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Job 1 for The Practice Owner: Client Management



The 8 critical ways CPA firm owners must manage clients.

By Bill Reeb
Succession Institute

Whether you simply desire to improve your firm’s operations or identify and implement a new long-term strategy, you need to be clear about the role that the owners, partners or shareholders should be playing in your firm.


Radical Customers Are On Their Way

Do you create content? You'll need to learn.



By Jody Padar
The Radical CPA

New customers want CPAs to use the latest technology and the next generation of business owners demands it. But what about the legacy customers who you think don’t care? The original owners may not care, true. But your legacy customers are going to have the same succession issues as your firm. Those customers are going to have to create a succession plan and if that plan is going to the next generation, that generation doesn’t have any experience with you as a CPA firm. And you better believe tech­nology is important to them; it’s in their DNA.

MORE ON RADICALISM: The Market Is Moving Toward the Radicals | 5 Radical Transparencies; Are You Ready? | 4 Questions Radical Firms Must Face | 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

For example, if the dad passes the torch to the kid, and the kid says “well I don’t know John CPA all that well. They don’t use cloud tech­nology and I’m going find a firm that does use the cloud.” They choose technology because they have no current relationship with the firm. We receive many leads from business owners in this situation.


TECH SURVEY: Email Moves to the Cloud

Exchange servers and outside hosting services increasingly popular for CPA firm email systems. Learn more.

Accountants move email systems to the cloud.

By CPA Trendlines 
Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

More of America’s CPA firms are choosing externally hosted email systems over internal exchange servers, according to the Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey from NMGI and Insight Research Group.

Between 2014 and 2015, the number of firms using their own exchange server for emails dropped significantly from 47 percent to 38.3 percent.

In a parallel shift, the hosting of email outside the office increased from 53 percent to 61.7 percent. READ MORE →

Disability Is Far More Complex Than Death

Mature male patient playing a mobile on bed in hospital.The willingness to return to work may outstrip ability; then what?

By Marc Rosenberg
Retirements & Buyouts

You've probably heard the saying “Disability is worse than death.” The point is that both death and disability are horrendous, catastrophic events.

MORE ON BUYOUTS: Even Partner Agreements Must Face Death | 6 Ways to Leave a CPA Firm (Retirement’s Just 1) | How to Juggle Tax Considerations for Partner Retirement Benefits | Two Ways to Retire, and One’s Not Pretty | Mandatory Retirement Varies by Firm Size | Mandatory Retirement? 4 Reasons The Firm Comes First | How to Transition Clients from Retiring Partners | You Want Goodwill Payments? Give Proper Retirement Notice | Retirement Plan Funding? What Funding? | Retirement Vesting: The Devil’s In the Details | Compromise Is In Order for Some Goodwill Payouts

But the handling of issues related to death – for all parties concerned – are more straightforward, both personally and financially, than in the case of a disability. READ MORE →

Keep Close Relationships From Getting Too Close

Businesspeople discussing chartsFears of sexual innuendo and gossip block talent development.

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

A close work relationship between a man and a woman can generate sexual tensions in one or both of them.

When the man is older and powerful and the woman is young and ambitious, the potential for complications is even greater.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 4 Reasons Women Hold Themselves Back | 4 Ways Sponsors Can Help Women Seek Power | Bias About Women with Families Lingers | Judged on Performance, Not Potential? Must Be a Woman | Gender Bias Still a Problem | Why Women Are Overlooked (And How to Fix It) | 3 Ways Men Are Favored in the Workplace | Women Need Promotions, Not Just Advice | Mentor or Sponsor? How to Distinguish Roles | 4 Ways Women Leaders Improve Firms | CPA Firms Must ‘Man Up’ and Get Women On Board

Even when the relationship is strictly business focused, it can be the subject of rumors, gossip and speculation among coworkers, and it can arouse feelings of jealousy and resentment in the sponsor’s wife.


What’s a Cannabiz Worth? Ask a CPA.

The top 51 issues in handling valuations of marijuana businesses. 

By CPA Trendlines Research

The growth of legal marijuana businesses, from growing to retailing, has opened a new niche—or really a bunch of niches—for CPAs.

Among them are bookkeeping, internal control, tax accounting and preparation, management, holding companies, and general business council. The opportunities are born of the complexities behind them.

RELATED:  Billion-Dollar Questions: Cannabis FAQ for CPAs  | How CPAs Find Opportunity in Cannabis Boom America’s New Breed of Cannabis CPA [VIDEO] 

One of the opportunities is the valuation of these brave, new businesses as aggressive investors flood the market with fresh cash. "You've heard of the Gold Rush of the 1800's," one industry insider tells CPA Trendlines. "Well, this is the 'Green Rush.'"

Now comes a new study issued by Business Valuation Resources LLC, “Marijuana Dispensaries: A Budding Industry Brings Opportunities and Challenges for Business Appraisers,” which presents some ideas worth thinking about.  Click here for a free preview of the new marijuana BV study.

"Legal marijuana is a very good business," says Ron Seigneur, MBA, CPA/ABV, ASA, CVA, CFF, and a well-known advocate for CPAs in the art and science of business valuation. Seigneur, of Denver-based Seigneur Gustafson LLP, writes the introduction to the report. CPA Jim Marty of Bridge West CPAs, also Denver-based, authors much of the report. Marty has quickly emerged as one of a handful of nationally recognized accountants in the business.

Several factors contribute to the opportunities of valuation. And several other factors contribute to the complications. In all, CPA Trendlines finds dozens of points that shouldn't go overlooked. Some are germane in any valuation engagement. Others are peculiar to the cannabis business. All require especially careful review in this fast-changing legal and regulatory environment.

Here they are: READ MORE →

Laptop-Only Workers More Common

Two businessmen working on outdoor bench

Desktops still hold value; tablets less so.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Getting the right mix of mobility is critical for firms today. The professional’s Rule of Thumb is that everyone who works out of the office one day per week or more and needs to be self-contained should have a laptop as their only machine.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Scanners Allow Data Capture at the Source | In PC Monitors, More Is Better | Standardize QuickBooks Support for Clients | How to Choose the Right Client Portal Solution | Streamlining Bill-Paying at CPA Firms | Automating Bank Deposits Offers Instant ROI | The 3 Reasons Firms Are Migrating to Digital Timesheets | Accounting Firms Run on More than Checklists Alone | Going Paperless Means Convincing Clients First | Making Digital Tax Process Easier Is All About the Workflow | Why Firms Need Document Retention Standards

The obvious exception to this is for tax or administrative personnel who would never work from remote client sites, but have a computer at home that they can use to connect to the firm via a secure remote access solution.

The string of natural disasters over the past decade and the transition to more cloud-based applications has led to some firms making the decision that ALL professional staff will utilize a laptop as their only workstation.


It’s Not Sales. It’s Your Duty

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and AHow to suggest additional services to clients and why you're doing them a disservice if you don't.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I always feel awkward telling clients they need additional services that I should perform for them. Can you tell something that could “rev” me up for this?

MORE PRACTICE DOCTOR Q&A: Yes, You Should Send Rejection Letters | When to Hire an Admin Assistant | 7 Ways to Lose a Client’s Trust | How Much Should You Pay To Buy, Sell or Merge an Accounting Practice? | Why the Average Fee Doesn’t Matter | No More Printouts at CPE Programs? | 6 Ways to Take a Client Beyond Tax Prep

ANSWER: Actually, by suggesting additional services you are doing the client a favor and a good deed. Also, you are in business and the easiest way to generate additional revenues is to cross-sell services to present clients.


Management Guru Chester Elton on Success

Three key insights for accountants on how to inspire staff, wow clients and convey appreciation.

Hitendra Patil, lkeft, meets management guru Chester Elton

Hitendra Patil, left, meets management guru Chester Elton

Called the “Apostle of Appreciation,” Chester Elton is co-author of several successful leadership books.

After analyzing the results of 850,000 interviews, Elton's team found that those who are happiest and most successful are engaged in work that aligns with what motivates them. His latest book, "What Motivates Me," offers an extensively tested method to help business people identify their core motivators and figure out the disconnects between their passions and their current work.

Hitendra Patil, Pransform COO and CPA Trendlines contributor, met Elton and asked him three important questions about CPA firm leadership – motivating staff, satisfying clients and showing appreciation. READ MORE →

4 Ways Sponsors Can Help Women Seek Power

Businesswoman eyeing city skylineWhy women resist networking and powerful role models.

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

Networking issues: Women tend to have a limited appreciation of how their networks can help them get ahead professionally. Developing strong business networks is critical for career advancement. Because a leader operates through others, her value and effectiveness are largely tied to the power of her network.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Bias About Women with Families Lingers | Judged on Performance, Not Potential? Must Be a Woman | Gender Bias Still a Problem | Why Women Are Overlooked (And How to Fix It) | 3 Ways Men Are Favored in the Workplace | Women Need Promotions, Not Just Advice | Mentor or Sponsor? How to Distinguish Roles | 4 Ways Women Leaders Improve Firms | CPA Firms Must ‘Man Up’ and Get Women On Board

Yet women are reluctant to cultivate potential sponsors through their networks, while men willingly use patronage and networks to open doors and provide opportunities that cannot be accessed through normal channels. Men attribute their promotions to personal connections as a matter of pride, not embarrassment, because it means that influential people see them as leaders and reward them accordingly. As a result, men benefit from the political processes that go on all around them while women lose out.