Performance Measurement, A Perfect Fit
May 8, 2001
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Topics covered in the workshop included:
You can read the complete transcript of this workshop.
For additional information, view: Making the Transition From Compliance to Reliance, an Executive Summary
Session Moderator: Welcome everyone, and thank you for joining us today! We are joined by Edi Osborne, who is going to present a workshop on Performance Measurement - A Perfect Fit! As CEO of Mentor Plus and co-founder of the Consulting Accountants? Roundtable, Edi Osborne is a nationally recognized expert in the area of performance measurement.
Edi is also co-developer and primary instructor for the AICPA's 3-day CPA Performance View PLUS training program. Edi has conducted client and team advisory boards, team/client training programs as well as strategic planning processes for over 500 accounting firms.
She has been published in Accounting Today and has made presentations to the Microsoft/AICPA Partners? Conference, California, Illinois, Georgia, and New Jersey Societies of CPAs, as well as many other Accounting Associations.
Welcome Edi, and thank you for being with us today!
Edi Osborne: I appreciate the opportunity to share with your audience some of the basics of Performance Measurement. I heard recently that there are 3 new articles being written on the subject every hour. That seems incredible to me, but there is no question that Performance Measurement is a HOT topic. However, as I'll share later on, Performance Measurement is not new. It is a time-honored approach being revitalized by today's competitive business environment.
Session Moderator: So please tell us - exactly what is Performance Management?
Edi Osborne: According to the AICPA Performance Measurement Task Force, the technical definition is . ."The identification of critical success factors that lead to measures that can be tracked over time to assess progress made in achieving specific targets linked to an entity's vision".
Simply put, performance measures serve as indicators of progress toward specific goals that are critical to the success of a company. By its very nature, a performance measurement system provides real-time feedback about key activities that are critical to the company and serves as a predictor of future outcomes. When applied properly, a performance measurement system can take the guesswork and arbitrary decision making out of managing a business. Armed with better information, business owners are in a position to make better decisions on a real-time basis.
The information age has brought us opportunities to know and respond to our marketplace like never before. However, it has also overloaded us with so much information that we can't always reap the benefits. We have been buried in a major DATA DUMP!
The bottom line is . . most companies are data rich and information poor. The CPA's job is to help their client sort through a mountain of data to identify those measures that are critical to their company's success.
Session Moderator: Can you share with us an example of how Performance Measurement is used?
Edi Osborne: The way I like to describe it is to think of a foot ball game. There are three levels of scoring. The top level of scoring (touchdowns, extra points) represents how the team performs as a whole. This is equal to the profit or loss of a business. As you drill down past the top level you find coaches measuring how each specialty team performs (sacks, conversions, yards rushed, turnovers, etc.) This business equivalent would be activity centers (sales, production, administration, etc.)
Going one level further, in both football and business individuals are measured on how they perform within their role on the team.
Steve McCombs: That's a good way but what about public sector like education or government?
Edi Osborne: Steve, as you may already be aware, governments and the public sector are really starting to embrace performance measurement.
They are structured just like any other business with levels of management, and various levels of activities
John: I would think that utilization of leading indicators would assist owners in developing long term plans. Do you agree?
Edi Osborne: Yes, very much so. It sounds like you have some experience with this - want to share?
Performance measurement looks at all levels of activities that drive profits. The traditional management model looked at Revenue-Expenses = Profit/Loss. Today's more competitive market demands that we respond to issues on a real-time basis. So today's management model recognizes that if you want to measure Profit you focus on Revenue and Expenses, but if you want to improve it you have to focus on People X Process=Profit. (the operative word being "improve"). When you change the focus, you get a different outcome. It's that simple.
John: Clients have always used the financial statements to determine if they are doing OK. Net income does not nearly tell the whole story. They need our help in managing what can be measured.
Edi Osborne: The sad part about their dependency on financial statements is that they are such a lagging indicator
Ned Ramano: If other measures are so good, is there a list of measures that each industry should be using?
Edi Osborne: The magic is finding out what their leading indicators are, so they can fix the problem before it gets too serious
Richard Price: I am not sure of the protocol here, however, I have been doing a lot of work with the Balance Score Card approach. However, it is always difficult to implement. What has been your experience with implementation and also, converting to ABC?
Edi Osborne: The Balanced Scorecard approach has some challenges in that it does not tie the goals and strategies to every day activities carried out by front line personnel. As for ABC, there are some benefits to reallocating costs for a cleaner set of indicators, but performance measurement goes far beyond traditional ABC methodologies
John: How do you get the client to understand the benefit of relying on new concepts. Or is this a new concept?
Edi Osborne: No, Performance Measurement is not new or the latest pop fad. It is a fundamental approach to business management. There are examples of "flash reports" dating back to the late 1800's in a museum in Washington D.C. Performance Measurement works so well because it plays off human nature. We, as human beings, have always performed better when we get feedback. We like to say, "It will surprise you how much they care, when you make them aware."
Richard Price: According to Norton's and Kaplin's latest book, they seem to think it does drive strategy.
Edi Osborne: Richard, there was recent article in CFO magazine that questions the BS approach, because it does not handle the cultural impact.
Steve McCombs: It looks simple to us who are used to counting beans and having to balance the books but a lot of people who don't have this kind of experience it can seem rather daunting.
Edi Osborne: Steve, I think sometimes we try to make it more complicated than it is.
Michele Maybaum: You can show clients how performance measures can highlight key issues in their business.
Richard Price: Do you have that cite handy? Maybe later if you have time.
Edi Osborne: Richard, there are a lot of financial benchmarks/indicators, but not as many non-financial ones out there yet.
Every day, business owners look at key indicators, they just don't call it that.
John: I would think a very small client would have a hard time implementing something like this. What levels of business do you think it applies to?
Edi Osborne: Especially for small business units. Perhaps one of the practitioners of this methodology can speak to the size of clients that they are working with also.
Edi Osborne: We have had good success with even the smallest of businesses (less than $500K) helping them identify 3-5 critical measures to focus on.
There is a whole spectrum of implementation. For small businesses you might work with the client to develop simple flash reports.
Michele Maybaum: Client buy-in is more important than size
Edi Osborne: For a larger company, they may benefit from the installation of a software program to manage and report on hundreds of measures. Most companies already manage their day-to-day efforts with some performance measurement data. For example, sales people can tell you exactly what their sales are, because their compensation is based on that number. Performance Measurement is at the core of every performance based compensation program.
Although it is not new, many of the companies who are dabbling in performance measurement are missing a critical piece of the picture. In many cases, their measures are not balanced and/or linked to company goals, key strategies, or compensation (outside of the sales dept).
Session Moderator: Can you give us an example of how companies may be using performance measurement already?
Edi Osborne: Performance Measurement is at the core of many widely accepted management methodologies, such as: EVA - Economic Value Added, MVA - Market Value Added, ABM - Activity Based Management, Dupont Model - Financial Scoreboard, The Balanced Scorecard Approach, Open-Book Management, Value Based Management, etc.
Richard Price: I am currently in the planning stage of $5-6 mill business. It is a great opportunity to help them define their real cost per activity, and implement the "leading" measurement drivers.
Steve McCombs: I've discovered a good place to start to look for non financial metrics is by applying Kirkpatrick's four level evaluation system to almost any process and balancing that against the intervention be it training capital equipment or TQM.
Edi Osborne: A very simple way to start the dialogue with your clients is to ask, "what is keeping you up at night?" Odds are you'll uncover some activities begging to be measured.
Session Moderator: There seems to be some conflict about terms used for measuring performance - what is the proper terminology?
Edi Osborne: Depending upon which expert you talk to you'll find some commonly used, interchangeable terms relating to performance measurement: Performance Measures, Business Metrics, Key Performance Indicators, Outcome Measures, Critical Numbers, Activity Measures/Drivers, and the list goes on . . .
Regardless of the terminology used, proponents of performance measurement tend to share the same common philosophies. Performance measures should be:
- linked to primary goals and strategy
- clearly defined and understood
- easily measured
- few in number
- reported regularly
- openly shared
- predictive in nature
- developed by everyone
- linked to compensation
- customer value-added centered
- employee friendly - tested against behavioral outcomes, and
- assessed and modified regularly.
John: I have a client who has five locations and historically has had issues between locations. The implementation started because everyone was not seeing the goals of the company. They were only worried about there own area. P.M. has really helped them identify the problems and opportunities.
Edi Osborne: John, you hit the nail on the head.
PM can bring diverse groups to a common understanding of issues and company goals.
Steve McCombs: True another question is the "miracle Question"...if you could wave a magic wand what one thing would you change.
Richard Price: Edi, how does the AICPA view program differ with that of the BSC and others that are developed?
Edi Osborne: Jump in any time you guys, there are some real experts on line at the moment, just playing "possum"
John: Isn't current financial reporting a requirement for PM?
Edi Osborne: Absolutely.
Edi Osborne: It's sometimes a real challenge to get a company ready for pm.
Michele Maybaum: current & accurate info is necessary.
Edi Osborne: We call it remedial work - like accounting systems, timely, accurate financials, etc.
Steve McCombs: But the key is to work back to the behaviors that started the path to the money.
Edi Osborne: It's amazing how many businesses are truly operating without even the basics.
Richard Price: One of the biggest challenges I have found, is that the client does not have the tech to capture the necessary info. It entails developing not just accounting software, but more of a company database that can cross over.
Edi Osborne: PM does work very well (best of all) when it is tied to compensation. Many companies today are putting together performance based compensation programs
Richard Stinson: The CPA Performance View program is capable of using a BSC approach or not, depending on your requirements. We use it both ways for clients. We use a BSC approach for the firm with a "balanced" set of measures. Another advantage of the CPA Performance view program is that it is relatively easy to use and implement.
John: Edi, I am currently involved in PM. But it always helps to hear it from someone else - What is the major benefit for a CPA to get involved in PM?
Edi Osborne: It fits for two reasons. 1) Performance measurement utilizes the core competencies of the CPA (planning, analysis, measurement). This service allows CPAs to leverage the skill set they've already worked so hard to master. It fits with what clients expect from their CPA. It isn't such a stretch for the client to accept that their CPA, who has been measuring their business from a financial perspective can also measure it from a non-financial perspective.
Michele Maybaum: the client needs to be shown why, no matter what the size, that accurate timely info is important.
Steve McCombs: Compensation does drive performance to a certain degree but people also need a sense of belonging and self worth which involvement in PM can cultivate.
Edi Osborne: Performance measurement provides the most natural bridge between what CPAs are good at and client perceptions. No other professional has the opportunity and ability to see and measure the business as comprehensively as the CPA. At the CPA Performance View PLUS training program we kid our practitioners a bit and say that, "CPAs are Made to Measure".
And here's the opportunity: 80% of business is small business (less than $100M). 95% of accounting firms report that nearly 100% of their clients are small business (In fact, most are less than $10M).
Michele Maybaum: You just need to do 'discovery' with clients to find the issues.
Edi Osborne: The small business consulting market has gone largely untapped by larger accounting firms and consulting companies because the cost of acquiring this customer base is too great relative to the returns. However, for CPAs who have already secured a distribution channel to the small business market by providing traditional accounting work and who are seen as the most trusted advisor, it's easy to leverage that relationship into this new service.
Session Moderator: Who is implementing performance measurement now?
Edi Osborne: The big five have been working with the Fortune 1000 over the past several years to implement a Balanced Scorecard approach which incorporates performance measurement. When it comes to the small business (less than $100M) you may find a few management consultants and CPAs here and there, but this market has been largely ignored.
Session Moderator: Can you describe a typical performance measurement engagement?
Step 1) The first step is to help a client capture/develop the Vision, Mission, and primary goals of their company. Then develop a strategic plan to achieve those goals. Performance measurement is, by its very nature, designed to provide feedback about how a company is doing in relation to their past and their future. Without goals or strategy, why bother to measure?
Step 2) The next step is to help clients establish a map of performance measures specific to their company. Then, establish critical success factors, specific to their performance areas that are in concert with their overall goals. Finally, set up systems to monitor the measures that are critical to their success.
Step 3) Financial Literacy: the power behind having better information is only fully realized when that information is used to empower the team. To help the team understand how to act appropriately on the information coming from a performance measurement system, they need to be trained about the link between financial indicators and performance indicators.
Step 4) Once the measures have been identified and the team is on board, it's time to design a report (feedback loop) and reward system that is right for their company. It can be as simple as a corkboard in the lunchroom with regularly updated flash reports stuck to it. Or as sophisticated as the CPA Views Software that can organize and report on hundreds of measures coming from sources all over the company.
Step 5) At this stage the CPA meets with their client regularly to measure, monitor, and review and advise them on ways to improve their critical measures.
As company needs change, companies benefit from repeating theses steps approximately every 12 months. This service provides the ultimate year round revenue stream for the profession. Keep in mind that for every unique client you have, you can modify this protocol to suit their needs. It's not unusual for a practitioner to tailor this approach even to their smallest of clients by developing a simplified flash report and meeting with them just a few hours a month or quarter to talk about some measurements that are critical to their business.
John Turnage: I find that getting the private owner to share his financial information is very difficult. How would you overcome this fear?
Edi Osborne: Sharing information can be a challenge. Usually their resistance is to sharing their own compensation figures. It's easy to create a modified financial statement that lumps compensation together. So employees are not focused on that, but rather their focus is on increasing revenues or cutting costs.
Ned Ramano: Is PM a separate service from traditional services or something that is incorporated into other services?
Edi Osborne: It can be either.
Although, my preference is to build it into everything you do with a client.
Richard Price: Edi, have you reviewed PPC's PM guide? If so, what are your thoughts? It does have some software which, is Excel based to help track PM. It does not seem as detailed as CPA View. What are your thoughts for the smaller client.
Edi Osborne: I can't really speak to the effectiveness of the excel tool, but I have used spreadsheet flash reports for years.
Edith S. Holland: How would you overcome client perception of CPA's as 'bean counters'?
Edi Osborne: Edith, nice name, by the way. PM is about counting beans, not just financial beans. It fits well with client perceptions.
John Turnage: You stated a protocol. Is this area easily systematized so we can leverage our efforts and time?
Edi Osborne: John, yes there is a protocol - a system if you will - included in our training program.
Steve McCombs: Just tell them you count different kinds of beans.
Angie Ramey: Controller here - I am interested in particular with establishing performance measurements for receivables and payables. Anyone have specific advice or implemented measurements in a large corp?
Edi Osborne: Angie, there are a number of indicators that are appropriate in a large corp - too many to cover here.
Richard Stinson: Angie, I started with the basic RMA as benchmarks for the A/R and A/P, then developed some in-house numbers. The next step was to expand into the areas that affect A/R & A/P.
PAUL MESSNER: How long does the typical implementation process last?
Edi Osborne: Paul, a typical engagement can last 6-12 months, followed by an ongoing review and monitoring process.
Richard Price: In my opinion, AR is tied to customer satisfaction, which is tied to sales. One might be able to track customer satisfaction and link it to collections and sales. When satisfaction is high, sales and collections are better.
Angie Ramey: Thanks Richard
Session Moderator: Edi, is PM a partner-driven consulting service or can others in the firm be involved?
Edi Osborne: We find that the person who is the primary service provider (partner, manager, etc.) for a client should be present to initiate the engagement, but others can quickly become involved. The service is designed in a modular structure, so it is easy to bring in others to conduct various modules and the nature of the work is very exciting for all levels of staff to be involved.
PAUL MESSNER: I didn't see a clear answer to the question of what you thought of PPC's product?
Edi Osborne: PPC product is philosophically in line with our system - so from that standpoint I LOVE It! In fact, several of the firms who have been through the training program are using the tools (included in the training) for recruiting purposes. They are finding that it is harder to find good people than get clients, so their emphasis is on developing a performance measurement niche to attract and retain good people to the firm. They are even finding non-CPAs can do this work very well, which opens up a much larger hiring pool.
Session Moderator: What could someone expect in terms of realization rates?
Edi Osborne: This service is typically billed on a value-billing basis. Because of its modular structure it is easy to set a monthly retainer of a low of $750 per month all the way up to (the highest we've seen thus far) $15,000 per month. The protocol we recommend has set hours and activities each month, therefore it is easier to predict what the time requirements will be. Practitioners are seeing a minimum of their normal hourly rate (all year round) to the more common of $300-500 per hour realized rate.
Think of it this way. A client who may buy $3-5,000 per year of traditional services would likely convert to $10-25,000 per year in additional performance measurement consulting fees.
John Turnage: We are using bookkeepers to assist in the monitoring and input process.
Edi Osborne: John, have you found you can leverage this beyond your own skill set?
Session Moderator: What types of clients is this services suited to?
Edi Osborne: Performance Measurement has no preferred entity. Large or small, any industry, non-profits as well, all of them are suited to performance measurement. In fact, many governments, banks, school districts, and municipalities are requiring various levels of performance measurement audits, so the trend is growing very fast. The selection criteria we look at has more to do with the attitude/vision of the owners, viability and culture of company, maturity in marketplace, sophistication of information systems, timing to retirement/sale, etc.
John Turnage: They would do this because this work is not a commodity. It delivers and is fun to work with a client in such a close capacity.
Edi Osborne: Michele mentioned earlier, it is the attitude of the owner, not their size that matters
Michele Maybaum: you want the client's team to be excited
Paul Messner: It seems to be a natural add on to traditional management consulting
John Turnage: Yes, several of the people in my firm are involved. Some of the work can be imported into the spreadsheets and some is manually input.
Session Moderator: What level of experience does a CPA need to do this work?
Edi Osborne: As I said early on, Performance Measurement fits very well with the core competencies of a CPA. More to the point, the CPAs that seem to be drawn to this work are those that really enjoy getting involved with their clients businesses, practitioners who enjoy the role of coach rather than scorekeeper.
CPAs who have training in performance measurement are certainly going to feel more comfortable approaching their clients, but I find that most practitioners are already doing this type of work on a limited basis for some of their clients. For example, they may have helped their client set up a simple flash report with 5-10 critical measures (i.e. cash on hand, cost of materials, safety violations, sales per day, on-time deliveries, re-work, waste, proposal requests, etc.)
Michele Maybaum: client needs to invest time as well as $
John Turnage: I am the sales person and usually the client contact but we are starting to train others to go the clients as well.
Paul Messner: We're doing it now Edi, but not in a comprehensive, planned way.
Edith S. Holland: How would you market to the small business owner - Newsletter? Seminars? Free Checklists?
Edi Osborne: My preferred method of marketing is small briefings or one-on-one
John Turnage: The AICPA training was good and well worth the money. I think to answer the question about PPC - I have seen it and tried it but I was much more please with the tools which were developed by the AICPA and Edi.
Michele Maybaum: look at your own clients first
Session Moderator: How did you come to offer your program through the AICPA?
Edi Osborne: Over the past 10 years Mentor Plus's founders had been working with both the entrepreneurial community and CPA marketplace. In 1997, we developed a performance measurement training program called, "Making the Transition from Compliance to Reliance" to teach (and provide the tools) for CPAs to work more effectively with their clients.
In 1999 the AICPA was looking to roll out a performance measurement training program to compliment their newly published Performance Measurement Practice Guide. They chose our program because it aligns so well with their CPA Performance View service model and the AICPA vision project. So Making the Transition . . . is now offered exclusively through the AICPA as CPA Performance View PLUS.
Session Moderator: We've already touched on this, but specifically, what makes this program different from others?
Edi Osborne: As the name of our training program implies, there is a PLUS aspect. As you would expect, the training program provides state of the art technical training on how to deliver a performance measurement engagement. The real value is the PLUS aspect of the program that includes training on, and the actual system tools, for training your team, promoting and selling the services, as well as the actually delivery of the service. It's a whole systems approach to consulting that most firms would have to spend tens of years to develop.
We found, that practitioners could easily learn the technical piece of performance measurement very easily. What kept them from moving forward was the lack of systems and leverage that those systems provide. We offer a turn-key approach for firms that want to shorten the learning curve and short-cut the development process.
Essentially, you can walk out the door and begin to do the work.
Atif Ansari: Edi, what do you think of the balanced scorecard model?
Edi Osborne: Atif, I think it goes a long way in the right direction. However, I have found
PM needs to be tailored to each company.
No two companies will have the same hierarchy of measures.
John Turnage: I spent years doing this type of work but was never able or had the time to develop all the tolls and marketing tools I received by going to the course. I think that we are all able to do it. This is a numbers game and we are all trained to work with numbers.
Michele Maybaum: & there are a lot of tools available to help
Edi Osborne: The biggest challenge firms face is their own fears and scheduling issues. Because PM work does not have a deadline, it's easy to put it off
Michele Maybaum: we schedule PM work first now
Edi Osborne: 9 times out of 10 when an engagement stalls it has to do with the practitioner, not the client
John Turnage: Edi what would you tell a client who asked why haven't you discussed this with me before?
Edi Osborne: Good questions, John. You have to be prepared for, "why have you waited to bring this to me? Your answer is.
I've been doing this type of work as clients have requested it, we are now getting so much interest, we have formalized our efforts and that is what you are seeing now, our formal approach. The truth is, you have been doing this work for a long time, you just never got the credit for it.
John Turnage: I find that once a client has committed it is up to us to keep it rolling. They are more than willing to do it. This past busy season clients were calling not about their taxes but about their measurements. Michele, is right we need to schedule this work first
Session Moderator: Edi, please tell us a little more about the software that people can use to do this work.
Edi Osborne: One of the leaders in performance measurement tools is Panorama Business Views. They offer a high-end software for larger companies to manage and report their performance measurement data. The AICPA worked with them to develop a "lite" version for CPAs to offer their clients. The CPA version is called CPA Views and it has most of the same capabilities of the full version but the cost differential is significant. A typical PBViews installation runs a minimum of $40,000. The average cost per database of CPA Views runs $350. This makes a very sophisticated approach to performance measurement accessible to all sizes of firms and clients.
I want to be clear on this, the software is not the solution, however. A practitioner must still do the "thinking" part of mapping out the measures with the client prior to installing them in the software. The software is a magnificent reporting tool but is no replacement for the planning, analysis, and facilitative aspect of a performance measurement engagement.
Session Moderator: What does it cost to go to the training?
Edi Osborne: The AICPA website has all the exact pricing if you want more detail. But a member of the AICPA can expect to spend around $3,000 for the three day training (with early bird discounts) which includes all the tools you need to get up and running with this service. Attendees of the training program also get a discount on the CPA Views software if they elect to purchase it at the training.
John Turnage: My answer to that is nothing. My payoff is now over 100 fold.
Edi Osborne: One practitioner told me it would have taken him a year to reproduce all the tools we include in the training, so it was worth $100K to him.
Atif Ansari: Do you know if this is available in Canada?
Edi Osborne: The CICA has an arrangement with the AICPA to allow CICA members to attend any of the U.S. trainings at the member rate. We would love to have you come visit us. We've done quite a bit with Canadian firms.
Michele Maybaum: The training is an investment in the future growth of your practice
Edi Osborne: Last year we trained 150 professionals from one firm up in your neck of the woods. They are really starting to roll this out, they see it as an integral part of their service model
Atif Ansari: Thanks Edi. What about members of CMA Canada?
Edi Osborne: Don't think CMA is involved, but you can check with the AICPA
Session Moderator: Your presentation material had a bullet -- More money, more value, more fun -- Can you explain?
Edi Osborne: Many of the CPAs we talk to are burned out on traditional work. They are looking for something new and exciting, without having to give up all the years of value they have invested in their traditional practice. CPA Performance View offers the fun and higher billing rates they are looking for. CPA Performance View also provides a means of expanding the relationship CPAs have with their clients that can have a huge impact on profitability and quality of life for the business owner. When help clients achieve what they want, they give us what we want. It’s the ultimate win-win for everyone involved.
John Turnage: This seems to be a really difficult concept to do in one session. Session moderator can we expect to have Edi back to go in more detail on certain points?
Session Moderator: We will definitely try to schedule Edi again!
Michele Maybaum: the CPA gets a higher realization rate, the client gets more value & everyone has more fun
John Turnage: Fun is the name of the game Michele.
Michele Maybaum: & that we are having, John
Edi Osborne: A practitioner told me last week, one of her doctor clients told her "this was the best day he'd experienced since starting his practice."
Michele Maybaum: traditional compliance work is shrinking...PM is the future for CPAs
Edi Osborne: She was shocked and pleased at his response to their work together. Most CPAs I talk to, started out wanting to do this kind of work. It's a shame all that compliance stuff gets in the way.
John Turnage: IN Dallas last week only 800 people sat for the CPA exam. We are going to need help and it is not from the profession until we change directions and show newcomers how much fun and rewarding this can be.
Edith S. Holland: Edi - what day are you referring to? Are clients attending the AICPA seminar?
Edi Osborne: Edith, the client has been doing a planning session with his CPA. One of our firms, took a presentation we give them called, "how does your company keep score?" to a local college and ended up with half the accounting students following him out the door. There is definitely a need to offer more exciting opportunities for recruiting purposes, but also for hanging on to the good people you have right now.
Edith S. Holland: Is this a presentation you sell to your clients?
Michele Maybaum: you do it for free
Edi Osborne: This presentation is included in the systems and protocol we include in our training.
Michele Maybaum: you then sell the program
John Turnage: It is an investment you are making in your client's future.
Edi Osborne: It is just one part of the step-by-step indoctrinization for clients
Edith S. Holland: Re-phrase -Is this presentation part of Edi's package?
Edi Osborne: Edith, Yes, it is included in the training program
Session Moderator: We only have a few minutes left - any other questions for Edi?
Edi Osborne: You can't let me off the hook that easy . . .
John Turnage: If you had to tell the future of the profession where would it be going?
Edi Osborne: Let me bring out my crystal ball
Michele Maybaum: PM
Edith S. Holland: Thanks for your insights - all of you - a lot to think about!!
Edi Osborne: If I had my way, compliance type work would be a by-product of a reliance type relationship. I think we put way too much emphasis on compliance work - it is really the necessary evil of business. We need to shift our focus to help clients achieve their vision.
John Turnage: It is also what is the lowest margin work.
Edi Osborne: PM work does this is a very structured, predictable way
Edi Osborne: Agreed, John.
Michele Maybaum: with computers, compliance is being done more by the client let's use this info to help them.
Edi Osborne: Part of the reason we can't keep good people in the profession, is we can't compete with comp rates in private industry. If we offer higher value work, we are able to compete.
John Turnage: Value to them and to us.
Edi Osborne: And the work is more interesting and is perceive as more valuable by clients
Michele Maybaum: & clients will look at you in a whole new way
Session Moderator: Edi, thank you so much for a great workshop and for sharing all of this excellent information!
Edi Osborne: I just want to thank you again for this opportunity to expose CPAs to this service offering. When I spoke last year the Practitioner's Symposium with 750 people in the audience, fewer than 10% of them had ever heard of this service. It's ironic, since it is probably the most natural, easiest to implement, and has the broadest application of any new service out there. Ten + years ago when I began teaching CPAs how to add value with consulting services, there were a lot of questions about whether or not they should even consider offering new services to their clients. Today, the questions are not "when or if" but exactly "how to". It's an exciting time for the profession.
In five years you'll arrive, the question is where? Think about that as you drift off to sleep tonight. The rules of engagement are changing - what do want your future to look like?
Thank you for you time and attention today, Edi Osborne, CEO, Mentor Plus
Session Moderator: I'd also like to take a moment to thank the College for Financial Planning for sponsoring this workshop - www.fp.edu
Session Moderator: And thank you to all of you for attending today and sharing your insights and comments!
Edi Osborne: See you soon, e
As CEO of Mentor Plus and co-founder of the Consulting Accountants’ Roundtable, Ms. Osborne is a nationally recognized expert in the area of performance measurement. Ms. Osborne is also co-developer and primary instructor for the AICPA’s 3-day CPA Performance View PLUS training program.
Ms. Osborne has conducted client and team advisory boards, team/client training programs as well as strategic planning processes for over 500 accounting firms. She has been published in Accounting Today and has made presentations to the Microsoft/AICPA Partners’ Conference, California, Illinois, Georgia, and New Jersey Societies of CPAs, as well as many other Accounting Associations.
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.