Today's Features

Six New Rules for Smarter Tech Spending

Plus: Topline findings and recommendations for firms of every size from the new Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey.

By Brian Tankersley
Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

Many practitioners think that CPA firm information technology is easy, and the really hard work is done with people who have large databases, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth, as it would be normal for a staff tax preparer to have as many as 12 applications open at once.

More from the AFOT Survey:  Top Video-Conferencing Tools: GoToMeeting, Skype |  3 Monitors the New Standard |  Ready for a New Laptop?Dell Gains on Laptop RivalsWhen to Replace Your Desktop PC?Accountants’ Favorite Desktop PCWho’s Still Using Windows 7?Cisco, SonicWall Top Firewall ChoicesHow Firms Manage Mobile Devices

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Very few things are as important to your firm’s effectiveness and efficiency than the reliability and effectiveness of your technology.

Some general guidance on how to approach IT in your firm includes the following. READ MORE →

[The Cannabis CPA] Sean Robinson, Tebaja Consulting

CPA targets fast-growing business sectors facing common problems.

By Liz Gold
CannaBizCPA.Pro

For Sean Robinson, CPA, MBA, and founder of Tebaja Consulting LLC, his company is helping him answer his calling.

MORE ON CANNABIZ: John Pellitteri Takes Grassi Full Steam into the Cannabis Industry | Cannabis: Top Trends to Watch in 2019 | Dean Guske on the Cannabusiness | Squar Milner Takes on Cannabis in California and Beyond
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Robinson spent a decade at Citigroup in various roles. During that time, he always had a fondness for his first role, which was managing several teams that supported and expedited the financial close process for private equity funds and venture capital investors.

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KPI’s: Practice Management by the Numbers

Data chartBONUS: 6 charts, including most and least effective ways to control costs.

Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

Our survey respondents were asked practice management questions that explored how much time is spent working from remote locations, the top challenges of managing the firm, channels to bring the most new clients to the firm, time spent managing tasks, and methods for controlling costs.

They were also asked about initiatives that generate revenue, their biggest technology challenges, security in the cloud, communications with clients, mergers and acquisitions, wireless networking and plans for the firm’s website.
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4 Ways to Fix IRS Collections

Home foreclosure? Put on the brakes.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Tax assessment and collection – this is the juncture where taxpayers really get to know their favorite federal agency ... or, if not favorite, the only one that touches virtually every working American.

MORE: 3 Ways to Improve IRS Levies | How the IRS Abuses ‘Math Errors’
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It can be a heavy touch to a tender area, the one in the vicinity of the wallet. So it’s a touch that can always use improvement.

Fortunately for taxpayers, the Tax Advocacy Service  suggests 16 ways Congress could make the assessment and collection touch a touch softer.
READ MORE →

Smart Tech Tips from Top CPA Firms

Laughing businesswoman talking on the phone in office in front of four monitors5 key questions, including what to tell recruits.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

I have a keen interest and understanding of how managing partners perform their jobs. Their duties encompass a long list of critically important management functions. Certainly, one of these is to ensure that technology has an optimal impact on the firm’s success, profitability and efficiency.

MORE: 15 Amazing Organizational Tactics to Manage a CPA Firm | Why Governing by Partner Ownership Is Bound to Fail | 6 Ways to Retain NextGen Staff | How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture | The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners | Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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This can be quite challenging because, unlike most MP duties, managing the technology function is a highly technical skill that most MPs don’t have.
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Reframe Sales as Communicating Value

Two people working side by side on laptopsCreate a conversation where the client can experience what it would be like to work with you.

By

I've talked about how the accounting industry has been disrupted. High-volume, low-profit services such as tax returns are being pushed out by large commercial organizations, leaving small and medium-size accounting firm owners to work increasingly harder for decreasing profits.

MORE: 3 Keys to Evolving Your Accounting Practice
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The solution is to allow your business model to adapt by following these three core principles:

  1. Transform from accountant to advisor. (Read 3 Keys to Evolving Your Accounting Practice if you haven’t yet!)
  2. Learn to price/sell/deliver.
  3. Confront and conquer fear.

READ MORE →

How to Guide Your Firm Through ‘Critical Periods’

IllustrationTake a holistic approach.

By Kayleigh Padar

Most firms face “critical periods” as they grow in which new challenges appear, Karbon’s recent Practice Excellence Scorecard report finds. However, with some strategies firms can prepare for these stressful times and emerge unscathed, the report shows.

MORE: 9 Key Insights for Practice Excellence
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The study assessed 250 accounting firms and identified the common challenges firms are facing and how they’re conquering them.
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The Power of ‘Real Influence’

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SUMMER READING: "Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In"

By Steven E. Sacks

Today’s rapid-fire communication dynamic expects quick responses to emails, texts, and even the old-fashioned telephone call. An information or idea exchange requires quick analysis and quick decision making. If something requires drawn-out deliberation, which takes away from task-driven activity, it screws up our mojo – the stars and moon are no longer in alignment.

MORE SUMMER READING: Smart Trust in the Workplace | 10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ Needs | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement
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I am not talking about business proposals that require significant sums of capital or a change in an organizational structure or something else that has enormous transformative implications. There are, however, so many lesser matters we encounter that are superseded by our daily “to do” checklist.
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4 Steps to Take Before Next Tax Season

Young businesswoman working on laptop computer with growth chart in backgroundThink of yourself as a CEO.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Please have a seat. No, not that one. Take the one next to me. All of us are here because we love you to death. We only want the best for you. But we can no longer stand by and watch you suffer. When you suffer, we all suffer as a family. We have written some letters to let you know how we feel. I’ll let your firm go first.

MORE: How to Create Good Managers | 4 Tips for Managing Advanced Preparers | The Right Way to Assign Staff Projects | Workflow for Dummies | How Effective Project Management Makes Your Life Easier | 2 Lessons Clients Taught Me | No Consultant Can Solve Your Biggest Problem
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“Your behavior has affected me negatively in the following manner. I’m not as profitable as I should be. You are stifling the development of your staff. Your clients are upset that returns aren’t getting done on time. Your kids resemble the mailman more than you.

“Please accept the help we are offering you today. We have your bags packed, and we’ll put you on a plane to rehab at the beach. Don’t worry about scoring your next fix. We’ll help you detox safely. But you must decide right now. You must give up your addiction to doing everything yourself.”
READ MORE →

Three Keys to Evolving Your Accounting Practice

View from below of man standing on mezzanine with back to cameraChoose your new role, then start living it.

By Matt Solomon

The accounting profession has been disrupted.

This probably isn’t an earth-shattering revelation if you’re an accountant. Over the last decade, your ability to make a decent living doing compliance work has decreased dramatically. Commercial tax operations are offering tax returns for incredibly low prices – in some cases, companies are even doing tax returns for free.

If you’re the owner of a small or medium-sized firm, it doesn’t matter if your work is higher quality. You can’t compete on the price, and retail shops are spending millions of dollars in advertising every year to woo your clients away.

READ MORE →

Capture Firm Knowledge on an Intranet

Four empty metal bucketsDashboards may speed up the search process.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Firm knowledge and information is usually stored in one of four “buckets.”

MORE: SURVEY: Firms Split on Mobile Device Management | Collaboration Should Tie In Messaging | SURVEY: Nearly Half of Firms Use Videoconferencing | Plan Right for Remote Access | SURVEY: Only 32% of Firms Providing Non-Phone Devices | Jumping to Windows 10
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The most obvious is within the accounting applications themselves where tax, audit and accounting programs store client files in a format that can only be accessed with that program. Files are usually indexed and accessed in designated directories so there is not much the firm can do about moving these files.
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The Rise of the Virtual CFO

Jody Grunden says clients want more than "regurgitating financial information."

They want forecasting and the ability to make informed decisions.

At the New York Accounting Show, Grunden explains how his firm is now picking up two to four clients a month, each worth $60,000 a year in fees.

4 Reasons to Welcome Rejection

... and 5 ways to deal with it.

By Milla Austin and Ty Hendrickson
The Sales Seed

  • I think I’ll check my email and then make that call to a potential client.
  • After I finish all of my billable work, I’ll work on some emails to potential clients.
  • Instead of calling to follow up on last week’s meeting, I think I’ll just send over my proposal via email.

Does this sound familiar? Why do we procrastinate certain job functions and not others?

There is only one reason and unfortunately, it is the same reason we all have probably struggled with since childhood… the fear of being rejected. It seems so much easier to send out a proposal or any type of communication via email than it is to just pick up the phone or stop by the person’s office.

READ MORE →