murray-beaulieu
This week on The Accounting Success Podcast I’m crossing over to the other side — the client side, that is. My guest is Murray Beaulieu, the Senior Global Operations Finance Manager at Analog Devices.  His specialty is cost accounting, and Murray’s group sets the costs for over 100,000 parts and tracks all the associated manufacturing spending for Analog Devices. In other words, he manages the second line on the P&L statement: the Cost of Goods Sold.Analog Devices is an American multinational semiconductor company headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts. The company had $3.5 billion in sales last year.  They recently merged with Linear Technology to create an industry powerhouse.

Check out our conversation here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

Murray gave us the inside scoop on what it’s like to be an accountant for a Fortune 500 company, and talked about:

  • How finance application of manufacturing can be a true art form
  • Why systems and data are key in applying spending in the most efficient way
  • What it’s like to measure costs to the 4th decimal place!
  • The role overhead plays in pricing parts
  • How technology is changing the design of parts and associated costs
  • The significance of cost improvement

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 11:00 am. You can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode. Or, you can tune in on YouTube on The Accounting Success channel at:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf8iui-YUVIhTxVCSItxV0w

 ron-baker-1

This week on The Accounting Success Podcast, I interview Ron Baker — the legendary author, speaker, educator, CPA — and enthusiastic crusader against hourly billing. Ron started his CPA career in 1984 with KPMG’s Private Business Advisory Services. Today, he is the founder of VeraSage Institute—the leading think tank dedicated to educating professionals internationally—and the author of 7 best-selling books, including the Professional’s Guide to Value Pricing, The Firm of the Future: A Guide for Accountants, Lawyers, and Other Professional Services, and his latest book, The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on Business in the Knowledge Economy, co-authored with Ed Kless.
 
Check out our conversation here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

 
Year after year Ron has been voted one of Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the profession. He has also been named as one of LinkedIn’s Influencer Bloggers, appointed to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant’s Group of One Hundred, and is the host of an excellent radio talk-show, “The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the Knowledge Economy.” Ron Baker’s work has taken him around the world spreading his value-pricing message to thousands of professionals. He has been an instructor with the California CPA Education Foundation since 1995 and has authored 15 courses for them, winning the 2003 Award for Instructor Excellence. With his wealth of knowledge and experience, we picked Ron’s brain on some burning topics:

  • Why the billable hour is a lousy customer experience
  • The biggest paradigm shifts in the accounting industry
  • Why it’s crucial for CPAs to realize value based billing is a complete business model change not just a pricing change
  • How niches and finding the best human talent will keep your firm at a competitive advantage
  • How technology is already changing the profitability of accounting firms
  • Why Blockchain technology may become the ultimate empowerment of the individual and what that means for accountants
  • How the future of the profession is shaping the way we do business today

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 11:00 am. But you can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode.

Today we are going to go through a short history lesson — the history of competitive advantage. This lesson will lead us to what is important today — and what that means for the 21st Century CPA looking to become the most relevant advisor.

Once upon a time, (mid 19th Century) — location really mattered. If your pub was located in the middle of the Klondike then it did really well. If it was located 50 miles away, it did really badly. Today location is of low importance to your business competitive advantage.

By the late 19th Century we were in a period of rapid innovation. If you were Thomas Edison and invented the light bulb, then your business did really well. Today we are all ‘innovators’ (which is another way of saying few businesses are truly innovative).

By the early 20th Century we were in the era of mechanization. If you were Henry Ford and were able to knock out X vehicles/day relatively cheaply, then your business did very well. Today, being mechanized is not a competitive advantage.

By the mid-20th Century businesses were really focused on leveraging people/management structures. If you were IBM you gained a strong competitive advantage from leveraging vast armies of people through effective deployment of the organizational chart. Today that approach does not offer a competitive advantage. In fact, probably quite the reverse.

By the 1980’s (when I was first entering the workplace) we seemed to be in an era of management fads. In those days lots of new ideas were starting to be heard — ‘just-in-time’, ‘total quality management’, ‘management by walking about’ (a personal favorite :-). The winner was quality.

By the late 1980’s / early 1990’s quality was a clear area of competitive advantage. The likes of Japanese car manufacturers were building things that actually worked (and lasted). Previous to that, whilst you were annoyed when your car didn’t start in the morning, it was hardly a shock.

Today, quality is no longer a competitive advantage. Quality is expected. You won’t sell anything by saying ‘buy this — it’s built with quality and works well!’. It is obviously important — but it is just an expect not a value item (and you would be really unhappy if your car didn’t start in the morning).

Today we have left the Industrial Era and moved into the early stages of the Knowledge Era. Your competitive advantage will almost certainly be built around something ‘intangible’. Words like – ‘creativity’, ‘design’, ‘brand’, ‘knowledge’, ‘solutions’, ‘systems’, ‘technology’ are used a lot. They all have one thing in common — they are very difficult to touch.

However, there are 3 types of business intangibles:

– Gases — when the intangible idea is just in your head.

– Fluids — when you use intangibles to solve individual problems — ‘one at a time’. These ‘fluids’ generally create revenue but not capital value.

– Solids — when your intangibles become more real and ‘replicable’ — e.g. a strong brand or replicable process embedded in the business fabric. ‘Solid’ intangibles create long-term capital value for the business owner.

If you are a 21st Century CPA and want to maximize your potential, you need to recognize 2 key things:

You need to ensure that your competitive advantage (value promise) is positioned for the 21st Century and is not still rooted in the words of the late 20th Century.

You need to work on ‘solidifying your intangibles’ if you are to build a firm with long-term capital value.

 

Bruce Buchanan

This week on The Accounting Success Podcast, I interview Bruce Buchanan, CPA and President/Managing Principal of Berlin Ramos in Rockville, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C. The firm has 52 employees and 5 current partners, and specializes in the real estate industry. Bruce began his public accounting career as an entry-level accountant with Berlin Ramos in 1973. He has continued with the firm ever since, becoming a manager in 1981, a principal in 1985 and taking on his current role of managing principal in 1994. He started playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band in the 70’s – and still plays today.

Check it out here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

 

Bruce works with a diverse portfolio of clients in many types of businesses, with a heavy emphasis on sophisticated tax planning, retirement and estate planning, and business advisory services. He has extensive experience overseeing audits, reviews and compilations of financial statements for various businesses and industries, including real estate ventures, professional service groups, retail businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. Some of the topics we covered include:

  • How to look different from other CPA firms in the Washington Beltway
  • What it takes to get awarded as Accounting Today’s “Best Accounting Firms to Work For” for 8 years running
  • What’s a Toastmasters Group doing inside an accounting practice?
  • How Berlin Ramos uses “reverse mentoring” to get closer to next-generation accountants

 

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 11:00 am. But you can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode.

Tom Alongi

This week on The Accounting Success Podcast, I interview Tom Alongi, CPA and Partner at UHY. UHY has offices in seven states and is a member of the UHY global accountancy network. The firm specializes in over a dozen different industries including construction, energy, health care, and government.

Check it out here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

 

Tom is the leader of UHY’s national manufacturing practice. He has been with the firm for over 20 years, starting right out of college. With most of his clients in the middle market, Tom focuses on providing the same resources as a Big 4 firm but with a more specialized, value-based approach. Tom shared his insights on how to promote an entrepreneurial culture within a CPA firm, as well as:

  • The common mistakes he sees business owners making
  • Why it’s no longer acceptable to just be a great auditor
  • How UHY is adapting to millennials—and how they’re changing the way the firm works
  • Why CPAs need to engage with clients from a value add perspective and the importance of a specialized industry practice
  • Why being the biggest CPA firm does not always mean the best

 

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 9:30 am. But you can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c and downloading the latest episode.

Alex Boyd Headshot

This week Ian has Alex Boyd, the Director of Growth at inDinero, as his guest on our Accounting Success Podcast. inDinero is one of the biggest success stories in the accounting industry today. They’re growing by leaps and bounds and their story has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur and almost every major business publication.

Check it out here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

 

A software and service solution for business owners and entrepreneurs, inDinero provides the financial tools and data to understand, run, and grow your small business. They link to your financial accounts, do your accounting, file your taxes, run your payroll, and provide an intuitive dashboard to view your financials. Their motto is, “Leave your back office to us…Accounting & Taxes—Done Right, Done for You.”inDinero was co-founded in 2009 by then 19-year-old, Jessica Mah. Jessica wanted to solve the pains of bookkeeping for younger less-experienced business owners like herself. Now, seven years later, after a whirlwind of press, support, and some drastic transformations, inDinero has grown from 30 to over 200 employees and is a multi-million dollar company.

As Director of Growth, Alex Boyd has an insider’s viewpoint of inDinero’s success. He generously shares his insights on:

• How inDinero is changing the game when it comes to servicing business owners
• What modern business owners really want from their CPA firm
• The secrets of going above and beyond for clients – without donating your time
• Why technology is essential to “waking up” today’s traditional CPAs, but why technology alone is not enough
• A Director of Growth’s “most lofty ambition”

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 9:30 am. But you can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c  and downloading the latest episode.

Jeff Sklar headshot
Our guest on this week’s Accounting Success Podcast is Jeff Sklar, CPA at Sklar, Heyman, Hirshfield, & Kantor LLP, a Certified Public Accounting Firm licensed in NY, NJ, and Florida. Jeff is the managing partner of the firm which has 6 partners. He is certified in Financial Forensics by the AICPA, certified in Financial Crime and Financial Fraud, and is a Certified Anti- Money Laundering Specialist. The firm represents businesses in a variety of industries including finance, automotive, legal, retail, among others.

Check it out here: https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c

 

Founded by his grandfather, Jeff has seen his family’s business evolve over three generations. With his son currently working alongside him, Jeff spends less time today on traditional auditing and income tax work and instead has mastered specialized niche markets and advisory services.
 

While juggling all aspects of managing his practice, Jeff has continually focused on service and staying ahead of the curve to grow his business. With his vast 30+ years of experience, we asked Jeff to provide his insights on:
 

  • How business owner clients’ wants and needs have changed over time
  • What differentiates Sklar, Heyman, Hirshfield & Kantor, LLC from other firms
  • How he has handled the transformation from auditing and accounting services to advisory and consulting services and why he feels many CPAs have not made this transformation
  • Where the future of the accounting industry is heading
  • The one thing that scares CPAs more than anything else – and how that causes CPA firms to miss many opportunities

 

The Accounting Success Podcast is available on iTunes and airs Wednesdays at 9:30 am. But you can listen anytime by going to https://itun.es/us/32T9db.c  and downloading the latest episode.

HaydenRock partner Ian Welham is the host of a brand new weekly podcast airing on iTunes called The Accounting Success Podcast.

On the show, Ian brings together successful accountants and industry thought leaders to share with you how they serve business owners – and how you can, too.

One of his early guests is Alex Boyd, the Director of Growth at inDinero. inDinero provides the financial tools and data to understand, run, and grow your small business, and is one of the biggest success stories in the accounting industry today. They’re growing by leaps and bounds and the inDinero story has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur and almost every major business publication.

If you are a CPA in 2016, you MUST pay attention to what inDinero is doing.

Another August guest is Tom Alongi, partner at UHY and leader of the firm’s national manufacturing practice. Tom is one of the most entrepreneurial accountants you’ll ever meet, and he shares how he offers high value advisory services to middle market business clients.

You can catch The Accounting Success Podcast every Wednesday at 9:30 am on iTunes. You’re welcome to tune in live or download the latest episode and listen whenever you want. You can also subscribe for free.

Ian Welham is a Chartered Accountant who specializes in helping CPA firms maximize their profit potential and become the Most Relevant Advisor to clients. He is a founding partner of HaydenRock Solutions.

Today, rapid change in business is the new normal. But it wasn’t always the case.

Most CPA s today started their working life in the Twentieth Century – and things in those days were very different. We were in the ‘twilight’ of the ‘Industrial Age’ – and we all knew our place and ‘status quo’ ruled (that’s not a reference to the rock band in case you’re wondering!). Innovation? What was that?

In the Twentieth Century most CPA s operated under a ‘Command & Control’ style. The organization chart prevailed and everybody ‘knew their place’ (you may remember the Monty Python sketch :-). In those days employees did what their managers told them, who in turn did what their bosses told them.

But the world has moved on – we are in an age where employees are no longer content to be told what to do and what to think. Almost without noticing we have passed from the ‘Industrial Age’ into the ‘Knowledge Age’. If accountants want their people to be profitably ‘engaged’ then they need to shift their management style from “dictate” to “collaborate” (just like Tom Brady below in the huddle). If you can engage your people – you can leverage their talent – you will profit and build business value.

But – as a further consequence of the shift from ‘Industrial’ to ‘Knowledge Age’ the way we work with employees is not the only change. Everything has changed. In fact ‘change’ is far too weak a description.

In the Twenty First Century business is all about words like ‘reinvention’ – ‘redefine’ – ‘transformation’. If you want to win you can’t ‘look backwards’ and you can’t stand still. You must jump forwards and ‘leapfrog the competition’.

In fact, ideally you probably should just ignore the competition. If you concentrate on them, you will get locked into words like ‘best practice’ which almost inevitably dooms you to be working on incremental change or ‘death by 1000 tweaks’ to your existing business model.

You will also certainly not survive by ONLY trying to do things cheaper or faster. The competition now is more intense than it has ever been – and it will be even stronger next year and the following year. If you allow yourself to only go down the cheaper/faster path then you are inexorably skidding towards small incremental changes (ultimately you will probably be doomed to working harder for less and less profit).

Instead, you will survive and prosper by ‘leapfrogging the competition’. In the Knowledge Age the way you will achieve this is by reinventing your business model and focusing towards the key intangibles in your business. You will most likely find your particular answer somewhere in the following list. Words like: ‘reputation’, ‘image’, ‘service’, ‘culture’, ‘design’, ‘values’, ‘customer experience’, ‘innovations’, ‘solutions’, ‘brand’, ‘knowledge’. Basically you probably won’t be able to ‘touch’ the answer, but whichever is your key intangible will unlock the door to your business transformation – and your personal transformation into your clients’ most relevant advisor.

A quick question for you …

  • Are you working more hours today than you did five years ago, or fewer?
  • Are your clients looking for ways to pay your more for your services or less?
  • Do you spend much of your day in “crisis management” mode – reacting to problems and putting out fires?

And does it feel like those fires are coming at you faster and faster . . .
to the point where each week, each quarter, each tax season is more exhausting than the last?

What about five years from now… do you expect the pace of change to speed up or slow down?

There’s no denying it. The accounting world is changing dramatically — and rapidly. Since the publication of AICPA’s CPA Horizons 2025 report, we’ve all been put on notice: A CPA is no longer defined by “traditional services such as tax preparation, audits, and financial statements.”

In the time since CPA Horizons 2025 appeared in the Journal of Accountancy, there’s been much discussion about “the firm of the future.”

But while everyone’s talking about “the firm of the future,” there have been few practical details. For example,

  • What does it look like?
  • How does it work?
  • How do I add value to my practice?

Where are the opportunities for growth?

HaydenRock answers these questions. And provides a simple roadmap for success in the Knowledge Age.

HaydenRock Solutions is a partnership between accountants and entrepreneurs – a way for CPAs to maximize the value of their practice… and become more relevant to the modern business owner.

There’s a tendancy in America to think we’re the leaders and pioneers in everything. But the truth is, accountants in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain are a decade or more ahead of us in thinking about and developing “the firm of the future.”

That’s why the HaydenRock System is based on a formula used to transform a small-town practice into one of the largest accountancy firms in England (you can read more about it at www.HaydenRock.com).

It’s tried and tested – with an 18-year track record of success – and proven to work in firms large and small.

It follows a simple, logical, step-by-step process – no special skills required.

Just a mindset that is ready to change.