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.

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Accounting Salaries to Rise 3.5%

Accounting Salaries to Rise 3.5%

Top trends: Flexible staffing, retention challenges…

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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…

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4 Steps to Get More from Your Training Budget

How to run your training like a business.

By Michael Ramos and Cate Miller

With CPA firms spending 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent of revenue on learning, budgets can be hundreds of thousands of dollars even for a modest-sized firm. But firms invest in learning because it is a critical component in addressing many of the top issues facing CPA firms today.

The best organizations view learning as an investment, and they manage their investment the same way a venture capitalist manages a portfolio company – like a business. Unfortunately, many CPA firms have a less disciplined approach to learning, which means they’re probably leaving money on the table. READ MORE →

Reality Check: Achieving World-Class Growth Requires Real-World Intelligence

Gale Crosley

Crosley

Why you can’t believe your own press clippings.

By Gale Crosley, CPA
Crosley+Co

Ever run a race and immediately sense that you got off to an exceptionally fast start? It’s a good feeling, but if your goal is to beat out the competition there’s really only one way to know for sure how you’re doing. And that’s by marking your progress toward the finish line relative to the other racers.

The same can be said of efforts to grow your firm. To gauge your progress you have to get outside your own four walls and see how you measure up to the competition. READ MORE →

Benchmarking ‘Elite’ CPA Firms against the ‘Mainstream’

Looking inside firms with income per partner over $500,000.

By CPA Trendlines
Rosenberg MAP Survey

If you’re a firm with two or more partners wondering just how well your business compares to the CPA profession’s “elite” firms, you should be looking for a 5.2% revenue gain this year, according to the new Rosenberg Survey. And your revenue growth last year should have been at least 7.4%, excluding any changes that resulted from mergers.

The survey, based on activity at firms across the country with annual fees ranging from less than $2 million to more than $20 million, defines “elite” as the firms with income per partner of more than $500,000. By comparison, the average income per partner for the profession’s “mainstream” firms is $345,177.

The report provides comparisons for benchmarks including billing rates, partner-to-staff ratios, hours billed annually, staff turnover rates, men-to-women ratios, partner ages, client services and partner compensation.

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Four Leadership Strengths that Define Accountants

How clients value the intangibles.

By Hitendra Patil
Pransform Inc.

“What leader has the most positive influence in your daily life?”

The answers to that Gallup Poll question may be astoundingly important for CPAs who strive to make a positive difference in the lives of their clients. READ MORE →

Men Advance 2 to 1 over Women without Sponsors

man woman handshake shake hands iStock_000010387373Small“Women get advice, while men get promotions.” Here’s how to change that.

By Ida O. Abbott
What Men Need to Know

The benefits of sponsorship are indisputable. Having a highly placed sponsor is a distinct career advantage, and, when competing for top positions, it can be a critical differentiator. READ MORE →

Top 7 Reasons CPA Firms Fail in Planning for Partner Retirements

file0001142145741 in 6 firms have no formal, written exit plans in place.

By Marc Rosenberg
Retirements & Buyouts

Despite the clear, substantial value of a CPA firm, roughly 15% of multi-owner CPA firms – mostly firms with up to four partners – do not have a formal, written partner retirement plan. Why? READ MORE →

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Making Small Business Clients Happy

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and ABy Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: Most of my clients are either tax returns or small business clients. The number of individual tax returns grows each year, but I seem to be standing still with business clients. For every new one I get, I lose one. Otherwise, I have about a 6 or 7 percent turnover. Is there anything I can do to keep them?

RESPONSE: I think small business clients need extra hand-holding from us because they are really alone.

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3 Ways to Maximize ROI from CPE Conferences

hands raised 20662867_sWhat’s on accountants’ CPE agendas this year? Join the survey; get the answers.

By Sandi Smith Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

Attending and learning from conferences can be amazing opportunities for your career or your business. They can also be huge money drains. It’s easy to take a look at the conference registration and make a quick decision about whether we can afford it – or even worse – whether it will clear our credit card limit or not. READ MORE →

Tax and Accounting Industry on Hiring Binge

Profession adds 1,400 new jobs in latest month.
Next question: Who’s hiring; who’s not. Join the survey; get the answers.

By CPA Trendlines

Jennifer Dizon

Dizon

With practitioners across the country reporting strong demand for new hires, the nation’s tax, accounting and bookkeeping industries added 1,400 new jobs last month, with some sectors marking new highs for 2014 and approaching the pre-crash peak six years ago.

Jennifer Dizon, an audit and advisory partner at Hood & Strong’s San Jose, Calif., office, tells CPA Trendlines her firm is looking to hire.

“We need more staff to service business growth,” says Dizon, who is also the newly elected state chapter president of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Terri Ryman

Ryman

In Elkhart, Kan., enrolled agent Terri Ryman at Southwest Tax & Accounting says the office is “getting busier.” She “can’t keep up.”

In Northridge, Calif., Gene Wechsler at Wechsler Accountancy reports a similar trend. “The firm continues to grow at the rate of 1 to 2 new clients per week.”

Needs vary though. “We need an additional tax preparer and accountant for small business monthly work,” says one of the owners of a seven-person firm in Prescott, Ariz., which is “currently advertising for an accountant/tax preparer.”

Marc Hutchinson

Hutchinson

In Bellevue, Wash., managing partner Marc Hutchinson at the six-CPA Bashey, Hutchinson, & Walter reports, “We need experienced accountants, and ones that can take over the firm’s clients over the next 10 years.”

In this study, CPA Trendlines reports on:

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

The CPA Trendlines Careers and Hiring Outlook
Join the survey; get the results.

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Deciphering the Current State of the CPA Firm Merger Market

By Marc Rosenberg
CPA Firm Mergers

Marc Rosenberg

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.

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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

time management clock money dreamstime_xs_13009574

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 →