Today's Features —

21 Painless Ways to Network, Even for Accountants

Business Colleagues Eating Meal Together and Discussing Work

How to make yourself memorable to everyone you meet, and get new clients and enthusiastic referrals…

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Accounting Firms Run on More than Checklists Alone

Business man pointing the text: Duplicate Success

How savvy firms capture their best practices and foster continuous improvement…

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Fears of Sexual Innuendo and Office Gossip Block Talent Development

Image of a female executive explaining something to her boss in office.

Career penalties for romance are greater for junior women than senior men…

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How to ‘Go Digital’ when Partners Demand Monthly P&Ls on Paper?

Technology Security with Internet Digital Signature as ArtWhy 75% of multi-owner firms have already gone to online monthly financial reports.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Improving firm efficiency means that the owners have to get on board. One of the more obvious opportunities is the delivery of the firm’s own financial reports.

Too many firms still print a hard copy of the monthly financials and distribute them to each owner, many of whom physically store these documents in their office. READ MORE →

Lowballing and Why It (Usually) Doesn’t Work

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and APlus some exceptions and how to pull them off.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

I actually received the same question from two people in one day. These calls were from two CPAs I speak to a lot, have a lot of respect for and who have successful firms with other partners and a good number of staff. 

QUESTION:  (1) I lowballed a fee to get a client ($2,000 a month), got the client and the time was running twice what I charged them ($4,000 a month). I asked for an upward adjustment four months later of halfway between the time and the fee (an additional $1,000 per month). They dropped me and went back to their prior accountant, who was charging less than I was ($1,800 a month), but who didn’t do anything close to what I was doing. I feel the client knew it was a lowball and took advantage of it. What did I do wrong? READ MORE →

Tax Prep Fee National Averages

tax prep stats3
Source: National Society of Accountants via cpatrendlines.com

Unhappy Client? 5 Constructive Approaches

Drawing of unhappy face and arrow pointing from it to happy faceWith the right approach, you may be able to save the relationship.

Unhappy clients won’t tell you they have a problem; they’ll simply move their business elsewhere.

So, if a client gives you a chance to repair a bad situation, take it.

Here are a few tips from Maribeth Kuzmeski, author of “The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life,” to keep your business relationships from going bad — and rescue those that have started to sour:

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8 Must-Haves for a Prospect Kit

Businesswomen shaking hands and exchanging a folderAnd 10 ways to go beyond the expected.

By Sandi Smith Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

If you’ve spent any time at all in business talking with prospects on the phone or in person, then you probably have a list of benefits or advantages that you like to mention about your company to every prospect. You may have a very structured way of going about this, and you may not.

In any case, building a prospect kit will help you become even more consistent in the presentation of your company’s strong points to prospects. And, it’s absolutely essential as you move into larger and larger business deals.

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Three Ways to Calculate Goodwill Payable in Partner Buyouts, None of Them Great

Pen, eyeglasses, calculator and magnifying glass on financial reportsSome methods can damage the firm.

By Marc Rosenberg
Retirements & Buyouts

CPA firms use a number of methods to calculate the goodwill payable to a retiring partner.

Here are three less commonly used.

1. Ownership Percentage

This method has clear detriments. Firms should look at goodwill benefits as deferred compensation. Both current and deferred compensation should be performance-based; ownership percentage is not performance-based and is often highly illogical.

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Accountants See Solid Business Gains in 2015

BUSINESS OUTLOOK 2015

Accountants report new highs in confidence levels for themselves and their firms, while casting a darker outlook on their client base and the nation as a whole.

CPA Trendlines Strategy Shift Report: Accounting firms around the world reap benefits of easing oil prices, government stimulus and innovation.

cpa trendlines strategy shift logo shadowBy Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines

Tax and accounting practitioners are heading into a new year and a new busy season markedly more confident and optimistic than they’ve been in years, according to the 10th annual CPA Trendlines Strategy Shift Report.

Kathy Bennett

Kathy Bennett

Professionals from Milwaukee to Tucson and Karachi to Kampala are telling CPA Trendlines of brightening business forecasts for their firms in 2015.

Top Trends in Emerging Business Strategies
Join the survey. Get the results.

Fully 71 percent of professionals say they are more than somewhat confident in the business and economic outlook for their firms, with a record 30 percent telling CPA Trendlines they are “highly confident” for the prospects of their business.

To be sure, they are less certain about the prospects for their client base or the nation as a whole than they are for themselves, their families and their firms. READ MORE →

Winning Your First Client

Martin Bissett

Martin Bissett

Why your first sale is to yourself.

By Martin Bissett
Understanding Selling

Winning your first client is all about understanding why someone would buy from you before you ever speak to them, before you ever meet them, before you ever start the preparation for talking to them.

Starting Today at CPA Trendlines: We’re launching a new program we call “Understanding Selling” – instructive articles and handbooks by Martin Bissett, founder of Upward Spiral Partnership, the U.K.-based consulting firm that develops professional selling and leadership skills for senior managers in the accounting profession. His first book from CPA Trendlines is now available: Understanding Selling in Practice: Winning Your First Client. – The Editors

This discipline too often goes unexplained by most sales training programs offered to the accounting profession, but ultimately we have to be comfortable with who we are and the value that we offer.
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8 Ways to Help Your Protégée Focus on Career Opportunities

Man showing woman something on laptop computerBeware of gender traps.

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

Once you have identified a woman to sponsor and determined that you click, you may be wondering how to get started.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: How to Start an Effective Sponsorship … and Follow Through | 3 Ways to Initiate Informal Sponsorship | How to Establish a Sponsor-Protégée Relationship | Women Must See Politics as Leadership to Get Ahead | 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 | Beyond Mentoring: Why Sponsoring Women for Leadership Matters

Here are some concrete steps to take: READ MORE →

The 3 Reasons Firms Are Migrating to Digital Timesheets

Stopwatch on budget numbers in blue toningBut staffers need convincing and partners are still the biggest slackers.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Studies done over the past two decades have clearly shown that there is a significant improvement in realization for firms that enter, release and post time and expenses on a daily basis. This process allows for daily or “hotel” type billing, which is sent out with the completion of each billable project.

As many as 32 percent of firms today are still using manual billing sheets, while the rest of the industry is preparing the majority of invoices on screen, according to a survey of 300 multi-owner firms.

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How Will You Choose Your Next Managing Partner?

Business people having meetingTwo questions to consider.

By Robert J. Lees, August J. Aquila and Derek Klyhn

The role of managing partner is just too important and too complex to leave the selection of the appropriate candidate to chance.

MORE ON LEADERSHIP: Four Key Questions for Managing Partners | Research, But Also Be Ready to Act | Leader Training Is Time Well Spent | Managing Partners Must Remember Partners’ Needs | 5 Questions About Your Firm’s Direction | Like Herding Cats: Partners Must ‘Walk Together’

With the scale of the challenges firms are facing, no firm we know can afford not to identify and develop a group of partners with the ability to successfully take on the role of managing partner in the future. READ MORE →

When Is It Time to Merge?

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and AThe answer is personal, but certain questions can help you decide.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I have a 20-person, five-partner firm, and am frequently approached by larger firms that want me to merge into them. I own 60 percent of the practice, and am 20 years older than the next oldest partner. Should I merge? I am happy with my situation and am inclined to let my younger partners decide what they want to do. READ MORE →

5 Tips for Hiring a Great Sales Rep

shark salesman dollarphotoclub_52093671And avoiding disaster.

As a firm owner, you can’t risk putting a dent in your reputation with a poor salesperson.

But how and where do you find a good salesperson?

Successful CPA firms tell CPA Trendlines of five ways:

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