Today's Features

Digital Swap Stems ‘Overauditing’

Blue audit button on keyboardCompare Thomson Reuters and CCH to see whether you need to switch.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Traditional audit practices use the previous year’s audit programs and processes updated for the current year as their standard operating plan.

MORE: SURVEY: Firms Divided on eSignatures | Today’s Three Essential Audit Tools | SURVEY: When Two’s Not Enough | Optimize Scanning Procedures | How Long Do You Need That File? | Don’t Underestimate Document Management | Digital Communications Unify Messaging
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Eventually this can lead to a significant amount of “overauditing.” Breaking this habit is difficult as every level of staff has been trained in the manual processes and falls back on them when deadlines approach.
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Tariffs: What Clients Need to Know Now

Talking about politics and controversy.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

Tariffs have been in the news recently. What exactly are they?

MORE: How to Talk to Clients about ‘Basis’ | Percentage-Withholding for Clients | Bitcoin: What Clients Need to Know | Supreme Court Wayfair Ruling Sows Confusion – And Opportunity
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Tariffs are import taxes the government imposes, like a sales tax, on goods.
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When Solos Bring in Partners

Two businessmen shaking hands across desk and documents in office7 must-haves.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Many major CPA firm transactions – partner agreements, mergers, the first retirement of a partner and bringing in a new partner – have one thing in common: Firms have very little if any experience with them.

MORE: 8 Key Items for Partner Agreements | 12 Basics of Partner Agreements | Partner Agreement Issues Affecting Women | Quick Tip: Partners Investing in Clients | Non-Equity Partners: Why Have Them? | Why You Might Want an Executive Committee | Buyout When a Partner Dies | Why and How New Partners Buy In
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In many cases, it’s the first time they have ever contemplated this move. But bringing in a new partner cannot be done in isolation. All of the following are needed:

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Retention, Retention, Retention

Source: Accounting Principals

Four tactics for keeping the best talent, from a new salary survey.

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines

The three most important words in practice management today are

  1. Retention
  2. Retention, and
  3. Retention.

More:  Benefits, Perks, and Incentives: The Happy-Packs of Employee Satisfaction  |  Salary Survey: Top Skills Getting Top Pay  |  Deciding How to Allocate Partner Income  |  Accounting Wages Set New Record  |  Solve the Partner Comp Problem  |

See more in Pay & Compensation and Talent Managment

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High turnover has practically become synonymous with the larger public accounting firms, with turnover rates reaching as high as 30 percent. The AICPA Top Issues Survey says quality staff ranks as the top concern for U.S. accounting firms, hitting number one for the first time post-recession in 2015, and among the top ever since.

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Make Obsessed Leadership Work for You

Serious-looking businessman in front of empty conference roomThen spread it to your clients.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

I spend a lot of time with clients and I believe I have identified the one quality that most of my successful clients have – it is obsession.

MORE: Roger Is My Only Client | Mendlowitz: Why My Firm Merged with WS+B | A Long Time Ago, at a CPA Firm Far, Far Away … | When Discounts Don’t Work | Call Me Before You Do Anything
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They have many qualities, but obsession is universal among them.
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190 Universities Launch 600 Free Online Courses

MOOC logoHarvard and MIT are among the participants.

By Rick Richardson

If you haven’t heard, universities around the world are offering their courses online for free (or at least partially free).

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: MIT Investing $1 Billion in AI College | Learn of Heart Attacks Years in Advance | Robot Teachers Might Be the Largest Internet Business in 2030 | Microsoft Targets Consumers with ‘Modern Life Services’ | 6 Blockchain Jobs of the Future
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These courses are collectively called MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses.
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Tax Update: Changing Water to Wine

'Dealer Intent' converted to 'Investor Intent' midstream – Ta Da!!
And other pulling-rabbits-out-of-hats stories.

By Bradley Burnett
Federal Tax Update

There is a long-standing story about a man changing water to wine at a wedding. Not a bad deal. And, pretty economical at that. Recently, a Houston area real-estate developer pulled off pretty much the same thing. And saved about $1.9 million in income tax as a result.

Our “pulling-rabbits-out-of-a-hat” story begins long ago with an 883-acre oilfield southwest of Houston. A real estate developer bought it in 1998 with visions of subdividing into residential and commercial lots and making millions. For 10 years, Sugar Land Ranch Development, LLC (SLRD) cleaned up the oil field, built a levee to keep the nearby Brazos River under control and agreed to a development plan with the city of Sugar Land. But, no dividing into lots or construction ever took place.

So far, so good.

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Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow Management

Work smarter, not harder.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

For years, I’ve written angry-man blogs flogging CPAs and tax preparers for not treating their practices like businesses.

More Stitely: What the Value-Pricers Get Wrong  |  Four Amusing Millennial Myths  |  The Annual Tax Meeting is Dead. Clients Killed It.   |  3 Rules for Asking Great Tax-Return Questions  |  Where Workflow Management Runs Off the Rails  |  Three Ways Your Office Tech Is Ruining Your Firm  |  When Value Pricing Works  |  The 4 Dark Clouds Hovering Over Cloud Accounting Software  |  Value Billing on the 19th Hole  |  The IRS and Big Data Gone Bad  |  Will Zero Data Entry End Your Tax Practice?  |  Three Trends That Will Transform Your Tax Practice or Eliminate It  |  Value, Billem & Dunn: A Value Billing Case Study  |  How to Make an Extra $72,000 by Working Smarter  |

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I coined the term “ruthlessly efficient workflow management” to promote the marriage of project management and delegation.

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Busy Season Prep: 12 Essential Checklists

More than 50 items to get off to a good start.

CPA Trendlines Research

Planning for tax season is an important step in both optimizing profits and managing the professional liability risk associated with providing tax services,. Pre-tax season training of personnel and proactive review of administrative procedures will improve efficiency through April 15th and beyond. 

Part 1. What to do now… before the big rush

  • 4 ways to help clients prepare
  • 5 steps to review e-file requirements and processes
  • 4 ways to update engagement letter processes
  • 3 must-do’s to review client acceptance and continuance procedures
  • 8 steps to prepare the firm for tax season
  • 5 ways to help staff prepare for tax season

Part 2. What to do during busy season

  • 11 items to cover in a pre-tax season staff meeting
  • 15 things to include in a control log
  • 4 things to remember when testing tax software
  • 8 things every tax preparer should do for each client
  • 4 ways to better plan for deadlines
  • 2 keys to survival

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The Client of the Future

The five mega-trends that will make or break your "firm of the future."

By Hitendra Patil
Accountaneur

Your client of the future will be vastly different from your client of now. You won't have a firm of the future without understanding the new breed of client.

More Accountaneur: The Rise of the Robot Accountant: Opportunity or Threat?  |  Six Never-Before Opportunities for the Accounting Profession  |  Urgently Required: A New Definition of Accounting  |  CPA Trendlines Author Named Top 10 to Follow on Social Media in 2018  |  You Cannot Prove Your Value  |  Certified Blockchain Accountant: From CPA to CBA  |  Who Wants to Be a Comptometrist?  |  Blockchain: Questions Are the Answer  |  The 7 Experiences Millennials Want from Your Firm  |  Is Blockchain an Extinction Event for Accountants?  |  Is Blockchain a Cloud Killer?  |  22 Ways Blockchain Will Change the Accounting Profession Forever  |

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Like most accountants, you probably have faith that numbers tell a story. So, let's look at some numbers and seven mega-trends that can help you get clarity about your client of the future. READ MORE →

10 Roles of an Executive Committee

People seated in board room in near silhouettePlus who should serve and for how long.

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

Every small and midsized CPA firm requires an executive committee that serves as the key corporate governance mechanism within a firm.

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: How Partners Fail | Ineffective Management Is Hazardous to Your Firm’s Health | Profitability Requires Discipline | Pitching Vs. Pursuing | The Top 11 Reasons CPA Firm Mergers Fail | Growth: The Difference between the Disruptor and the Disrupted? | M&A: Sometimes Bigger Is Better | What a Value Proposition Truly Is (and Isn’t)
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Said simply, an effective executive committee keeps its nose in but its hands out. In other words, an effective executive committee has the responsibility to be the check and balance over a firm’s operations but isn’t responsible for running the day-to-day activities. That is the responsibility of the firm’s CEO and the firm’s operating or management committee.
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10 Tips for Maximizing Referrals

It doesn't happen by accident.

By Michael Rozbruch, CPA
The IRS Audit Notice Checklist

If you’re like most people, it’s only when customer service dramatically impresses or exceeds your expectations that you begin to create word-of-mouth advertising and referrals.

Conversely, service has to be really bad before you starting warning people to avoid a company at all costs. The thing is, often it only takes one or two “little touches” to create exceptional service.

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Leveraging R&D Credits and Depreciation for Cannabis Clients

Portrait of Bryan McDonald
McDonald

CPAMD's Bryan McDonald shows clients how to start off on the right foot.

By Liz Gold
CannaBizCPA.Pro

How a cannabis company is structured can have huge tax implications – and getting companies set up correctly, from the get-go, is what Bryan McDonald does when he starts working with a cannabis client.

More at CannaBizCPA.Pro: Cannabis Lights Up Midterm Ballots | ‘Genius Accountant’ Helps Cannabiz Clients Manage Effectively | Bruce Jolliff: Jumping into Cannabis Head First | Mark Guiley Oversees New Cannabis Niche | Jessica Velazquez on Cannabis Accounting and Activism | PODCAST: Jim Marty and Cory Parnell Go National | 5 Biggest Mistakes Cannabis CEOS Make
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As he said, “How you form your entity is really key. It is much more difficult to do that later in the life of a cannabis company.”
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