The 10 Commandments of the Successful CPA

The 10 Commandments of the Successful CPA

Even after wandering 40 years in the wilderness that is business and accounting management, it is still sometime hard to tell the difference between a dried cowpie and a fresh one. Much less to find a Burning Bush, unless you count President Bush 42, who was burned in effigy for promising, “Read my lips – no new taxes” -- and then raising taxes once he reached office.

What you do learn in 40 years or so is what separates a successful CPA from one that struggles every year with mediocre clients and profits. My list of successful attributes is what I like to call the 10 Commandments of a successful CPA:

Accounting is thy profession. It’s what you do. Your life, on the other hand, is your made up of community, your family, and friends. Thou shalt not confuse the two, lest ye become a miserable, friendless workaholic.

Thou shalt manage change. Change is a constant in this universe, and seeking to avoid it only means that you will miss out on the trends and technologies that drive profitability. To keep pace, read the blogs and magazines. Sign up for the IRS and other government news releases and notices, which are free (Sort of, that is. We all pay for them with our tax dollars). Attend seminars and trade shows. Have plans for how you will introduce and manage new trends and technologies in your practice, and follow through.

Thou shalt not be dishonest. The profession of accounting is built on trust and respect. To the degree that any accountant betrays that trust, it diminishes the whole profession. From padding a timesheet to fudging on expense reports, the little things matter. They demonstrate the integrity, or lack of it, that affects the entire firm.

Thou shalt use Practice Management and Workflow Tools. Today’s cloud-based and computerized tools for managing the firm are little short of miraculous. Those who fail to make use of these tools – those who we call the Luddites – are simply cheating themselves out of efficiency and profits.  Read more on CPA Practice Advisor