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Art of Accounting: Fire yourself

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Start 2020 by firing yourself as the boss, CEO or managing partner. Then rehire yourself. As the new CEO, what would you do to justify the confidence you had in you?

Did you ever notice that when a new CEO is hired, there is a burst of optimism and, if it is a public company, it is usually accompanied by a rise in the stock price? Perhaps the reason for this rise is because the former CEO was let go, or that the new CEO would bring new energy, new ideas, a new look at operations and expenses, a new look at customer service and product quality, a new look at additional services that customers or clients could use, or occasionally a new look at pricing strategies.

I have seen many firms stagnating under the longtime leadership of the founders. Did you ever notice that when a new firm or business is started, there is a quick and steady growth, but then it stops and settles at a certain level? The people who grew the firm seem to reach a level that they feel is “their level,” after which something happens that stops the growth. The firm doesn’t decline but stops its growth. There are many reasons for this, but the reality is that the firm levels off.

This happens a lot with publicly held companies, and if the new CEO is on the ball, the company starts a new upward growth slope. It also happens with a lot of accounting and professional services practices. Well, let’s replicate that change, except I know most of you are not going anywhere, so let’s shake it up somewhat and try to reinvigorate the company and yourself by “starting over.” Thus, firing yourself and bringing on a new you as the CEO.

So, if you want to get unstuck, fire yourself. If you are happy with the way things are, then leave it alone.

Good luck in the new year. Do not hesitate to contact me at emendlowitz@withum.com with your practice management questions.

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is on the Accounting Today Top 100 Influential People List. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition.” Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at www.partners-network.com along with the Pay-Less-Tax Man blog for Bottom Line. Ed is an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Fairleigh Dickinson University teaching end user applications of financial statements. Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 743-4582 or emendlowitz@withum.com.

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