Today's Features

New Pocket-Sized Projector for the CPA Road Warrior

UO Smart Beam Laser
UO Smart Beam Laser

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

If you’re a road warrior and need extreme portability for your presentations, look no further. The UO Smart Beam Laser is now shipping for under $400 and looks to be my next purchase for travel.

More Technology This Week by Rick RichardsonNew Europay-style Credit Card Technology May Be Losing Steam  |  Hacking into an Accounting Office Computer System  | The Newest Earthquake Early Warning System  |  Apple’s Secret Car Project Code-Named Titan  |

Rick Richardson
Richardson

The unit is a 2.2 inch cube and weighs less than 7 ounces with its battery included. The projection distance is from 2-6 feet and the image size is from 20 inches to 100 inches. The laser diode has a life of 10,000 hours and the 4,200 mAh battery lasts two hours in continuous use.

Most pico projectors will give you a small size and high resolution, but at the expense of brightness. This projector gives you all three, size, resolution and a bright image. It projects in 720p (Hi-Def) in a 16x9 aspect ratio.

You can connect wirelessly to many devices using Miracast or DLNA, or connect your favorite smartphone, laptop, tablet or other mobile device using the built-in HDMI port.

6 Things Leaders Must Do

Aquila
Aquila

It's about accountability, not politics.

By August Aquila
Creating the Effective Partnership

Every book you read on leadership will tell you certain things you need to do to become a good leader. However, you can do these things and still not be someone who people want to follow.

Why? Leadership is all about trust. If you cannot trust me, then you will not follow me or believe in me.

MORE on LEADERSHIP for PRO Members: 5 Questions About Your Firm’s Direction | 6 Reasons to Keep Partners from Retiring | 6 Reasons Why CPA Firms Fail in Innovation | 6 Steps to Handle Staffing Problems in a Merger | 7 Signs Your Firm Is Headed for an Implosion | It’s Not Always about Money: 16 Tweaks for Your Comp System | Eight Key Goal Areas for Partners | Like Herding Cats: Partners Must ‘Walk Together’ | Managing Partners Must Remember Partners’ Needs | New Times Call for New CPA Firm Metrics | Partners Have Love-Hate Relationship with Leadership | The 8-Point Financial Tune-Up for Your Accounting Firm | Three Ways to Run a Firm: But Only One Is Sustainable | What Does Being a Partner Mean?

Here is my short checklist for the things good leaders need to do:

1. Always tell the truth. This is the basis of trust. Just remember the story of George Washington and the cherry tree – "I cannot tell a lie." Leadership is not about politics, it's about clear and honest communication with your partners, employees, clients and referral sources. Leave the double talk to the politicians who populate the Sunday morning TV talk shows. READ MORE →

9 Ways to Boost Your Value (and Your Fees)

Red "quality guarantee" stamp with wooden stamperCan you leave behind a toy? A cheat sheet?

By Sandi Smith Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

Want to charge more for your services? One way is to offer clients more value. Your fees and your value to the client should go hand in hand.

Here are nine ideas to increase your value to your clients:

1. Offer a guarantee.

You might feel like offering a guarantee is taking on a lot more risk than you’d like to, but this is a myth. When you offer a guarantee, you help to lower the perceived risk your client feels they might have when deciding to do business with you. This greatly increases the number of clients who will take that chance, even if they don’t know you very well yet. The surprising truth is that very few people will take the time to ask for a refund, making the increased sales far more valuable than the few returns you’ll need to process, if any.

MORE ON SMALL-FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: 3 Ways to Get to ‘Yes’ with Prospects | 5 Cures for the Summertime Blues | Design Your Business Around Your Strengths | Two Daily Rituals: Focus and Measure | 5 Cool Ways to Streamline Data Sharing | 3 Tips for Following Up with Prospects | 5 Ways a Deadline Can Help Close a Deal | 7 Ways to Get New Revenue from Old Clients | 9 Ways to Increase Sales through ‘Power Networking’ | 3 Ways to Test Your Revenue Forecast | Whip Out the Wow Factor for Clients | If You’re a ‘Best-Kept Secret’ Cut It Out! | Take Advantage of 4 Key Marketing Strategies

Set limits, qualifications and perhaps money on your guarantee, such as time frames, restocking fees and requiring products to be mailed back in good condition. That way, you reduce your risk of running into the few people who will take unfair advantage of the system.

2. Offer affinity discounts. READ MORE →

A Radical Close Look at Value Pricing

Pen ready to fill in blank timesheetBONUS CHECKLISTS: 5 reasons not to manage employees by timesheet and 4 factors of fixed pricing.

Join the survey; get the results:
Pricing Strategies and Billing Rates

By Jody Padar
The Radical CPA

Ron Baker and Ed Kless of the VeraSage Institute are the hands-down experts on value pricing. They do a phenomenal job of explaining how it works and why you shouldn’t track time. I’ve done it for the last eight years and I absolutely love it. I would never go back to time and billing. My quality of life has changed dramatically because of it. What it’s done for the culture of my firm can’t be measured. It’s an intangible. I started doing it because I figured out that there had to be a better way to sell my services. I didn’t want to sell myself by the hour and I found out that it worked without reading all the economic theories. So I continued.

Jody Padar, The Radical CPA
Jody Padar, The Radical CPA; learn more

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The technology is only getting faster and better. Eight years ago my payroll only took two minutes using PayCycle. I had to ask myself: how could I make money on it? I believe that the pricing model finally is going to change. Ron Baker was the early adopter and started this 20 years ago. I believe the technology has now caught up. If firms don’t change our pricing model, we’re either going to have 25,000 customers or we’re not going to make any money if we continue to charge by time.

READ MORE →

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 pfontaine@newgatelaw.com.
Fontaine

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.

READ MORE →

How to Read Your Firm’s Cultural Blueprint

BONUS CHECKLIST: Five-part analysis to measure partner material.PTP_2ndC

By Martin Bissett
Passport to Partnership

What conclusions can you draw from your knowledge of how the promotion system works in your firm that you need to keep in mind?

MORE ON THE PASSPORT TO PARTNERSHIP: Gauge Firm Culture to Move Toward Partner | What Culture Really Means for Partners | Firm Culture Is Inevitable; Make It Work for You | 12 Ways to Determine Your Competence | What Competence Really Means for Partners | Sailing Through the Seven C’s to Partnership | Passport to Partnership: New Research Shows Wide Gap between Partners and Partners-To-Be

In terms of firm culture, you need to understand the four navigational points of the compass:

  1. Who do I need to stay on the right side of?
  2. What are the unwritten rules in my firm?
  3. Whose opinions can be trusted?
  4. What really impresses the partners?

And here's a five-part analysis to see how you measure up:

READ MORE →

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.

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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.

READ MORE →