Accountants relieve their worst headaches. CPA Trendlines sources are reporting on how much time and money small businesses spend each year on accounting and tax preparation and each month on payroll administration. The data should support practitioners’ value proposition to small business owners: Some 40% say bookkeeping and taxes are the worst part of being in business. Owners were also surveyed on their opinions of the most burdensome small business management tasks. Next time you talk to your clients — or prospective clients — these pain points might be worth including in the conversation…
We’ve found at least 50 items. What would you add? By Ed Mendlowitz The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor QUESTION: What type of information should be kept in, or as, permanent files? RESPONSE: A permanent file should be maintained for each of your clients. This would include the following: Engagement letters Representation letters – I would keep these in the permanent file. An example is that a claim could be made after you no longer have the work paper file associated with the matter. This is especially so with estate planning consultations where a claim could arise many years after a gift tax return was filed. I would keep copies of Crummey letters in the file for the gift tax returns, if […]
Use these busy days to get to know your clients better. With a few quick questions, every client meeting can turn into a new relationship-building opportunity. Ask how the firm is doing as a whole to assess satisfaction. Ask some open-ended questions about the client’s current situation, challenges and goals for the year. Delve a little deeper into potential specific services, such as multi-state tax requirements or pension plan audits. Request referrals. Keep it short and be sure to have a mechanism in place to follow up on the information that you learn from these interactions.
Try these 6 ideas to stop losing business to competitors. By Sandi Smith Leyva The Accountant’s Accelerator It’s rare that I lose business to competitors, and it’s also not an accident. If you are losing business to your competitors, here are some strategies you can use to “become a category of one,” as they say in marketing.
New strategic ally, or competitive threat…?
Becoming a ‘trusted advisor.’ By Sandi Smith Leyva The Accountant’s Accelerator Here’s a question: What portion of your revenues are derived from compliance work – e.g., tax preparation and IRS representation; bookkeeping; QuickBooks setup, cleanup and training; payroll; and audit work – versus value-added work, e.g., revenue improvement, business consulting, profit margin analysis and workflow improvement projects? If you answered 100 percent compliance work and no value-added services, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of lip service about moving from compliance services to becoming a “trusted advisor.” There’s an equal amount of confusion in how to get started. Here are a few tips to help those of you who want to move in that direction.
By Sandi Smith Leyva The Accountant’s Accelerator How you welcome your new client can set the tone for a relationship that could last for years or in the worst of cases, just days. Start out on the right foot by looking super-organized (because that’s part of why we get hired anyway) and making it super-easy for a client to get on board with you. The best vehicle for this is a welcome kit. Here are eight things that should be in your kit at a minimum:
By Sandi Smith Leyva The Accountant’s Accelerator For some of you, summer can be a slow time in your business. If you do taxes, all the action is during busy season and in September if you have a lot of extensions. If you’re a bookkeeper, your busiest month is January. And if you do software consulting or training, it slows down in July and August.
In Comments, it gets political. By CPA Trendlines Call it what you will – The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare – accountants are calling it opportunity. When we asked recently, “What’s the future of the professional tax preparation business?” a number of respondents called out the Affordable Care Act. “I think as ACA takes effect we will be busier than ever before,” said Jay D. Parks of Jay D. Parks & Associates, CPAs in Edmond, Okla.
How to build a plan. By Ed Mendlowitz 101 Questions and Answers for Managing an Accounting Practice QUESTION: I want to start growing my practice but am having trouble defining my target client. I tend to accept every client I can and seem to have clients all over the place. Is there anything I can do to better target my “ideal” clients? ANSWER: To have a target client means you have a target. The target is the result of a plan. So, what is your plan?