Today's Features

How to Determine Your Ideal Client

Businesswoman working on laptopPlus 4 sample personas.

By Sandi Leyva

In 2011, there were 28.2 million businesses in the United States. Almost all of these businesses are small businesses, and more than 75 percent of them are solopreneurs. More than half a million new businesses are born each year.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Build Your Revenue Plan in Reverse | 3 Steps to Using Social Media to Increase Your Search Rankings | Six Concrete Ways to Help Business Clients Reach their Full Potential | Why Businesses Offer Subscriptions | Your Time Has No Inherent Value | Four Tools for a Millionaire Mindset | Reconnect with Your Why | Use Payroll to Grow Client Retention | 3 Ways to Work Less and Earn More | What to Do When a Client Doesn’t Pay
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The great thing about being in the accounting industry is that every single one of these businesses needs one or more accountants to help them keep their books. What’s even more recession-proof is the requirement that all business owners must file all sorts of taxes and reports each year, requiring by law the type of recordkeeping that accountants are great at.

The Importance of M&A Culture Due Diligence

Woman and man shaking hands in office conference roomA 6-point blueprint.

By Domenick J. Esposito

Over the last several years, there have been over 200 merger, acquisition, alliance and joint venture announcements by the Top 100 and other fast-growing CPA firms. Every indication is that these combinations will continue at a very rapid rate as CPA firms are:

  • Facing an aging partner group that usually includes the most effective relationship and business development partners. Baby boomers have been a home run for CPA firms.
  • Finding organic growth very difficult to attain with little prospect that business is going to dramatically improve in the foreseeable future.
  • Realizing an inability to attract an adequate supply of high-quality talent to help perpetuate the firm.

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: Get Your Money’s Worth from Non-Billable Time | Stay Independent But Keep Looking Upward | Ineffective Partners and How to Address Them
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CPA firm CEOs and other senior management are very effective at financial and operational due diligence, tracking results and holding partners accountable for hitting timely targets. On its face, an observer would tend to conclude that these 200+ combinations are very accretive to partner profitability after an integration period of 18 to 24 months.

Accounting Profession Growing, But Slowly

Join the survey; Get the results.

More employees are working fewer hours. But not in payroll.

Who's Hiring. Who's Not. And Why.
Join the survey. Get the Answers.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines Research

With CPA firms expanding an annualized rate of 2 percent, the tax and accounting profession may be growing, but in fits and starts rather than leaps.

MORE ON JOBS: Accounting Employment Creeps Back Up | Regional CPA Firms Go Head-to-Head with Big Four in Talent Wars | Global Talent Wars Hit Home for Local Firms | Tax & Accounting Industry Shows Signs of Slowdown | Global Tax Talent Shortage Mounting into ‘Perfect Storm’ | Accountants without Borders: Tight Talent Pool Drives Salary Increases Nationwide | CPA Firms Post 5% Growth Rate | How to Set Your Firm Apart to Recruits
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High points – and by “high” we just mean increases of 3.5 percent or more, so not stunning – include staff and women at CPA firms, as well as overall tax preparation services and payroll services employment, all year-over-year increases.

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

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


7 Issues in Partner Retirement Planning

Older businessman with jacket over shoulderPlus 6 steps for transitioning clients.

By August J. Aquila

The biggest danger facing the future of accounting firms today is not the economy. It is the lack of planning for partner retirement.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: Solving Underperforming or Dysfunctional Partners | Underperformers Come in Many Shapes and Sizes | 6 Focuses for Managing Partners | 10 Steps to Transitioning to a New MP | What Managing Partners Should Be Doing | 11 Things All Partners Must Do | Why Partners Need Written Goals | Fighting Restraining Forces
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You would think that this would be one of the most important strategic issues for firms, but unfortunately it is not.

Why Unified Messaging Matters

Voicemail word cloudConsider tying in the email system, too.

By Roman H. Kepczyk

I've said that firms should strive to capture all data in a digital format at its “root” source. This goes for services such as the firm’s fax and voicemail systems as well.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Back Up Your Bandwidth | Remote Access Takes Planning | Transitioning to Windows 10 | Desktops vs. Laptops | Keep Your Tech Budget Updated | Mandate Training Programs | Turn to Portal Encryption | Deliver Reports Digitally (Even In-House) | Tech Trends for Auditors
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Traditional inbound faxes are usually printed from a fax machine and then hand-delivered to the recipient’s desk. In some cases, this image is actually rescanned and emailed to the recipient.

How to Beat Robocallers on Your Landline

CPR CallBlocker deviceOne of the best solutions is no-tech.

By Rick Richardson

We are all experiencing the increasingly invasive robocall phenomenon. Sometimes robocallers disguise themselves with allegedly valid caller IDs and other times they don’t. Whatever they do, it’s a constant plague on our privacy.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: How Blockchain Makes Accounting Obsolete | New App Claims to Improve Your Vision | Samsung’s Bixby to Challenge Apple’s Siri | The 10,000 Steps a Day Myth | Underwater Imaging Updated for iPhone 7 | The Flash Drive with 2 Terabytes | Go Abroad and Take the Internet With You | Wearable Aims to Help the Blind Move Safely | The New Gadget that Turns Your SmartPhone into the Ultimate Remote
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“Blocking robocalls on a home landline is like trying to stop a star athlete,” said Bob Bentz, president of Advanced Telecom Services and adjunct professor of communications at the University of Denver.

Why Old Pricing Models Are Unethical

Listen to the marketplace.

By Rob Nixon

I am using the ethics card right up front to get your attention.

MORE ON STRATEGY: 8 Ways to Become Super-Efficient | Boost Efficiency and Your Bottom Line | 4 Sales Systems and Some Secret Sauce | Marketing Must Generate Leads | Be an 'Object of Interest' | Marketing Must Be About Sales | Turn Your Knowledge Into Products | Why Clients Really Stay | 8 Ways to Build Team Engagement | How to Create 4 New Billable Hours per Day | Do You Know What Clients Want? | Is Your Business By Design or Default? | The World Is Flat | The Profession Disrupted: Compliance Commoditized
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I personally feel that pricing by the hour in arrears is an unethical way to price. Here’s why: