11 Questions You Should Be Asking

A few easy-to-ask, feel-good questions can get a client or prospect comfortable and talking. It's up to you to know how to listen and how to find ways to help.

From Bob Burg,
Author, "Endless Referrals." 

1. How did you get your start in the "widget" business?

2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?

3. What separates your company from your competition?

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25 Ways to Grow Your Practice

In a tough economy, many firms go back to basics to find success.

Here's a list of 25 ideas for growing your practice from management consultant August Aquila.

How many are you currently doing?

  1. Start with current clients. Look at clients that are only using one of your services. For example, a high income individual tax return client who is not using your wealth management services, an audit client that is using any of your consulting services. A client relationship services call is certainly due.
  2. Compile a list of clients by SIC codes and niches (e.g. not-for-profits, construction, manufacturing, professional services firms, etc.) READ MORE →

Herding Cats: Change Management for CPA Firms

Eight good tips for getting everyone on board when change is scary.

Change is inevitable. But with a crashing a crashing economy, it is also treacherous, which makes these suggestion from August Aquila all the more urgent.

1. Know where you want to go. What are you trying to achieve as a firm and a partner group? While it's always difficult to address the elephant in the room, now is the time to take advantage of the economic turmoil and bring all issues to the table.

2. Get others involved. If you are the only one in the firm who is pushing for the change, you might as well forget about it. When others get involved they also get committed. They provide you with feedback so that you can develop the best steps in the change process. READ MORE →

CPAs: You Need a Vacation

CPAs wish they were at the beach.

by Rick Telberg

And if our straw poll means anything, it would be a beach in Hawaii.

The statistical side of the survey showed most accountants and finance managers taking between two and four weeks off, with only 8 percent getting a week, and 9 percent getting more than five weeks.

Still, 59 percent saw some of their hard-earned vacation days untaken, and 69 percent thought they deserved more vacation than they got. Just over half said they could be tempted to take another job that offered more time off.

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Is Business Too Good for Your Own Good?

Business is good, but CPAs say the workload never eases up.

by Rick Telberg

CPA across all areas of the profession this summer are confirming the best hopes and worst fears that the profession felt when the year was beginning. Yes, business is up across all sectors and should continue to improve, especially for public practice firms, but there are not enough people to handle the work.

Our readings are showing that two-thirds of CPAs in all sectors of the accounting profession are enjoying better business than last year. Asked to look 12 months into the future, roughly the same number expect their business conditions to be even better, although members in public practice are slightly more optimistic than members in business and industry.

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What’s Working, What’s Not in Accounting Marketing Today

Accountants pinpoint winning strategies and bottom-line results. Join the survey; get the topline results.

by Rick Telberg

New CPA Trendlines research conducted for The Seven Keys to Successful CPA Firm Management program isolates at least three defining characteristics of peak performing accounting firms.

The research results, to be unveiled in a two-hour workshop, show that so-called SevenKeys Leaders are:

  • 19 times more likely than lagging firms to grow revenue faster than most competitors.
  • 14 times more likely to be more profitable than most competitors, and
  • 11 times more likely to be satisfied with their firm’s performance in marketing and business development.
Bill Wheeler
Bill Wheeler

The new research findings also reveal the winning strategies and tactics deployed by the leading firms. At the top of the list for SevenKeys Leaders: Networking, social media and blogging,  public speaking, and website upgrades. Workshop attendees will get the full survey results, apply the new benchmarks to their own practices using self-assessment scoresheets, and use a specially designed workbook to lay out action plans.

Overall, the data seem to show that firms are narrowing their marketing efforts while generally increasing overall activity. And many accountants have been happy to share some of their secrets with CPA Trendlines.

Here are a few: READ MORE →