Sorry for the posting delay, but I’ve been doing lots of posting on The Learning Club’s Facebook site. You can find the posts @TravelingHomeEconomics. Let’s talk about the PA part of CPA. Public Accountant means that CPA’s are beholden to the public; we are trusted advisers. We should take that responsibility very seriously, and there should be transparency at all times. Pet Peeve #642 is when people set prices ending with 97. There is a lot of marketing advice that 97 is the new 99. If your product costs $100, marketers may tell you it’s better to price the product at $99 or $97 to make it seem like you aren’t paying as high of a price. Gas stations have always priced their gas with 9/10 after the prices. Marketers train businesses in tactics to get more customers buying. I get it, but when it relates to the accounting industry, trusted advisers have a greater responsibility to go to longer lengths to not be manipulative.
You’d never see that happening in the legal profession. I know attorneys who have outrageous hourly billing rates. Let’s say a lawyer’s rate is $600/hour. You don’t see them explaining that their hourly billing rate is $597. Accounting professionals should behave the same way. Discounting your prices means you are also discounting your value. Why should we argue with our potential clients on how valuable we are when we are discounting our own value?
When your intention is to deceive, you can’t be trusted. It’s a subtle thing, but the devil can be in the details. Accountants have to prove themselves to their clients; accountants work with very sensitive and confidential financial matters. Prudence and respect are mandates to establishing trust.
Accountants want people to be responsible with their money. Find someone to help you who is transparent in everything they do. When something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut. Most people can spot the sleazy salesman a mile away, but manipulation can take subtle forms that you might not be able to recognize. Accountants, let’s make sure we are being transparent and representing ourselves honestly.
It’s not what we do every once in awhile that matters, but the real value is what we do consistently. Just Google the morning habits of successful people, and you’ll find oodles of material on how consistent successful people are with their routines. Prioritize honesty as a value that you uphold at all times, and you will be rewarded for your transparency.
BP is one of my favorite acronyms to describe how I work. BP is short for many of my favorite things. Just to name a few:
- the Boy and Girl Scouts mottoes of Be Prepared
- my acronym for Back Pocket Skills – developing hidden skills that are ready when needed like CPR, sign language, any language, first aid, sewing skills, car repair, etc.
- Plan B – looking at what might go wrong and having a procedure in place just in case. Those “What If” scenarios can save you lots of money, time, opportunities, or your life!
- The Backup Plan
Everyone should have a backup plan for their data. What data you ask? Anything that you have on your computer or any device (and you know you have SOOOOOO many devices). Unfortunately, we are seeing the devastation with Hurricane Harvey and the floods. While many are just struggling to save their family members, pets, and themselves, some have the opportunity to grab a few essentials. You won’t be able to grab all of your photos and devices, but what if you just had to grab a portable hard drive that had a backup of everything? And/Or, what if you also had an online backup of your data? I personally use Seagate portable hard drives, and they have additional online backup offers with their products. I also professionally use SmartVault for backing up my client data and my financial data. The actual system you use isn’t what’s important, but the process of regular backups is important. Contact me if you’d like some ideas on how to protect your valuable photos and data.
Do you really want to know how I am? If not, please greet me with, “What are you reading?” Even if you’re experiencing the worst sore throat of your lifetime, you’ll probably answer that you are doing “fine” when asked how you are. But, unless you are reading a book with one word as a title, you have to give me an answer that is longer than one word on what you are reading. I love to hear the mental journeys readers take with their books. When you are reading a great book, you find yourself stealing time and opportunities to get back to your book. Plus, your daily travels are always with the characters of your book. Sometimes I bring Harry Potter with me to my sons’ hockey practices as my mind wonders how he is going to get out of the latest predicament.
Check out my latest book selections on my home page. My copy of The Gifts of Imperfection looks like a whole highlighter leaked all over the insides of the book. Every page seemed to be calling me. The Alchemist will be a true spiritual journey. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane will show the power of mother/daughter relationships and the power of tea. I too don’t believe in any coincidences and that each part of life’s journey is meant for our best future. Learn the lessons from your past, and you’ll have an amazing journey along the road of life. Happy trails!
WOW. I have 3 great, personal examples of customer service all very recently – 1 negative and 2 positive. I really don’t like reflecting on the negative, and so I will just say the lesson I learned as a customer of a business where I will never return. It goes a long way for businesses to acknowledge mistakes or to empathize with a customer’s situation. Make your customers feel you are on their side in trying to resolve the situation. In this litigious society, it’s easy to worry that you’ll be sued if you make a mistake, but that fear usually just translates into businesses not accepting responsibility for anything. Assigning blame to the customer is no effective strategy.
As an accountant, I work with sensitive financial information for businesses and individuals. Trust is the most important quality to have as an excellent accountant. I have learned a lot about how to build, bolster, and maintain people’s trust in my business. But, today I got to witness trust as a customer.
For my first positive experience, this morning I was able to schedule an appt. for an x-ray today. I was so thrilled I could get it taken care of on the same day that I called, especially as my insurance is changing. The scheduler warned me several times on the phone to expect the appt. to take an hour. I made sure my schedule could accommodate an hour of my time, and I arranged to bring reading material for the wait. When I entered the crowded waiting room, I expected the wait to be the full hour. As I headed to my car, I looked at my watch, and the total time was about 1/2 hour. I had an extra 1/2 hour of “SAVED” time. I was thrilled, but I might have instead focused on one x-ray taking 30 minutes if I didn’t have the expectation of it taking an hour. They prepared me for the worst, and they not only respected my time, but they far exceeded my expectation.
Example number 2 was some products I ordered from a very small business. I was a bit dismayed at the amount of the shipping costs relative to my purchases, but I wanted to have these exclusive products for this class with the same company. A few days after my order, I got an email stating they were giving me a small refund. They were still delivering all of the products, but for some reason they were giving me a refund. I imagine they found the shipping wasn’t as much as anticipated, and they were passing along the savings to me. That refund, while small, will pay off with huge benefits because I know this company values fair prices and does not engage in price gouging. That small refund has resulted in a very loyal customer.
I was at my bank’s ATM yesterday, and they congratulated me for 36 years of customer loyalty! I thought it was a mistake because there’s no way my Freshman college year was 36 years ago (when my mom and I opened my first checking account), but sure enough they were right! I am a loyal customer when treated well. Now go treat your customers as Kings and Queens, and watch how they reward you!
Hello, learners. When asked what people want to accomplish in life, frequently the answer is, “To make a difference.” Being a math person, I know difference means subtraction in math equations. I don’t want to subtract from people’s lives; I want to ADD to people’s lives. So, let’s add.
My grandfather used to call me Doll Face or sometimes just shortened to Doll. I loved that. Just one person calling me a doll was a huge gift to me. “A. D.O.L.L.” is my acronym for Already DOne List Learning. We all focus on our to do lists, but I find myself not referring to my list after I’ve written down the tasks. Instead, I like to write down everything I do, from the small to the big tasks, throughout my day to prove to myself that I am accomplishing tasks. It’s one way for me to stop the negative mind chatter. In case I’m afraid I haven’t done much that day, I have written proof that I haven’t wasted the day away – my common, negative self-talk.
Start focusing on what you have done during the day, and you’ll find out that you’ll actually do stuff just to be able to put it on the list! Flylady.net is a marvelous website to encourage you in managing your home, and her first baby step rule is to shine your sink every day. It seems like a small thing, but watch how clean your house becomes just by being diligent to have a shiny sink. Then, you’ll find yourself not just cleaning the sink, but also the kitchen counters, and then maybe the floor. Everything else seems to fall in line when you do that one keystone habit. The same is true with our to do lists. Start writing down what you are accomplishing, and you’ll get in the habit of wanting to get things done that never even crossed your to do list or your mind. Just try it out for a few days, and watch how much more productive you’ll become.
Happy Money Magic Monday, fellow learners. The money tip for this Monday is to track your spending by using 10 categories. The list is in alphabetical order except for the #1 category because SAVINGS should always be paid first. Send me an email at email@example.com if you’d like some ideas on how to prioritize your savings or if you’d like help in tracking your expenses. Here are the 10 categories:
- Debt Payments
- Food & Dining
- Hobbies and Entertainment
- Money Management and Taxes
- Personal Care
For personal books, I prefer to use Quicken. It is the most comprehensive tracking system for your personal books. (I also highly recommend Quickbooks for business books.) Let me know if you need any help in getting started in using either of these tools or in maintaining your personal books. Happy Monday!
Hello, learners. I posted on Facebook a bit ago that I couldn’t go into details but that I was having the best summer yet (I’d say ever, but you never know about the future). I started the post by saying I couldn’t go into details, but the friends kept asking me for details. So, I thought I’d share just a few (seriously I could have kept going on) of my reasons why it is the best summer YET).
I have lovable but impatient FB friends. Let me break down the yin and yang for you for my best summer so far:
- I quit Diet Coke on June 6th, and on June 7th, Panera Bread (the worst culprit ever) called me Edie. I haven’t been called Eddie to my face since.
- I learned the time is now to tackle my longtime dysfunctional relationship with food, and I found out that taking care of myself is way easier and more fulfilling than I thought.
- I let go of what other people think of me, negativity, and gossip (I slip at times, and I’m cutting back on my unreal housewives), and I only hang out with people who celebrate me instead of tolerate me.
- I got turned down for a part-time faculty position, but then I applied to teach a paperwork organization/scrapbooking class, and my proposal was accepted. Yes, you read that right. I WILL BE PAID TO CRAFT!
- I am not allowed to give details, but I think soon I’ll be spending most weekends in my RV in a parking lot in Victorville, CA because of just one restaurant. (This may make #2 no longer true.)
- Lots of loved ones wished me a happy birthday, but at least 3 wishes knocked me to my knees.
- I experienced real magic at Disneyland this summer one day. A few of you know I’m not kidding.
- I started taking my own advice and dedicated the first 15 minutes in the morning to reading 3 books – personal growth, a daily reflection, and a fun book. I’m now up to an hour, and now it is my best habit ever.
- While spending time with their mother is not what two teenager sons are into right now, I found that my Father loves it when I spend time with Him. Plus, when I just sit and listen, the signs of being on the right path surround me.
- Speaking of signs, put on your rose colored glasses because they are ALLLLL over. I was hesitant about calling one aspect of my business The Purple Crown, and I asked a random lady a question at a sewing store. I looked down, and she was holding onto a PURPLE CROWN!
- I haven’t been able to travel this summer, but my mental travels have been rich and rewarding. Plus, I traveled to China in a fiction book this summer that opened my world to the healing power of tea.
- I was dismayed at the zillions of hours I spent writing down stories and did nothing with UNTIL NOW! The table of contents with many of my stories has been completed for my first book.
- And, finally, FINALLY, I can answer the life-long question of what I want to be when I grow up with just one simple word – MYSELF!
And, friends, it is only July 25th of summer. Nope, sorry Coming Soon. If your Happy Place is between your two ears, it is with you always.
The Learning Club’s inspiration is to increase Back Pocket Skills. These are skills you learn to enhance and better your life but that you might not need on a regular basis. So, they are in your back pocket in case you need them. For example, you may not ever have to perform CPR on someone, but having that back pocket skill may save someone’s life one day. Back pocket skills should be personalized to your particular gifts in life. What floats your boat? What do you love to do that makes time disappear? What exercise energizes you instead of makes you weak? Here is a visual on what Joey Tribbiani’s, a character from Friends, main back pocket skill is: being ready to eat at any time. While he technically produced a fork from his coat pocket instead of his back pocket, the idea is the same. He is ready whenever to eat whatever. Enjoy:
What back pocket skill do you want to learn?
That’s what Steve Martin said in The Jerk when he anxiously awaited to be listed in the new phone book because that meant, “Now I’m somebody!” Anyways, a new class list is in for a list of Master Classes that The Learning Club is offering in July. This is so exciting to have MATH classes – Make N Take Hours or Money and Time Habits. There is a mixture of craft classes with money organization classes. Check out www.50statesclub.net/GoalsStore.html for details on the classes and to sign up for any classes. Or, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get any questions answered. Happy learning!