By 0 Permalink 0

Own it.    All Cards on the Table.    You Really Really Matter.

If you’re around the Knutson CPA office very much, you will hear these phrases used on a regular basis. Why? Because they’re promises. More importantly, they’re OUR promises.

Why do we have promises? We’ve learned that it’s critical to know who we ARE. Just as principles guide us in our personal lives, core values guide us in our business.

When we started consulting with Mike Michalowicz, author of Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan, Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, and most recently, Surge, he encouraged us to develop Immutable Laws for Knutson CPA. He said that these Immutable Laws should be personal to me, as the business owner, so that they could clearly represent who we are as a company. One of the blessings of being a business owner is having the ability to pass along what I consider to be significant values. It’s a joy to let my heart shine through the business; I hope that each person on our team is able let their heart shine as well.

The first thing I decided was to change Immutable Laws to promises, and the Knutson team agreed. The word promise seems to more strongly represent to us what our values really mean.

During a recent brainstorming session, our team defined promises with these terms: commitment, follow-through, character, dedication, fulfillment, integrity, obligation owed, taking action, having an “I care enough” attitude, and knowing that your word is your bond.

We know that promises can be made between people or between organizations (which are really just groups of people.) Promises can be kept. Or promises can be broken.

We should not make promises lightly. Abraham Lincoln once said, “We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.”

At Knutson CPA, we make our three Promises to our clients and to one another. They have become the filter through which we operate and the lens through which we view our relationships.

Hopefully, our promises give you insight into who we are. It is essential to build trust in a professional relationship. We hope these promises will be the first step in building your trust in us. As we grow our professional relationship together, our team will strive daily to fulfill these promises to you. Our mission is to empower you, through strong financial principles, to focus on your vision and your hopes and dreams for your organization.

The Knutson CPA Promises:

Own It

Good or bad, we take responsibility for our work, and make it our own.

All Cards On The Table

We will be open and honest with you. Sometimes you might not like what we say, but know that we speak the truth out of respect for you and your organization.

You Really, Really Matter

We truly care about you and your organization and do our best to prove it.

Tax Day When You Implement Profit First

By 0 Permalink 0

It’s tax day, friends! More and more of our clients are adopting Profit First in their businesses. As they make their tax payments this year, we are able to see major changes in the psychology behind writing those big checks to the IRS. We talked to one client who said they mailed a BIG check to the IRS last week. (They owed taxes for 2015 and also their April 15 estimated payment.) They also paid their franchise and property taxes that same day! 

Whew! That’s a lot of money to be sending off to the government in just one day. In the past, this would have sent most business owners into a state of panic or depression.

So we asked this client, how does it feel to make these payments now that you have implemented Profit First in your business over the past year? (For a quick primer on how the Profit First system and accounts work, click here.) They said:

“In past years, when tax day came around, I would do everything possible to avoid paying my taxes. I felt panicked that I had to come up with so much cash to pay the government. If I actually had the money (which I probably didn’t), it was a real downer to see my bank account be drained of funds. But this past year, I implemented Profit First in my business. I transferred the prescribed amounts throughout the year. Today when I had to mail a check, all the money I needed was waiting for me in my  tax account.

I feel a strange mix of emotions today. It’s definitely a different feeling than in years past.

  • Today, I feel glad that I have the funds ready to pay these tax bills.
  • I feel sad that I have to spend the cash.
  • I feel empowered– like I can do just about anything because this worked out so well. I have no fear.
  • I also feel like my business is successful. It has value and it matters in this world, and I feel love for this business of mine!”

Wow! What a difference just one year made with this client. We want to bring this change to your business, too!

Are you still teetering on the edge of deciding whether to implement Profit First in your business? Let’s schedule a time to talk through what it can do in your business, and the peace of mind it can bring – on tax day and every day. Call us at 817.488.8939.

How To Make Small Groups or Teams Part of Your Business Dynamic

By 0 Permalink 0

We recently discussed a new trend in growing churches- small groups- and how they are very similar to teams or pods in businesses. Today, I want to explore ways you can make teams part of your business dynamic.  We will look at principles carried out by churches who are successful with their small groups.



Different people with many different personalities and backgrounds merge together in the church. Leadership must constantly help their group members feel engaged by encouraging them to love each other as they should. Ultimately, all churches have a vision of reaching people for Christ. Church staff cast the vision to church leadership (elders, deacons, and ministry leaders).  These leaders then bring the vision to small group leaders who in turn push the vision to the members.


In business, we must focus on the vision and the work we do for the greater good. It’s important to keep the vision front and center so that teams stay focused on what matters most.  Focusing on the vision helps us put aside our differences and work toward a common goal. You must talk the vision, walk the vision, and make it an integral part of your company’s culture. As a bonus, focusing on the company’s vision will help develop cohesiveness within teams while also avoiding a cliquish mentality.



Churches who successfully utilize small groups create a structure that works with their member’s culture and lifestyles. This may look like having small groups that are demographically based (like grouping by age, place in life or marital status). Or it could look like having small groups that are geographically based (so that members can attend a small group close to their home or work). Some churches create a blend or something that’s entirely different. What matters most is that they intentionally create this structure based on what they know about their people.


For your teams to flourish, they need to have an established structure. This might look like a buddy system, a peer system, departmental teams, work pods, etc. Find ways to make teams a part of your culture and workflow. The goal is for the teams to feel completely natural.



Pastors use sermon-based curriculum to help newcomers as well as members to integrate into small groups. Attenders hear the sermon in worship and are given the chance to flesh it out and live it out with a small group. By making small groups attractive in all discussions, small groups become the lifeblood of the church culture.


When you have a new employee join your business, immediately plug them into a team or pod. As they watch you and other leaders demonstrate commitment to the business model, they will be encouraged to commit to the model as well. Have leadership within each team help the members get to know each other as they live their work lives together.



Small group leaders in churches watch for potential leaders of new small groups. Elders watch small group leaders for potential elders. Church staff observes elders for potential ministry leaders.


As a business leader you must constantly be on the lookout for possible leaders. You’ll know it when you see it! Once you recognize their potential as a leader, begin recognizing their strengths and trusting their expertise to make the most of their abilities. Spend time mentoring them so that you can recognize what they are passionate about and provide ongoing training and leadership. Don’t leave new-found leaders hanging out there on their own. Keep them engaged. Teach your leadership to recognize potential leaders in their teams and create a step-by-step plan to work them up the leadership ladder.

Constantly shoot for this goal. Empower them with the ability to succeed. Empower them with meaningful work that supports the company’s common goal.

Do you have thoughts about small groups or teams? I would love to hear from you!

How Small Groups in Churches Are Like Teams in Businesses

By 0 Permalink 0

Small Groups in Churches

I believe that businesses can learn SO much from churches that are run well. After all, these are organizations that inspire, train and empower dozens of (unpaid) volunteers. These volunteers are essential to the church fulfilling its vision and work for the greater good. Reaching people with the gospel. Churches lead people and get things done with “free” labor! Business owners can learn much by watching how church leaders motivate their unpaid volunteers.

Lets take a look at small groups, an emerging trend among growing churches over the past decade. They are called by many names: life groups, home groups, discipleship groups or Sunday School classes. The purpose and function remains the same: to engage the church body in smaller more intimate settings for spiritual growth, community outreach and personal relationships.

Small Groups cultivate fellowship, spiritual growth, and an empowered church membership. They are often the life-blood of a church’s culture. Church members are much more likely to stay if they are in a small group.

In fact, noted church researcher George Barna and Lifeway’s Thom Rainer combined their research to formulate the following in Rainer’s book, Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them:

Involvement in small groups, such as Sunday School, is key to assimilation… New Christians who immediately became active in Sunday School were five times more likely to remain in the church five years later than those who were active in worship services alone.

Teams in Business

As a business owner myself, I find a strong correlation between small groups in churches and teams – or pods – in business settings.

I’ve noticed that businesses that grow past about a dozen employees can begin to lose the small business feel. It’s just not possible for one business owner to be a CEO and also lead every team member. As you outgrow your ability to meet with and get to know each employee, a scalable team structure will allow you, as the owner, to influence each of your employees through the leadership efforts of other leaders in your organization.

Most business owners are looking for ways to create engagement among their staff members. By creating small teams or pods in your business, you can create natural opportunities for employees to feel more engaged in the operation and culture of the company. Setting up this structure will allow the business owner to lead the leaders (I’ll write more on that in an upcoming post.) and continue to build in scalable layers of leadership and mentoring as the business grows.

The end result of implementing teams or pods is customer satisfaction. How? Teams increase employee satisfaction by helping to foster relationships and a sense of community among employees. When employee satisfaction increases, employees stay longer creating continuity and a better experience for your customers.

Interested in ways to make teams work in your business or small groups thrive in your church? Stay tuned for my next blog post on small groups and how churches (and businesses) can keep their members engaged in them!

My Productivity Planner Vortex

By 0 Permalink 0

Hi! My name is Wendy. I am a productivity nerd and a planner addict!

Productivity planners are seemingly the perfect answer to my dilemma of wanting to live a more focused and productive life. However, I want to tell you a brief tale about how focusing on HOW to be productive was actually COUNTERproductive in my life!

Last summer, I purchased the Best Planner Ever, and I have used it faithfully since. In fact, I was SO enamored by the planner that I sent comments to the developer, letting her know what I liked and didn’t like. (Unsolicited feedback, you know is the very best kind. 😉 I do my part!)

As the end of 2015 neared, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new, slimmer 2016 model and eagerly ordered it as soon as it was released.

When January 1st rolled around, I met the new year armed with the 2016 version of Best Planner Ever. I was SO excited to dive into this new year and embrace the productivity my planner would bring.

However, I started to notice that my Facebook feed was littered with one planner after the other, touting more perfect solutions to my disorganization, lack of focus and tendency to over-schedule my life. These other planners led me to believe THEY might be the answer to my out-of-control world. I found myself knee-deep in planner shopping before I ever knew what had hit me! Why, oh why, am I so drawn to these ads? (Google and Facebook know a bit about this conundrum when it comes to Google searches and ad placement, by the way! Where else would all those ads on Facebook have originated?)

The commitment that’s required to fully utilize a planner reminds me of the commitment that is needed to embrace a Capsule Wardrobe. And in my case, planner shopping was becoming an addiction when I already had the Best Planner Ever siting on my desk! Like my mom always said, “You should leave with the one who brung you!” The Best Planner Ever and its designer, Jennifer Dawn, have taught me to set goals. This has been a long-time struggle for me. This planner has already helped me make huge progress in this area.

I’ve decided this:

The Best Planner Ever and I have a good thing going. We’ve set goals together, made appointments together, planned dinner together, and even de-cluttered together. I am officially committing to no more planner shopping. I am truly sorry, my 2016, 6-month, chrome-cover edition friend. Please forgive me. From this day forward, I am fully committed to you and all your wonderful features!

Turning off the TV

By 5 Permalink 0

I am a member of a Facebook group where various people recently committed to taking a 90-day challenge. When I saw what others were contributing, I posted:

I’ve been thinking about giving up TV, but I’m not sure…

Why Would I Consider This?

I realized that TV is very passive in nature. It took up a lot of valuable time in my evenings, and the shows did nothing to feed my soul. Instead of spending what time I did have interacting with my husband, I typically vegged out on the couch and fell asleep with my mouth gaping open.

Living the Challenge

It surprised me when several people commented on my post with encouragement for getting rid of my TV. One lady said,

I turned off my TV and sold it three years ago and I have never looked back.

That was all I needed to hear. My thought was out in the universe, and I was all in. Challenge accepted!

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’m an all-in kind of girl, and at the time, we were doing some remodeling in our living room. So I immediately unplugged the TV, moved it to a spare bedroom and adopted this no-TV rule in my life (with my husband fully on board).

However, football season rolled around, and I’ve always been a big Cowboys fan. So, I decided that I would allow Cowboys games, and that would be the only TV I would watch. (I even updated the Facebook group about this change to my accepted challenge.)

When the pre-season Cowboys game aired, I hooked up the TV and sat down on the couch, ready to watch. However, I fell asleep during that game and when I roused myself to get off the couch, I decided that was a total waste of my time and I didn’t even enjoy it, so there would be no more Cowboys watching for me.

What I’ve Learned

I’ve noticed some positive new habits forming in my life since turning off the TV. For one, my husband and I used to watch TV before we needed to work on things together as a family, like important decisions or paperwork. But now, we schedule time to do those things and get to it right away in the evening when we are still focused and awake. We are making progress on our goals, and we don’t feel deprived because they no longer interfere with planned TV time. It doesn’t feel like a loss to spend time doing other – more productive – things.

Am I legalistic about this? No way! Am I so staunchly dedicated that when I go to someone’s house and they are watching TV, I go to the other room? Absolutely not! Will I watch it in the nail shop? Certainly.

I’m aware that there are some great TV shows out there, even shows that can help you run a successful business. Some examples are The Profit or Shark Tank. But, I’m realizing that there’s so much other good content and information available that my business will never lack.

During this 90-day challenge, I’ve improved my communication skills by talking more with my family. I’ve seen less procrastination in my life because I have more time to finish projects. Also, I’ve been filling that void of time with reading and better sleep.

When it comes to your life as a business owner, are there areas where you are unwisely spending your time?  

  • Fiddling around on social media during the day
  • Distracting staff at your office rather than working on your goals
  • Attending groups that are not edifying or helpful

Have you noticed that if you go test drive a certain car, you will see that car EVERYWHERE! Now that I’m not watching TV, I’m picking up on lots of people out there who don’t watch television. 

There are so many active things you can do to help advance your dreams. There are people you should hang around that will help you and make you stronger. Ensure that the things you are doing are profitable. 

Going Forward

What will I do with the big, fancy TV currently sitting in my spare bedroom? I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll sell it!

Will I go back to watching TV? I don’t think so. There are so many great books to read, podcasts to listen to, webinars to attend, and time to invest in my family. And speaking of investing time, please comment below on how you are investing your time and any changes you have made to how you spend your time!

Stay In Your Lane

By 0 Permalink 0

Earlier this year, the winner of Celebrity Apprentice was Leeza Gibbons, a correspondent and co-host of Entertainment Tonight and later the host of her own talk show. During the competition, there was a great deal of drama between the ladies in the running. When asked how she managed to stay out of the drama, Gibbons answered:

Leeza Gibbons Stay in Your LaneMy mother’s inspiration was enormously important to my win. I promised her when she got Alzheimer’s disease that I would “tell her story and make it count.” How incredible that she got this amazing prime-time platform for awareness! And I played the game with her advice in my ear. She always said, “Stay in your lane. Run your race,” so I kept remembering just to ignore all the drama around me and focus on what I needed to do to help our team win the task. It proved to be a pretty good winning strategy for “Celebrity Apprentice,” and it’s been pretty good at my career, too!

Simply put, Leeza is a class act, and I have thought many times since then about those words of wisdom handed down from her mother. The words “Stay in your lane. Run your race,” resonate with me as I concentrate on staying focused in my business.

Someone recently asked me, “Wendy, who are your competitors?” I was honestly taken aback by that. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about “the competition”. In business, it’s critical that you stay focused on what you’re doing and ignore the competition. (Yes, it’s important to know the market because you have to stay open to new ideas, but you don’t need to worry about what other people are doing.)


Find your voice and create the magic for your customers. It’s what sets you apart and makes you special. If you are creating the same product as your competition, your only differentiation is price. You have no choice but to compete on price. Stay in your lane.

Negative Thinking

Constantly worrying about your competition, will put a negative spin on everything you do, leading you into victim thinking. That is the kind of thinking that says, “I’m limited because of what I can do.” Instead, turn your thinking around by being positive and staying in your lane. Focus on your customer and listen to their needs. Stay in your lane.


When you’re driving, you naturally head in the direction of your focus. If you are constantly turning to look at the car in the other lane, you will wind up veering in that direction. Business is the same way. A constant focus on what others are doing will cause you to lose your focus. There’s a lot of noise out there and it’s easy to lose your focus, but focus straight ahead. Stay in your lane.

Abundance Thinking

A mentality of abundance says, “There’s plenty of business to go around.” Embracing this mentality allows you to focus on your clients without worrying about what others are doing. Bring value to your clients. Stay in your lane.

Really Moving the Needle on Profitability

By 0 Permalink 0

In my last blog post, I said that in order to really move the needle on profitability, you must focus on two key areas of your business:

  • Products (the items or services you sell)
  • People (the staff you employ and the people you serve)

Today, I want to hone in on People. It’s been said:

It’s not about what you know but who you know.

That old adage rings true in many situations, including your business. The people you employ and the clients you serve can drive your business and its profitability up, up, up or drag it down to bankruptcy.


I can’t overstate that who you hire to do each job in your company is critical to its success. So, take your time in the hiring process. Learn all you can about each applicant, test their skills and knowledge. But most importantly, figure out if they will be a great fit with the culture of your business and if they have the character traits that match up with your company’s values.

When it comes to how the work is getting done by your staff, look for inefficiencies and seek to eliminate them. (You don’t want work being done twice, after all!) You should be encouraging your team to challenge how things are done and bring solutions for better efficiency. (You might even consider giving bonuses to staff who find better ways to serve your customers.)

Jim Collins, in Good to Great, said:

“…Leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.”


You have clients who aren’t a good fit; you know you do. When it comes to clients, do an analysis of several indicators to determine if they are the right fit for your company. Look at the “cringe factor” of each client. Do you cringe every time you see their name on the caller ID because you know you’re about to hear bad news? Consider value and loyalty, and whether each client finds value in the services you provide and is loyal to you and your company.

It’s important to realize that the time you spend on the clients who are the wrong fit takes you away from serving the right clients. 20% of your clients will yield 80% of your profits, so it’s really important to filter out the 80% in order to identify the 20%.

If you currently have staff or clients in your business that aren’t the right fit, then it may be time to make some changes to get people in the right seats on the bus. I would love to hear from you about what changes you have made in the People of your business.

Moving the Needle Toward a Profitable Business

By 0 Permalink 0

Today, I want to look at the first of two critical components that can really help you move the needle toward profitability.

  1. Products (The Items or Services You Sell)
  2. People (The Staff You Employ and the Clients You Serve)

Why are we talking about products and services? Because they represent what brings in your top line revenue, and honing your focus on your offering can really make big changes (for the better) with your profits!

One of the first steps in adopting Profit First and creating a profitable business is going through the Profit Assessment. I had the privilege of digging into the assessment of MY business with the author of the book himself, Mike Michalowicz. One of the first things he asked me as we delved into the top-line revenue of my business was, “What is the one area of your business- the product or service you are offering- that you know is not profitable?”

During my Profit Assessment discussion, Mike challenged me to question everything and make no assumptions about our service offerings. I have since realized that just because we have always done things a particular way, we did not have to continue doing them the same way forever.

You’ve probably heard it before – the definition of insanity:

To continue to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

Mike helped us and many other businesses identify products or services that weren’t profitable. In our case, that meant transitioning a service that wasn’t in our primary focus to an expert company that works well with our team. Making this change has helped us center our entire focus on our passion: helping business owners find the missing profits in their businesses.

So today, I’m asking you, What is the one area of your business- the product or service you are offering- that you know isn’t profitable? Are you holding on to a product or service simply because you’ve always done so, or because you assume it’s a standard in your industry? I challenge you to take a hard look at your top line revenue and what it represents.

I would love to hear from you about a product or service offering in your business that just isn’t profitable and what you plan to do about it!