Today's Features

Microsoft Surface Phone: The Latest Rumors

Microsoft Surface smartphone
Microsoft Surface smartphone

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

Microsoft has a less than stellar track record when it comes to mobile. Whether or not the forthcoming Surface-branded phones signal an end for the Lumia line remains to be seen, but Microsoft has at least had some success with Surface, which the company will hope to replicate.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Top 4 New Gadgets  |  MIT’s New Device Measures Power Used by Each Device in Your Home  |  Flaws in Wireless Keyboards Let Hackers See Everything You Type  |  Floor Tiles that Translate Steps into Power  |  Samsung’s $1 Billion Bet on ‘Internet of Things’  |  Google’s Modular Smartphone  |  6 Big Changes Coming to Android Phones  |  New iPhone Case with Built-in Photo Printer  |  Foldable Samsung Concept Phone Doubles as a Tablet  |  More than Just a Phone Case: An Extra Touchscreen  |   App Wants to Be the Uber for Filing Taxes  |  Gadget Turns Your Smartphone into a 3D Printer   |  Tabletop-Sized Touchscreen |  Beware! Public Wi-Fi Is Just Not Secure  |  ZTE Announces New Tablet-Projector Hybrid at Barcelona  |

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Kevin Gallo, director of Windows Developer Platform at Microsoft, alluded to the handset's existence when he spoke of plans to develop smartphones targeting the business sector. What follows is everything we know about the Surface Phone so far: the design specs, release date, and price. READ MORE →

Management Stipends: Who, How and Why

Businessman sitting behind his desk in the office talking on a mobile phone listening to the conversation with a serious expressionAnd when NOT to pay.

By Marc Rosenberg
Partner Comp: Art & Science

What is a management stipend and why is it necessary?

MORE ON PARTNER COMPENSATION: Partner Pay in Retirement Transition Period | Paying New Partners and Lateral Hires | 3 Rules for Promotion to Partner | Should the MP Be the Highest Paid Partner? | Integrating Partner Comp with Strategic Planning | Partner Pay: The Declining Importance of Book of Business | 3 Non-Performance-Based Comp Systems
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Partners with significant, official internal duties require a substantial amount of time to do these jobs properly. Main examples would be the managing partner, PIC, practice group leader, executive and compensation committee members.

Steer Your Protégée to Opportunities

Stylized industrial 3D number 88 ways to guide her.

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

Once you have identified a woman to sponsor and determined that you click, you may be wondering how to get started.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Sponsorship Best Practices, Early and Ongoing | The Political Cost of Sponsorship | Don’t Let Gossip Interfere | 4 Ways to Help Women Seek Power | 4 Reasons Women Say No to Leadership | Women Fight ‘Kids First’ Perception | Women Judged on Performance, Men on Potential | Fix Gender Bias at Your Firm | 3 Changes for Men to Make | 3 Ways Women Benefit When Seen as Leaders | Sponsor or Mentor? | 4 Firm Benefits of Sponsoring Women as Leaders | Being the Best Means Including Women
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Here are some concrete steps to take:

How and Why to Offer Estate Planning

A woman hugs another woman, who is cryingBONUS: Sample asset distribution worksheet.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

Estate planning is a vital service for many clients who do not have a will or a current will, or who have a will but did not consider major estate planning techniques.

MORE ON MARKETING: What You Need to Start a Financial Planning Discussion | 11 Questions to Ask Every Tax Client | Add New Revenues with Tax Prep Followups | Marketing vs. Selling: Both Must Serve the Client First | Adopt a Marketing Mindset
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We have found that many clients with wills had them hurriedly prepared just before a trip or vacation and had very little planning guidance.

$26 Billion Worth of Strategic Insights for Accountants
Download Microsoft's pitch deck on the Linkedin deal (PDF)

This isn’t just news. It’s a business lesson in three parts. 

By Hitendra Patil

Microsoft announced that it is buying LinkedIn for a colossal $26.2 billion—cash. What’s the message to the accounting profession? The value of the “professional network” isn’t in the number of its members, but the combination of the buying and the influencing power of Linkedin members. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

MORE for the ENTREPRENEURIAL ACCOUNTANT: The Three Gears that Drive Success in the Accounting Business   |  The Words That Will Change Your Future  |  A Declaration of Independence for Accountants  |  Brexit Worries?  Worry More about Cexits, Texits and Pexits  |  LinkedIn Launches Accountant-for-Hire Service  |  4 Pillars of Future Firm Foundation  |  ‘Uberizing’ Means More Than Technology  |  You Don’t Think Technology Helps Get New Clients?

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Take a look at how MicroSoft and LinkedIn look at the deal (PDF). While Microsoft is paying $26.2 billion (including net cash) to buy LinkedIn, it believes the total addressable market of its LinkedIn purchase is $315 billion. READ MORE →

Seven Ways Newsletter Marketing Still Works for Accountants

Magnet drawing in three peopleThe formula: Straight talk, no gimmicks.

By Steven Klinghoffer
WPI Communications Inc.

Marketing rules and tactics for accountants are often different from those for product and service marketers. Because reputation is everything for accountants, their most effective marketing programs use a dignified tone—and a modest frequency. Moreover, the audience for tax and accounting services tends to be averse to gimmicky messages.

No matter how rapidly the marketing world changes—how quickly our tactics and tools evolve—some things remain the same: Quality content that educates and otherwise has an impact is certainly not outmoded. Nowhere is that truer than in the marketing of professional services—and it is a key driver of the ongoing relevance and effectiveness of newsletter marketing.Blogs, emails, and newsletters are everywhere, but they are not all created equal. The good ones inform clients or patients and build brands for the professionals who distribute them.

Here are seven ways and reasons newsletters–when executed properly–work exceptionally well for services professionals, even today. READ MORE →

Why Transparency Matters to Clients

Young man in sweater and tie smiling at smartphoneIt's time to rethink how you communicate.

By Jody Padar
The Radical CPA

Social should be in your DNA. Identify the communication gatekeepers in your firm.

Social + Strategy = Success | How to Measure Social Business… and Why | 6 Ways the Cloud Helps CPA Firms | You’re Already a Consultant | New Thinking Brings New Results | How the ‘New Firm’ Was Born
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Do you want everybody in your firm tweeting? It’s a good idea – just like you have all your firm members representing your firm wherever they are.

Communication Goes Both Ways

Diagram of 2-way communication5 best practices on the way to greatness.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

The other elements of a good partnership won’t make much difference if there is not good or great two-way communication in the firm.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: Chemistry and Mutual Respect Matter | Why Expectations Must Be Defined | Are You Driving Your Best Partners Crazy? | 7 Warning Signs for Your Firm | The Checks and Balances Your Firm Needs | Don’t Weed Out the Roses | Back to Basics: 25 Ways to Grow Your Practice | 3 Ways to Halt a Poor Leader | 8 Questions That Staff Ask In a Merger | 8 Financial Ducks to Line Up Now
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Managing partners and partners need to communicate frequently and effectively to make a partnership work.  Poor communication is often at the root of many a partnership’s problems.

Can We Please Refer to Accounting as a Profession?

rose“A profession by any other name…” (With apologies to William Shakespeare).

By Steven E. Sacks
Solutions 2 Results

Profession: n. Calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation.

Maybe I am just cranky, or maybe I have a valid point. Far too often I hear accounting being referred to as an industry rather than a profession. Let us be honest. Accounting is a profession that requires years of study and experience, culminating–if one desires–in a CPA credential after successfully passing an arduous two-day, four-part online exam. This does not even include the yearly continuing professional education requirements of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and state boards of accountancy to maintain a license to practice as a CPA.

How often do we read or hear accounting referred to as an industry? In my opinion, too often: and, it is always an incorrect reference. Accounting, is, in fact, a profession, and like any other profession (e.g. legal, medical, or education), requires specialized knowledge and training.