylor, core values are not just words on a page of the firm’s website. The firm’s third core value, “Be Dynamic,” means they are constantly watching what is going on in the industry and how technology is changing. Nail says he and the rest of the partners at HoganTaylor are “always thinking about how we can get better or prepare ourselves for things that are coming. We don’t want to be the stereotypical accountants, always looking in the rearview mirror.”

Nail was acquainted with Gary Boomer because HoganTaylor’s Chief Innovation Officer is a member of the Boomer Technology Circles. So when he heard about Boomer’s Innovation and Future-Ready Workshop, he knew the firm needed to do it.

The firm’s focus on being dynamic meant he had no trouble getting others on board. “The firm was excited,” Nail says. “It’s not just about tech. Where is our profession going? What place do advisory services have? We’re naturally curious and want to participate in new things.”

As a result of the workshop, the firm designated a Partner of Innovation and is defining what the innovation process looks like at HoganTaylor, having a process for filtering and implementing innovative solutions.

Making the profession better

Nail’s excitement is palpable when he talks about one of HoganTaylor’s newest innovations, their audit and tax project management tool, HTOne. It’s a secure portal where clients and the firm can interact in real time, exchange documents and communicate about the status of projects with an efficiency that just isn’t possible over email. “We developed it in-house to make ourselves more efficient. Now we’re making it available to other firms. We’re not just making ourselves more efficient, but making the profession better,” he says.

Get to know Randy

Nail grew up in Ada, Oklahoma. He took an accounting class in high school, and his instructor encouraged him to continue the subject in college. Nail earned his B.S. in Accounting from East Central University in Ada. After college, he moved to Oklahoma City to work for one of what was then the Big 8 Accounting Firms, Touche Ross.  He’s spent his entire professional career in public accounting and was promoted to CEO of Hogan Taylor in 2012.

When he’s not focusing on providing leadership at Hogan Taylor, Nail enjoys reading (both business books and spy novels) and playing golf. He has one 2 ½-year-old grandson and another on the way.

--

Boomer Team Building Workshops

Boomer’s Team Building Workshops are a customized day for your firm that will infuse education, industry updates, activities and fun into a day that your team will be talking about for the rest of the year. Your Boomer facilitator will ensure that the content matches the overall culture and objectives of your firm.

The sessions will help your team clearly define individual responsibilities, management’s expectations and the firm’s strategic plan. These workshops offer lasting results that will motivate your #1 resource, your people, to higher levels than ever before.

Click to learn more about Boomer Team Building Workshops!

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 25
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  >   >>   >| 
Community Search
Sign In
Sign In securely
Recent Blog Posts