Today's Features

New Research Report: Operations and Technology Survey for Solo and Small Firms

 Available now at the CPA Trendlines store

cache_240_240_0_0_80_16777215_AFOT Small Solo edition CVRRandy Johnston, CEO and Founder, Network Management Group, Inc., Leslie Garrett, PhD, CEO of Insight Research Group, and Brian Tankersley, editor of the publication announce the release of the Solo Practitioner and Small Firm Edition of the 2nd Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology survey eBook.  The eBook features survey results and insights unique to the solo and small firm, taken from the 2nd Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey. This eBook is published in cooperation with Rick Telberg, President and CEO of CPA Trendlines. 

“This book was created to give solo practitioners and small firms a high quality resource they could use to benchmark their practices against firms of similar size,” said Johnston.  “The insights provided in the Consultants Counsel sections of this eBook are focused solely on areas of significance for solo practitioners and small firms; it is intended to serve as an easy-to-reference field manual to help these firms with decision-making in the areas of technology and operations.” 

This survey included respondents from all 50 states, with the number of respondents doubling over last year’s results, which further validates the data. 

The Solo Practitioner and Small Firm Edition of the 2nd Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey eBook features:


Free Webinar: 6 Ways To Boost Your Revenue

Sandi Smith Leyva
Sandi Smith Leyva

Free, one-time-only webinar with CPA Trendlines contributor Sandi Smith Leyva.

Date: Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Time: 9 AM PT, 10 AM MT, 11 AM CT, Noon ET
Allow 1 hour for this webinar. 1 hour CPE for qualifying participants.

  •  Are you a master at the technical aspects of tax and accounting, but struggle with marketing your services?
  • Do you need to boost your revenue by adding more clients and possibly raising prices?
  • Do you ever wish you could make more while working fewer hours in your practice?
Then sign up for this webinar, find out how to boost your bottom line, and get 1 hour complimentary CPE.
Free Registration
Learn More


A Radical Close Look at Value Pricing

Pen ready to fill in blank timesheetBONUS CHECKLISTS: 5 reasons not to manage employees by timesheet and 4 factors of fixed pricing.

Join the survey; get the results:
Pricing Strategies and Billing Rates

By Jody Padar
The Radical CPA

Ron Baker and Ed Kless of the VeraSage Institute are the hands-down experts on value pricing. They do a phenomenal job of explaining how it works and why you shouldn’t track time. I’ve done it for the last eight years and I absolutely love it. I would never go back to time and billing. My quality of life has changed dramatically because of it. What it’s done for the culture of my firm can’t be measured. It’s an intangible. I started doing it because I figured out that there had to be a better way to sell my services. I didn’t want to sell myself by the hour and I found out that it worked without reading all the economic theories. So I continued.

Jody Padar, The Radical CPA
Jody Padar, The Radical CPA; learn more

MORE ON RADICALISM: Get Radical About Pricing | Make Radical Connections | Let’s Get Radical About Content | Each Social Channel Has a Language | Get Ready for Radical Transparency | 5 Radical Ways to Be Social AND Strategic | How I Got Started Being Social | How Social Media Transforms Firms to their Core | Six Competitive Advantages for The Radical CPA | Radical Tenet #1: Embrace the Cloud | Radical Customers Are On Their Way | 5 Radical Transparencies; Are You Ready? | 4 Questions Radical Firms Must Face | Being Radical Starts with Being the Change | Why Start Being Radical Now? | Going Radical: The 4 Tenets of a ‘New Firm’ | The Roots of ‘Radical’ CPAs | The First 3 Questions I Should Have Asked Before Starting My Own Practice

The technology is only getting faster and better. Eight years ago my payroll only took two minutes using PayCycle. I had to ask myself: how could I make money on it? I believe that the pricing model finally is going to change. Ron Baker was the early adopter and started this 20 years ago. I believe the technology has now caught up. If firms don’t change our pricing model, we’re either going to have 25,000 customers or we’re not going to make any money if we continue to charge by time.


The Four Ways ‘Non-Competes’ #FAIL in the Social Media Age

R. Peter Fontaine is founder and managing partner of NewGate Law. NewGate provides legal and risk management services exclusively to the accounting industry. Peter has served as chief legal counsel for accounting firms for nearly two decades. Before launching NewGate, he was general counsel at McGladrey. He was also a partner and assistant general counsel at Arthur Andersen, where he managed the legal support for its global assurance and business consulting practices. Peter has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, partnership and employee agreements, professional standards, regulatory matters, international firm operations, and litigation and risk management. He can be reached at

How friending, liking, connecting or Tweeting can come back to haunt you. 

By R. Peter Fontaine
NewGate Law

It is axiomatic that the only true assets of any accounting firm are its clients and its people.  These relationships are typically protected through a legal agreement between the firm and its people.  Known as restrictive covenants (or, colloquially, as “non-competes”), under these contracts former partners and employees are prohibited from soliciting or serving firm clients, and soliciting or hiring firm employees.

Restrictive covenants are becoming increasingly more significant in the accounting industry because of the growing mobility of and competition for a scarce workforce and partner and employee “fallout” following a merger. The ever expanding popularity of social media only contributes to the uncertainty surrounding the enforceability and effectiveness of post-employment restrictions.


How to Read Your Firm’s Cultural Blueprint

BONUS CHECKLIST: Five-part analysis to measure partner material.PTP_2ndC

By Martin Bissett
Passport to Partnership

What conclusions can you draw from your knowledge of how the promotion system works in your firm that you need to keep in mind?

MORE ON THE PASSPORT TO PARTNERSHIP: Gauge Firm Culture to Move Toward Partner | What Culture Really Means for Partners | Firm Culture Is Inevitable; Make It Work for You | 12 Ways to Determine Your Competence | What Competence Really Means for Partners | Sailing Through the Seven C’s to Partnership | Passport to Partnership: New Research Shows Wide Gap between Partners and Partners-To-Be

In terms of firm culture, you need to understand the four navigational points of the compass:

  1. Who do I need to stay on the right side of?
  2. What are the unwritten rules in my firm?
  3. Whose opinions can be trusted?
  4. What really impresses the partners?

And here's a five-part analysis to see how you measure up:


Why CPA Firms Need More Women

Two women shaking hands across a tableTo recruit the best, you must sponsor women for leadership.

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

Smart accounting firm leaders want to be in the forefront of efforts to advance women.

As the global economy continues to become more competitive, firms need to use all the talent they can muster — and more and more of that talent will be women.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Beyond Mentoring to Sponsorship | ‘Soft Skills’ Advice Needed, Too | Use Others to Promote Your Protégée | 8 Ways Sponsors Can Highlight Opportunities | 17 Ways Sponsors Can Help Protégées | 3 Ways to Open a Sponsorship Conversation | What Sponsors Need from Protégées | 3 Ways to Derail Sponsorships | 4 Ways Sponsors Can Help Women Seek Power | Bias About Women with Families Lingers | Judged on Performance, Not Potential? Must Be a Woman | Gender Bias Still a Problem | Why Women Are Overlooked (And How to Fix It) | 3 Ways Men Are Favored in the Workplace | Women Need Promotions, Not Just Advice | Mentor or Sponsor? How to Distinguish Roles | 4 Ways Women Leaders Improve Firms

Companies that successfully tap into the full potential of women will be far ahead of their competitors. The key to doing it is to identify women who are likely to succeed and sponsor them, so they reach the top levels of leadership. That requires direct per­sonal involvement by leaders, particularly leaders who are men.


13 Ways to Screw Up a Merger

Bonus Checklist: 12 nuances and idiosyncrasies to anticipate.

By Marc Rosenberg
CPA Firm Mergers: Your Complete Guide

In the best case, mergers go smoothly.

MORE ON MERGERS: 15 Can’t-Skip Merger Terms to Decide | 14 Keys to a Successful Merger | 13 Reasons Accounting Firms Merge | Mergers 101: When Negotiations Aren’t Really Negotiations | 5 Steps to Take Before Merging

But we're dealing with people, so sometimes things aren't so neat. Some common pitfalls: READ MORE →