Today's Features —

The Real Reasons Small Businesses Love Their Accountants [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Real Reasons Small Businesses Love Their Accountants [INFOGRAPHIC]

Accountants relieve their worst headaches. CPA Trendlines sources are reporting on how much time and money small businesses spend each year on […]

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Lowballing and Why It (Usually) Doesn’t Work

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and A

Plus some exceptions and how to pull them off. By Ed Mendlowitz The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor I actually received the same question […]

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Tax Preparation Fees: The National Averages [INFOGRAPHIC]

Tax Preparation Fees: The National Averages [INFOGRAPHIC]

New data from CPA Trendlines sources reveals key competitive comparisons.

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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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Whip Out the Wow Factor for Clients

chocolate chip cookies in white plate with red cup coffeeSometimes it really is the thought that counts.

By Sandi Smith Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

You don’t have to be the Ritz-Carlton or Mercedes to provide your customer with a great experience.

Just a little forethought and planning will make a huge difference.

Here are five tips for your consideration:

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Eat What You Kill? Then Maybe ‘Book of Business’ Is for You

a big golden tiger looking out for any disturbance during his mealThree common and painful scenarios.

By Marc Rosenberg
Retirements & Buyouts

The book of business method of allocating goodwill benefits is most often used by “eat what you kill” firms. Essentially, retiring partners “sell” their client bases back to the firm.

MORE ON RETIREMENT: The Multiple of Compensation Method, Fully Explained | The Ins and Outs of AAV for Goodwill | 5 Points to Consider When Paying Out Goodwill | Clients Leaving? Time to Reduce Retirement Benefits | How to Set Terms and Limits for Goodwill Payouts | 4 Ways to Decide How to Pay Out Capital | Partners May Balk at Guaranteeing Retirement Obligations

In almost all cases, the retired partner gets paid only to the extent that the firm retains her clients throughout her payout term.

The major flaw with this method is that a partner will never, ever delegate or transfer clients, for the good of the firm, to other firm members because this would lead directly to reduced retirement benefits. READ MORE →

How to Start an Effective Sponsorship … and Follow Through

Woman in white office meeting with man17 specific action steps you should take.

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

When you sponsor a woman, there are many steps that you can take to ensure that the relationship is productive and achieves its objectives.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 3 Ways to Initiate Informal Sponsorship | How to Establish a Sponsor-Protégée Relationship | 3 Roadblocks to Women and Men Working Together Well | Fear of Sex and Rumors Inhibits Sponsorship | Why Women Resist Networking and Powerful Role Models | Women Must See Politics as Leadership to Get Ahead | Mommy Bias Persists | Different Standards, Double Binds Challenge Women | 5 Ways Gender Bias Plays Out at CPA Firms

Here are some tips for getting off to a strong start and following through effectively, especially by focusing on career opportunities and promoting your protégée to others. READ MORE →

Why Accountants Could Be the Happiest People on Earth

Now Or Later Keys Shows Delay Deadlines And UrgencyNew research shows “givers” outpace others in life and in business. Are you a “giver” or a “taker”? Take the 10-minute test.

By Hitendra Patil
Pransform

Imagine that one of your clients calls you up and expresses his gratitude for the help you gave him.

You wonder: “I just gave him the balance sheet and told him that his business model needs some adjustments. I did what I have always done, so why is he thanking me so big? But, yeah, I do feel happy my client thanked me.”

MORE ON ENTREPRENEURIAL STRATEGY: What if Accounting Firms were ‘Apps?’ | Top 10 Entrepreneurial Traits of Successful Accountants | Four Leadership Strengths that Define Accountants | As Block and Liberty Add Accounting Services, Independents Face 3 Options | Readers Sound Off on Liberty, H& R Block Plans to Launch Bookkeeping Services | Threat or Opportunity as H& R Block, Liberty Jump into Bookkeeping Services? | Six Secret Keys to the Mind of the Entrepreneur | 8 Seconds into the Future: Meet Generation Z | 5 Reasons Gen Y Will Make or Break Your Firm

There is a huge new opportunity for accountants to reconnect with the real purpose of the profession, i.e.: becoming not just a trusted advisor for businesses and people but literally the “business strategist” for their clients. Who else understands the “language of business” as well as accountants? READ MORE →

Digital Tools Streamline Audit Production

businessman is examining document and woman is working on laptop computer in backgroundSay good-bye to your old friend “SALY”

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Traditional audit practices use the previous year’s audit programs and processes updated for the current year as their standard operating plan.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Tech Tools for Today’s Properly Equipped Field Audit Teams | Accounting Firms Run on More than Checklists Alone | Going Paperless Means Convincing Clients First | How to Cut Tax Prep Costs with Scanners | Making Digital Tax Process Easier Is All About the Workflow | Why Firms Need Document Retention Standards | Is Your Network Drive a Disaster Waiting to Happen? | Intranet Is the Best Place for Firm Knowledge | Digital Fax Has Benefits You May Be Ignoring

Eventually this can lead to a significant amount of “overauditing.” Breaking this habit is difficult as every level of staff has been trained in the manual processes and falls back on them when deadlines approach. READ MORE →

What Goes in a Client’s Permanent File?

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and AWe’ve found at least 50 items. What would you add?

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: What type of information should be kept in, or as, permanent files?

RESPONSE: A permanent file should be maintained for each of your clients. This would include the following:

  1. Engagement letters
  2. Representation letters – I would keep these in the permanent file. An example is that a claim could be made after you no longer have the work paper file associated with the matter. This is especially so with estate planning consultations where a claim could arise many years after a gift tax return was filed. I would keep copies of Crummey letters in the file for the gift tax returns, if it is your practice to obtain copies of such letters READ MORE →

4 Quick and Easy Ways to Build Client Relationships this Tax Season

Man and woman at table in client meetingUse these busy days to get to know your clients better.

With a few quick questions, every client meeting can turn into a new relationship-building opportunity.

  1. Ask how the firm is doing as a whole to assess satisfaction.
  2. Ask some open-ended questions about the client’s current situation, challenges and goals for the year.
  3. Delve a little deeper into potential specific services, such as multi-state tax requirements or pension plan audits.
  4. Request referrals.

Keep it short and be sure to have a mechanism in place to follow up on the information that you learn from these interactions.

How to Work the Same Hours and Make More Money

Time is money : clock hands on $100 billsStart with these six strategies.

By Sandi Smith Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

When I worked in the corporate world, it was always great to get a raise. Now that I am an entrepreneur, raises are replaced by increases in revenue and profits. More revenue and profits are nice, as long as we’re not working correspondingly more hours.

So how can we give ourselves a true raise: work the same amount of hours or less and make more? Here are a few strategies for your consideration:

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Accountants Start 2015 on Strong Hiring Trend

The best December in the last decade.

Tax, accounting and bookkeeping employment, through December 2014

Tax, accounting and bookkeeping employment, through December 2014

The U.S. tax, accounting and bookkeeping industries closed 2014 with the strongest employment trends in a decade, according to CPA Trendlines sources.

Here CPA Trendlines reports on:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, tax, payroll and CPA segments of the industry.
  • Average hourly wages for key segments.
  • Typical hours worked per week.
  • And trends concerning women in the accounting workforce.

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Four Key Questions for Managing Partners

Businessman giving instructions to his colleaguesMore than staying close to clients.

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

A significant application of judgment exhibited by successful managing partners is in their decision to stay close to their own and the firm’s key client relationships.

MORE ON LEADERSHIP: 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’

We defined “close” in the research as not doing fee-earning work but being more than the review partner. “Close” was having serious conversations with key clients about their issues, about what was going on in their markets and being the “go to” person when informed comment was required by external agencies.

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The Multiple of Compensation Method, Fully Explained

Those who aren’t rainmakers still need to have their contributions recognized.

By Marc RosenbergExtreme close up of female hand with pen pointing on cash flow document.
Retirements & Buyouts

There are numerous methods used to calculate the goodwill payable to a retiring partner.

Multiple of compensation is the most common method, especially among firms with five or more partners. Each partner’s retirement benefits are equal to their compensation immediately prior to retirement times a predetermined and approved multiple.

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