Today's Features

You Like Being Remote, But What About Your Clients?

Businesswoman with headache at laptop2020 shed new light on diversity.

By Tamera Loerzel
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

Wow, we have learned so much from this pandemic. The toll of the illness, deaths and impact to our medical providers and so many more has been staggering; there are lasting lessons and change that can benefit us all.

MORE: Advisory Services: Real Commitment or Just Talk? | COVID-19 Shakes Up M&A Activity | We’re in the Fast Lane… Can Your Partners Keep Up? | 2021: You’ll Never See ‘Normal’ Again | SURVEY: We Adapted to Remote Work … Now What? | SURVEY: 2020’s Disruptions Are Only the Beginning | COVID Brought Us More and Better Client Communication
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Obviously, one of the most significant changes firms made is the swift move to remote back in March. This move to remote can be a competitive advantage for firms that truly embrace it now and aren’t waiting (or hoping) to “go back” to how it was.

Drone Delivery One Step Closer to Reality with New FAA Rules

drone delivering brown paper package against city skylineOperators will have to carry their certificates.

By Rick Richardson

Amazon, Google’s parent Alphabet, and UPS all hope to one day deliver large amounts of goods by drone. New U.S. government rules have cleared some hurdles to make that dream a reality.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Microsoft Envisions a Passwordless Future Starting in 2021 | Go Ahead, Use Your Own Router | Is Amazon Stealing Your Internet? | Unlock Your Flash Drive with Your Phone | Go from Work-from-Home to Work-Anywhere
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The Federal Aviation Administration finalized new rules for small, unmanned drones that could pave the way for expanded commercial uses of the vehicles, including delivery services.

The Wrong Way to Look for Staff

Classified ad for an accountantConsider why the person is leaving.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: Please explain why you told me this ad was off base.

MORE: How to Get the Most from CPE | How Improv Can Help Accountants | Four Tips for New Partners | An Alternative to Pro Bono | 14 Better Uses for Timesheet Data | 9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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ANSWER: The ad was placed in a local newspaper by a small CPA firm looking to hire someone with two years of experience. This firm obviously does quality work since they do audits.

Become a Thought Leader

The pros and cons of curation vs. creation.

By Anthony Glomski and Russ Alan Prince
Your $5-Million High-Net-Worth Practice

Becoming a thought leader is one of the most effective ways to effectively position you and your practice to the ultrawealthy and the other professionals who serve them. Think of it as complementing and augmenting the powerful relationships you are building using the Everyone Wins Process.

MORE: Personal Wealth Creation Can Be Coached | COVID-19 Brings High-Net-Worth Opportunities | Product-Neutral or Product-Inclusive? | What the Wealthy Want | The Essential Process for Building a High-Net-Worth Practice | 4 Components of a High-Net-Worth Practice | The Coming Boom in Tax Services for the Super-Rich
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While there are different ways people define a thought leader, the following captures the actions and outcomes of becoming a thought leader:

Top Five CAS Killers and How to Overcome Them

Industrial metal number 5How many of these are you telling yourself?

By Hitendra Patil
Accountaneur: The Entrepreneurial Accountant

Why fall in the same trap that other firms have fallen into during their client accounting services journey? If you know what those traps are, you will save significant money and time in establishing your CAS practice.

MORE: Identifying the Right Clients for CAS | Communicating CAS to Clients and Prospects | 21 Ways to Adjust Your Practice in 2021 | Which of Your Existing Clients Are CAS-fit? | The 8-Step Method for Launching Client Accounting Services | How to Develop the CAS Mindset | Client Accounting Services: The Definitive Guide
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Fortunately, the CPATrendlines CAS survey identified which are the top five CAS killers, for firms of different sizes, that the accounting profession has experienced.

Deadlines? Ha! Don’t Make Me Laugh

blindfolded at computerWhen they’re missed, figure out why.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals

Distractions, distractions and more distractions, coupled with deadlines. Ah, deadlines! Those are the bête noire of executives, journalists, record producers, book authors and anyone else in the workforce whose deliverables are expected by a certain date.

MORE: 5 Steps to Better Time Management | A Rapidly Changing Business Environment Requires Flexibility | Another Meeting?!?! … Sigh | Organizational Trust: Top-Down and Bottom-Up | Building Teamwork under COVID Pressure | Listening: How a Conversation Works | Political Correctness or Just Common Courtesy? | Effective Communications in the Age of COVID | Syncing Up for the COVID Era
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And what about those dates? Are they arbitrary or do they have the real urgency of, say, a court order?

What My Boss Did All Day

older man and younger man in meetingSome things never change … and shouldn’t.

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

On an early job I had – in a time long, long ago with no computers, smartphones, copiers or electronic adding machines – I used to go to a client in the morning, write up their books, prepare a financial statement, drop it off at the office at end of the day and then go home.

MORE: Why Annual Staff Evaluations Fall Short | 10 Ways to Stay in Control | Advice to New Accountants | Clients Don’t Lose Sleep for Overpaying Taxes | When Time-Based Pricing Works | How Auditing Is Like a Pirouette | ¿Que Es Bookkeeping? | Testifying Before Congress | Underpaying Others Hurts You, Too
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The secretary typed the report in the morning. I often wondered what my boss Mr. Ruben did, and whether there have been any changes in that in the half-century since I started.

Teach Your Clients to Send Info Digitally

Concept of sending e-mails from your computer

Email is comfortable, but not always secure.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless: Technology Guide & Checklist

One of the most critical steps in transitioning a firm to a paperless environment is capturing information in a digital format at its root source as that information enters the firm.

At the base level, this means having clients provide you information in a digital format, which can be done via email, digital fax or through a portal rather than with a physical document. While email is currently the most prevalent tool utilized by clients, it is anticipated the security concerns will help clients transition toward portals.

Email has been the most frequent tool used as most clients are comfortable attaching a spreadsheet or document and sending it to the firm. This method allows the digital file to be easily accessed and saved into the firm’s file storage applications.

“82% of firms request audit documents prepared by clients be delivered in a digital format.” – AAA 2013 Survey

While clients are usually comfortable with sending files to the firm via email, there are often times when the information is confidential. For privacy and confidentiality, firms need to use email passwords, email encryption or a firm-controlled portal. Applications that encrypt email such as Citrix ShareFile and cPaperless SafeSend were the most commonly selected solutions according to the 2020 CPAFMA IT Survey. The cost of a secured connection with a client can be somewhat expensive but can be justified for the overall gains in efficiency and security.

While secured email or a portal would be the preferred delivery solution, some clients will not have adequate internet access and opt to bring in documents (such as their QuickBooks files) on a USB flash drive. Firms should make a concerted effort to discourage client use of thumb drives as they carry the risk of introducing malware into the firm’s network. When personnel do receive physical media, there should be a procedure to thoroughly scan it before loading any files to the network and then return the media to the client immediately, so the firm is not tasked with disposing of the media.

The key to successful adoption of this Quantum Leap is to provide proactive training and reminders to clients on how data should be digitally transferred to the firm. Some firms have begun documenting this information on the firm’s website as well as using remote screen control tools to assist clients. According to the 2020 CPAFMA IT survey, the top three products selected were LogMeIn/, TeamViewer and GoToMyPC/GoToAssist.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Formalize process to have clients transfer files electronically.

Microsoft Envisions a Passwordless Future Starting in 2021

Computer security concept shot, with binary code and password textBiometrics are one option.

By Rick Richardson

At least 80 percent of cybersecurity failures involve direct attacks on users’ passwords, the World Economic Forum warns. This is a problem that’s not going away any time soon. For Microsoft, as it explains in an official blog post, the solution may lie in a passwordless future, and it’s hoping to ramp it up this year.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Go Ahead, Use Your Own Router | 5G Delivered Via Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft | Will Fast Charging Become Tomorrow’s Gas Station? | Add Live Captions to Your Zoom Meeting | The 2020s Will Demand More from Your Tech
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Whether it’s storing personal information about addresses, finances and highly private records, or running companies entirely virtually, the internet is where people live a good deal of their lives. And these people rely on passwords to guard their data and information against malicious actors. In response to hackers, some experts encourage the use of two-factor authentication, but that still isn’t airtight.