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Go PRO Today! Get the Best from Eminent Experts and Colleagues

Professionals worldwide rely on CPA Trendlines to deliver exclusive, actionable intelligence to identify and act on emerging issues and opportunities.

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Plus more than 3,000 need-to-know tips, tools and strategies – business-know-how articles – for your firm, your business and your career.

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Go PRO Today! See Why Everyone Follows CPA Trendlines

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CPA Firms Struggle to Meet Staff CPE Expectations

In Comments: “More is needed. This is an opportunity for firm leadership.”
Join the survey: Get more results.

COSTrainingResults of a new CPA Trendlines career outlook survey show optimism among staffers about management support for personal advancement and commitment to training. But firms appear to be struggling to keep up with staff demands.

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Four Top CPA Trade Shows on the 2015 Calendar

lettura a convention,riunione,dibattito

Each offers low-cost CPE, vendors with new products and services, and the chance for professional networking:

New York Accounting Show & Conference (7th Annual) – April 29-30
Pennsylvania Hotel, New York, NY. Sponsored by the National Conference of CPA Practitioners. More here READ MORE →

Success Begins With Accountability

USPaccountability8 key questions to get you started.

By Martin Bissett
Understanding Selling

The secret to overcoming failure to correctly implement a successful business development strategy is by “winning your first client” and this starts by being accountable to someone for your performance.

MORE ON SELLING: Do You Realize You’re Failing? | Winning Your First Client

Now that “someone” may be your fellow partners in the firm. If you are a senior manager, that may be the partner to whom you report.

If you’re a sole practitioner or if you don’t find being accountable to your partners helpful, then you can be accountable to your life partner, spouse or another person you wouldn’t want to see you fail. READ MORE →

5 Ways to Roll With the Changes You Didn’t Want

Man in suit with head leaned back on couch, hand on foreheadAttitude is a big factor.

Change, in business as in life, doesn’t always happen the way we want it.

It’s at those times when we may need some help. Here, from “change expert” M.J. Ryan, author of “AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For,” are a few helpful thoughts…

1. Focus on the solution, not the problem. Because society rewards analytic thinking, we believe that identifying the cause of our troubles is the answer: Why is this happening? That’s a starting point, but don’t spend too much time there. What are you going to do about where you are?

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The First 3 Questions I Should Have Asked Before Starting My Own Practice

Padar

Padar

And the 3 questions you should be asking yourself today.

By Jody Padar
The Radical CPA

I had just come off a really bad tax season.

This was about eight years ago now, and I knew there had to be a better way. I left a mid-sized firm, with seven partners and about 50 other employ­ees and I joined my dad’s firm — literally and figuratively. Figu­ratively, because many of his technology and processes were “old school.” READ MORE →

Draw New Clients In Like a Magnet

Magnet drawing in three people10 ways to make your business irresistible.

By Sandi Smith Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

If you’re an expert at something, don’t be the best-kept secret on your block. Get the word out about what you can offer others, and one way to do that easily, especially if you’re an accountant, is to build your reputation.

Here are 10 quick tips to boost yours.
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Consistency Simplifies Tax Season

Man talking to woman with checklistApply it to service, processes and standards.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

One way to guarantee extra work is to have everything always done differently each time it is done.

MORE ON TAX SEASON: 11 Clear Client Instructions to Make Your Tax Season Easier | 3 Ways to Build a Tax Season Team | Have Fun This Tax Season | How to Get Paid Faster This Tax Season

Not establishing uniform procedures is bad business and unnecessarily consumes part of your life. Consistency in performance reduces work and review time and creates a greater reliance on the staff people. READ MORE →

14 Timely Questions for Tax Season Clients

Dollar on Question MarkIf you don’t ask, you can’t know. If not now, when?

By Jean Marie Caragher
The 90-Day Marketing Plan for CPA Firms

Tax season is the perfect time to identify cross-selling opportunities, strengthen client relationships and ensure client satisfaction.

Consider asking your clients the following 14 questions this tax season. You may discover a new gold nugget of opportunity: READ MORE →

Walking the Walk with a Radical CPA

broken chainGet real. Get up from your desk. Go for a ‘gemba’ walk.

By Tom Hood
The Radical CPA

I remember sending a video intro to Jody Padar’s first meeting of IC Opportunities where I read a quote from the February 2012 edition of Fast Company magazine in which the editor, Robert Safian, intro­duced the concept of “Generation Flux” and it reminded me of Jody and her tribe:

Tom Hood

Hood

“In our hyper-networked, mobile, social, global world, the rules and plans of yesterday are increasingly under pressure; the enterprises and individuals that will thrive will be those willing to adapt and iterate, in a disciplined, unsen­timental way… Generation Flux is a term that describes all of this — the chaotic business era that we have moved into — as well as the people who are poised to thrive in this environment.”

So what is a “gemba walk,” you might be thinking? READ MORE →

Retirement Vesting: The Devil’s In the Details

Money rollAnd two common methods fully illustrated.

By Marc Rosenberg
Retirements & Buyouts

Vesting of retirement benefits is not unique to CPA firms. But vesting concepts for accounting firms are somewhat unique and are important to understand.

MORE ON BUYOUTS: Compromise Is In Order for Some Goodwill Payouts | When Retiring Partners Take a Specialty With Them | If Clients Leave, Do You Reduce Retirement Benefits? | Why You’ll Get Less from Your Partners in a Buyout than You Might by Selling the Whole Firm | Three Ways to Calculate Goodwill Payable in Partner Buyouts, None of Them Great | Eat What You Kill? Then Maybe ‘Book of Business’ Is for You | The Multiple of Compensation Method, Fully Explained | The Ins and Outs of AAV for Goodwill | 5 Points to Consider When Paying Out Goodwill | Clients Leaving? Time to Reduce Retirement Benefits | How to Set Terms and Limits for Goodwill Payouts | 4 Ways to Decide How to Pay Out Capital | Partners May Balk at Guaranteeing Retirement Obligations

Employee retirement plans are intended essentially as “savings programs” that people can take with them when they leave the firm, even if they depart well in advance of a normal retirement age. When there is employer matching, vesting provisions are common, and vesting is fairly rapid. In contrast, vesting in partner retirement plans is intentionally slow.

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Is Sponsorship Right for Your Firm?

Man in striped shirt holding spiral binder and talking to woman at laptop6 steps to help you get started.

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

Sponsorship is a personal undertaking. A man who sponsors a woman takes it upon himself to advance her career. He puts his reputation on the line for her and tells the world she is worth it.

She still has to earn that promotion, but his solid, public vote of confidence – and the power he puts behind it – at least gives her a fair chance to get it.

 MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: And Now, a Few Words About Sex (and 14 Tips) | Make Flexible Scheduling Work for Everyone | Your Protégée Needs Your Feedback |  9 Ways to Promote Your Protégée to Others | 8 Ways to Help Your Protégée Focus on Career Opportunities | How to Start an Effective Sponsorship … and Follow Through | 3 Ways to Initiate Informal Sponsorship | How to Establish a Sponsor-Protégée Relationship | 3 Roadblocks to Women and Men Working Together Well | Fear of Sex and Rumors Inhibits Sponsorship | Why Women Resist Networking and Powerful Role Models | Women Must See Politics as Leadership to Get Ahead | Mommy Bias Persists | Different Standards, Double Binds Challenge Women | 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

In return, sponsors receive personal satisfaction and capable and loyal leaders who help them achieve their business goals and build their legacy. READ MORE →

The 3 Hallmarks of the ‘New Accounting’ Business

Gale Crosley

Crosley

News flash – the business model has changed.

By Gale Crosley
Crosley+Co.

When we think of innovation we typically think of a new product or service – something that didn’t exist yesterday that will make tomorrow better. Innovative offerings are essential to the portfolio of any growth-minded CPA firm.

MORE from CROSLEY: The Three Elements of Growth Strategy [VIDEO] | Defining the New Business Model [VIDEO] | The New Growth Evolution [VIDEO] | At the Best Firms, Growth is No Accident | Jody Padar’s New Vision for the ‘New Accounting’ | Reality Check: Achieving World-Class Growth Requires Real-World Intelligence | No Shortcuts to Sustainable Growth | 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 | 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 | 9 Big Ideas for Turbulent Times

However, long-term sustainable growth requires a far more comprehensive innovation in your growth model, the strategic blueprint that helps you get from Point A to Point B.

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Can Accounting Firms Lead With Work-Life Vision?

And 5 practical ideas to implement measures to create real work-life balance at your firm.

Work life balanceBy Hitendra Patil
Pransform Inc.
 

Do you want employees who have:

  • greater engagement in their jobs
  • higher levels of job satisfaction
  • stronger intentions to remain with their employers
  • less negative and stressful spillover from job to home
  • less negative spillover from home to job
  • better mental health

Aren’t these the things most accounting firms would want their employees to experience? READ MORE →

Standardize QuickBooks Support for Clients

Word "license" on word cloudLicensing can get expensive.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

In the United States, QuickBooks is the most dominant small business accounting product on the market and will be the application that the majority of the firm’s clients use.

Therefore, it is obvious that the firm must become proficient with supporting QuickBooks.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: How to Choose the Right Client Portal Solution | Streamlining Bill-Paying at CPA Firms | Digital Tools Streamline Audit Production | Making Digital Tax Process Easier Is All About the Workflow | When to Adopt Microsoft’s New Office Apps | What Windows 8 Means for How Accountants Will Work in the Future | How to Choose the Right Backup System | How to Know It’s Time to Scrap Your Old Server

Unfortunately, one of the biggest wastes of time is when firms support too many older versions of the software, which often leads to incompatibilities that can corrupt the database and make it unusable for clients.
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