Today's Features

Why Your Firm Should Be a Republic


Dictatorship, democracy have their weaknesses.

By Auqust Aquila
Creating the Effective Partnership

What checks and balances exist in your firm to keep it strong but also to protect the minority interest?

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Maybe it's time for more firms to consider a republic instead of a so-called democracy. The larger firms in the country are surely run more like a republic than a democracy. Smaller firms would be well advised to change their governance to mirror the larger firms. But let's start with the dictatorial form of governance – commonly found, sometimes wildly successful, but only to a point.


Soloists, Small Firms Cite Tech Challenges

Johnston, Garrett, Tankersley
Johnston, Garrett, Tankersley

Cost, keeping up with new software among reasons some balk at investing in better tools.

By Randolph P. Johnston, Leslie Garrett, and Brian F. Tankersley
The Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

The planning and execution of the firm’s technology strategy is one of the areas where solo practitioners and small firms struggle the most. Thirty-two percent of solos and 24 percent of small firms were very concerned about “understanding the technology options and selecting the right ones for the practice.” Additionally, 26 percent of solo practitioners and 16 percent of small firms reported “staying informed about current technology” was a major concern of theirs.

MORE: An IT Department of 1? Soloists, Small Firms Relate


Keep Scope Creep and Seep from Hurting Bottom Line

Jody Padar, The Radical CPA
Jody Padar, The Radical CPA;
learn more

BONUS: A new breed of engagement letter.

By Jody Padar
The Radical CPA

Scope creep generally takes the form of new services being added once the project has started. Typically, these are not properly reviewed and the team is expected to deliver them with the same resources and in the same time as the original scope.

The opposite of scope creep is scope seep. This is when the accountant or team volunteers to do extra work and take on extra requirements and issues. Now of course the customer will never turn down “free help” and when this is done over and over, the customers quickly assume all of their issues they vaguely speak to you about are included in the price.

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Because we’re afraid or not used to confronting uncomfortable subjects (ahem, pricing), too often we let them change a part of our project management. We really need to get solid on what a change request is and make sure that when change requests are implemented, that the required pricing comes with it.


Your Existing Clients Are Your Best Leads

Sandi Leyva and Michelle Long
Leyva and Long

And the cheapest. Bonus!

By Sandi Leyva and Michelle Long
The Ultimate Accounting Virtual Conference

I’d be willing to bet that almost all of you have clients who don’t know about a service you offer. And I bet they could use more of your help.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Need More Business? Focus on Referrals

When I was doing web designing, I'd get new business -- new requests for work from the client -- almost every time I sent out an invoice.  If I had been more proactive, I could have gotten a lot more work. So we have to make time in our business to look a little bit. For example, I could have reviewed the website and made some suggestions and generated more work for myself. You can do the same thing when you’re keeping books for clients.


The 4 Winning Communications Habits of Top Accountants

Value your clients – and yourself.

Component parts of how the other person perceives your in-person communication
Component parts of how the other person perceives your in-person communication

By Martin Bissett
Passport to Partnership

I’ve had the benefit of meeting, speaking and observing hundreds of very successful and unsuccessful partners over the last two decades and there is indeed a set of differentiating factors that set a partner apart from the chasing pack.

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Here are the four “best-selling behaviors” that I’ve observed:


Why Men Don’t See Women as Leaders

Woman and man holding same documentAnd 3 ways men can change.

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

Let’s assume a powerful man works with two junior colleagues, a man and a woman, who are both equally talented, motivated and superbly skilled performers. According to what we know from research and experience, that powerful man is more likely to sponsor the man than the woman.

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Why is that? What factors go into a sponsor’s calculation about where to place his most active support and for whom to expend his political capital? And why don’t more women come across as “leadership material,” even when their talents and abilities should make them great candidates? I have some answers.


The Merger Process in 21 Steps

Numbered bleacher stairsPLUS: 15 potential deal breakers and non-negotiables.

By Marc Rosenberg
CPA Firm Mergers: Your Complete Guide

It's important to understand the flow of the entire merger process.

Every merger has its unique aspects. It's impossible to choreograph, from A to Z, exactly how the process for all mergers will work. The steps in the process listed below appear in the order of how they commonly occur.

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But again, because all mergers are different, the flow of the steps might vary from merger to merger.


CPA Firms Hit the Brakes on Increases in Billing Rates

CPA firm price index through August 2015
CPA firm price index through August 2015

The good news? A lot less volatility.

By CPA Trendlines

After a period of rapid price increases, CPA firms appear to be backing off on rate hikes.

The price index for U.S. CPA firms reached 117.2 in August, representing a 15.1 percent price increase since the January 2005 baseline. This is the second time this year the index has reached this mark, with the other in March, and the highest point except for February’s 117.5. It denotes increases of 0.6 percent for the month and 0.3 percent for the year.


3 Steps for Firm Procedures Manuals

Hands holding sign that says "BEST PRACTICES"We document everything else, why not processes?

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Every firm has accountants that are 10 percent, 20 percent or even 50 percent more productive in their departments than other personnel because they have simply “figured it out.” Unfortunately, when these people leave the firm, their unique knowledge of specific processes and shortcuts goes with them.

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It is the responsibility of firms to capture these individuals’ best practices so that their knowledge can be shared and accessed by all firm members both now and in the future. This can be accomplished by making a concerted effort to develop a best practices manual within each department.