Clients say: Not as long as you think. If you’re a finance manager on the client side, what do you say? by Rick Telberg Are most CPAs fooling themselves? If you ask a CPA, as CPA Trendlines has been doing since 2006, how long they typically keep a client, you’ll get a fairly consistent answer through the years. If you ask a client how long they’ve worked with their current CPA firm, you’ll also get a fairly consistent answer. The problem is: The CPA and the client disagree.
What you need to know. How finance executives pick accounting firms: Join the survey; get the answers. by Rick Telberg Here’s some good news for accounting firms: Most companies stick with their CPA firms for at least five to 10 years. And they are loathe to change. The reasons are myriad. The inherent cost of switching – getting a new set of outside accountants up to speed – is certainly one. However, another, less tangible reason, cannot be denied: The vast majority of CPA firms develop strong and deep relationships with their clients. And yet, there is some fragility in the relationship to which no CPA firm, or corporate finance manager, should turn a blind eye. A surprising number of [...]
What we know that clients don’t even know they need. By Sandi Smith, CPA Accountant’s Accelerator I’m pretty sure that I am not the only accountant who has made the following mistakes with clients. Here are a couple of ideas to help us remember what we know that the client doesn’t and why it costs us when we forget. 1. Clients do not know how to evaluate our technical skills. If you need to hire an accountant, chances are you don’t know a lot about accounting. It just follows that you’re not going to be perfect at hiring an accountant. As accountants, we need to remember that it’s not our technical prowess that gets us the job since the client [...]
Hint: It’s not about how smart they are or hard they work. By Rick Telberg How do you spot the hidden rock stars on your staff? And what do up-and-coming tax, accounting and finance professionals need to know to get ahead in today’s profession? These aren’t idle questions. Many firms and individuals are struggling with these issues right now. But don’t take it from me. Just listen to the decision-makers from a dozen firms I met with in a Milwaukee hotel recently. The mission: Learn how to deal with a looming new staff shortage. Some took away solid action plans. “Our firm,” said one, “is trying to develop our rock stars and this showed me we need to be doing [...]
Learn what it takes to attract the best talent and merger partners. by Robert Fligel, CPA RF Resources LLC For many in the CPA business, organic growth is going to be very slow for the next several years. So, CPA firms seeking growth are: making strategic mergers or acquisitions, or bringing in new partners or groups of partners with strong books of business. But how do you position your firm to be desirable to merger partners or new talent?
Good clients don’t leave their CPA on the basis of fees alone. In fact, money factors in only when the relationship isn’t valued and the difference you make is not evident. You and your team can impact that directly by delivering exceptional client service on a consistent basis.
Maybe the 150-person firm in Bellevue, Wash., has found a winning formula…
Anticipate. Anticipate. Anticipate… Then follow through.
Fight for the client, and win! Enrolled agent Thomas Blair has built a thriving practice and solid reputation as a taxpayer’s advocate in IRS cases. Here are a few of Blair’s stories, in his own words:
What’s your best advice for winning the battle for new clients? by August Aquila AQUILA Global Advisors Today’s economic environment poses unique problems for CPA firms that want to bring in new clients. There is no single solution to growth in the present situation. Firms must look at multiple ways to bring in more business. The three main strategies that firms must embrace, which are not mutually exclusive, are: 1. Growth through acquisition/merger 2. Improve client retention 3. Bring in new clients
Rule 1: Deliver a consistent message. CPA and consultant Steve Erickson offers 10 tips to help firms in hiring and retention: Increase focus and efforts. Make recruiting a year-round focus, engaging both partners and employees in the process. Build an employee referral network. Use it to find employees and offer your expertise to other accountants while spreading the word about the profession through speaking and writing engagements. Focus on reciprocity–make referrals for other firms and don’t burn bridges.
But they bill for it too. The best firms, according to INSIDE Public Accounting, start paying more from the first day and from the bottom up. For instance, IPA’s Best of the Best pay new graduates about $55,000, compared to $50,000 at their competitors — a 10% advantage that generally carries through every job level.
Marc Rosenberg, author of The Rosenberg MAP Survey, says too many CPA firms fail to heed their own advice to clients: They don’t run their firms like a business.
Pressure is building as economy recovers and staffers eye new jobs. CPA firms should begin bracing for new “compensation pressure,” according to the latest issue of Accounting Office Management & Administration Report. “The extent of the pressure at small to mid-sized CPA firms is modest, varying from 2% or less at many firms to as high as 10% for top performers at others,” AOM&AR says. “However, at a time of intense profitability pressure, any uptick in compensation is daunting.” The increasingly higher salaries are being driven by four factors: Firm leaders are sensing that across-the-board salary freezes are only tenable for staff for so long. At a certain point, it can lead to employee resentment and the loss of your [...]