Leadership / Management

Five ways CPA firms can deal with their most pressing issues

I just got back from a business trip and always love the "catch-up" reading time that airplanes and airports allow. On this trip, I was reading two very different periodicals, Inside Public Accounting and Chief Learning Officer magazine. Here's the point: They really challenged me to think about how we are helping our members deal with the big issues that they are facing.

So, here are my top five ways CPA firms can enlist the MACPA's help in dealing with their biggest issues:

1. Solve your retention crisis, manage growth and take care of leadership development by investing in leadership development for your partners and senior managers. Our experiences shows that firms that have partners with good leadership skills retain key staff at much higher rates. They are also better able to deal with the complexity that comes from faster growth.

2. Build your next-generation leaders by encouraging your new and young professionals to get trained through our Leadership Academy, or by asking us to develop your own custom training designed to help you achieve firm goals. Our program was developed by our own  Business Learning Institute based on research from partners in CPA firms and our New/Young Professionals Network on the critical skills they needed to assume more leadership responsibilities.

3. Encourage your professionals to get active in their association (MACPA). It is a proven fact that volunteering provides rich learning and a safe place to develop and test leadership skills. Use you association to build your talent pool.

4. Support our PAC and get involved with the legislative/regulatory initiatives. One of our biggest strengths is the ability to successfully protect and promote the CPA license. The MACPA and other state CPA societies are leading the way to help firms deal with inter-state licensing issues (mobility), creating a favorable practice environment, stopping unreasonable legislation that could harm our members, etc. See Your CPA License for information about licensing in Maryland.

5. Have your young professionals get involved in our New/Young Professional Network. This group is becoming quite influential and will connect your professionals to our profession, build their skills and help them develop their own network. This group has held networking events with the young bankers and lawyers, raised money for charities, and been active in legislative initiatives and student recruitment. Think of us a your built-in mentoring program. 

According to IPA, the top 10 issues facing CPA firms are:

  1. Finding and retaininig quality staff
  2. Succession planning
  3. Attaining and managing growth
  4. Technology implementation
  5. Training
  6. Leadership development
  7. Profitabilty
  8. Client retention and development
  9. Government regulation
  10. Risk management

So, what do you think? Are we missing any major areas that can help our CPA firms more? Stay tuned for how we are working to help our business and industry members, sole practitioners, governement and non-profit segments ...