July 22, 2018

Leadership

leadership skills controllers accountants

Controllers Are Leaders Too: Here Are Tips for Being a Better One

When I was in my late 20s, I was thrown into the managing editor’s seat for a group of weekly community newspapers in the Chicago suburbs, after only having four years of experience as a beat reporter. Not only would I oversee six news reporters but also a staff of sports and arts and entertainment […]

leadership

The Accounting Profession’s Leadership Story Must Change

The following is sponsored content by Joey Havens, the executive partner of Horne, LLP, an Accountingfly Firm Partner. The world needs more leaders and the leadership gap is real. If we continue to believe as we have always believed, then we will continue to have narratives and stories like we always have. And, if we […]

New PwC Chairman Forming ‘Straight Talk Committee’ to Give Him ‘Candid Feedback’

Yesterday in the roundup, we learned about PwC's new leadership team in the US. It consists of 20 (!) people, led by Tim Ryan who announced the news in a LinkedIn post. The post is obviously scrubbed for an external audience, which is why it's fun that a source dropped us the internal email from […]

Deloitte Committed to Disrupting Status Quo, Says Deloitte Status Quo

If we were playing the business buzzword drinking game with the following Facebook post, we'd be wasted before the end of this sentence. Grab your shot glass and let's take a look. Post by Deloitte. It's incredibly refreshing to see the Deloitte status quo ready to battle against the status quo for the sake of […]

Ambitious Intern Totally Prepared to Make the Leap to Deloitte CEO Like Tomorrow

If you recall, we wondered out loud last week who might take up the esteemed chair that will soon be missing Joe Echevarria's ass. As we know, current CFO Frank Friedman will at least keep the chair warm until the formal election process is completed. Now, we have a self-nominated contender who has thrown his […]

Finally, Someone Wrote an Article About Grooming Millennial Leaders That Isn’t Completely Stupid

Like it or not, one day Millennials will take over the world.

What Do You Really Want From Your Leaders?

As much as no one wants to admit it, being in a working relationship is much like being in a romantic one. Sometimes one side sits there waiting for the other to read his or her mind (OK, it's mostly her), someone is always pissed off about dirty dishes piled up in the sink and […]

You Might Actually Want to Attend the AICPA’s E.D.G.E. Conference

E.D.G.E. stands for Evolve, Distinguish, Grow and Emerge – four key elements to ascend into your career as a CPA – and is a brand new, three day conference to give emerging CPAs an edge on their career development. Topics include refining your leadership skills, positioning your personal brand to get the results you want, and making the transition to a managerial role. Attendees will receive updates on tax, accounting & auditing, as well as financial/estate planning, and will have the chance to network with leaders in the profession as well as their peers.

From the AICPA:

The next generation of CPA leaders have the opportunity to refine and enhance their skills at the debut E.D.G.E. Conference, scheduled for Aug. 10-12 in New Orleans.

The three day event is the first AICPA conference geared towards emerging CPA leaders and is targeted at practitioners in public accounting and business and industry with 5-15 years accounting experience. Attendees will learn the strategies they need to distinguish themselves as leaders, how to grow their personal brand and will ultimately emerge with a leadership skill set to help further their career and steer the future direction of the profession.

“During the early stages of their careers, CPAs are often so consumed with the technical aspects of their jobs that they don’t receive training for the skills they need to get to the next levels,” said Allison Harrell, conference chair and senior audit manager, Thomas Howell Ferguson, P.A. “The E.D.G.E. Conference is structured to combine forward looking technical sessions with presentations that develop the soft skills that emerging leaders need if they want to take the next step in their career.”

With an agenda which boasts a wide range of topics covering six different focuses, attendees will receive a comprehensive educational experience tailored to their needs. In addition to technical sessions on tax, audit and accounting, attendees will get practical information on career advancement and training on how to refine their interpersonal and communication skills.

“This conference is a great opportunity for any CPA who wants to take the next step in their career but isn’t quite sure exactly how to go about it,” said Paul V. Stahlin, CPA, AICPA chairman. “I’m looking forward to meeting the next generation of CPA leaders and sharing my thoughts on the issues that are shaping the direction of the profession.”

The conference offers attendees an opportunity to learn from experts in the accounting profession and features over 30 sessions to choose from, including presentations from:
Ernie Almonte, CPA.CITP, CFF, partner, DiSanto, Priest & Co.
Tom Hood, CPA.CITP, CEO Maryland Association of CPAs
Brian Kush, CPA, CLC, president of Moxie Partners
Donny Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, founder of IntrapriseTechKnowlogies LLC
Paul V. Stahlin, CPA, AICPA chairman

The E.D.G.E. Conference will be held from August 10-12 at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans. The cost is $620 for AICPA members, $920 for non-members, which is the early-bird price, expiring on June 26th .

Here’s video of Donny Shimamoto (who we were honored to meet last month at Spring Council) talking about why the E.D.G.E conference is a great idea for everyone from senior partners to new hires. Find out more from the AICPA.

Book Review: As One, Co-authored by Deloitte’s Jim Quigley

Let’s be completely honest here, when I heard James Quigley had worked on a book subtitled “Individual Action/Collective Power,” I half-expected this to be a handbook on how to get miserable shlubs to do your evil bidding for you while you abuse and humiliate them. After all, the man oversees an entire army of miserable green dot shlubs, surely he knows a thing or two about getting people to do things for you.

Lucky for Quigs and theinds behind As One, however, this book was nothing of the sort. More like Choose Your Own Adventure for leaders, which allows the reader to first determine which archetype of leaders and followers his or her group falls under. Featuring case studies (“inspirational” stories) with such big names as Apple, GE and Pixar, As One looks the why of these organizations’ collaborative efforts before taking on the how.


Deloitte spent two years studying effective collaborations and in the process defined eight archetypes of leaders and followers: Landlords & Tenants, Community Organizer & Volunteers, Conductor & Orchestra, Producer & Creative Team, General & Soldiers, Architect & Builders, Captain & Sports Team and Senator & Citizens. The main archetypes are strategically located across a circular axis, with Landlord & Tenants and Community Organizer & Volunteer anchoring the upper and lower poles. Conductor & Orchestra and Producer & Creative Team sit at the extremities of the horizontal “nature of the task” dimension on the west and east ends of the axis. The other four archetypes are hybrids, occupying the spaces between the main archetypes and combining some characteristics of each.

So this got me thinking, where would Caleb and I be on the axis?

As much as I would like to paint your dear Going Concern editor in a sycophantic, borderline psychotic light, “Dictator & Huddled Masses” wasn’t included in As One, so instead I used the easy chart in the book’s intro to answer a few simple questions about how our organization works. I have the creative freedom to carry out tasks the way I choose (as long as I don’t talk too much about the Federal Reserve), and we have a fairly small hierarchy given the size of our website and TPTB that rule over us. Instead of choosing the archetype I assumed we’d be (Producer & Creative Team), I went by the chart to determine we were most like Community Organizer & Volunteers.

From key characteristics:

Volunteers cannot be told what to do; they must be given the choice to join on their own terms. The persuasive message of the community organizer motivates them to join in the cause; and it’s that common purpose that inspires volunteers to make a difference.

[Volunteers] independently choose to follow the path of altruism or enlightened self-interest. Community organizers and volunteers may be passionate, selfless and dedicated, but, above all else, they are independent thinkers who, of their own volition, decide whether to get involved in a cause and for how long.

“A community organizer is someone who uncovers [volunteers’] self-interest,” says Jana Adams, the National Training Coordinator at the Direct Action Training Research Center. “They give [volunteers] an opportunity to work in their own self-interest and address problems in the community that they could not address by themselves.”

All of those key characteristics rang true with me, though I wouldn’t necessarily call making misogynist jokes about work/life balance altruistic. And I definitely cannot be told what to do, so another point to the book for that one.

As One allows the reader the opportunity to brand his or her own strategy, whether or not the current structure allows for such freedom. Unlike much of what one might encounter in public accounting or any other similarly-structured business, the free flow and adaptability of As One gives leadership the chance to form itself, mostly through analysis of what makes an archetype tick. Even miserable shlubs have a drive (be it money, stability, masochism or the perpetual carrot of becoming partner one day being dangled in front of one’s face), it’s how they are driven that makes all the difference. Point being that leadership isn’t about who can bark orders the loudest, despite how life in public accounting might make it appear.

Are we all so easily prodded into distinctive roles? Not really, and As One doesn’t attempt to do so. Its authors argue that life itself is a collaborative journey, and it may just be easier on all of us to accept that. Organizational structure doesn’t necessarily have to create a disenchanted workforce just in it for the paycheck, and recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each collaborative group can actually help infuse a little pride in the job, or at least more willing participation.

As One isn’t a book about how to get people who hate you to do things for you, it’s about recognizing the individual power in each of us to accomplish collective goals, be that running a business or changing the world as we know it. It presents some awfully lofty goals but asks one very important question: what could we accomplish if we could unlock the power of As One on a global scale?

Find the book on Amazon here, and download free As One iPhone or iPad apps here. You can find out more about As One through the Deloitte Center for Collective Leadership.

John Veihmeyer and Tim Flynn Would Love To Tell You How KPMG Is Doing

This time of year, the leadership at your firms are on a communication offensive because you all just went through hell. They want to whisper sweet words in your ears so that you keep the faith in them and your firm.

Today we bring you a little taste of some of those sweet words courtesy of the C-suite at KPMG.

Newlynveld, John Veihmeyer was joined by Tim Flynn, COO Henry Keizer, along with some inquisitors for a grueling Q&A that should re-energize you for summer.

Conversations with Leadership
How Are We Doing?

Flynn: First one up gets the mike.

[Prepackaged Inquisitor #1]: Are we on track? How is it going? What challenges have we faced?

Flynn: I think the foundation for recovery is being laid. And I think it started, obviously, in Asia. It’s moving its way through the U.S. Things are better than people had predicted three or four months ago. And we saw retail sales today came out with improvement – consumer confidence being up. So all of those things are signs that we’re on a path for recovery. And now the question is, how does that translate into our business?

Veihmeyer: We’ve built a plan that was consistent with our expectation of what that marketplace was going to be. First half of the year continuing to be a very challenging marketplace, with a gradual increase in marketplace activity as we got into the second six months of our fiscal year. So what have we seen to date? Our results have tracked what we expected. We are actually slightly ahead of plan, six months through our fiscal year, which is the great news.

And I think everyone should feel really good about that, particularly as you look at what we’re seeing in some of the businesses – Advisory, which was clearly hard hit by the lack of spending and the curtailing of a lot of initiatives on the part of our clients, have had very strong months the last several months. And that corner seems to have absolutely turned.

And we are just beginning to see, I think, the things that really impact Audit and Tax around some of the transactional activity that really drives those incremental services that make a big difference in Audit and Tax – that’s starting to come. We expect that to translate into greater revenue over the second six months.

Quite the trifecta of vague brainteasers PI #1 had. But without being very specific, and using a couple of banal metaphors, JV and T Fly are confident that everything is cool, thanks to China and India. Europe isn’t worth mentioning, that’ll blow over. Advisory was on its deathbed but things are bouncing back. Audit and Tax are far less sexy but they’re cash cows. They might see a little more action if Advisory started showing more skin.

[Prepackaged Inquisitor #2]: My name’s [Prepackaged Inquisitor #2]. I just wanted to ask about the new role of the office managing partners, focusing on just going to market.

Keizer: By focusing the office managing partners really on two areas: one, growth of our business, and also our people. So the office managing partners teamed with the functional leaders, and the professionals within geographies, and looked outside into the marketplace, and which companies fit that criteria—impactful to our brand, our people, great growth, and profitability opportunity.

From that exercise, across the country, over 1,600 companies were identified. A process was then undertaken to actually assign specific resources. As we sit today, and we take that population of companies and say, how are we doing? The revenue growth that has been realized in our first six months, in that population, has exceeded our normal portfolio of clients. So it’s showing, again, at an early stage, focus, and a prioritization of where we want to strategically go, does translate into opportunity and revenue.

Flynn: If there’s one message that comes out of this, just one message to everybody here listening – is that the one thing we know for certain—we are not short of opportunities.

We have tremendous opportunities what’s happening around the world. The key is, how do we align our resources, look at our investments, develop our people’s skills to capitalize on those opportunities? So from a standpoint of the future – there’s tremendous opportunity for all of you, and for our businesses, as we go forward.

Your local bigwigs are out there digging up biz because things have gotten a little more competitive than we would like. We can’t simply rely on a sexy Masters Champion in every RFP so they’re getting their hands dirty for a change. Plus, from where we stand, there’s plenty of business out there so if they don’t get the job done, we’ll probably go to the bullpen.