Today's Features

SURVEY: Cybersecurity Grows in Importance

Technology Security with Internet Digital Signature as ArtMake sure word filters throughout the firm, not just in IT.

By Roman Kepczyk
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

In 2015, from a technology perspective, we saw traditional firms becoming increasingly comfortable with adoption of cloud-based technologies, many by first outsourcing their Outlook with Hosted Microsoft Exchange, which proved that the cost and expanded capabilities were better than what firms could do themselves.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Mergers Spur Growth | Accounting Profession Demands Swift Change | Don’t Just Win Work, Figure Out Why | Talent Wars, M&A Frenzy Continue | Next-Gen Leaders Getting Restless | Mergers Keep Racing Forward  | Do You Have a Firm or a Co-op? | Accountability, Equity, Compensation Are Concerns | MAP Survey Top 10 Findings | CPA Firm Revenues Rise a Hefty 8%
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The growing desire to have anytime, anywhere access to all the firm’s applications and data further promoted the adoption of private cloud and vendor-hosted solutions, so remote access capability could be firmwide.
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Mandate Training Programs

Office workers training on computersAnd give chargeable credit to the coordinators.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

For many firms, the ability to identify, standardize and implement best practices is the last remaining competitive advantage in business today as communications tools and access to technology have become available to everyone.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Centralize Contact Administration | Standardize QuickBooks Support (and Bring Your Clients) | Remote Deposit Saves in Several Ways | How Efficient Are Your Audits? | Going Digital: How to Train a Client | Hit ‘Delete,’ But Only When It’s Time | Unified Messaging Offers Benefits | Remote Access: Giving Workers What They Want | Why Use Windows 10?
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To take advantage of the continuous stream of innovation and opportunities, firms must adopt a “learning culture.” This requires a formal process to capture and standardize best practices in every department within the firm so that every person can take advantage of them.
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SURVEY: Ins and Outs of Email, Document Storage

Businessman touching virtual buttons in server roomJudicial rules are another consideration.

Key Findings

  • Thirty-eight percent archive email by storing it locally or on the PC or a local server.
  • Forty-four percent have no document retention policy for purging digital files.

By Randolph P. Johnston, Leslie Garrett and Brian F. Tankersley
The Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

There are practical solutions for email archiving and document retention policies available to firms of all sizes.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Windows 7 and Windows Server 2012 | Accountants Quit Trying to Manage IT Themselves |Workflow Management Concerns Many Firms | Accounting Firms Add New Service Lines | How Top Tech Vendors Are Failing CPAs in the Cloud | Master Change, Master the Future | Why Every CPA Firm Is a Tech Company at Heart
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We know that 56 percent of firms have email hosted outside the office. While all firms have the option to either run a solution in-house or to have a third party handle this obligation, the firms who use hosted email could also utilize add-in services for this task.
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Why a Virtual Team Makes Sense

Four businessmen standing on world mapYour competitors are doing it.

By Rob Nixon
Panalitix

In 2014 there were approximately 50,000 Australian office jobs sent to the Philippines alone. According to experts this number is set to double this year and continue growing each year.

MORE ON STRATEGY: 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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It can be a touchy subject with some people but it’s not going to go away. Clothing has been manufactured overseas for years and now it’s office jobs.
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The Next Target for Amazon’s Echo May Be Your Office

hipchatIt's active technology, not passive.

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

Remember when consumers first embraced the smartphone and then as demand increased, consumers pushed that technology into the enterprise?

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: The New Gadget that Turns Your SmartPhone into the Ultimate Remote | Amazon Patents Tiny Drones for Police | Google’s Getting Serious About Hardware | Flaws in Wireless Keyboards Let Hackers See Everything You Type | Samsung’s $1 Billion Bet on ‘Internet of Things’
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Well, the same thing is happening with a home digital product, Echo, as it begins to see software written for it that solves enterprise problem. Earlier this month, $6 billion software company Atlassian announced that it's bringing its popular HipChat app to the Amazon Echo family of smart speakers – making HipChat the first chat program available on Echo, and possibly marking a milestone in moving virtual assistants from the living room to the boardroom.

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Today’s Top Six Trends in Partner Comp

Man's hands on pile of moneyPlus: Point and counterpoint on 10 tough issues.

By Marc Rosenberg
Partner Comp: Art & Science

In today's CPA firms, six critical trends are emerging clearly.

MORE ON PARTNER COMPENSATION: Why Compensation and Buyout Plans Must Be Synchronized | When Partner Vacation Becomes Excessive | Management Stipends: Who, How and Why | Paying Part-Time Partners
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They are some of the toughest questions any firm can face. Get them right, and you can avoid a lot of trouble. Get them wrong, and, well, you may never need worry about them again.

The top six trends are:

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SURVEY: Mergers Spur Growth

Five businesspeople shaking hands under office skylightLeadership, succession planning remain challenges.

By August Aquila
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

The majority of my clients had a very good year in 2015.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Don’t Just Win Work, Figure Out Why | Talent Wars, M&A Frenzy Continue | Next-Gen Leaders Getting Restless | Mergers Keep Racing Forward  | Do You Have a Firm or a Co-op? | Accountability, Equity, Compensation Are Concerns | MAP Survey Top 10 Findings | CPA Firm Revenues Rise a Hefty 8%
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There were two primary reasons for their growth. First, many did more mergers than the year before, and second, they were acquiring more business advisory firms. One client told me that “they had enough accounting work and didn’t want any more, but would certainly be interested in acquiring a consulting firm.”
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How to Offer Employment Compensation Assistance

older man and younger man in meetingYou might find yourself negotiating a contract.

By Ed Mendlowitz
How to Build a Stronger Tax Practice

This service includes employment contract negotiations and executive compensation review and planning.

MORE ON MARKETING: 9 Questions to Ask About Divorce and Taxes | Investment Clubs and How to Counsel Them | Offering Second Marriage Assistance | What You Need to Start a Financial Planning Discussion | Tax Projections: How and Why | How to Raise Client Awareness of Services
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Who needs this service

Every client employed by a mid- to large-size company or a public company will need some sort of employment compensation assistance.
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So Much to Do and So Little Time: Achieving Success in the C-Suite

invisible business man offers hand shake

 How to learn and teach leadership skills.

Solutions 2 Results

There is no one right way that leadership can be defined. A high-level title is not a definition. Neither is continuous delegation of work without context nor unilateral decision making.

Leadership is about attitude, influence, coaching, creating and sharing; a conscious awareness of mission and walking the talk in values. In a word, leadership is an art.This differs from management, which is basically a science that produces quantifiable results that can be measured against expectations.

Leadership imparts a sense of purpose for staff to build a greater commitment in its work; it creates an emotional, as well as an intellectual investment. Instilling the “why” instead of the “what” in your staff allows it to have a sense of fulfillment and purpose, not just a means of checking an item off a “to do” list.

Technology companies over the past 25 years have exhibited this philosophy. There are those who put the stake in the ground with goals that have been uplifting. Apple set out to change the world. IBM recovered from missed opportunities with its campaign to build a smarter planet. Google, well, we know about Google. It is not only a brand but has morphed into a verb. These companies "walk the talk."

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How to Keep Current

Young businesswoman and social network over white backgroundPro tips from Doug Sleeter and CPA Practice Advisor editor Gail Perry.

By Sandi Leyva and Michelle Long
The Ultimate Accounting Virtual Conference

How do we stay up to date?

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Best Practices for Growth: Network, Specialize, Share | 10 Easy Tips to Boost Your Business Cash Flow | 2 Ways to Serve Clients Better | How to Fire a Client | How to Manage Client Expectations | Trashing the Spreadsheet: Best Practices in Modern Expense Management | 3 Ways to Implement Value Pricing | Building Reputation to Build Your Business | Need More Business? Focus on Referrals
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One thing is making time for it. That’s the key to a lot of things and actually the first step to a million things is making time for it. Some things I do include continue attending conferences.
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7 Keys to Becoming an Equity Partner

Woman and man silhouetted against office windowDoes everyone in your firm know what the expectations are?

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

With the recent turn in the economy, equity partners are finding that there is no longer a lifelong tenure guarantee. Senior managers and non-equity partners are wondering whether or not they even want to become equity partners.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: Five Factors for Measuring a Partner’s Value | The 6-Step Plan for Transitioning Clients | Fighting Restraining Forces | Chemistry and Mutual Respect Matter | Great CPA Firm Partnerships Begin with Trust | Work Together Better in 11 Steps | What Makes a Successful Strategic Plan? | Innovate or Die | Partners Love, Hate Leadership | 8 Ways Leaders Destroy Firms
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For the most part, firms have been selective about who they take into the partnership. However, when the economy was running hot and finding a warm body to fill spots was a real challenge, the partnership bar was certainly lowered in many firms. Today, that bar is being raised again.
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SURVEY: Accounting Profession Demands Swift Change

Two businessmen talking across a deskNew employees want to see their career paths mapped out.

By Rita Keller
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

Many firms continued to struggle with workflow issues. Smaller firms have not invested in software tools that can greatly enhance productivity.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Talent Wars, M&A Frenzy Continue | Next-Gen Leaders Getting Restless | Mergers Keep Racing Forward  | Do You Have a Firm or a Co-op? | Accountability, Equity, Compensation Are Concerns | MAP Survey Top 10 Findings | CPA Firm Revenues Rise a Hefty 8%
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When it comes to various software solutions, the constant chant by many practitioners in small to mid-size firms is that “it’s too expensive.” Many firms have not budgeted nearly enough money for technology.
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10 Steps to Creating Employee Brand Advocates with Social Media

Happy businessman using smartphone at officeMaking your staffers into your best ambassadors.

By Becky Livingston
The Accountant’s Social Media Handbook

The only way to scale social business is to get it out of its nesting place – marketing, customer service, IT – and get it all the way to the edges of the organization.

MORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Marketing for Mobile | How to Use Social Media Analytics | What Someone Else’s Influence Means to You | Get People to Your Landing Page | Content Categories and How to Leverage Them | How to Manage Social Media in 22 Minutes a Day | Use Finesse in Sharing, Scheduling Content | How to Schedule and Manage Social Media Activity | How to Craft a Social Media Profile
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That means having people

  • buy into the vision for social business,
  • invest the time and resources in the practices and tools, and
  • enthusiastically do what they can to support those efforts.

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SURVEY: Don’t Just Win Work, Figure Out Why

Five businesspeople in office with thumbs upBoomer retirements are creating gaps.

By Angie Grissom
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

The need for firms to offer more advisory services is growing, and clients are expecting more support from their accountants.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Talent Wars, M&A Frenzy Continue | Next-Gen Leaders Getting Restless | Mergers Keep Racing Forward  | Do You Have a Firm or a Co-op? | Accountability, Equity, Compensation Are Concerns | MAP Survey Top 10 Findings | CPA Firm Revenues Rise a Hefty 8%
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Many firms are increasing the amount of consulting offerings and billings. A number of firms, however, are continuing to struggle with how to play more of an advisory role with clients, which requires a paradigm shift in many ways. This is necessary because firms are struggling with how to differentiate themselves from their competitors with respect to traditional services, and are competing on price.
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SURVEY: The New Software Scramble

Server rack floating on a cloudFirms switching programs more often than ever. But is that a good thing?

Sample finding: The number of firms subscribing to Office 365 is increasing 20% a year.

By Randolph P. Johnston and Leslie Garrett
The Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

We continue to see a high level of dissatisfaction among most firms with their software, and have seen more firms change software in the last three years than all of the switching we have seen in the previous three decades combined.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Operating System Updates Cause Headaches | Accounting Firms Add New Service Lines | Why Every CPA Firm Is a Tech Company at Heart
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We are concerned that many firms are signing long-term contracts for desktop solutions at the same time that some software is migrating to being hosted online.
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SURVEY SAYS: Centralize Contact Administration

Woman looking at paperwork at computerMake sure the current information is available where people look for it.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Many firms today maintain contact information within multiple applications such as practice management, Outlook, tax systems and other marketing and CRM (customer relationship management) programs.

MORE ON TECH SPENDING: Standardize QuickBooks Support (and Bring Your Clients) | Turn to Portal Encryption | Deliver Reports Digitally (Even In-House) | Tech Trends for Auditors | Front-End Scanning Hits the Mainstream | Don’t Just Store Documents, Manage Them | Which Wireless Depends on Location | Stay on Top of Software Updates
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Too often, a significant amount of time is wasted in firms pulling contact information together, reconciling and verifying lists for mailings, invitations, and even organizers. It is critical that firms centralize the updating of contact information for consistency.

“91 percent of firms have a centralized contact management list; 67 percent of firms maintained this list in their practice management application.” – CPAFMA 2015 Survey

For example, tax personnel, who are often the first to be made aware of a change, may make the change within their tax program and not pass the change to others. All changes, from every source, need to be sent to administration where one person can update ALL databases for consistency.  Many firms utilize a client contact form on their intranet that can be routed to the administrative department via email.  This person is then trained to update all applications.
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People Still Needed, But In Different Ways

Robot with penThe current team may be short-lived.

By Rob Nixon
Panalitix

Around the world, technology is disrupting many jobs in many industries.

MORE ON STRATEGY: How to Create 4 New Billable Hours per Day | 14 Ways to Leverage Client Data for New Billings | What It Means to Be a Real-Time Accountant | 12 Predictions on the Future of Accounting | Will the Internet Replace CPAs?
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Among jobs in the firing line include those that involve repetition, problem solving, information dissemination and data processing:

  • If there is any type of human algorithm involved it can now be done by a computer or a robot.
  • If there is manual data entry then much of that can be done by supercomputers with barcoding.
  • If there is consistent repetition in the job in the future it can be done by software and supercomputers.
  • If there is information dissemination involved then that can be done by the Internet and clever algorithms.

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