Survey Shows 82% of CPAs at Top 100 Accounting Firms Tie New Technology Adoption to Client Retention and Firm Growth.
Bay Street Group Research finds accounting firm partners are embracing document management and Software-as-a-Service solutions to meet client needs and expectations.
LAGUNA HILLS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The accounting profession’s largest U.S. firms believe they are nearly 100 percent focused on client needs and expectations, and perceived by their clients as technologically savvy with the adoption of paperless and cloud-based technologies to speed productivity.
“It’s clear that firms must provide as many resources as possible to save their clients time and money. These include easy-to-use portals and other applications to enable the exchange of documents and information.”
These and other preliminary findings are the result of a new study commissioned by Fujitsu and SpeedTax, and conducted by the Bay Street Group, a NY-based custom research and strategic consulting firm for the professional tax, accounting and finance community.
It was 25 years ago this week that Microsoft released Windows 1.0. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said at the time that Windows 1.0, which carried a suggested retail price of $99 in 1985, was “unique software” that would provide “unprecedented power to users today and a foundation for hardware and software advancements of the next few years.” (See the original launch date press kit here.)
It certainly changed the accounting business.
To be sure, the first Windows wasn’t really a full operating system. Mostly, it was a graphical user interface that ran on top of DOS.
In today’s fast-changing and competitive environment, excellent client service is not only nice but essential for success. In fact, the only way to differentiate yourself and to become less of a commodity in the marketplace is through outstanding service. The strategies for keeping clients for life can be honed down to some basic steps that any business owner can use.
To get clients, keep them and to get enthusiastic referrals follow these 25 proven techniques:
1. Reward your clients. Send them a gift, provide them a lead, generate business for them, etc.
2. Use your clients’ services and buy their products. If you want to increase loyalty, there is no better way.
3. Send thank-you cards. Make sure they are handwritten and sent promptly. Peter Drucker attributed much of his success to the fact that he sent out 12 thank-you cards every day.
4. Return phone calls promptly. Since so many people don’t return calls, you automatically look good when you do.
Newly released survey data show that almost 20 percent of CPA firms’ junior staff, those with three years of experience or less, plan to leave their current firm by the end of 2010 and another 20 percent are looking to leave by the end of next year.
A new IOMA study, which compares consulting firms in general to accounting firms in particular, shows that 23% of mid-level CPA talent say they could be persuaded to jump ship with better compensation.
And 23% say they’d do it for less than a 25% raise.
Meet your new best friends: Tio, Din and Mit. And put them to work this busy season to get things done, keep clients happy and live to tell about it.
by Rick Telberg
After more than 40 years in practice, CPA Ed Mendlowitz knows a thing or two about tax season.
In fact, Mendlowitz knows more than “a thing or two.” He holds the PFS, ABV and CFF credentials. He’s the author of 18 books, the editor of four others, a prize-winning writer for the Journal of Accountancy, a college instructor, successful CPA firm CEO, a nationally recognized adviser to senior accounting firm partners, and the author, most recently, of the newest edition of the AICPA’s “Managing Your Tax Season.”
Good advice from a top venture capital investor on what he wants to hear.
Before you call Mark Suster, a two-time entrepreneur who joined GRP Partners in 2007 after selling his company to Salesforce.com, with your next big idea, first listen to some of his advice.
“When a person calls me and we’re 10 minutes into the call and it’s not clear why they’re calling I’m usually thinking to myself, “what was the reason they wanted to call me in the first place? What are they hoping to achieve?” and mostly, “How can I help?”
Coupa Expenses for Salesforce is part of the Coupa Cloud Spend Management platform, a cloud-based service that, according to the company, “consolidates e-procurement and expense management into a single solution for managing, and more effectively controlling, all business spending.”
“A small company like Coupa needs association with a big, known company like SalesForce,” noted Jason Hekl, VP of marketing at Coupa.
In a similar vein, Outright.com recently announced its availability through Google Apps.
The product allows salespeople to electronically file receipts and put the information into expense reports, and lets managers see how travel and entertainment expenses impact their budget before reimbursements are approved, according to Daniel Dern writing for InformationWeek. Additionally, according to the company, “accounting managers gain intelligent scoring to prioritize expense report audits, and executives finally have insights into the true cost of sales.”
Pricing for Coupa Expenses for Salesforce starts at around $20,000 per year for 20-50 users.
Decisions may be made based on unreliable or untimely information. This is an issue that affects the setting of strategy as well as planning, execution, and monitoring of performance
Employees don’t understand how the strategy affects them, and how their decisions impact others. The strategy is very high-level and not translated into actions each manager has to take to deliver on the strategy – which are then clearly communicated to those managers. In fact, they continue to work on their own projects, and their own priorities, which may not be linked to the enterprise strategies, goals, and objectives
It’s unclear who is accountable for ensuring execution of initiatives, projects, and tasks
There’s no link between strategy and risks. Risks are not addressed and managed, during strategy definition, planning, execution, or monitoring
There’s no link between budgeting and strategy. I have seen situations where the company falls short of its performance targets, generating less cash than expected, but doesn’t have the linkage to drive adapting the strategy, major project plans, etc.
Incentive systems aren’t linked to the achievement of the organization’s strategy, and individual goals are not aligned with the company’s
At Aronson & Co., Lisa Cines says technology is reshaping workflows, roles, responsibilities, and how CPAs form and maintain professional relationships.
by Rick Telberg
If you’re looking for clues to the future, ask Lisa Cines.
Until last June, Lisa Cines was chief executive at Aronson & Company, a top 100 firm. But then she turned over day-to-day duties to a chief operating officer and took on the role of officer in charge of corporate and business development. To her, the job gives her license to pursue the big, strategic opportunities that are opening for a firm like hers. She is, in a nutshell, working to build her version of the firm of the future.
Cines is grappling with a handful of tectonic shifts in the world and in the profession.
The number of jobs in the accounting and bookkeeping sector sank again last month to a seasonally-adjusted 878,600, down 4,700 from the month before and 91,500 off the peak of 970,100 in February 2008.
Accounting and bookkeeping services, all employees in thousands
At the same time, the nation added 151,000 private sector jobs, the 10th straight months of albeit anemic gains, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The nation’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6%.
Both CCH and Thomson Reuters headlined their user conferences with new mobile apps.
First, Thomson Reuters released Mobile CS, “a first-of-its-kind iPhone app for tax and accounting professionals.” As a practice management tool, it extends Practice CS from desktop to iPhone. Practice CS has 60,000 users.
Then, CCH launched CCH Mobile, a mobile app providing smartphone access to IntelliConnect tax research.
These two announcements signal to me that the capabilities of mobile devices like the iPad and smartphones will continue to expand in regards to business applications. I don’t think it’s a surprise that both companies are headed in this direction. What is eye-opening is the speed with which they’ve responded to the market’s rapid adoption of new mobile devices. Hold on for the ride, I think the next several months will be quite interesting!
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President / CEO,
Bay Street Group LLC Contact me here