Yes, I slept 23 hours on April 16th.
These past few months have been some of the most fun times I can remember in business. You see, I expect business to be fun and have pointed my career in that direction since dad explained to me why he worked so many hours and told me all those years ago that work was adult’s play.
One of the reasons we lose so many young people (and experienced old ones, too) is that public accounting never was fun, or their firm doesn’t make it so. We will examine how to keep valued employees, partners and staff in a future blog.
But for now, here is why I had the most fun in a long time this busy season:
1. Helping people is fun: Doesn’t it feel great to help someone do something they cannot do themselves? It’s almost like you have the cure for cancer they way people look at you when you tell them what you have done for them and why. Isn’t it great to help put more money in someone’s pocket, and less for a politician to waste?
2. Being important is fun: This time of year, CPAs are celebrities. If you go to an event, watch how you are introduced and esteemed. People ask you questions they can’t answer themselves, or get from their own CPA.
3. Solving problems is fun: We get paid to solve problems. And when we get the answer it is very pleasurable.
4. Challenging your mind is fun: It’s a joy to learn new things and expand your wealth of experience and knowledge.
5. Collaboration is fun: One thing that certainly separates us from our local competition is that we appear to be one of the few firms that actually care about its clients. And we go out of our way to help our clients, including brainstorming as a team on how to save our clients taxes. That’s a blast, and very few firms do it.
6. Getting paid is fun: It’s cool to get paid on a value billing basis, and having little fee challenges when value is so obviously expressed to our clients when we review their returns and what we did.
7. Having fun is fun: Unlike most CPA firms, we are committed to having fun, especially during this time of year. We rib each other, pull some practical jokes and kibbitz around with the clients.
8. Beating the competition is fun: This year we got so many new clients from other local CPAs that it is a validation that what we are doing is right for our community, marketing-wise and service-wise. Our practice grew by 40% and we had but a handful of non-returning clients.
9. Bonusing employees is fun: Old friend and marketing guru Chris Frederiksen impressed upon me the importance of cash-in-hand, unexpectedly and with specific appreciation. One way to keep your best people is to make sure they feel appreciated and everyone loves cash. It’s fun seeing the look on their faces when you press a Franklin in their hands and say thanks.
10. Making people feel important is fun: Our clients love us because we make them feel a valued part of our practice. Our staff like us because they get their egos massaged on a regular basis. Building up people is fun.
Yes, I know busy season is a challenge on quality of life, family and health. Our goal for next year is to make the whole process run more smoothly and put in less time. We have already sat down with our team to see what worked and didn’t and have come up with dozens of to-dos for next year. One of which is to have more fun.
By Allan S. Boress, CPA. Author of The "I-Hate-Selling" Book" and sales consultant to the accounting profession.