Talking Firm Administration and Culture at CCH Connections User Conference

Late October means the weather is getting cooler, the leaves have changed colors, and the 15th has passed. It also means the CCH Connections User conference is happening. It’s one of my favorite events of year. This year, it was held in downtown San Francisco with plenty of cool extra things to see and do.

I taught two sessions based on how to create a utopian firm which involved content from my new book, “From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide Strategies, Stories and Tools.”

The new content was well-received but aside from teaching this year, I created some cool on-the-spot video interviews with some extraordinary CCH Axcess users.  I talked with Shari Dodgen, Director of Strategic Relationships and Professional Marketing at Wolters Kluwer CCH, about the role of firm administration with Ginny Fedrich, the firm administrator at HBLA Certified Public Accountants.

Technology has changed firm administration

According to Ginny, administrator jobs vary based on the size and type of firm someone is working in, these people need to be ready to complete an array of assignments. Firm administrators are really the jack-of-all-trades, they can be found completing all kinds of different tasks at all hours of the day.

Firm administration is probably the role that has evolved the most as firms evolve. In the old days, firm administrators just organized paper files and made sure they sent everything out on time. Now, firm administrators keep everything organized online. There’s hope, though. Technology provides the seamless integration administrators need to keep everything straight.

According to Ginny, Technology makes it easy to keep in touch with employees regardless of their work schedules or workplaces. This communication means that employees can have flexible hours and work remotely, regardless of position. Technology and automation also makes it possible for firm administrators to juggle even more than ever before.

Technology also attracts the type of workers you want in a firm. Progressive, hard- working individuals come to firms with technology. These young people might choose a small firm with advanced technology over a large firm that’s still operating in the past.

Firm culture helps firms evolve and grow

Firm culture is important as advanced technology when attracting new staff members. At my firm, we have an Amazon Alexa in the office. All day long, we talk to her and play music from her. It creates a good environment to work in. And we are getting used to using AI now, in preparation for when artificial intelligence becomes part of our accounting and tax workflow. We are not only integrating technology and voice commands, but creating a fun office culture that encourages growth.

Another way to improve your firm’s culture is to encourage education, beyond CPE. If an employee wants to take a class or learn something new, try to be open to it. This learning can help your firm evolve and grow even further. Team members also need to feel like they can make suggestions and ask questions without management shooting down or immediately denying their ideas. If employees feel like management is listening to them, they will be happier. And on top of that, this communication will help the firm evolve and change with the times.

I loved my time at the CCH Connections User Conference. The best part about it was getting to learn about all the different things firms are doing across the country to improve themselves and remain relevant in an ever-changing world. And if you would like to hear the whole interview, you can watch it below.

User Conference once again did not disappoint. What’s holding you back from attending next year?

To learn more about how the roles in accounting firms are changing, download Jody’s latest whitepaper, “The New Firm Transformation: Technology, Growth and the Future.”


Jody Padar, CPA, MST

CEO & Principal, New Vision CPA Group

All stories by: Jody Padar, CPA, MST