No, We Can’t. Yes, We Can!

A while back Seth Godin did a blog post titled, “On Behalf of Yes.”

It struck a cord with me on how many times, inside public accounting firms, partners, managers and even team members lean towards thinking, “No, we can’t.”

While it comes to understanding complex tax laws and changing to comply with those demands and performing audit services with the utmost perfection, CPAs think – “Yes we can, this is our profession and we love this stuff.”

Yet when it comes to taking care of their own business, keeping pace with the times and what is going on in the management world, CPAs think, “No way, I like things just the way they are. It’s worked well for us all these years.”

What have the most successful firms embraced? They have embraced a YES attitude.

  • Nearly 30 years ago, most CPAs did not believe an administrative person could plan CPE, select the right people to hire, lead the marketing efforts and help bring the newest technology into the firm. Then they discovered the power of hiring a firm administrator.
  • We cannot advertise. It’s not professional and we don’t know how. Yes, we did.
  • I remember one of my first “No, we can’t” situations. We can’t possibly do away with our legal size files and move to letter size. Yes, we did.
  • No, we cannot let someone work a flexible schedule. Yes, we did.
  • No, we simply cannot put a computer on everyone’s desk. Yes, we did.
  • No, we cannot go paperless. Yes, we did.
  • No, we cannot allow our people access to the internet. Yes, we did.
  • No, we cannot get into all of this social media stuff. Yes, we did.

You might not even be aware you are displaying a “No” attitude and demeanor. Become aware! Stop thinking and saying “No” and identifying all the reasons why something cannot be done.

Think of the kid’s show Bob the Builder. His motto: Can we fix it? Yes, we can!



"You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will."
Stephen King, on writing





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Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She is a former shareholder and administrative partner in a successful, regional CPA firm and has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations. She works with firms across the country focusing on people, partners and internal management issues.

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