Will Affordable Care Act’s 4980D penalties kill your small business clients? By Stephen L. Nelson, CPA and Elizabeth C. Nelson, CPA Small Business and the Affordable Care Act By now, many of your small business clients understand they don’t have to provide employees with health insurance. The employer mandate starts when a firm employs 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees. But here’s an awkward follow-up question: Do your small business clients understand that many of the ACA’s rules still apply to them and that they may still be vulnerable to the ACA’s 4890D excise tax penalty—which runs $100 per day per employee? LEARN MORE: Small Businesses and the Affordable Care Act: What Every Tax Practitioner Needs to Know (55-page PDF digital download) Can We Talk IRC […]
Topic: client service
How to suggest additional services to clients and why you’re doing them a disservice if you don’t. By Ed Mendlowitz The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor QUESTION: I always feel awkward telling clients they need additional services that I should perform for them. Can you tell something that could “rev” me up for this? MORE PRACTICE DOCTOR Q&A: Yes, You Should Send Rejection Letters | When to Hire an Admin Assistant | 7 Ways to Lose a Client’s Trust | How Much Should You Pay To Buy, Sell or Merge an Accounting Practice? | Why the Average Fee Doesn’t Matter | No More Printouts at CPE Programs? | 6 Ways to Take a Client Beyond Tax Prep ANSWER: Actually, by suggesting additional […]
Don’t be distracted by the hot trend of the moment. In “10 Things That Accountants Didn’t Need to Worry about 10 Years Ago,” CPA Trendlines contributor Hitendra Patil generated reader reactions with some provocative thoughts about a tsunami of trends. Today, he looks at the other side of the coin, starting with a quote from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: “You should build a business strategy around the things you know are stable in time and then invest heavily in ensuring you are providing those things and improving your delivery of them all the time. If you want to build a successful, sustainable business, don’t ask yourself what could change in the next 10 years that could affect your company. Instead, […]
12 issues that might not have been addressed. By Ed Mendlowitz The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor QUESTION: I was asked to do a quote on a business valuation for a startup that will be raising money on their second stage financing. How do I quote this? ANSWER: This is a wide-reaching question and it is not possible to know initially what the client really needs. They could need a valuation, a business plan or a method of bringing in the investor. Here are some of the many issues and variables:
Automation can send the wrong message. By Ed Mendlowitz The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor QUESTION: I have an automatic email response and some clients and contacts criticized me for it. I am overloaded during tax season and this takes some pressure off of me. Here is the automatic email response I am sending out: THANK YOU for your e-mail. Please accept my apology for this automated response. During tax season, most of my work days are scheduled with appointments and calls. I most always reply to emails and phone calls as soon as I can, usually the same day. Replies are slower during the months of February, March and April. Thank you for your patience. ANSWER: That’s terrible! MORE PRACTICE DOCTOR […]
If you don’t ask, you can’t know. If not now, when? By Jean Marie Caragher The 90-Day Marketing Plan for CPA Firms Tax season is the perfect time to identify cross-selling opportunities, strengthen client relationships and ensure client satisfaction. Consider asking your clients the following 14 questions this tax season. You may discover a new gold nugget of opportunity:
Make sure they both agree and you should be OK. QUESTION: I have a long-term tax client who is going through a divorce and have been asked to meet with both spouses (soon to be ex-spouses) to perform tax and financial planning services. Is representing both of them a conflict? ANSWER: It has the potential to be a conflict if not handled properly. Here is an engagement letter that Martin H. Abo, CPA/ABV/CVA/CFF uses in such circumstances. It is included here with his permission.
Take this quiz to see whether you’re phoning it in. Do you seek out opportunities to learn new things that will help your clients overcome their most difficult challenges? Selling value-creation advisory services is truly a slam dunk with most modern business owners, according MentorPlus. The bad news is that, although most CPAs would say they are their clients’ most trusted advisor, few could answer the following questions in the affirmative.
Turn the habits of everyday friendship into business skills. By Jean Marie Caragher The 90-Day Marketing Plan for CPA Firms Since strong client relationships contribute to client satisfaction, longevity and lead generation, partners often encourage their managers and staff to build relationships with their clients. But these managers and staff look at the relationships their firm’s partners have built over time and think it’s impossible to replicate their results. Building relationships with clients can be done using the same behaviors that we use when building friendships and courting our spouse or significant other. Consider these 12 tips to build client relationships, especially during tax season, prime time for in-person client contact.