Matter & Substance
  May 13, 2014

Leading a Business Through Ebbs and Flows

As the managing partner of an accounting firm, leading a business through ebbs and flows ranks very high on my priority list - EVERY year. January through April are unmistakably exciting times in a CPA firm and a key time to interact with clients. Because many other industries deal with ebbs and flows as well, I often hear questions about ways to neutralize the ups and the downs. Here are some things we do at Mowery & Schoenfeld to take into consideration.

Motivation during the busiest times of the year:

  • Recognition, understanding and appreciation are crucial to success in the busiest times of the year. From the receptionist to the accountants, everyone has a role in busy season and should be recognized for their extra efforts.
  • Every employee is in this together. We are a team ready for the challenge. We make sure fun and camaraderie do not disappear when workload increases.
  • Keep things in perspective. Life happens. Some members of our team had some unfortunate circumstances happen this year. It was so rewarding to see the team come together to support others, remain focused and get the job done.
  • Do the best you can every day and the team remains in harmony. If performance is lacking on an individual's part or is due to a faulty process or procedure, it's the leader's job to make improvements where necessary and clear all roadblocks.
  • Share successes! It doesn't matter how big or small.

Motivation during the slowest times of the year:

There is a time to relax after busy season, but not for long. We say take off the time you need to reenergize, but come back ready to go! Although much of our work is compressed into three months, we have a lot of work to do for our clients throughout the year. However, we make time in our off-season to do the following:

  • Debrief, evaluate successes, and discuss areas for improvement.
  • Introduce new policies, procedures, software, etc.
  • Give staff new challenges, teach them new skills, and train them.
  • Conduct career advisory meetings helping staff see their path for growth and development.
  • Complete annual strategic planning and conduct company meetings to make sure everyone's on the same page for the next year.

Keep tabs on cash flow:

Having a solid financial foundation throughout the year is crucial to neutralize the effects of ebbs and flows. When it comes to cash, make sure you:

  • Understand it
  • Plan for it
  • Forecast it
  • Track it
  • And, collect it in a timely manner.


"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." - Dale Carnegie