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…”

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Readers Sound Off: Value Pricing vs. Hourly Billing

Readers Sound Off: Value Pricing vs. Hourly Billing

The gloves come off…

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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.

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4 Ways to Decide How to Pay Out Capital

Businessman calculates numbersHow firms decide the capital payable to a retiring partner.

By Marc Rosenberg
Retirements & Buyouts

We know there are two parts to retirement benefits:

  • Capital
  • Goodwill

The issues involved in determining the capital are very few and straightforward compared with the goodwill determination, which is far more intricate and nuanced. In fact, there are four main variables in calculating the capital. This compares to 25 variables for goodwill. READ MORE →

Mommy Bias Persists

Woman torn between work and familyFathers have at least two advantages over mothers.

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

One pattern of gender bias is exhibiting “maternal wall” bias, which leads people to believe that women with children are unable to meet the demands of leadership.

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

People assume that women with children are less committed to their work. This bias arises from the stereotypes that create conflicting expectations for mothers and career women: Good mothers should always be available to their children, while good business people should always be available to their clients. READ MORE →

Is Your Network Drive a Disaster Waiting to Happen?

Big pile of wires on the floorCloud systems can ease the burden at upgrade time.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

The network drive in most firms is not very well organized and needs the most cleanup. This happens because it is usually managed with Windows Explorer, which allows almost anyone to create or access a file anywhere on the drive.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Digital Fax Has Benefits You May Be Ignoring | Wireless Is Hot, and Here’s How to Handle It | How Safe Is Your Internet Lifeline? | New Tech Tools for the 24/7 Accounting Firm | The Single Best Defense Against Computer Viruses | When to Adopt Microsoft’s New Office Apps | How to Choose the Right Backup System | How to Know It’s Time to Scrap Your Old Server | Step 1 in Building the Paperless Firm: Scanners | How Many Computer Monitors Do You Need?

Unfortunately, there is seldom a firm standard that is adhered to, allowing users to create files with any name they want and store it anywhere they please. The result can be files that are hard to find and slow to search across the network. READ MORE →

Big Firms Keep Getting Bigger

Good news for small firms, too, but not as much.financial graph on blackboard

For CPA firms, bigger is better and keeps getting better in terms of revenues and profits for the practices and income for their individual practitioners.

So say the results of one of the profession’s best-respected monitors of practice management trends and CPA firms’ financial performance, “The National MAP Survey of CPA Firm Statistics: The Rosenberg Survey,” which is based on data from across the profession from solo practitioners to firms with more than $20 million in net fees.

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6 Ways to Take a Client Beyond Tax Prep

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and ASet an agenda; call a meeting.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I have many small business tax clients and seem to lose them as they grow. I provide good service, never have extensions and call the clients in July to see if I can update their books and in December if they want any year-end tax planning. What else can I do?

RESPONSE: Based on our conversation, you are their tax preparer and they do not think of you as their “accountant” or business advisor. And based on what you told me, you aren’t, although you obviously have the skills. READ MORE →

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.

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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.”

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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 →