Service with a Smile

If you go to an industry conference and try to implement all that you have learned upon returning to the office, you will no doubt struggle. While not to take away from keeping good notes, choose wisely those actions items you deem most important to implement.

Case in point is the AAA National Practice Management conference held last month in Louisville, Kentucky. I’m not talking about learning  to run for shelter when a tornado hits, like the one that hit Churchill Downs as we were eating dinner on Millionaire’s Row. Fortunately, no humans or horses were hurt.   It was hard to run from the surreal vision of a tornado approaching less than 100 yards away, but I knew taking shelter in the stairwell was a better long term solution for myself and 300 colleagues.
While there were many great tidbits to take back and implement, there was one in particular that is very much CPA budget friendly – FREE. It is not really something new, rather something we often need reminded of regularly. When you give it, it usually comes back. It makes conversations go so much better and leaves people walking away happy. What is this priceless bit of information? Simple….smile when you talk.
New York Times Best Selling author Andy Andrews shared this with the group on Friday as we closed the conference. His topic was leadership – which as we all know can mean so many things to so many different people. The topic is vast and Andy handled it by the art of storytelling. When you smile during conversation, it is difficult for the other party not to smile back – an act of reciprocity.
What does this have to do with wise spending for CPA firm technology? Everything.  As a technology leader at your firm – in anything and everything you do – do it with joy and it will show on your face. The contrary is obviously true but I guarantee you will enjoy greater success with joy and a smile on your face. Happiness comes and goes and depends upon the events of the day. Joy is deep down inside and not affected long term by the ups and downs of “life”. 
Remember, it takes more muscles to frown than smile! Start today.

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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.

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