Today's Features —

How to Join the Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

How to Join the Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

Join the survey; get the results.


Accounting Salaries to Rise 3.5%

Accounting Salaries to Rise 3.5%

Top trends: Flexible staffing, retention challenges…


As Block and Liberty Add Accounting Services, Independents Face 3 Options

As Block and Liberty Add Accounting Services, Independents Face 3 Options

The profession gets a reality-check…


Deciphering the Current State of the CPA Firm Merger Market

By Marc Rosenberg
CPA Firm Mergers

Marc Rosenberg


With 80 percent of first-generation firms never turning over to a second generation of owners, it’s no wonder that merger mania continues unabated. Each year sees increased merger activity over the one previous.

“Merger mania” is particularly prevalent among the top 10 to 25 firms in the largest 75 markets in the U.S. and Canada, partly due to the “new normal” – an economy that remains too sluggish to satisfy the ambitious growth targets of these top performers. But acquiring talent and niches is equally as important a reason for mergers to these larger firms, as is increased revenue.

Sellers, however, remain hesitant.


How Safe Is Your Internet Lifeline?

internet-laptop-people-flipped-22724323_s-150x150Two strategies to minimize business risk from Internet failure.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

The Internet has had a profound impact on accounting firm operations and communications. What if you lost your Internet connection? On April 13? READ MORE →

The Case of the Client Daughter: Tread Carefully

CPA TRENDLINES COMMUNITY FORUMThe lesson: Even the best can make mistakes; talk it with peers.

By CPA Trendlines

In his column Client’s Difficult Daughter Balks at Bill, Ed Mendlowitz fielded a question about a client’s daughter who asked for help with her divorce proceedings, and did not want her father to know what was going on. The work was rushed and difficult, and when the cranky client called the bill highway robbery, the accountant wondered if he should call her father.

Mendlowitz noted that an engagement letter and retainer should have been the starting point, then added, “I would tell your client that if she did not pay you in full, or work out a method of payment including automatically charging her credit card on a monthly basis, you will ask her father for payment and will lay out everything you did for her and the specific benefits she got because of your hard work.”

Readers were swift to disagree. READ MORE →

Surprise! A Partner Retirement Plan Is Not a Savings Plan

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Do it wrong and your firm could lose a pile of money.

By Marc Rosenberg
Retirements & Buyouts

Partners have a natural tendency to view the firm’s partner retirement plan as a personal savings plan, but that’s not how these plans work. CPA firm retirement plans are quite different. READ MORE →

4 Metrics to Measure Change, Progress & Success in Your Tax and Accounting Practice

champagne glasses 20460685_sAnd how to set bold new goals for the next year.

By Sandi Smith Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

Think back to this day one year ago for just a minute. Where were you in your business? What were your revenues, salary and profits at that time? What were your clients like? What were your biggest issues?

If we don’t occasionally look back to take a snapshot at a point in our history, we may not realize how much we’ve accomplished in such a short time. I’m not much for dwelling in the past, but this exercise is tremendously useful for a couple of reasons: READ MORE →

The Law of Attraction: 15 Ways to Romance a Merger Partner

And 17 ways to repel one.

After more than 20 years as a business adviser to CPA firms, Marc Rosenberg has seen his share of CPA firm mergers. Each one is a little like a romance. There are turn-ons and turn-offs. Every deal is different, but Rosenberg says there are 15 rules of attraction (and 17 for repulsion) that apply to all types of mergers: READ MORE →

18 Ways Sponsors Can Help Their Protegees

And how to tell the difference between a mentor and a sponsor.

Ida O. Abbott, Sponsoring Women


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

The practice of mentorship is well known and well established in today’s workplace. A mentor is someone who helps a more junior person learn, develop and achieve her professional goals.

Mentoring is the process by which the mentor and mentee work together to identify and help the mentee move toward those goals. But sponsorship is intended specifically to promote career advancement. READ MORE →

Readers Sound Off on Liberty, H&R Block Plans to Launch Bookkeeping Services

Liberty Block logosNew strategic ally, or competitive threat?

Practitioners are actively debating the effects and impact of H&R Block and Liberty jumping into the bookkeeping business, as detailed by CPA Trendlines’ Hitendra Patil here.

“This is an opportunity to highlight quality,” says Wesley Middleton, head partner at Middleton Raines in Houston. “The only person who has something to worry about are those that are only focused on price.”

Not all practitioners agree in the discussion which began at CPA Trendlines and has spilled onto the 20,000-member CPA Trendlines Linkedin group. READ MORE →

The 5 Main Reasons the Appetite to Acquire Smaller Firms Will Remain Insatiable

Apparently, they’re worth it.

By Marc Rosenberg
Retirements & Buyouts

An ample supply of willing buyers is a critical factor that strengthens and confirms the value of any asset, let alone a CPA firm. Virtually every firm, from sole practitioners to the Top 100, is eager to acquire a smaller firm. Why is this? READ MORE →

Client’s Difficult Daughter Balks at Bill

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and ADo you talk to the dad?

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I have a very good client who pays us to prepare his daughter’s tax return. The daughter was going through a divorce and asked us to assist her and her attorney and she said she would pay us herself, and we shouldn’t ask her father to pay us and she also asked us not to tell her father what was going on. We did a lot of work and because of what we did she got a much better settlement than if we did not help her. Additionally a lot of what we did was rush on-demand work and some of it was quite difficult. Also, she was not the most pleasant to deal with on many occasions. READ MORE →

Survey Finds Small Business Bullish on 2015

51% plan new hiring now and into next year.

For 2015, 81 percent percent of small businesses forecast a revenue increase, with 21 percent expecting to grow more than 100 percent, according to a new Xero survey.

The study also shows that employing an accountant pays off. SMBs (small and medium-size businesses) that use an accountant with online accounting software enjoyed a 16 percent increase in revenue over businesses that use online accounting software without an accountant. And using more accountants equals more revenue, says the study released by a cloud accounting software maker. READ MORE →

6 Ways to Move Beyond Compliance Services

Dollar Concept, Financial Adviser Or Finance AdvisoryBecoming a ‘trusted advisor.’

By Sandi Smith Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

Here’s a question: What portion of your revenues are derived from compliance work – e.g., tax preparation and IRS representation; bookkeeping; QuickBooks setup, cleanup and training; payroll; and audit work – versus value-added work, e.g., revenue improvement, business consulting, profit margin analysis and workflow improvement projects?

If you answered 100 percent compliance work and no value-added services, you’re not alone.  There’s a lot of lip service about moving from compliance services to becoming a “trusted advisor.” There’s an equal amount of confusion in how to get started.

Here are a few tips to help those of you who want to move in that direction. READ MORE →

SURVEY RESULTS: CPA Firms Accelerate Growth

The 2014 national MAP survey shows widening divide between large and small firms.

Exclusive to CPA Trendlines
The National MAP Survey of CPA Firm Statistics

Marking the third consecutive year of quickening expansion since the recession, CPA firms are posting 6.7% revenue growth, according to the latest results from the National MAP Survey of CPA Firm Statistics reported here exclusively by CPA Trendlines.

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“The National MAP Survey of CPA Firm Statistics: The Rosenberg Survey” is well known and well respected within the national CPA industry, due to its solid reputation for accuracy, thoroughness and high participation rate. Exactly 75% of the firms in this year’s survey participated in 2013. This allows for more accurate year-to-year data comparisons. All of these characteristics, plus the highly sought-after executive summary, make “The Rosenberg Survey” a must-read for any entrepreneurial-minded CPA firm. The survey captures data from participating firms of all revenue ranges, from solo practitioners to those with over $20 million in net fees. READ MORE →