Human Accounting Mastermind - Collaborate to solve complex business problems through human-centric continuous improvement.


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  • Sr. Karbon Community Guide
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The News

Mastermind Dates

Link: Subscribe to Calendar (Tap the dates below to add individual dates to your calendar)

We are experimenting with holding the meetings at 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM ET. That may change upon receiving more feedback (drop a comment! 😀)

The Hypothesis

Taken together, the companies in this community have solved most of the problems accounting firms face. The more we share, the more we can collectively learn to be better, more human-centric companies.

The Experiment

We will be experimenting with hosting a monthly video call where the people who join will work through the steps to define and improve complex business problems. We will run it like a virtual round table discussion.

Next Step

If a group like this sounds interesting, complete the form below, and I’ll send you some more information and invite you to the first video call once we schedule it.

 


16 replies

Userlevel 6
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@max thanks for putting this out there!  Also, that embedded typeform is majorly cool!!!  Is that something you can embed in client requests?

Userlevel 7
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Typeform is one of the apps that integrates with the community platform. There are several others but I’m having a hard time finding the list.

The most useful to me are YouTube and Typeform.

As for imbedding typeform into client tasks, I don’t think it’s possible, but I will test it out. It might be more practical to imbed the form in the body of the email where you can use the HTML imbedding available within Typeform. I don’t know if it will work in the body of an email, though. Some email clients don’t like that.

It would be pretty cool, though. No click questionnaire. I wonder if it would also save the answers in cache if the form was imbedded. LOL, now you have me thinking.

Userlevel 5
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Just signed up!  Max, thank you for putting this together.

I did recently ask Patti about Typeform in client tasks, and I seem to remember as well that it is not possible.  Let us know what you find out.

Userlevel 5
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@max Is today’s meeting still on?  I joined the link but it looks like it hasn’t started yet.

Userlevel 4
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@max I have tried to join as well, but it looks like the date may have moved back 1 week to Aug 11th:

 

 

 

CC @Michael Eck 

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Background information

I want to be clear and upfront that I am not an expert in this field. I am a learner and have invited you on this journey of learning with me, primarily as part of my goal to continue learning and understanding this subject better. I'm convinced that lean management philosophy is the key to our firm's long-term success. Our company is early in its lean transformation and has already seen some positive results.

We will spend a meaningful amount of time talking about philosophy. The only way significant change lasts is by clearly understanding the reason behind your firm's desire to change. Meaningful change will flow from good philosophy communicated through a clear leadership vision powered by staff coaching on tool implementation.

I'm aware that you may have joined this group to learn how to use the API, implement Karbon at your firm better, or find the best way to do [your challenging process here], and there will be a lot of space for that. But those tools (API, processes, etc.) are the last link in the chain of service excellence. So, we'll start with philosophy and work our way back to tools like the API, Karbon implementation, etc.

Philosophy

At its core, lean is a passion for pursuing perfection in serving customers by working towards clearly defined goals.

A "perfect" process gives the client what they want in the amount they want, when they want it, with all steps along the way adding value without interruption—a free-flowing stream without stagnant water or standing pools.

- Paraphrased from The Toyota Way to Service Excellence

Will you do a little preparation before our first meeting on July 7th? We will be meeting with the group for 2 hours once a month, so our time will be limited, and I would like to maximize it by having you think through a few things.

What do your clients value?

To perfectly serve your clients, you need to know what they value. What they value may be different than what they say they want. Henry Ford once said that if he asked people what they wanted, they would have said they wanted a faster horse. What they truly valued was speedy transportation. With that in mind, take some time to think about what your clients value.

What's your vision to provide that value?

Once you understand the value your clients want, you can develop a vision for how to provide that value. It might all sound a little fuzzy and squishy, but understanding what your clients value and a clear vision of how you will provide that value are two critical steps in this process that you cannot skip. Otherwise, everything downstream will devolve into a fixation on tools or technology or how another firm is doing great work. You might hear me talk about this vision as your "north star" or "impossible ideal."

An example.

Client Value: Our individual income tax return clients value receiving their tax refunds as soon as possible.

Our Vision: Complete and send for signatures every individual income tax return the same day we receive the required documents.

If you take the time to do this exercise, you may realize there is no way you can perfectly give the value your client desires. You may look at my example and say there's no feasible way to complete every tax return the same day documents arrive. And that's the point. At my firm, we may never meet our goal of 100% tax returns being completed on the same day we have the documents, but we will try. The well-defined vision clarifies all the roadblocks that make it impossible to achieve the goal right now.

The core of what we will do in this group will be to coach our teams to systematically remove those roadblocks one by one until there are none left and the goal is achievable.

You may be coming to these meetings looking for a quick fix or a best practice from another firm that does well. However, you and your staff are in a unique situation with unique problems. You have everything you need to transform your difficulties into service excellence through a change in management philosophy, dedication to impossibly perfect service for your clients, and a relentless pursuit of continuous improvement.

 

Resources:

  • Add ideas/projects to the Trello kanban
  • Follow the GitHub repository for code examples
  • The Toyota Way to Service Excellence (Amazon) - I cannot speak highly enough about the approach the authors took with this book. It’s the backbone of my learning in this area and I would recommend it to anyone interested in building a human-friendly service organization.
  • Toyota Kata (Amazon) - This book bridges the gap between the things that are innate in Japanese culture and are absent from western culture, but are required for a successful lean transformation. The author explains how to develop routines that get staff to adopt important continuous improvement philosophies.
  • The Office that Grows Your Business (MRO Edition) (Amazon) - An out-of-print book that does a great job laying out how an office can run when devoted to lean management.
  • Mark Graban’s Lean Blog (Website) - Mark’s podcasts connected me with my most influential mentors in lean service management.
  • Gemba Academy Podcast (Website) - Ron has some amazing guests and heavily focused on the most important aspect of a company, it’s people and the people they serve. Looks for episodes with Karyn Ross and/or Katie Anderson to get started.
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Update: I added some links to the first comment.

I’m experimenting with using a Trello board to capture and track project ideas. It’s like a feature idea but DIY, lol. Put anything on there that you would like to work or work better.

There’s also a GitHub repository, which you may or may not find useful. It’s empty now, but we’ll be adding the code for any of the technical projects we do to that space so that it’s available for others and so that more than one person can work on the code together.

I also added some key books that have shaped the way I think about process improvement, so check them out if you’re interested.

Link: First Comment

I’ll be scheduling our first call soon. Before that, look for an email from me with some prep work (important stuff, but shouldn’t be time-consuming).

Userlevel 5
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@max Unfortunately I will be on the road next week, and can’t attend the first meeting.  But, I am looking forward to the one in August!

Also, the link to the calendar that you provided isn’t working for me.  Is there another way I can subscribe to it?

Userlevel 3
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This is a great idea and i look forward to it 

Userlevel 4
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@max I am going to co-pilot this with Michael on my admin team. I have sent the calendar information to get it added to both our calendars so we can begin the cadence of learning together.

Userlevel 1
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Max, I won’t be able to participate today, not feeling well since lunch.  I hope you all have a productive and successful meeting.  And, I am hoping there will be more meetings!

Userlevel 6
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Thanks for this @max I have been in the weeds the last few weeks so a little disconnected from the community.  I plan to join the August meeting.  Do you record the meetings?

I am looking forward to connecting.

Userlevel 7
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Max, I won’t be able to participate today, not feeling well since lunch.  I hope you all have a productive and successful meeting.  And, I am hoping there will be more meetings!

Oh no! I’m sorry to hear about that. I look forward to seeing you next time. 😀

Thanks for this @max I have been in the weeds the last few weeks so a little disconnected from the community.  I plan to join the August meeting.  Do you record the meetings?

I am looking forward to connecting.

I did record the meeting, but only for my personal reflection. I don’t think it turned out how I actually wanted it to turn out, so I’ve been doing some thinking on changes I’d like to try for the next meeting. Most specifically, I’m going to add a lot more practical examples and explanation about how we do certain work (or how someone from a different firm does work), and less on the theory that drives our approach. I’ll leave the theory in blog-style posts here and in emails for asynchronous consumption by those who are interested… 😀

I look forward to seeing you in August!

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Hey team, I had to leave town unexpectedly. I sent an email out earlier today. I apologize that it didn’t get to you. I’ll have to look into that.

My cousin is a pastor at our church and was planning to take a group to a youth event, but he got sick and asked me last night if I could fill in, lol, so I made a last-minute schedule change. Working from my phone for the weekend.

We’ll be covering connecting the Karbon API to Excel for data analytics, mass work adds, etc., so if that’s something that interests you, make sure to register and get your tokens before August 11th.

https://developers.karbonhq.com/register 

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I updated the first comment with a bunch of background information and foundational concepts that will be helpful for our first meeting next Thursday.

Userlevel 7
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@max Unfortunately I will be on the road next week, and can’t attend the first meeting.  But, I am looking forward to the one in August!

Also, the link to the calendar that you provided isn’t working for me.  Is there another way I can subscribe to it?

UPDATE: I changed the calendar tool I was using so that you can now add events straight to your own calendar instead of subscribing to a web calendar.

If you would like to subscribe to the whole calendar, that’s still available.

 

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