Today's Features —

How to Tell a Client How the Fee Was Set

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and A

“Never tell them the hours…”


Readers Sound Off: Value Pricing vs. Hourly Billing

Readers Sound Off: Value Pricing vs. Hourly Billing

The gloves come off…


How to Join the Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

How to Join the Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

Join the survey; get the results.


Four Ways to Stop Leaving Money on the Table

Young woman using a calculatorMost CPA firms miss 60% of their potential revenues. Here’s how to start fixing the problem.

By Sandi Smith Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

Accounting firms have done a great job adopting paperless office technologies, the web, and even cloud computing, so you may feel you have been doing all you can to streamline margins, become “client-centric,” as some consultants call it, and grow your practice.  But I believe there is even more opportunity that very few, if any, in the accounting profession have fully identified or embraced. READ MORE →

5 Questions About Your Firm’s Direction

Businesspeople Moving Along CorridorSetting direction is the first step.

By Robert J. Lees, August J. Aquila and Derek Klyhn
Creating the Effective Partnership

How do successful managing partners respond to the internal and external challenges they face?

Without exception, all of the partners we spoke to talked about the need to have a clear sense of direction that the partners, in particular, could coalesce around. But what they considered even more important is the translation of that direction into a compelling vision and the strategies for achieving it.


Partners May Balk at Guaranteeing Retirement Obligations

Golden Egg in Nest with Thousands of Dollars on Table.Forget “one times fees” for goodwill.

By Marc Rosenberg
Retirements & Buyouts

One of the first and most critical decisions in creating a partner retirement plan is the overall valuation of the firm. The value of a CPA firm has two components:

Capital. The valuation of capital for internal partner retirement purposes is almost always the capital on the firm’s balance sheet. If the capital is measured on the accrual basis, the two largest accounts by far will be WIP and A/R. They should be conservatively reserved. READ MORE →

Different Standards, Double Binds Challenge Women

Businessman cutting back jobs. All on white background.Women are judged on their performance, men on their potential.

By Ida O. Abbott
Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

Common patterns of gender bias include holding women to higher standards than men and expressing contradictory expectations (“double binds”) for women.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 5 Ways Gender Bias Plays Out at CPA Firms | 3 Reasons Why Men Don’t Pick Women Protégées | Men Advance 2 to 1 over Women without Sponsors | 18 Ways Sponsors Can Help Their Protegees | The 6 Market Advantages of Women-Led Firms | Beyond Mentoring: Why Sponsoring Women for Leadership Matters

Different standards: People expect more of women than of men and they hold women to higher standards. This sets the bar higher for women who aspire to leadership and makes it more difficult for them to prove their value to the organization, even though research shows that women outperform men in 17 of 67 critical leadership skills, while men outperform women in only four. READ MORE →

Top 10 Entrepreneurial Traits of Successful Accountants

Test yourself against this checklist.

By Hitendra Patil
Pransform Inc. 

Which accountants have the most talent for building a practice and sustaining a growing firm? What separates successful practice owners from less successful ones? Gallup CEO Jim Clifton may be able to provide a few clues.

As coauthor of “Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder,” he says research strongly suggests that some entrepreneurs have innate traits that make them successful. Gallup studied 2,500 entrepreneurs to understand the actions and decisions that fuel to venture creation and growth. READ MORE →

Intranet Is the Best Place for Firm Knowledge

computer tech lock iStock_000011879042SmallIntranets are the best way to capture and centralize firm knowledge.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Firm knowledge and information is usually stored in one of four “buckets.”

  1. The most obvious is within the accounting applications themselves where tax, audit and accounting programs store client files in a format that can only be accessed with that program. Files are usually indexed and accessed in designated directories so there is not much the firm can do about moving these files. READ MORE →

Financial Services Up at Largest Firms, Down at Smaller Ones

Couple meeting with investment advisor.Conflict of interest is one reason smaller firms shy away from RIAs.

The largest CPA firms are by far the leaders in providing investment advisory services, but the rest of the profession does not appear to be following their lead too closely.

Fifty-eight percent of the profession’s largest firms, with more than $20 million in annual fees, offer investment advisory services, up from 51 percent in 2012, and another 9.1 percent were at least somewhat likely to add the services to their menus, according to the “The National MAP Survey of CPA Firm Statistics: The Rosenberg Survey.”


18 Ways to Blow a Partnership Opportunity

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and ABy Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I have been working for a one-owner CPA firm for the past eight years and want a partnership, but it hasn’t been offered. How should I approach it?

RESPONSE: I had a couple of rather long discussions with this practitioner. Why, I don’t know. I suppose I was being polite to the person who told him to call me.

Here is some additional information before I give my response: READ MORE →

How Accountants Lose Clients

Angry young woman, blowing steam coming out of earsWith client retention the top issue for firms, we go looking for the “secret sauce” for landing new business.
Join the survey; get the results

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines

If you want some real answers for how to avoid losing clients, just start asking CPAs how they’ve managed to pick up new clients.

That’s exactly what we’ve been doing lately. Some of the answers are startling. All of them are instructional. Most of the time, accountants can blame the CPA that their new clients were abandoned. READ MORE →

Early Data Exchange Vital to Evaluate a Merger

Three possible outcomes from trading numbers early.

By Marc Rosenberg
CPA Firm Mergers

I have always been a big believer in the buyer and seller exchanging financial and operating information as early in the process as possible.

MORE ON CPA FIRM MERGERS: Deciphering the Current State of the CPA Firm Merger Market | The Law of Attraction: 15 Ways to Romance a Merger Partner | The 14 Keys to a Successful Merger | Mergers: 11 Lessons from Done Deals | The 21 Steps in Every Merger Deal | Today’s 15 Essential Deal Points in Accounting Firm Mergers

Numbers aren’t everything, but they do speak volumes. The data enable each firm to gain an understanding of the other in a manner that is not always possible in conversation.

The data is also a good way to corroborate things that are said verbally. Here are some examples: READ MORE →

Partners Have Love-Hate Relationship with Leadership

Aquila leadership context modelBy Robert J. Lees, August J. Aquila
and Derek Klyhn
Creating the Effective Partnership

Regardless of their ownership structure, most firms either operate as partnerships or would prefer to operate as partnerships.

The tensions between being a business and the loss of the values and ethics of being a partnership feature strongly in our research.

But accounting firms are different from their corporate counterparts in a number of ways, which impact their functioning and, therefore, their leadership. READ MORE →

Accountants Court Extinction as Clients Race Ahead with New Technologies

Jon Baron addresses Thomson Reuters user conference. (Photo: @RPJohnston )

Jon Baron addresses Thomson Reuters user conference. (Photo: @RPJohnston )

Too many accounting firms are risking extinction by failing to keep up with their clients, a top Thomson Reuters executive tells 1,300 professionals at the company’s annual users’ conference in Washington.

New Thomson Reuters survey of accounting firms shows: READ MORE →

CPA Firm Mergers: Trading Essential Financial and Operating Data

By Marc Rosenberg
CPA Firm Mergers

Think of it as a second date. The first meeting was simply a “getting-to-know-you” encounter. But now the prospective merger participants, buyer and seller, are getting serious. They need to take the next step and exchange key performance indicators and financial and operating metrics.

There are at least 18 categories of data that need to be considered, each with it’s own peculiar in’s and out’s.