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Professionals worldwide rely on CPA Trendlines to deliver exclusive, actionable intelligence to identify and act on emerging issues and opportunities.

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Plus more than 3,000 need-to-know tips, tools and strategies – business-know-how articles – for your firm, your business and your career.

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When Busy Gives the Wrong Impression

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and ABeware self-fulfilling prophecies.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I have been very busy for quite a while and now caught up and find that I have not been getting as much new business as I used to get, or that I need. What can I do different?

MORE PRACTICE DOCTOR Q&A: Administrative Help Can Free Up One or Several | How to Notify Clients of a Partner’s Retirement | 7 Ways to Lose a Client’s Trust | Quote With Care When Asked for Valuation | Closed for Tax Season? Looks That Way | 12 Must-Knows for Niche Markets | Is Joint Representation a Conflict? | When Fees Don’t Keep Up With Cost Increases

ANSWER: This accountant gives a harried impression when she meets with clients and referral sources (which are everyone she meets or interacts with). She was very busy and when asked how she was doing she would reply something like “Boy, am I busy!”

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Tax Pros Do 59% of E-filing As Season Nears End

Receipts, processing, refund numbers all down.

With only five days left in the tax season, the IRS had received more than 110.7 million individual tax returns and processed 108 million of them. The April 10 data showed receipts down 1.8 percent from 2014 and processing down 2.1 percent. Processing for 2015 continued in the same range, at 97.5 percent.

RELATED: Have Fun This Tax Season! | Tax Preparation Fees: The National Averages [INFOGRAPHIC] | IRS Form 3115: a Sin and a Travesty | How to Get Paid Faster This Tax Season | Accountants See Solid Business Gains in 2015 | As Market Share Slips Away, Accountants Look Beyond the 1040 | IRS Emerges as Major Tax Season Competitor | Tax Pros Losing Market Share to Self-Filers READ MORE →

3 Ways to Convert Scheduling Practices to New Fees

Martin Bissett

Bissett

Practice these disciplines every day.

By Martin Bissett
Winning Your First Client

You may be thinking right now, “Well, very good, Martin, but we have finite time. We’re very, very busy people and we need to get business in the door, and therefore creation of opportunity becomes the issue.”

MORE ON SELLING: Selling vs. Attracting to Build Relationships | When Selling, Don’t Chase New Fees, Attract Them | Selling Accounting Services Doesn’t Have to Be Hard! | ‘Selling’ Isn’t a Dirty Word | 8 Factors in Practice Development Success | In Sales, Perception Is Reality | Success Begins With Accountability | Do You Realize You’re Failing? | Winning Your First Client

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4 Questions Radical Firms Must Face

Padar

Padar

Embrace the laws of disruption.

By Jody Padar
The Radical CPA

With revolutionary change, comes disruption. You knew that, right? The three laws of disruption say that:

  1. Disruption comes to us all. So, if you’re reading this, you’re going to be disrupted. Congratulations, that’s a good thing!
  2. Disruption comes because of changes in the product-market fit.
  3. There are only three methods to change the product-market fit.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Being Radical Is All About Your Customer | Being Radical Starts with Being the Change | Why Start Being Radical Now? | Going Radical: The 4 Tenets of a ‘New Firm’ | Why Should CPAs Be Radical? | The Roots of ‘Radical’ CPAs | The First 3 Questions I Should Have Asked Before Starting My Own Practice

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4 Steps to Weather Any Economic Storm

Woman pulls pack storm page and reveals sunset.And 3 to avoid.

By Sandi Smith Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

According to an article published in Harvard Business Review, three scientists, Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria, and Franz Wohlgezogen, conducted a study to discover the strategies that generated the most – and the least – profits in lean times.

MORE ON SMALL-FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Want to Be Stress-Free? Use Your Strengths | ‘Time Problems’ Don’t Exist | Could You Use More Energy This Tax Season? | 15 Items for Your ‘Business Bucket List’ | 3 Ways to Plug Your Firm’s Money Leaks

First, here’s a list of surefire ways to kill your business:
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Refund Fraud Keeps IRS Busy

IRS-CI’s Return Preparer Program statistics over the past three fiscal years

IRS-CI’s Return Preparer Program statistics over the past three fiscal years

Identity theft also is part of the program.

The IRS' Criminal Investigation Division is conducting fewer investigations with reduced staff, but there still is plenty of activity in its Refund Fraud Program, which includes the Return Preparer Program and the Questionable Refund Program.

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IRS Criminal Investigations Drop with Staff Cuts

Chart of IRS staffing levels

Investigations are down 20 percent.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Despite high-profile victories in the Credit Suisse and Bank Leumi cases, the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Division is struggling with lower staffing levels and a continuing decline in the number of cases pursued. READ MORE →

Two Ways to Retire, and One’s Not Pretty

Older businessman taking a coffee breakThe graceful way to slow down and phase out.

By Marc Rosenberg
Retirements & Buyouts

There are two ways that partners slow down as they approach traditional retirement age:

Announced – the “cooperative” way to slow down. The partner openly and willingly informs the partners that she wishes to slow down. This change in status is usually related to the retirement process, but some partners who are not retirement-minded may wish to work less than full time in order to pursue other life goals.

MORE ON RETIREMENT: Mandatory Retirement Varies by Firm Size | How to Transition Clients from Retiring Partners | Retirement Plan Funding? What Funding? | Retirement Vesting: The Devil’s In the Details | When Retiring Partners Take a Specialty With Them | Three Ways to Calculate Goodwill Payable in Partner Buyouts, None of Them Great | The Multiple of Compensation Method, Fully Explained | Clients Leaving? Time to Reduce Retirement Benefits | Partners May Balk at Guaranteeing Retirement Obligations

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Busy Season 2015: Worse and Worser

z tax 2015 better or worseAfter a bad year for many practitioners, watch for the consolidation and shakeout to come.

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines Research

Before Busy Season 2015 had even begun, tax professionals were worrying most about the new rules and regulations they’d be facing, among them, the Affordable Care Act.

Join the survey; get the results

Indeed, so-called Obamacare loomed largely over the 2015 season, but practitioners found bigger problems with Form 3115, tougher competition and fee pressures. So much so, that a significant number of practitioners swore this tax season would be their last. And with merger season coming close on the heels of busy season, the profession should brace for a new wave of consolidation and shakeout, according to the CPA Trendlines analysis.

See Comprehensive Coverage of Busy Season 2015 READ MORE →