A+ Employee Motivation on $10 a Day | AccountingWEB

A+ Employee Motivation on $10 a Day

By Allan Boress, CPA, CVA - How would you like to have employees who go the extra mile (without being asked), show initiative, treat the firm’s clients as their own and have a great, positive attitude – all for $10 a day?

We consider ourselves the “Anti-CPAs.” Our business philosophy is built on usually doing the exact opposite of most of my peers when it comes to managing the practice. After consulting to over 500 CPA firms in the last 25 years, I have found that the fastest road to profits and success.

You see, the problem with almost all CPA firms is that they are run by CPAs, not normal human beings. CPAs tend to look at the world in a much skewed way, much of which can lead to business failure, losing their best employees, losing their best clients and damaging referral source relationships. Two large local firms are closing their doors this year because they can’t find anyone – nor did they groom someone – to buy them.

Any of this sound familiar?

• Did your firm hire a marketing director and ignore them?
• Does your firm skimp on quality CPE?
• Do you lose employees to competitors or do they themselves turn into one?
• Still trying to figure out what you lost one of your best clients (trust me, it ain’t fees).
• Could your office use an update?
• Do the partners suck every dollar they can out of the firm?

Growing up in a CPA firm is like growing up in an Alcoholic family. You don’t know it is screwed up, and often tend to duplicate it when you marry or become someone’s life-mate or whatever they are calling it these days.

The CPA mentality is almost the exact opposite of the successful entrepreneur:

• Not people oriented
• Not entrepreneurial
• Cheap
• Risk averse
• Historical, not forward thinking
• Against change

Think Sam Walton was an accountant? He would have died with one store, if that. Neither was Bill Gates.

We run our business without staring at the almighty bottom line. We invest $10/day in outstanding employee motivation and performance.


Dad and his partner used to go out to lunch religiously at noon and come back by one, even when it was busy. This was their one respite from their very demanding day in a large drycleaning operation.

I decided that was good practice in my own firm. So, every day my partner and I take an employee to lunch (or a client, or a referral source). This allows us to:

• Make the employee feel special
• Spend time showing interest in that person
• Learn more about them personally
• Build a closer relationship
• Find out what is bothering them
• Tap into their brains for ideas on how to improve or build the business
• Tap into their networks for new hires
• Find out client feedback we might not be aware of.

Recently we had a great recruiting campaign using an ad one of our managers came up with. We would never have thought it up ourselves.

So, if this sounds too simple – or too expensive, I apologize. All this process has done is make us the fastest growing CPA firm in our county, bring in more quality employees, keep our best, and make life a lot easier.

By Allan Boress, CPA, CVA – author of The “I-Hate-Selling” Book, available at amazon.com

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by Allan Boress, CPA - Based on over 25 years being a practitioner and consultant to the profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

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Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


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