IPA Spotlight On … Tamera Loerzel, ConvergenceCoaching

TJL-Black-Arms-Crossed-2015v3Name: Tamera Loerzel

Title: Partner

Firm: ConvergenceCoaching

Accomplishments:

  • Frequent facilitator, speaker, writer, teacher and coach on the topics of employee engagement, sales and marketing, leadership and succession planning.
  • Founding member of The CPA Consultants’ Alliance and past president.
  • Senior manager of BDO’s Minneapolis consulting group who implemented middle market financial software service methodology and customer relationship management software. Also directed the national sales and marketing efforts of the package solutions group at BDO.
  • National sales manager for State of the Art Inc., now known as Sage Software Inc.

ConvergenceCoaching is known for its work on “generational competence” and working “anytime, anywhere.” Why is it important for CPA firms to better understand these issues?

Our mission is to help leaders within the public accounting profession to achieve success. Part of the challenge firms are grappling with today is how to transition firms from one generation of leaders to a new generation while considering the different work styles, mindsets and values that these generations have.

Baby Boomers value face time, and Millennials and even Gen-Xers value flexibility and control of their schedule, including when and where and how they get their work done. For Gen-Xers and Millennials it’s more about results than it is about time and place.

To retain and engage future leaders, current firm leaders need to make adaptations that support future leaders’ values and the way they want to work, while meeting firm requirements at the same time. It’s completely possible.

Millennials want to make a difference with their clients, too, and yet that’s what we withhold from the younger people. We all actually really want similar things, so we work with firms on bridging that gap. We do that through individual coaching, and through strategic planning, leadership development and succession planning with partners to create a common vison and enable communication to close generational gaps that exist within firms.

logoCan you provide an example of how one of your accounting firm clients solved a complex problem in an innovative way with limited resources?

Anytime, anywhere work can be a complex problem, but one firm worked out a virtual work structure for a half-time audit manager whose spouse took a position as a missionary in El Salvador. The firm was worried about the clients, and the clients were given the option of keeping their manager or switching to a new one. The clients said they didn’t want their manager to change, so the firm put communications structures in place so she could continue to manage clients. The combination of technology – Zoom/Skype/GoToMeeting, cloud-based applications, iPads and cell phones – and being completely transparent with clients and team members made it work. I think that story is fascinating.

What’s the best thing you ever did to improve your leadership skills?

Developing my leadership skills is an ongoing process. The best thing I’ve done is to acknowledge I haven’t arrived. I participated in a leadership program about 10 years ago and it was a great kick-starter for me. It involved workshops and coaching and learning what it’s going to take to elevate my confidence being with all kinds of people and personalities.

At ConvergenceCoaching, we do a SWOT analysis on ourselves as leaders every year. I solicit input from my team members on that, and then I try to work on at least one weakness. I’m working on trusting my gut. My personality style is I want data and evidence before making a change (as do many of my CPA clients!), but I tend not to back up and listen to what my gut is telling me first. When I do so, I usually find it is right.

What would you like INSIDE Public Accounting blog readers to know about you?

I think this is a great time to be in public accounting. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with firm leaders and see the transformations in them personally and in their firms. I’m deeply passionate about people being the best that they can be and accomplishing and fulfilling their dreams. It’s what gives me juice. I have one of the most rewarding careers because of that.

People should also know that flexibility doesn’t necessarily mean part time. People think I travel so much, but that allows me to have the kind of lifestyle I have. I can go be with clients, make a huge difference and then go be with my son’s third grade class. Because of technology – we’ve been on the cloud since we started our company over 15 years ago – I can do what I do and make the difference I make and have a life that just looks different, and I think that’s awesome. Now firms are starting to embrace that flexibility – and opportunity – too.

Final thoughts?

I am thankful for a fabulous team and great clients!

Know anyone else who would make a good Spotlight? Contact Christina Camara.