Know Your Industry

From a profit standpoint, being 100% chargeable will put you at the top of the list in your firm in a multitude of practice management reports and spreadsheets.  In many partners eyes, you’d be a hero; however, only for the short term.  CPA’s are producers – some with chargeable hours and some with bringing clients in the door or best case scenario – a balanced mix of both.

While both these roles bring success to the firm, there is a third aspect that indirectly brings success to the firm.  It is a means for you to grow in your role and advance into leadership.  It is simply knowing your industry inside out, upside down and backwards.   This is not just for the revenue producing accountants, but for those in administrative roles as well.

Starting fresh out of college at a firm is challenging enough - applying what you’ve learned in school with how to put it into practice.  Days will come and go and you will feel overwhelmed with information about taxes, audits and the like.  This however, is priority – getting adjusted to the firm, pass the exam and learn the firm’s policies and procedures on getting client work out the door.  While you’re doing this though, make sure you interject time in the day to get to know your industry, not just your firm.

It is easy to start, you already have the means with social media.  Use this avenue to build your network of peers and other firms – not just the ones in your geographic area that you interviewed with in college, but firms across the country and across the world.  Yes, they need to reconcile cash accounts in Kathmandu too and you might learn something from how they do it.  Note to partners reading this – even though you might think these peer networks are just a means for your staff to move to a different firm in the future, focus on making sure your firm is the “place to be” because LinkedIn will not be going away any time soon. 

The benefit of getting to know peers and other firms includes the sharing of best practices.  This is more difficult when the firm is right down the road from you and a direct competitor; that is why it may be best to work with firms outside your geographic region or get involved with CPA firm associations or alliances, i.e. BDO, McGladrey and even on the practice management side with AAA and AAM.  Getting involved in this aspect of knowing your industry will keep you and your firm from reinventing the wheel when it comes time to implement a new practice niche or new software tool.  It will also be a source for possible merger and acquisition discussions down the road – M&A activity is not slowing down at all and we will continue to see consolidations.

If this all sounds to overwhelming, start small – get the daily email sent to your inbox from AccountingWEB.   Take two minutes in the morning when you are downing the Starbucks and cereal bar and get a heads up on current events in your world.  If you don’t want the email in your inbox, sign up for  some  RSS feeds or get an aggregator to bring all your media directly to your desktop.  Technology makes it too easy.  Best of all, this stuff is free – that is my kind of price.   Now, go put .25 on your timesheet….

 

This blog

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.  He is also in charge of talent management and retention at his firm.  A background of IT and Human Resources helps Jim bridge the gap of technology complexities with end users who just want their computer to work so they can be chargeable.  Being a very cheap (frugal sounds better) person himself, he is always looking for ways to save dollars at his firm.  He is Director of Education for the Association for Accounting Administration and past Technology Committee member of the Ohio Society of CPA's.  He often leads industry CPE events on the topics of Information Technology, CPA firm practice management and human resources/recruiting. Find out more about Jim on LinkedIn.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

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.

43641

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.

76134

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.

48602

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

89307
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
20715

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

55822

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

80850

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

25051

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

64300

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

34509
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
102952
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
26035

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

52743
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
27934
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
32250

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

100718

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

33418

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

111725

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

61230

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

39250
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
66603

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

92638

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

53679