Today's Features

Ohio CPA Society Teams with CPA Trendlines to Improve CPE ROI

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In a ground-breaking effort to uncover the top trends and best practices in professional development in the tax and accounting industry, The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA) is teaming with CPA Trendlines Research and Michael Ramos + Associates to conduct an extensive study of CPAs’ learning plans, attitudes, and behaviors.

MORE: Top CPE Trends: How Accountants Are Re-Tooling for 2017  |   CPE Survey: Why Some CPAs Are Focusing on Accounting & Financial Reporting This Year

The study, already underway and in the preliminary reporting stages, is examining the links between the relative success of CPA firms and their approach to professional development.


How to Fire a Client

Big businessman foot on spring kicking three businesspeopleBONUS: A sample disengagement letter.

By Sandi Leyva and Michelle Long
The Ultimate Accounting Virtual Conference

How many clients have you fired?

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: What to Do When a Client Doesn’t Pay | The Dreaded ‘Quick Question’ | How to Handle Referrals – And How Not To | Why Clients Need Dashboards | 3 Ways to Raise Your Prices | Your Existing Clients Are Your Best Leads | Need More Business? Focus on Referrals

Let’s talk about firing a client because sometimes you do need to fire your client. Maybe they’re difficult to work with or a guy is belligerent and loud and yells and you don’t want to work for him. Maybe there are ethical issues.

Best Practices for One-on-One Communication

4 winning habits of top accountants.

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.

MORE ON THE PASSPORT TO PARTNERSHIP: 3 Questions to Evaluate Your Firm Culture | Learn to Read Your Firm’s Culture | 5 Ways to Get Buy-In for Firm Culture | Competence: More Than Technical Skills | Experts Advise What Partnership Takes | Partnership: Competence Is Just the Foot in the Door | Are You Partner Material? Maybe Not

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


How to Drive Partner Performance with a Smart Compensation Plan

Dollar being built of blocksHow to use compensation as a way of running your firm.

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

“Show me your compensation plan and I’ll show you your strategy.”
– Dom Esposito

As you strive to become a mid-market sustainable brand, your firm needs to become a performance-driven organization if you want to take advantage of future opportunities and drive growth and profitability. An effective performance management and compensation plan (PMCP) is critical to making your firm’s strategic plan a reality.

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: Develop the Partners You Already Have | Is HR Ready for Your Partner Pipeline? | Is Your Pyramid Upside Down? | Taking a Balanced Scorecard to Your Partners | Seizing the $10 Trillion Opportunity

The basic premise is that compensation rewards first look to:

The Training Mindset: Mapping Firm Attitudes to Performance

Woman training man at computerWhat Corporate America knows that CPAs ignore: Training pays.

Today's top CPE trends
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By Michael Ramos
Michael Ramos + Associates

To maintain their licenses, professionals are required to meet annual continuing education requirements. To practice in certain areas (e.g., government audits) or maintain a designation (e.g., Certified Financial Planner, Certified Fraud Examiner) also requires continuing education. Thus was born the multibillion-dollar continuing professional education industry, to meet the needs of millions of professionals forced to comply with continuing education requirements.

MORE:  Top CPE Trends: How Accountants Are Re-Tooling for 2017  |  CPE Survey: Why Some CPAs Are Focusing on Accounting & Financial Reporting This Year |  Ohio CPA Society Teams with CPA Trendlines to Improve CPE ROI  |   How to Choose the Right CPE  |   The Missing Link: Developing Your People to Achieve Profitability  |

Outside of the professions, most businesses face few if any mandated training requirements. Though not required, businesses still train their employees regularly and at great cost. One study shows that the typical small business trains each employee an average of 40 hours each year – the same as a CPA.

Sadly, most CPA firms do not share this mindset. Whether it’s because of the overt regulatory nature of professional CPE requirements or for some other reason, compliance with licensing requirements continues to be a major driver for training at most CPA firms. Few firms approach training as an investment of strategic value.


Content Categories and How to Leverage Them

Chart of social media content categoriesMatch leads to streams.

By Becky Livingston
The Accountant’s Social Media Handbook

To start in social media, you’ll only need four or five categories – start small, or you’ll get overwhelmed.

MORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: DIY Design for Social Media | Tailor Content to Social Media Platform | How to Track Who’s Clicking Your Links | Which Social Media Should You Use? | How Social Media Works with Accountants’ Top 5 Marketing Goals

In this example, I have stripped down some client specifications to the bare minimum, just to show the categories of content they decided to use.

3 Ways to Work Less and Earn More

Businesswoman relaxing in the office with bare feet up on her deskThink about the value you're providing.

By Sandi Leyva and Michelle Long
The Ultimate Accounting Virtual Conference

Let's talk about three ways to earn more in fewer hours.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: When to Turn Over Client Data Files | How to Fire a Client | How to Manage Client Expectations | Trashing the Spreadsheet: Best Practices in Modern Expense Management | 3 Ways to Implement Value Pricing | Building Reputation to Build Your Business | Need More Business? Focus on Referrals

One of the first things you can do is learn more about modern accounting apps. There are so many apps available today that really allow us to work faster and more efficiently, whether it’s for us or our clients. So it’s really important that you keep up with these changes and with technology because there are new apps coming out every single month.

23 Key Provisions in a Partner Buyout

handshake-1388361357w8dh9-150x150Vesting, notice, clawback and other points to ponder.

By Marc Rosenberg
How to Bring in New Partners

In determining buyout, I have discussed several key points, such as:

MORE ON PARTNERSHIP: Buyout: The Flip Side of Buying In | Research Results: How Firms Pay New Partners | What Does Buy-In Buy? | How to Structure Partner Buy-In | Keys to Bringing in New Partners

  • Will the buyout be limited to capital only or will it include a goodwill provision? (Ninety-five percent of all firms with retirement plans pay both.)
  • How will the goodwill be valued? The average goodwill valuation is roughly 80 percent of fees, although there are still many firms at 100 percent and many firms well below 80 percent.
  • How will an individual partner's buyout amount be determined? Two partner retirement benefit systems that you should consider are AAV or average annual value, better described as "cumulative benefits," and multiple of compensation, the most common method used by firms, especially those with six or more partners.


Four-Part Plan to Re-ignite Revenue Growth

Sprout growing on money pile of glass jar bankNew times call for new expansion strategies.

By Gale Crosley

It’s been a long slog, but we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel known as the Great Recession. Both job creation and the gross domestic product are robust. Interest rates remain low, and the stock market is showing solid gains.

MORE by GALE CROSLEY: Not All Fish Need Audits  |  The 4 New Growth Engines in Today’s Marketplace  |  Change Catches Up with Auditors  |  The 6 Elements to Sustainable Growth for CPA Firms  | Jody Padar’s New Vision for the ‘New Accounting’  |  Reality Check: Achieving World-Class Growth Requires Real-World Intelligence  |  Crosley: The New Growth Evolution  |  Expand Your Vision and Expand Your Business  |  Leveraging Leadership: A New Way of Looking at Growth  |  Are You Creating a Sustainable Firm?  |  Don’t Confuse Marketing with a True Growth Strategy  |  Overcoming Four Imaginary Barriers that Limit CPA Firm Growth  |  How Firms Unleash the Power of Diamonds, Cash Cows and Fat Cats  |  How Smart Firms Use Market Research  |  Got Leads? Get Real. Learn How to Qualify Big Opportunities  |  It’s a New Generation in Lead Generation  |  At the Best Firms, Growth is No Accident  |  Four Keys to Success at Seiler CPAs  |  How Accounting Firms Are Re-Building Their Sales Pipelines  |  How to Get Started on IFRS in One Easy Step  |  [PRO Member Exclusive. Log in required.]

VIDEO: The Three Elements of Growth Strategy  |  Defining the New Business Model  |  The 3 Hallmarks of the ‘New Accounting’ Business

While these bright spots are welcome, I urge firm leaders not to be lured into believing that it’s back to business as usual. The light at the end of the tunnel may look like, well, light. But the market conditions illuminated by that light are substantially different from those of the pre-recession environment.

What’s changed? Nearly everything, from an upsurge in globalization to stiffer competition, increased standards and regulations, more specialization and a growing reliance on technology. Today, clients can engage CPA firms around the corner or around the globe. Just because you’re in the neighborhood doesn’t mean you’re in the running. READ MORE →

Workflow Systems Make Tax Season Less Tedious

Man holding a document in each handThere are options for with and without document management systems.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

The most important aspect of transitioning the firm’s tax process to a digital environment is managing electronic files that are no longer physically viewable in assorted stacks around the office.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Don’t Just Store Documents, Manage Them | Which Wireless Depends on Location | Stay on Top of Software Updates | Update Your Backup | Right to the Root, or Why Scanners Rule

This requires a digital tax workflow system that lets everyone know the status of every return and easily connects that person to digital copies of the return and the source documents.

4 Ways to Help Women Seek Power

Business team including young womanAnd why some women resist using networks.

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

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: 3 Ways Women Benefit When Seen as Leaders | 4 Firm Benefits of Sponsoring Women as Leaders

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.