September 26, 2018

CPAs Admit That They’re Not Good Business People

Here's something interesting (hilarious, even) from the Indiana CPA Society's Center of Excellence: CPAs lack a bunch of important skills and they're completely aware of it.

The Society conducted a survey of over 600 CPAs across 30 states and found that the profession that constantly goes on about being "trusted advisors" to businesses and entrepreneurs, don't think too highly of themselves in areas like leadership, critical thinking, relationship building and entrepreneurship.

Some of the stats from the survey include:

  • Zero percent of senior/staff accountants ranked themselves high in critical thinking.
  • Thirty-five percent of managers ranked themselves low in relationship building.
  • Four percent of managers ranked themselves high in leadership.

And let's throw in some testimonials, like this guy with a grim outlook:

"As far as the skills necessary [for a CPA], an analytical mind with a touch of persistence and the ability to follow through are essential,” said one survey participant. “These skills are rare and seem to be becoming more rare when I look at the staff coming into the market these days.

Or this guy:

I work with a small CPA firm and have for the last [20+] years…The focus here is on technical skills. Skills related to leadership and communications aren’t discussed much,” said another survey participant. “Problem solving of the young staff is lacking as well. They seem to want to copy what was done before and not think for themselves.

“I hope that the organization structure will change and someone other than the partners can improve the culture so that this is more dynamic and resilient organization."

That's pretty amazing how he mentioned the firm where he's spent more than 20 years working focusing on technical skills and pivoted right at "young staff" using SALY and "not think for themselves."

And then here's a new partner, who actually says something meaningful:

"As a new Partner who worked in the private sector, I am shocked at the lack of business acumen applied at the partner level. We need to think and operate as a business."

The irony is just too much. Your average person on the street thinks a CPA is a good business person. The CPA profession talks about the value of the CPA, being the go-to "trusted business advisors"  and on and on, giving the impression that CPAs are good business people. Now we have a survey of CPAs saying, out loud, "Hey, we're not really good at this business stuff."

Accounting firms complain about staff lacking skills, that the necessary talent to take over their firms is scarce, that technology is to disruptive. I'd venture to say that any half-decent business person could solve or, at the very least, mitigate those problems. Like "new Partner" said above, many people currently at the highest levels of the firms don't have the necessary skills!

But, that's fine, they'll hold their staff and managers to new higher standard because, you know, the current business environment demands it.

Related articles

CPAs Rank #6 for Best Jobs in America

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for accountant.jpgDon’t have enough corporate magazine lists in your life? Didn’t think so. CNN/Money’s Best Jobs in America dropped this morning and lo and behold, CPAs come in at #6.
Seem high? Maybe. CPAs did only receive grades of ‘C’ on “Benefits to Society” (you don’t keep people from dying) and “Low Stress” (‘C’ seems generous).
Also, CPAs only rank in the top ten in “Flexibility” but still managed to sneak into the top ten overall.
Continued, after the jump

Dubious, right? Money still makes their case:

Businesses began stocking the payroll with CPAs after major accounting scandals earlier this decade, and a host of new corporate accounting rules going into effect soon should ratchet up demand further.
Government agencies are also hiring CPAs, to monitor how well companies are complying with the new regs. Add inevitable changes to personal income tax rules and you have a pretty recession-proof profession.
“Unless Congress does away with taxes, we’ll always have work,” says CPA Lisa Featherngill of Winston-Salem, N.C. Some 33,000 independent CPAs also work for themselves, typically as tax preparers.

1. Scandals early in the decade? What about present scandals? Lotta good hiring all those CPAs did.
2. Remind us which agencies are doing a bang up job keeping companies in line with regulations?
3. Oh, and regardless of the certainty of taxes, this happens.
Maybe we’re overreacting. Perhaps they’re pointing out that if you’ve got a CPA, that gives you options (get crackin’ non-CPAs). Regardless of what Grant Thornton’s latest survey says.
So, if you’re a CPA and you’re happy, clap your hands. And discuss the list and why (or why not) being a CPA kicks so much ass.
Best Jobs in America [CNN/Money]

Arnie Signs 150-Hour Rule for California

arnold.jpgNo one panic, if you get licensed before 2014, you’re grandfathered in as substantially equivalent. So if you feel like procrastinating, don’t let us stop you but maybe keep the date in mind.
In addition to the new credit hour requirements, Ah-nuld also signed bills requiring mandatory peer review for CPA firms starting next year and requiring non-active CPAs to disclose their status. We thought those were both standard operating procedure but a couple more laws won’t hurt anything.
If you can’t bear the thought of 25-30 extra credit hours in college, move to Colorado, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands as they’re the holdouts on the 150 credit-hour requirement.
California Adopts 150-Hour Rule [Web CPA]