October 16, 2018 |

One Last Move

It’s that time of year.  Summer is over, and school has started.  Raises are in place, and promotions are finished.  Fall is here…but the Holidays are still a good five or six weeks away.  It’s time for the annual ritual – One Last Move.  The final migration of CPA talent from one firm to another.

Over the Summer firms have chased, fought over and swapped people.  Mostly, it’s a zero-sum game; one firm’s loss is another’s gain.  Surprisingly often though, it’s lose-lose.  A mediocre talent from one firm goes to a competitor.  One firm loses needed manpower.  The other firm gains a pair of hands to generate some billable hours but proves to be a B-player.

You’re staring down the long, cold, steel barrel of hard work.  Six months of it.  It’s the nature of the beast.  But why should you be miserable while you do it?  What if you refuse to buy into that groupthink?  Who wants to be a part of that ecosystem?  What if things could be different, and you were the catalyst for that difference?

Regardless of what you’ve been told, public accounting firms are different.  At the same time, it’s the Pareto Principle.  Eighty percent are what you expect, the other twenty are what you aspire to.  Find one of those in the twenty percent.  Here’s what to look for:

Cadence: Evaluate the cadence at your current Firm.  How would you assess it?  Boring? Inconsistent?  Frenetic?  It doesn’t have to be that way.

Chaos:  Busy season is called busy season for a reason.  It’s busy.  But it doesn’t have to be chaotic.  John Wooden famously said, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”  Chaos doesn’t have to rule.

Culture:  If the cadence is frenetic and the chaos is maddening and stressful…you’ve likely got a bad culture.  It’s not a bag of laughs working there.  Is it fake?  The people are tense and unpleasant to work with.  You’re under the thumb of poor leadership.  Plenty of snacks in the breakroom won’t fix it.  Get out.

Six months.  Travel.  Overtime.  Deadlines.  It can be better.  I know where it can be better.  Do you?  For things to change, you must open you mind and listen.  There’s a reason for the annual one last move in public accounting.  It’s happening now.