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Leadership, Strategy

More than half of finance executives in a global study by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Institute of Management Accountants identified strategic thinking as critical to professional development for chief financial officers. These skills are just as important for CPAs in public accounting who want to advance in their careers or grow their firms. Strategic thinking is the key to delivering exceptional value in today’s rapidly changing, competitive business world.


This article describes the essence of strategic thinking and how it differs from traditional strategic planning, along with ways to develop strategic thinking and build it into your regular routines as a finance leader.


What is strategic thinking? </strong...

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Staff Development, Training

Mr. Joe Employee (not his real name, but a real story) showed up for his first day of work at ABC Company, somewhat nervous but excited to tackle the challenges of a new position. Although tired from moving halfway across the country the week before to work at this company, he was eager to get off to a good start.


Joe found it strange that the offices in his small department were dark and quiet that Monday morning. Thinking his anticipation had gotten him there a bit early, he found someone in a nearby department to ask the whereabouts of his new boss and teammates. A receptionist said she would make a phone call or two while Joe explored his new workspace.


No boss and an empty desk

Joe found his desk by noticing two cell...

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We return to the series, Your Greatest Leadership Challenge: A Look in the Mirror at Self-Leadership. Visit my blog to read previous articles in the series.


Knowing your strengths and struggles is essential to leading yourself and others well. Self-awareness about your unique design leads to greater effectiveness and, at the same time, lessens the risk of derailing yourself as a leader.


The strengths movement has gained momentum since the release of <a href="

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Productivity, Strategy

This is the second of a two-part series of articles. Visit my blog to read the first article, Jump Start Q2 with a Personal Quarterly Offsite Meeting.


As highlighted in my previous article, I recommend the QWD Planning Cycle to coaching clients as a way to better establish and achieve their most important goals. It consists of a series of meetings with oneself to ensure follow-through on good intentions. These meetings include the following:


  • Quarterly Offsite
  • Weekly Planning
  • Daily Tactical


After you complete th...

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Productivity, Strategy

How was your first quarter? Did you achieve your goals? Whether you had your best quarter ever or fell flat on your face, now is the time to lay the groundwork for a successful second quarter.


To increase your effectiveness in Q2, implement The QMD Planning Cycle. I often recommend this approach to my coaching clients to better establish and achieve their most important goals. It involves a series of meetings with oneself throughout the quarter to ensure follow-through on good intentions. These meetings include the following:


·      Quarterly Offsite

·      Weekly Planning

·      Daily Tactical


This framework is influenced by Patrick Lencioni’s classic book, <a...

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Leadership, Resources, Staff Development

What if your understanding of motivation is faulty? What if that misunderstanding has caused you to frustrate, rather than encourage and inspire, your employees? Or even your kids? What if traditional carrot and stick methods are only temporarily effective at best, and perhaps counterproductive in the long run?


Those are Susan Fowler’s conclusions in her newly updated book, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work…and What Does. Fowler suggests that when we ask why someone isn’t motivated, we’re asking the wrong question.


Why are people motivated?


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CPA, Leadership

Note: this article was originally published in the Minnesota Society of CPAs Public Practice e-Newsletter.


No matter what your role is, the first few months of the year are likely to be crunch time for one reason or another. If you’re in public accounting, April 18 marks the finish line for the annual race known as tax season. For CPAs in industry, the finish line may be closing your year-end, completing the audit, or filing quarterly reports if you have a year-end other than Dec. 31.


Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in survival mode this time of the year. But don’t settle for mere survival this year. Instead, use these th...

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