Do the angels hear god?

I was watching Supernatural this week and a discussion among the angels reminded me of a couple middle managers in corporate America.  The angels had been asked to do some questionable things, and proceeded to do so under the premise that they must carry out the will of God. One angel pointed out, is this really the will of God (it certainly doesn’t seem consistent with what we know of his nature) or is this just an order from one of our superiors?

In corporate America the same thing occurs when an upper middle manager has his/her own agenda that is not in keeping with the objectives of the company.  Those middle managers under the rogue upper middle manager will do what they are told, thinking they are carrying out the will of the company, when they are really just carrying out the will of that manager.

The moral here is to think for yourself and be willing to question things that don’t pass the smell test.  Even if you feel like you are putting your head on a stake for doing so, you may end up being a company hero for exposing gross mismanagement.

Client management, staff management, and sales

It’s not billable and it’s not CPE, so if there is a burner behind the back one, thatis where this issue resides.  It is a training and development issue, but it is not technical training and development, it is the training and development of soft skills.  The skills that CPAs infrequently tout, but frequently utilize are among the most important but most neglected skills for any professional. 

The lifeblood of the firm is the client base and the engine that keeps that work flowing is the firm’s staff.  However, firm managers are just expected to ‘know’ how to attract and retain good clients.  They are just expected to ‘know’ how to attract and retain good staff.  These skills come quite naturally to some, and they are seen as the ‘naturals’ but others can acquire many of these skills as well with the right training and some work at it. 

Especially considering that accountants tend to be introverts much more than the general population, these skills might be more difficult to come by naturally when your entire group is made up of accountants in the first place.  Not that introverts don’t have good soft skills, but sometimes they need to warm up to you before you see these skills.

The point is that firms train the skills that get the work done as CPE is required to maintain licensing, but don’t pay nearly as much attention to training the skills that bring the work in the door and help keep good staff happy.  To have a healthy growing practice, both must be trained at all levels of the organization so that all client and staff interactions are as positive as possible.

A tip to micro-managers

My experience is in a public accounting firm, where the staff are considered to be professional employees. As such, I would think we should be beyond the point of severe micromanagement, but apparently we are not. I have recently been reminded of this as I have had a couple large projects on which I am not allowed to use all of the resources at my disposal.

The tool I wish to use is a certain software program that has been recently acquired by the firm, and in my opinion, its usage would increase efficiency and reduce errors.  I guess when you bill clients by the hour efficiency isn’t everything.