Archives for 2007

Platt’s Perspective

Michael PlattRemember when you were in college after taking a test, nervously waiting for the professor to post the grades on his office door?  For many CPA firms, the publication of the  Best of the Best issue of INSIDE Public Accounting is reminiscent of the anticipation that we felt during our college days. Did our firm make the list? Did our competitors make the list? Who’s in?  Who’s out?

To those 25 Best of the Best, and to the next 25 who reach Honorable Mention, attaining the status of Best of the Best can yield significant marketing advantages in client and staff acquisition and retention. Firms that make the list are eager to capitalize on the opportunities that being named affords them.

I believe, however, that firms that don’t make the list have as much to gain – possibly even more – than those that do. They can study the profession’s finest, learn about successful management techniques and operational strategies, and adapt them to their own firms. These are learning and growth opportunities not to be missed. In the coming months, IPA will highlight some of these Best of the Best firms, and take a peek inside to reveal what makes them shine.

Your continued support of IPA is an acknowledgement of your firm’s desire to learn about successes of others throughout the profession. We encourage all IPA subscribers to continue to apply those lessons in their never-ending pursuit of excellence, and we commit to continuing to bring you ongoing opportunities for growth and development.

To all who participated in this year’s IPA Annual Survey and Analysis of Firms, please accept our thanks, our appreciation, and our gratitude for your willingness to contribute to the overall body of knowledge about the   profession. We hope you continue to find the results of this profession-wide survey of significant value, and I invite you to contact me directly with your thoughts or suggestions on how we can make the survey and analysis even more beneficial to you and your firm.

The 2017 PRIME Symposium – Nov. 7-9 Indianapolis

Building The Adaptable Firm
The Next Frontier Of The True Learning Firm

Now in its seventh year, The PRIME Symposium is built on the principles of best practices, open sharing, and excellence, aimed at helping to accelerate the development of IPA Best of the Best firms – and other high-performing firms.

Attendance is invitation-only, with two-thirds of participants coming from IPA Best of the Best firms. That means, by definition, attendees have a proven track record of success and fully support the principles on which The PRIME is built.

unlike other conferences, The PRIME has no vendor hall, no exhibitors, and no sales people competing for your attention. You are there to learn, to network with your peers and to dig deep into how others are dealing with the pressing challenges of the profession. More than just a practice management conference, The PRIME brings the brightest minds together to learn, support, and lift up all attendees to achieve their potential.



Join IPA Best of the Best firm leaders in a unique setting, with a customized experience for best and next practice sharing.  The PRIME Symposium delivers! 


Key Topics Include:
  • Building Your Culture for The Future
  • Focusing on Metrics for The Future
  • Trends that will Usher in the Next Frontier
  • Large Firm Managing Partner Panel
  • Small Firm Managing Partner Panel
  • Cyber Security and How to Catch the Wave
  • Breakout Discussion Groups by Firm Size / Position

Join top leaders from across the profession for this hands-on strategic event. Our profession is changing rapidly, but few of us, if any, know exactly what it will look like in the next five to 10 years.  The firms that will thrive during the coming disruption will do so because they have built an organization that learns, adapts, improves and executes. The PRIME Symposium this year will focus on how firms can best build a bridge to an unknown future – including what anchors are needed to hold on to the core and what disruptions are imminent that will change the accounting profession.


Tuesday, Nov. 7
Mastering the Shortest Distance Between Good Ideas and Outstanding Results: Applying Agile to the C-Suite, Creating a Culture of Execution
Whether you’ve been intrigued by Afterburner presentations at The PRIME in the past or have never been exposed to Afterburner’s Flawless Execution model, this is the opportunity to bring several leaders of your operations team together to learn how to institutionalize this model within your firm so you can achieve the

results you desire. To achieve maximum value from this program, The PRIME Workshop is limited to 50 guests. Firms in attendance are encouraged to bring at least one team member to build on the knowledge. Guests will be assigned groups and team members will be in different groups to gain the most benefit from this hands on workshop. The workshop will tackle key subject matters to arm guests with the knowledge and resources to execute a firmwide plan. Registrants will receive a survey prior to the workshop to uncover key goals. 


Wednesday, Nov. 8 (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Thursday, Nov. 9 (8 a.m. – 12 p.m.)

Cybersecurity – Understanding the Threats and Capitalizing on the Opportunities for Professional Service Firms

Theresa Payton is one of the nation’s leading experts in cybersecurity and IT strategy. As CEO of Fortalice Solutions and co-founder of Dark Cubed, a cybersecurity product company, Theresa is a proven leader and influencer who works with clients and colleagues to uncover strategic opportunities and identify new and emerging threats.  She is the former CIO at the White House, overseeing IT operations for President George W. Bush and his staff, and comes from a financial services background so she understands the world of professional service firms.


Metrics That Matter for Future Success
Benchmarking for the Future
Join Michael Platt, principal of INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), along with a panel of IPA Best of the Best firm leaders to discuss and share key metrics to thrive in the future. This session will set the stage for break out sessions throughout the day and will help uncover new areas to take your firm to the next level and set the stage for the future.



The PRIME Dutch Treat Dinner
After a kickoff networking reception, join guests for a Dutch Treat dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 7 for a casual networking dining experience. The event will be held at the Capital Grille, The Conrad Indianapolis.
RSVP upon registration.


The Conrad Indianapolis
50 W. Washington St. Indianapolis

Located in downtown Indianapolis, the Conrad provides easy access to the airport, dining, sporting events and more.


The PRIME Symposium is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses of CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPR Sponsors through its website:
The Platt Group
INSIDE Public Accounting
4000 W. 106th St., Ste. 125-197 Carmel IN 46032


Platt’s Perspective

Michael PlattAccounting profession veteran Bob Bunting has defined the $10,000 hour as the activity that you as a partner can do that would bring the greatest return to the firm. Mentoring of younger mangers and staff consistently provides the best return to the firm.

Spending time nurturing staff might be the hardest activity to start, but it can be the most rewarding – both personally and professionally.

I throw out a challenge to every person reading this: Take advantage of the reduced stresses that summertime offers, sit down with your rising stars, and help them remove just one obstacle toward achieving greater success. Focus on enough of these important development meetings and you will find the urgent busy-ness of your day may just start to dissipate. Go ahead, take the first step.

Platt’s Perspective

Michael PlattHow should a partner prepare for a partner retreat? With tax season over, many firms are organizing shareholder meetings to look toward the future and consider bold new initiatives for success.

Far too often, however, the rank and file partners simply “show up” to these events, prepared only with the willingness to react to issues as they are discussed, and the expectation that someone else (i.e. the MP) has the sole responsibility for a successful and productive outcome.

Success of a partner retreat is everyone’s responsibility, and preparation is key. While organizers of retreats have their own set of goals, guidelines and activities, rank and file partners need to arm themselves with the answers to the following three questions:

  1. What are two things that I can do personally to increase the success of this firm?
  2. What biases or preconceived notions do I have that might stifle my openness to new ideas, and how can I set those aside?
  3. What is one “sacred cow” or unspoken issue which, if resolved, would accelerate progress and lead to greater success at our firm?

If you take the time needed for deep, introspective thought on these three questions, and come to your partner retreat prepared to be candid and constructive, the chances of success will be greatly increased and your firm will be the ultimate winner.

Platt’s Perspective

michaelplattI was watching a news segment the other day talking about the growing trend in the school systems to foster self-esteem in children by having them participate in events where there are no winners and no losers and everyone is treated equally. The theory is that children will feel better about themselves if they participate, but do not have to worry about competitive forces. As they grow up, it is believed they will be more self-assured and will be better citizens and better employees.

I believe that approach is utter nonsense. Personal responsibility for assuring business success is viewed entirely differently by those who are “winners” and those who are not. In business, everyone is not equal, and in my opinion should not be treated the same. If you are a superstar, you should be given the opportunities to accelerate your skills and rise above the crowd. If you are an average performer, you should be coached to improve performance, but if you can’t cut it, it’s time to find a new career.

This may seem cold and callous, but the stakes in business are too high. The experts we conferred with for this month’s issue agree that employees and partners should be treated fairly, but not equally. Those who are better at what they do should be on a faster track than their counterparts. “Political correctness” says that you shouldn’t favor one person over another – “Business Success” says you must.

Platt’s Perspective

I’ve never understood why in many CPA firms, when it comes to tax preparation season, the laws of supply and demand seem to vanish. I’m referring to the supply of hours, and the demand for those hours as tax deadlines approach.

Many firms suffer the stress and tension of accommodating client schedules without consideration of an economic premium for meeting tight deadlines.

Wouldn’t it make sense to tell clients that if they get their materials to you by, say, February 15, the price is X? By March 15 it’s X + 20%. By April 1 it’s X + 30%. And by April 10 it’s X + 40%. Your clients would still maintain complete control over when they choose to submit their tax materials to you. If saving money is a motivator to them, they will act earlier, spreading the load better for you and your staff. If convenience is a motivator to them, they should be willing to pay a premium.

Many businesses charge more for last-minute convenience. The airline industry has been doing it for years. So have shipping/freight companies, hotel chains – even the dry cleaning industry has found a way to charge a premium for quick turnaround.

Why not take a cue from other businesses and consider adding a premium to your pricing structure for last-minute work during tax season so you can at least earn more for all that stress you go through? 

Just my two cents . . .