Today's Features

Staff Policies Improve, But Not Mentoring

Marc Rosenberg at cpatrendlines.com
Rosenberg

And mergers are getting tougher. Ouch!

By Marc Rosenberg, The Rosenberg Associates

Firms are continuing to step up their efforts to be more liberal and staff-friendly with their staff policies. More unlimited PTO polices including many variations of this, working remotely, staff setting their own hours, etc.

Unfortunately, I am not seeing any changes in the lip service most partners give to staff mentoring. Eighty percent of firms never make it to the second generation – many reasons for this but a big one is that the quality of partner mentoring sucks.
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The Agile Accountant

Scrum line art illustrationLearning a lesson from software programmers.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Agile project management conjures up the image of scruffy software programmers surrounded by empty pizza boxes at 3 a.m. hacking away at producing the next Google.

MORE: The Cure for Commoditization | Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow Management | 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

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What could Agile possibly bring to accounting and income tax preparation?

Actually a lot, and it could transform your workflow and provide a quantum leap in the efficiency of your project management.

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Yes, Home Equity Loans May Still Be Deductible

But watch out for the lower dollar limit.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

Contrary to early reports, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 allows taxpayers who buy, build or substantially improve their homes using either a home equity loan, home equity lines of credit (HELOC) or second mortgages to deduct interest on the loans.

MORE: How to Challenge Property Taxes | Portability: Sharing the Estate Tax Exemption | Tariffs: What Clients Need to Know Now | New SALT Deduction Limit: What Clients Need to Know | Passwords: How to Beat the Hackers
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That's the good news. But if clients take out the loan to pay for personal living expenses – credit card debt, for instance – they can't deduct the interest from their taxes.
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29 Things Smart Firms Do

Happy multi-ethnic business team with thumbs up in the officeWhat the best firms already know.

By Rick Telberg
The Rosenberg Survey

CPA Trendlines finds a wealth of information in the new Rosenberg Survey, the leading national compendium of financial and operating statistics for CPA firms. A host of consultants points out some of the things they see CPA firms doing right and wrong.

Here are some of the rights.

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Make Your Accounts Payable Digital

Woman entering credit card information on laptopLook for cash rebates.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Processing accounts payable is another of the manually intensive processes within the firm’s administrative department that can be significantly streamlined through digital processes.

MORE: Remote Deposit Saves 130 Hours Per Year | SURVEY: 76% of Auditors Rely Heavily on Remote Access | Enter T&E Daily | SURVEY: Firms Divided on eSignatures | Firms Need ‘Best Practices’ Manuals
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Consider how many “touches” a single payable creates: receipt of the invoice, timing of payment in a folder, writing the check and attaching the stub, sending it to an owner for signature, filing a copy of check with backup in its own folder, and stuffing, sealing and sending the check to the vendor.
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Kennedy’s Acceptance Speech

John and Jackie Kennedy in car in Dallas
by Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News (public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

Selling by swaying.

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

This is not about JFK.

MORE: Make Obsessed Leadership Work for You | Roger Is My Only Client | Blown Loan Covenants and How to Recover from Them | Beyond the Numbers: Be a Friend | Perception Becomes Reality
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When he was nominated at the 1960 Democratic Convention, his acceptance speech was preceded with an introduction by Chester Bowes narrating a film about Kennedy’s life and achievements.
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Join the Radical Movement

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Who defines innovation? You.

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

It's time to get going!

You’ve read my Beyond Radical approach.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Quick Tip: 7 Ways to Add Value and Charge for It | Profits: New Firms, New Measures | When Staffers Meet Clients | Selling Product, not Hours | Maximizing Social Media: The Importance of People | What Are AI and Bots? | True Diversity Means Creating Equity
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Are you exhausted or energized? If you know me, you know that I can’t wait to help you get started on your journey.
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6 Secrets to Getting Great Testimonials

Businesswoman being applauded by peersSpread the word about your successes.

By Michael Rozbruch, CPA
The IRS Audit Notice Checklist

When marketing your services, obviously credibility is critical to your success. This includes number of years in business, number of clients served, etc.

MORE: 9 Secrets to Getting IRS Penalties Removed | Social Media’s Place in Your Marketing Strategy | KPIs That Accounting Firms Don’t Measure But Should | 10 Tips for Maximizing Referrals
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However, “believability” is even more important than “credibility.” The facts about your business, proprietary systems/methods, and cases resolved, years in business and so on are important, but not nearly as persuasive as what clients have to say about their real-life experiences with you, benefits realized and skepticism erased.
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4 Ways to Add $100,000 in New Business Fees Every Year

Green road sign reading "New Business Just Ahead"Help others to help you.

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

All partners and partner candidates in small and midsized CPA firms are very aware that they need to originate new business each and every year. Some are very successful at this aspect of the business; others not so much.

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: 8 Steps to Small Firm Survival | Don’t Have Partner Candidates? Whose Fault Is That? | How Partners Fail | Is It Time to Manage Your Receivables Like a Real Business? | Mine Vs. Yours Vs. Ours
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Many of those who are not very successful at originating new business haven’t developed the necessary skills to be effective at it. As a result, it isn’t an awful lot of fun.
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How a Strength Can Become a Weakness

Rely, but not too much.

By Bill Reeb

While there are many lessons in martial arts that repeat themselves, the idea that a strength can also become a weakness is a commonly recurring one.

MORE: Tension Impacts Performance | Tenacity and Persistence: Friends or Foes? | Don’t Let Worry Consume You | Guilt vs. Duty | Being Judgmental Is Self-Destructive | 3 ‘Letting Go’ Actions to Help You Get Unstuck | Get Better, Work Better, Right Now | How ‘Take What’s Given’ Works in Business | Learn to Work ‘Better’ Instead of ‘Harder’
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But it doesn’t make sense – how could a strength ever be bad? Well,  here are a couple of examples.
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Automation Makes It Easier for Accountants to Offer Cybersecurity

Technology Security with Internet Digital Signature as ArtTechnology can help simplify the complexity of technology itself. 

By Hitendra R. Patil and Jeffrey Lush

Businesses the world over rely on outsourced services, like accounting, to keep themselves ahead in the game, be profitable, efficient and to limit risk.

MORE ON ENTREPRENEURIAL STRATEGY: The Why, What and How of Cybersecurity for Accountants  | Blockchain: What You Need to Know Now | The Rise of the Robot Accountant: Opportunity or Threat? | Certified Blockchain Accountant: From CPA to CBA
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Today’s data breach headlines are becoming all too common. More than ever, organizations rely on external experts’ help for cybersecurity-related services. Often, cybersecurity-related advisory services have a heavy lean toward technical and operational expertise.
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