Today's Features

NOW AVAILABLE: The 3rd Annual Accounting Firm Operations & Technology Survey Results

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Full-size softcover plus free ebook edition.

Randy Johnston, Chairman and CEO, Network Management Group Inc., and Leslie Garrett, PhD, CEO of Insight Research Group, are the principal authors of the Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey Report. Available as softcover and ebook, published by CPA Trendlines, available at  

The report provides easy to understand bar charts and tables featuring three consecutive years of data which highlights trends in the profession. The survey results book also provides tables where survey respondents are segmented by size of firm, making it easy for accounting and tax professionals to benchmark their firm against others of the same size.

“This year we focused our efforts on increasing participation from mid- and large-size firms, we achieved success in this initiative,” says Garrett. This information-rich resource provides partners, owners, shareholders and IT Professionals with insight into how the profession is moving in terms of operations, technology, and practice management.  “It is our goal to provide an unbiased valid resource that aids firms in decision-making for the next 12 months,” says Johnston. READ MORE →

A Startling Revelation: 1 Times Fees is a Steal

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Do the math and don't be afraid to pay more or ask for more.

By Marc Rosenberg, CPA

Partners in accounting firms are familiar with the rule of thumb that a CPA firm’s goodwill is worth one times fees; however, like many other “rules of thumb,” this notion is often incorrect.

Get the white paper

When buyers begin to think about how much they will pay for a smaller firm, they often have the “1 x fees” concept in mind. Then, when sellers are bold enough to ask for a price in excess of one times fees, buyers often balk because they feel that the asking price is too rich.

Use this white paper to make your case.

Unified Messaging Offers Benefits

Blue glowing new technology background with particlesCollaboration suites are on the rise.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Firms should strive to capture all data in a digital format at its “root” source. This goes for services such as the firm’s fax and voicemail systems as well.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Which Wireless Depends on Location | Bandwidth: How Much? | Are You Ready for Office 365? | Why Use Windows 10? | Update Your Backup | Server Vs. Cloud | Desktops vs. Laptops | Right to the Root, or Why Scanners Rule | Size Matters: In Desktop Monitors

Traditional inbound faxes are usually printed from a fax machine and then hand delivered to the recipient’s desk. In some cases, this image is actually rescanned and emailed to the recipient.

Samsung’s $1 Billion Bet on ‘Internet of Things’

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman & CEO Dr. Oh-Hyun Kwon unveils Samsung’s vision for ‘Human-Centered IoT’
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman & CEO Dr. Oh-Hyun Kwon unveils Samsung’s vision for ‘Human-Centered IoT’

The global Internet of Things market will be worth $1.7 trillion by 2020.

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

Samsung will dish out $1.2 billion over the next four years for Internet of Things (IoT) research and startups, solidifying the company's emphasis on the lucrative IoT market.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK:  Google’s Modular Smartphone  |  6 Big Changes Coming to Android Phones  |  New iPhone Case with Built-in Photo Printer  |  Foldable Samsung Concept Phone Doubles as a Tablet  |  More than Just a Phone Case: An Extra Touchscreen  |   App Wants to Be the Uber for Filing Taxes  |   Gadget Turns Your Smartphone into a 3D Printer   |  Tabletop-Sized Touchscreen |  Beware! Public Wi-Fi Is Just Not Secure  |  ZTE Announces New Tablet-Projector Hybrid at Barcelona  |  More Rick Richardson for PRO MEMBERS: Go PRO here

The investment, revealed last week at a forum in Washington, D.C., will move IoT to the center of Samsung's strategy, and will focus on using connected devices for benefits to society, said Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman and CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon. READ MORE →

Should the MP Be the Highest Paid Partner?

Businesspeople standing atop 5 stacks of coinsIt depends, and not on what role YOU play.

By Marc Rosenberg
Partner Comp: Art & Science

There  are  two  responses to the headline question. First, there is no automatic rule or customary practice that says “the MP shall be the highest paid partner.”

MORE ON PARTNER COMPENSATION: How Large and Small Firms Allocate Income | Integrating Partner Comp with Strategic Planning | Partner Pay: The Declining Importance of Book of Business | 3 Non-Performance-Based Comp Systems | 3 Subjective Compensation Systems | What Partners Earn and How They Earn It | Why Most Partner Comp Systems Are Performance-Based

Second, it depends on how the MP’s overall performance compares to other partners. Firm management, originating clients and the size of one’s clients under management (“book of business”) are far and away the factors that earn the most income for a partner.

Here are illustrations of various scenarios:

Build and Maintain Your Referral System

Horseshoe magnet attracting new customersYou're still targeting, but with people you know.

By Martin Bissett

Business Development On a Budget

Many firms have a "referral system" in place: Take what comes in the door, make a phone call every now and then to a lawyer, bank manager or other introducer to try and shake the tree enough to get something to work on.

MORE ON BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Preventing Buyer’s Remorse | 2 Rules for Getting Your Pricing Right | How to Prepare for the First Meeting with a New Prospect | Consider Hiring a Sales Director | Your Perception vs. Your Client’s Reality | Appraise Your Prospects | Develop the Habit of Consistency

This, in fact, is not a system at all. A system is what I will describe in the rest of this post.

Payroll Workers Still on a Roller Coaster

cpatrendlines jobs report tiltIndustry employment rises, with women seeing huge gains.

What it takes to succeed in today's profession:
Join the survey; get the answers

By CPA Trendlines

Industry hiring is moving ever higher but wages aren’t keeping pace, according to new CPA Trendlines research.

Sole practitioner Joshua Giminez of Fair Winds Tax and Financial and Columbus counted himself among those in a the latest CPA Trendlines survey probably willing to consider a new job and keeping his eyes open. “Opportunities to increase my income level abound,” he explained.

Numbers are growing in nearly all sectors of the tax and accounting industry, with women in particular advancing 5.9 percent annualized and even higher in CPA firms and payroll.

Yet, payroll remains volatile. Workers are finding more opportunities, with 9.7 percent growth, but hourly pay for staff is off by 6.6 percent.

6 Ways to Pay Partners

Paying for performance alone doesn't always work.The number 6 made from dollar stacks

By August Aquila
Creating the Effective Partnership

Many of us, including myself, thought that the right compensation plan would solve the answer to underperformance and motivation. Over the last 10 years or so, firms have moved from a formula-based plan to a pay-for-performance plan that takes into consideration

  • production,
  • business development,
  • value enhancement and
  • behavioral factors.

MORE ON LEADERSHIP FOR PRO Members: Work Together Better in 11 Steps | The Checks and Balances Your Firm Needs | Don’t Weed Out the Roses | Back to Basics: 25 Ways to Grow Your Practice | 3 Ways to Halt a Poor Leader | 8 Questions That Staff Ask In a Merger

While this has helped place more emphasis on performance, it hasn't been a magic bullet. Why are so many firms still missing the boat when it comes to motivating partners and staff to perform at a higher level?

Why Transparency Matters in the ‘New Firm’

Clear glass marble on a beachIt's time to move from number cruncher to advisor. Here are 4 questions to ask.

By Jody Padar
The Radical CPA

Aside from creating a new way to do compensation and work, the “New Firm” model brings upon a whole new level of trans­parency for both the customers you work with and your employ­ees.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Embrace Disruption | New Thinking Brings New Results | 10 Questions to Prepare for Radical Change | Who’s Your Competition? EVERYONE | How the ‘New Firm’ Was Born | Radical Firms Embrace 4 Values | Radical or Complacent? You Choose | 3 Questions to Ask If You Dare

  1. Data is changed in real time. No longer can you say that you never got that fax or email.
  2. More clarity in communication and expectations is required.
  3. What you communicate and how you deliver these communications will materially change, which calls for better monitoring of how team members communicate as well.
  4. Communication tools will vary. Are you using email, phone, videoconference, in-person, text or Facebook?
  5. How will you feel about your employees having transparent communications with firm customers and, more important, how is all this communication shared internally?


How Many Partners Do You Need?

Older businessman leaning back thinkingHint: probably fewer than you have.

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

More often than not, CPA firms support too many partners relative to the firm’s revenue, profitability and its anticipated growth rate. That usually means, too, that the partners are doing a lot of work that could or should be done by staff.

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: Is Your Pyramid Upside Down? | Start with Sound Firm Governance, Economics | How to Develop Tactics for Your Strategic Plan | Taking a Balanced Scorecard to Your Partners | As Tax Season Ends, Strategic Planning Seasons Begins | The Big Eight: Harsh Realities for Firms Today | Seizing the $10 Trillion Opportunity | Learning to ‘Run with the Big Dogs’

Look at the average revenue per partner for the mid-market sustainable brands and you will see that the trend is to get more done with fewer partners, more staff and more effective use of technology.