Today's Features

5 Ways to Make Selling Easier to Swallow

Man's hand writing "People buy from people they trust" on a chalkboardSelling happens all the time: the 3 things it represents.

By Martin Bissett
Business Development on a Budget

Selling is not something you now need to go and do; it’s not a suit you wear or a personality you adopt. You don’t need to suddenly be nicer or different somehow because you are out of your comfort zone.

MORE: You’re Selling All the Time

For you, going forward, selling means a constant quest to build a perception of yourself and your firm. Once you buy into that idea, you can relax and realize that selling is not the enemy, but the conduit through which you access new areas of business by demonstrating the value we bring to clients.

How to Counsel on Retirement Planning

Man with briefcase climbing up ladder to top of giant piggy bankGot clients over 50? Get them talking.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

This is a specific financial planning service that helps clients plan for their retirement. This involves calculating how much a client will have to retire on and how much he or she will need.

MORE ON MARKETING: How to Offer Employment Compensation Assistance | 9 Questions to Ask About Divorce and Taxes | Guiding Clients in Investment Allocation and Management | How and Why to Offer Estate Planning | Why CPAs Are Suited to Financial Planning | How to Suggest More Services | Adopt a Marketing Mindset
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This work can take place one to two years before the expected retirement, or 15 to 20 years earlier. It depends on the client. You may also find yourself doing some quick calculations for a client in his or her early 50s who is being offered early retirement. Whatever the case, it is a matter of paramount importance to the client, and must be treated by the accountant as such.

Your Firm’s Biggest Assets Walk out the Door Every Day

There are nearly 80 million Baby Boomers today, and this cohort of 65 and older is projected by the US Census Bureau to reach 83.7 million in the year 2050. By 2030, more than 20 percent of U.S. residents are projected to be aged 65 and over, compared with 13 percent in 2010 and 9.8 percent in 1970. A large part of this growth is due to the aging of baby boomers (individuals born in the United States between mid-1946 and mid-1964), who began turning 65 in 2011 and are now driving growth at the older ages of the population. Every day, 10,000 people turn 65. There are more than personal financial issues at stake here.

What does this mean for the CPA business?

Why Partners Need Written Goals

Undervater shoot of swimming pool with swimmer holding both thumbs upThree questions to ask yourself.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

If we achieve what we measure, then is it true that we become what we think about most of the time?

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: Five Factors for Measuring a Partner’s Value | Why Accountability Counts | Communication Goes Both Ways | Why Shared Values Are Important | Why ‘Walking Together’ Is So Important | How to Build a Better Firm Through Teamwork | 8 Questions to Analyze Your Pricing | 5 Questions for Every MP to Answer Honestly
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Philip E. Humbert, Ph.D. wrote, “The human brain is a goal-seeking, problem-solving machine, and the things we think about, focus on and worry about inevitably shape our destiny.”

PRESIDENTIAL POST-ELECTION SURVEY: Why Accountants Voted the Way They Did

z_-election-chart-trump-v-clinton-concerns-v2How accountants voted and why.

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines Research

The CPA Trendlines post-election survey shows accountants split by different issues. Trump accountants tend to be most concerned about terrorism while Clinton accountants are more focused on global warming.

MORE SURVEY RESULTS:  Accountants Assess Business Outlook following Presidential Election

Part of the spread might be explained by gender. Just as the accounting profession tends to be owned and operated by more men than women, 67.7 percent of CPA Trendlines respondents were men – and roughly the same ratio of votes for Trump over Clinton. The demographics of the tax and accounting profession's practice owners and leaders -- the core of the CPA Trendlines community -- tend to match voting patterns beyond the profession. In that, accountants vote more like, well, voters, than accountants.


The Benefits of a Client Situation Review

6 people in a business meetingThis is high-level and interactive, not a presentation.

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

The Client Situation Review (“CSR”) is an effective tool for delivering client value.

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: Show Clients How to Improve Working Capital | What a Client Service Plan Can Add | 36 Consulting Services You Might Be Overlooking | How to Drive Consistent Partner Behavior | CPA Firm Partner Performance: Different Activities, Different Metrics | Develop the Partners You Already Have | How Many Partners Do You Need? | How to Develop Tactics for Your Strategic Plan | The Big Eight: Harsh Realities for Firms Today
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The CSR process is one of the most powerful and effective techniques for strengthening a client relationship and improving the quality and level of your service. In the spirit of building a mid-market sustainable brand, you can use the CSR to demonstrate your ability to add value by providing creative ideas, asking the right questions, identifying challenges and providing solutions.

How to Set Your Firm’s Social Media Foundation

White and black rabbits reaching to eat dangling carrotsDangle some carrots and your employees will bite.

By Becky Livingston
The Accountant’s Social Media Handbook

Employees can be the first, vital link to a long network of person-to-person shares.

MORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Marketing for Mobile | How to Listen on Social Media | How Social Media Affects SEO | Social Media Campaign 101 | Why Use Social Media for Marketing? | Write Headlines Worth Sharing | Who Is Your Customer? | What to Say on Social Media | How to Craft a Social Media Profile | Which Social Media Should You Use? | Determine Your Target Audience | What Is Social Media? | How Social Media Works with Accountants’ Top 5 Marketing Goals
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Many clients I’ve worked with over the years have wanted to implement a social media program within their respective firms. Even though staff knows it’s an initiative for the firm, they have limited or no guidance, lack communication, and basically are too focused on their jobs to think about it.

SURVEY: Cybersecurity Grows in Importance

Technology Security with Internet Digital Signature as ArtMake sure word filters throughout the firm, not just in IT.

By Roman Kepczyk
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

In 2015, from a technology perspective, we saw traditional firms becoming increasingly comfortable with adoption of cloud-based technologies, many by first outsourcing their Outlook with Hosted Microsoft Exchange, which proved that the cost and expanded capabilities were better than what firms could do themselves.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Mergers Spur Growth | Accounting Profession Demands Swift Change | Don’t Just Win Work, Figure Out Why | Talent Wars, M&A Frenzy Continue | Next-Gen Leaders Getting Restless | Mergers Keep Racing Forward  | Do You Have a Firm or a Co-op? | Accountability, Equity, Compensation Are Concerns | MAP Survey Top 10 Findings | CPA Firm Revenues Rise a Hefty 8%
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The growing desire to have anytime, anywhere access to all the firm’s applications and data further promoted the adoption of private cloud and vendor-hosted solutions, so remote access capability could be firmwide.

Mandate Training Programs

Office workers training on computersAnd give chargeable credit to the coordinators.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

For many firms, the ability to identify, standardize and implement best practices is the last remaining competitive advantage in business today as communications tools and access to technology have become available to everyone.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Centralize Contact Administration | Standardize QuickBooks Support (and Bring Your Clients) | Remote Deposit Saves in Several Ways | How Efficient Are Your Audits? | Going Digital: How to Train a Client | Hit ‘Delete,’ But Only When It’s Time | Unified Messaging Offers Benefits | Remote Access: Giving Workers What They Want | Why Use Windows 10?
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To take advantage of the continuous stream of innovation and opportunities, firms must adopt a “learning culture.” This requires a formal process to capture and standardize best practices in every department within the firm so that every person can take advantage of them.

SURVEY: Ins and Outs of Email, Document Storage

Businessman touching virtual buttons in server roomJudicial rules are another consideration.

Key Findings

  • Thirty-eight percent archive email by storing it locally or on the PC or a local server.
  • Forty-four percent have no document retention policy for purging digital files.

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

There are practical solutions for email archiving and document retention policies available to firms of all sizes.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Windows 7 and Windows Server 2012 | Accountants Quit Trying to Manage IT Themselves |Workflow Management Concerns Many Firms | Accounting Firms Add New Service Lines | How Top Tech Vendors Are Failing CPAs in the Cloud | Master Change, Master the Future | Why Every CPA Firm Is a Tech Company at Heart
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We know that 56 percent of firms have email hosted outside the office. While all firms have the option to either run a solution in-house or to have a third party handle this obligation, the firms who use hosted email could also utilize add-in services for this task.