Today's Features

The Four Ways ‘Non-Competes’ #FAIL in the Social Media Age

R. Peter Fontaine is founder and managing partner of NewGate Law. NewGate provides legal and risk management services exclusively to the accounting industry. Peter has served as chief legal counsel for accounting firms for nearly two decades. Before launching NewGate, he was general counsel at McGladrey. He was also a partner and assistant general counsel at Arthur Andersen, where he managed the legal support for its global assurance and business consulting practices. Peter has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, partnership and employee agreements, professional standards, regulatory matters, international firm operations, and litigation and risk management. He can be reached at

How friending, liking, connecting or Tweeting can come back to haunt you. 

By R. Peter Fontaine
NewGate Law

It is axiomatic that the only true assets of any accounting firm are its clients and its people.  These relationships are typically protected through a legal agreement between the firm and its people.  Known as restrictive covenants (or, colloquially, as “non-competes”), under these contracts former partners and employees are prohibited from soliciting or serving firm clients, and soliciting or hiring firm employees.

Restrictive covenants are becoming increasingly more significant in the accounting industry because of the growing mobility of and competition for a scarce workforce and partner and employee “fallout” following a merger. The ever expanding popularity of social media only contributes to the uncertainty surrounding the enforceability and effectiveness of post-employment restrictions.


Why CPA Firms Need More Women

Two women shaking hands across a tableTo recruit the best, you must sponsor women for leadership.

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

Smart accounting firm leaders want to be in the forefront of efforts to advance women.

As the global economy continues to become more competitive, firms need to use all the talent they can muster — and more and more of that talent will be women.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Beyond Mentoring to Sponsorship | ‘Soft Skills’ Advice Needed, Too | Use Others to Promote Your Protégée | 8 Ways Sponsors Can Highlight Opportunities | 17 Ways Sponsors Can Help Protégées | 3 Ways to Open a Sponsorship Conversation | What Sponsors Need from Protégées | 3 Ways to Derail Sponsorships | 4 Ways Sponsors Can Help Women Seek Power | Bias About Women with Families Lingers | Judged on Performance, Not Potential? Must Be a Woman | Gender Bias Still a Problem | Why Women Are Overlooked (And How to Fix It) | 3 Ways Men Are Favored in the Workplace | Women Need Promotions, Not Just Advice | Mentor or Sponsor? How to Distinguish Roles | 4 Ways Women Leaders Improve Firms

Companies that successfully tap into the full potential of women will be far ahead of their competitors. The key to doing it is to identify women who are likely to succeed and sponsor them, so they reach the top levels of leadership. That requires direct per­sonal involvement by leaders, particularly leaders who are men.


13 Ways to Screw Up a Merger

Bonus Checklist: 12 nuances and idiosyncrasies to anticipate.

By Marc Rosenberg
CPA Firm Mergers: Your Complete Guide

In the best case, mergers go smoothly.

MORE ON MERGERS: 15 Can’t-Skip Merger Terms to Decide | 14 Keys to a Successful Merger | 13 Reasons Accounting Firms Merge | Mergers 101: When Negotiations Aren’t Really Negotiations | 5 Steps to Take Before Merging

But we're dealing with people, so sometimes things aren't so neat. Some common pitfalls: READ MORE →

Who Decides What to Keep?

Finger pressing delete keyHaving a document retention policy promotes accountability.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Managing digital files is in many ways similar to managing paper files in that the firm must have standards for who can create a document, add to or edit a document, file it, and eventually purge the file.
Learn more

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Firms Need Document Management Standards | How Smart Accounting Firms Use Intranets to Get Smarter | Unified Messaging Boosts Security | Ready for a Revolution? Your Phone Is | When Is the Last Time You Renegotiated Your Internet Rates? | Remote Access Boosts Productivity, Requires Planning | Get Ahead of Your Software Updates | Blame Accounting Vendors: Accountants Stuck with Outdated Versions of Microsoft Office | Ready or Not, Here Comes Windows 10 | Back Up and Check Your Backup | Cloud Computing Can Cost Less | Laptop-Only Workers More Common | Scanners Allow Data Capture at the Source | In PC Monitors, More Is Better

Unfortunately as digital files are on the network and “out of sight,” many firms are not really aware of what files are stored, the most current versions and whether or not they should be deleted.

NEW RECORD: U.S. Accounting Industry Tops 1 Million Workers

Wages rise 6%. Double-digit expansion in payroll agencies.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The number of people employed in the accounting industry has topped 1 million for the first time ever.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? There are a million of us. Savor that for a moment.

Top Talent Strategies
Join the survey. Get the Results

In this report, CPA Trendlines covers:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, tax, payroll and CPA segments of the industry, indicating growth and shrinkage among sectors.
  • Average hourly wages for key segments, with trends in employee pay rates.
  • Typical hours worked per week, showing utilization and productivity.
  • Trends concerning women in the workforce, including hiring rates.


Why My People Take 5 Days Off (Yes, in a Row)

Need more? Take more. You're an adult.


By Wesley Middleton
Middleton Raines LLP

So we decided to shake things up in the accounting world and offer a benefit that many others don't have. Open PTO, or as some call it, unlimited PTO.

No more tracking paid time off. No more carryovers or figuring out the carryover policy. Should it be 40 hours or 80 hours? We are telling our team what we expect them to get done, when we expect them to do it, and then the rest of the time is on them. Please go home or on vacation! You deserve it.