Today's Features

Merger Mania: Hot and Getting Hotter

Half of all firms may be in play. Is yours?

New CPA Trendlines survey says: One-third of accountants term the M&A market more than just moderately "active."
77% of accountants term today's M&A market at least "moderately active," including 33% who say it's "very" or "extremely" hot. (CPA Trendlines Research)

By CPA Trendlines Research

Hold on to your hat! A new tidal wave of mergers and acquisitions is about to swamp the tax and accounting business from sea to shining sea.

Three-quarters of tax and accounting professionals are calling the current M&A market for accounting firms as “active,” with 33 percent of them terming it “very” or “extremely” active, according to the new CPA Trendlines Mergers & Acquisitions Survey, conducted in conjunction with Capstone Marketing.

The survey, which delves into the attitudes and behaviors of the M&A phenomenon like no other study, is yielding a raft of surprising findings.
Join the survey. Get the results.

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Accountants Gear Up Marketing Efforts in Battle for New Business

Views from the frontlines, clockwise from top left, Canales, Raml, Morgese, Reinhard, Walker

Our exclusive new study shows intensifying competition for good clients.
Join the Survey. Get the Results

By CPA Trendlines Research
Gear Up for Growth: The Marketing Trends Manual for Accountants

The American economy is booming, the tax code is changing, and there’s a lot of new and expanding business for tax and accounting firms to serve.

So it’s no surprise that firms are ramping up their marketing efforts to compete for the bounty that’s out there.

About 73 percent of firms are planning additional increases in their marketing efforts, according to "Gear Up for Growth: The Marketing Trends Manual for Accountants," conducted in collaboration with Capstone Marketing. Barely 4% are cutting back.

The survey remains open and participants receive a special executive summary of the topline results at no charge, just for taking the survey. Join the survey. Get the results

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Six Never-Before Opportunities for the Accounting Profession

The number 6 made from dollar stacksPerceptions will have to change.

By Hitendra Patil
Accountaneur: The Entrepreneurial Accountant

Do you remember cell phone devices before the iPhone was launched?

MORE ON ENTREPRENEURIAL STRATEGY: Urgently Required: A New Definition of Accounting | Certified Blockchain Accountant: From CPA to CBA | The 7 Experiences Millennials Want from Your Firm | 22 Ways Blockchain Will Impact the Accounting Profession | Podcast: How to Become a True ‘Accountaneur’ | How Job Titles Can Rebrand Your Firm | Forget CPE, You Need an FPE | ‘Uberizing’ Means More Than Technology
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It was not just technological advancements that gave birth to the iPhone. It was actually more about the ability to use human imagination to figure out how new technology could be used to invent altogether new benefits.
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Finding New Opportunity in Compliance Services

A new recipe for the secret sauce of success.

By Rob Nixon

Statutory compliance or "have to" annual accounting is mandated by the government as a task you need to do with your clients.

MORE ON STRATEGY: The World Is Flat | Will the Internet Replace CPAs? | How Offshoring Is Shaking Up Accounting | The Profession Disrupted: Compliance Commoditized
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The main reason the government agencies want you to do this task is so you can accurately (or thereabouts) collect the right amount of money for them. The government agencies are not that interested in the accounting profession.

The secondary reason is to check that your clients are complying with their rules. The government is using you as an intermediary. They are outsourcing their job to you. READ MORE →

4 Firm Benefits of Sponsoring Women as Leaders

Purple No. 4 billiard ballWomen leaders provide 6 advantages to the market and 9 benefits for their sponsors.

By Ida O. Abbott
Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

Most male leaders today under­stand how important it is to keep high-performing women in the pipeline and help them achieve their potential within the organization.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Being the Best Means Including Women | Not Mentoring, Sponsoring | How to Help Your Protégée Project the Right Image | How to Promote Your Protégée to Coworkers

These men are genuinely concerned about their firms’ inability to retain and advance the women they hire because having a substantial number of women leaders is a demonstrably significant benefit to the company, while a lack of gender diversity at the top of organizations can be very costly to the bottom line.
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Compliance Is Not Dead, It’s Evolving

Portrait of Seth Fineberg
Fineberg

Personal education is key.

By Seth Fineberg
Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

For all of the talk of automation taking away basic accounting work and the bell tolling for any practitioner not moving toward more advisory work, the fact is compliance is not going away.

If anything, the evolution of technology has made compliance work easier – and I dare say more profitable – for particularly small accounting firms that rely on this work as an annuity, their “bread and butter” if you will. The point is, and particularly for the small firms that make up the majority of the accounting profession, compliance is not going away but it is evolving.
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Mergers: What Could Go Wrong?

Deal-breakers: Culture, personalities, and values. (CPA Trendlines Research)

M&A veterans cite culture, personalities, and values as top deal-breakers.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Why do firms merge? Why do sellers want to sell, buyers to buy? What attracts them? What worries them? What can go wrong?

And how does that affect you?

The new CPA Trendlines Mergers & Acquisitions Survey, conducted in conjunction with Capstone Marketing, has some of the answers.

And who better to answer than practitioners who have been through the merger or acquisition process?

The survey, which delves into the attitudes and behaviors of the M&A phenomenon like no other study, is yielding a raft of surprising findings.
Join the survey. Get the results.

READ MORE →

Advanced Tech Drives Financial Services Growth

Illustration with dollar sign, chips etc. in blueFocus on emerging tech vs. operating efficiencies.

By Rick Richardson

While the financial services industry is growing more confident overall in its underlying technology, the firms with the most advanced technology operating models continue to outperform their peers in terms of revenue growth, driven by accelerated adoption of cloud, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies.

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The third annual FIS Readiness Report surveyed more than 2,000 senior executives from retail banks and buy-side, sell-side and insurance firms.
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Getting by Giving Back

Professionals don't operate in a vacuum.

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

I had lunch recently with a colleague who was surprised when I mentioned that I helped another accountant with a problem and “did not charge him.”

MORE: How to Be ’the Other Guy’s Accountant’ | I Always Want to be ’The Other Guy’s Accountant’ | Learning from Lee Iacocca Et Al. | Getting a Referral from an Adversary
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I know this colleague and he is a very nice person. He’s a sole practitioner and seems to like what he does, but he has always complained to me that he wasn’t growing and just kept doing the same things over and over again. He told me at the lunch that he would never help someone the way I did without charging for it.
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Buyers Name 20 Big Merger Turnoffs

Trying to merge? Make sure your firm isn't guilty of any of these.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Merger talks hitting a bump in the road? Is a potential buyer losing interest?

MORE: Smart Tech Tips from Top CPA Firms | 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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Here’s a list of obstacles buyers have cited. Not every buyer will consider each one of these issues a turnoff. Think of this as a universal checklist.
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The Finance Side of Goals and Compensation

Man counting $100 bills into three pilesRemember the "one firm" concept is at the core of this discussion.

By Bill Reeb

Previously we reviewed the goal-setting process, including which person or group should orchestrate which parts of it. Now we will conclude the discussion by walking through the financial side of assessing goal accomplishment and how it works when considering actual firm profits.

MORE: The Partner Comp Battleground | If You Don’t Eat What You Kill, What Do You Eat? | 3 Ways to Emphasize the One-Firm Concept | 8 Steps for a Successful Change Process | Building Competency on Every Level | Change Happens: How to Master It.
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Let’s start with some statistics from our latest Succession Planning survey, which we did in partnership with the AICPA’s PCPS. The following tables show information regarding compensation systems, broken down by size of firm (by full-time equivalent [FTEs] which includes everyone, from administrative to staff to partner): READ MORE →

The Tax Practice Traffic Cop

illustration of traffic lightAuto-nagging isn't always enough.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

One of your roles as CEO is chief traffic cop. You keep the flow of returns moving along the information superhighway that is your workflow system. You manage the managers. You remove process bottlenecks. You soothe irritable clients.

MORE: The Land Mines in Tax Returns | How to Teach Reviewing and Time Management | 4 Steps to Take Before Next Tax Season | Some Uncommon Advice on Hiring Full-Time Staff | What Goes Into a Client Project? | The Value-Pricing Con Job | The 21st-Century CPA Firm | Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow Management
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I live in 15-minute increments during tax season. There are four things I do over and over and over again:
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Beyond Email: New Digital Tools

Screwdriver and wrenchThe top 3 remote screen control tools to help clients.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

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.

MORE: Why Scanning Procedures Matter | Digital Tax Workflow Requires a System, Not Projects | SURVEY: 60% of Firms Employ Remote Access Tools | Collaboration Should Tie In Messaging
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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.
READ MORE →

Most New College Grads Plan to Start Their Own Businesses

But first, they need to pay off their student loans. Bonus: What Millennials want in a first job.

By CPA Trendlines Research

As they prepare to enter the workforce, 70 percent of young adult job seekers say the freedom of being their own boss is worth more than the benefit of job security working for someone else.

Additionally, 53 percent say they are likely to start their own business in the future, according to new research from the AICPA, which took the opportunity to promote CPA services to the wanna-be entrepreneurs.

Although the new study has no data on CPA-bound graduates, it provides some insight into Millenials' plans both as potential clients and as staffers.

READ MORE →

Why Firms Merge: Hint, It’s Not for the Clients

Survey shows few firms will be left untouched today's M&A tsunami.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Roughly 7 in 10 accountants have been through a merger.
Been through a merger yet? Roughly 7 in 10 accountants have, and the signs point to even more M&A activity.

The world of accounting firm mergers is churning, and whether you’re in the market for a deal or not, the frenzy will affect your practice.

A third of accountants see a very active or extremely active M&A market in the works, and more than half say the trend is accelerating, according to the new CPA Trendlines Mergers & Acquisitions Survey, conducted in conjunction with Capstone Marketing.

The survey, which delves into the attitudes and behaviors of the M&A phenomenon like no other study, is yielding a raft of surprising findings.
Join the survey. Get the results.

Your competition and client market are going to shift around, with smaller firms disappearing, then popping up inside bigger firms, and clients dragged here and there, some of them looking for new CPAs. And if you’re scouting for talent, it could get hard to rope them in.

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Casinos Deploy A.I. for an Even Better House Advantage

Man crossing fingers while looking at casino website on tabletPublic health hazard or just fantastic marketing?

By Rick Richardson

Casinos and gambling websites, already adept at tilting long-term odds in their favor, are getting a leg up from technology that could inject even more certainty into their profit calculations.

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The catch: Experts worry that tweaks nudging gamers to play more – and bet bigger – could propel some toward excess and addiction.
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