Twenty Mistakes that CPAs Make
Here are twenty mistakes that CPAs make:
- We hire people without sufficient knowledge and temperament
- We accept more work than we can possibly perform
- We don’t cull our bad clients (which contributes to #2.)
- We work without taking breaks
- We don’t exercise
- We try to be experts in too many industries
- We use outdated computers and software (e.g., we are not paperless)
- We don’t plan our continuing education (and take anything we can find at the end of the year)
- We have no strategy, moving from one engagement to another because it’s pressing
- We work sitting down all day (when standup desks are available)
- We bill our clients months after the service is provided (rather than a couple of weeks)
- We allow email to drive our day (we are reactive)
- We don’t express sincere appreciation to our peers and employees (those fully deserving of “thank you!”)
- We don’t use engagement letters to define our work
- We have no exit strategy, hoping someone will knock on our door and offer to buy the practice
- We ignore those we love (because we are overworked and irritable)
- We don’t stay current on evolving standards
- We don’t fire unproductive or difficult employees
- We don’t deal with problems (bad clients or employees) because doing so is awkward
- We never pause to evaluate our lives
Since 1984, I have worked in public accounting, a profession I dearly love. One thing I’ve noticed about CPAs is we are too immersed in our work–to a point of blindness. We don’t step back and evaluate what or how we do things. Would we be better off if we intentionally removed certain responsibilities? Might we not be even more profitable and happier?
Two things–more than anything else–will sap your energy and productivity: (1) difficult clients and (2) unproductive or difficult employees.
The 80/20 rule is applicable in our profession. We make 80% of our money from 20% of our work. And 80% of our headaches come from 20% of our clients and employees. (Were you awake last night thinking about one of these?) While the exact percentages may not be true for you, the concept is highly relevant.
I’ve given you twenty mistakes that CPAs make. Are there others you would add?
Learn from the CPA Scribo newsletter!
Get my free weekly accounting and auditing digest with the latest content.