Today's Features

Why CPA Trendlines: “Battle-Tested Info”

Thank you to one of our newest PRO Members for your feedback and kind words!

Most importantly I appreciate the depth of information contained on one site and its dual value.

It proves to be a valuable resource in that I can get relevant information on best practices for my firm and how to implement them, along with timely technical advice on providing a better end-product to my clients.

There are some other sites that are free that offer something similar, but it’s great to know the advice being given is being used and is battle tested (perhaps after going through several changes over the years) and accumulated over decades in the field by the writers.

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7 Succession Questions to Ignore for Now

Serious-looking businessman in front of empty conference roomThere's some misdirection in succession management out there.

By Bill Reeb and Dominic Cingoranelli
CPA Trendlines / Succession Institute

You can’t go a week without seeing some article or blog focused on succession management and everyone seems to have a different opinion as to what is important when addressing succession. So, we thought it was time we challenged some of the more common misconceptions.

MORE ON PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: How Partner Ratings Factor Into Equity | Hazards of Not Reallocating Equity | The Pitfalls of Equity Allocation and Reallocation | Develop Your Employees or Suffer the Consequences | 5 Harmful Management Attitudes (and How to Fix Them) | Do CPA Firms Need Management or Leadership?

The first thing most authors want to focus on with succession is the development of future leaders. Then the dialogue will shift quickly to mentoring programs, leadership training and more. Well, it would be hypocritical for us to disagree with this because we actually develop and conduct these kinds of programs. However, training such as this is only valuable after many other issues are addressed first. So, while it is important, I guess the best phrase to describe this is “first things first,” and this is not first by any stretch of the imagination.

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Tax Season 2019: A Taste of the Future

"Thirty percent of tax services will be obsolete in three years."

Robert Hockensmith talks about Tax Season 2019 on local TV news in Phoenix.

By CPA Trendlines Research

This year’s tax season is giving tax preparers a taste of the future—a future where tax returns are both simpler and more complex.

According to data streaming into the CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer survey, tax practitioners are just beginning to get a handle on the radical changes wrought by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—not just the technical changes to the tax code but the resulting changes to the business of tax preparation.

MORE: The Biggest Reason Fraudsters Run Rings around the IRS  | The Big Free-File Flop | The Demise of Schedule A? | Refunds Still Up, but Only by 0.7% | Survey: Busy Season Goes Sour | Tax Refunds Up 1.7% | Lessons Learned: How the Federal Shutdown Hit Busy Season 2019 | Tax Refund Fury Roils Busy Season | Taxpayer Advocate Slams Congress over Funding

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Robert F. Hockensmith, CPA, EA, in Phoenix, Ariz., and a website site notably named AZMoneyGuy.com, offers a variety of tax and non-tax services, sums it up thus: “Thirty percent of tax preparation will be obsolete in three years. Clients will want advice and tax resolution more than preparation for 50 percent of taxpayers. And only 50 percent of all tax returns will be prepared by professional tax preparers.”

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The Biggest Reason Fraudsters Run Rings around the IRS

IRS chases the wrong returns, delaying refunds, wasting resources.

By CPA Trendlines

Let’s have a pity party! You’re invited.

Let’s pity the Internal Revenue Service for having to identify fraudulent tax returns and taxpayer identities.

MORE: The Big Free-File Flop | The Demise of Schedule A? | Refunds Still Up, but Only by 0.7% | Survey: Busy Season Goes Sour | Tax Refunds Up 1.7% | Lessons Learned: How the Federal Shutdown Hit Busy Season 2019 | Tax Refund Fury Roils Busy Season | Taxpayer Advocate Slams Congress over Funding

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Let’s pity the taxpayer whose tax return gets flagged as fraudulent—or her stolen identity that doesn’t.

And let’s pity the tax preparer stuck between the legitimate taxpayer and the fumbling, under-funded, well-intentioned bureaucracy of the IRS. READ MORE →

High CPA Fees Should Be a Client’s Goal

Businessman sitting on scales with stack of coins in other trayThey don't want their accountant doing as little as possible.

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

One time I had three clients who were on the board of directors of the same NYSE-listed company. Two of them questioned every bill and every hour spent, and their fees were fairly low for people of that caliber. The third person did not seem to care what he paid, and his fees were quite high. Let me call him Jack.

MORE: Hot Shot Sales Manager Is Not Such a Hot Shot | Am I Happy? | My Boss Hated the Client | Fired from My First Job | Staffers Need to Speak Up with Clients | Bored by CPE? You’re Missing Out!
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Jack also wanted to have lunch with me about twice a year. There was no special agenda. He just wanted to talk about how he could get richer and whether I could come up with anything that might help his company. We ate in the company’s private dining room – just him and me and three people waiting on us. The only thing I remember about the food was that at the beginning of the lunch we were served a wheel of brie cheese measuring 10 or 12 inches in diameter, and he proceeded to eat almost all of it.
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Minorities, Women & Cannabis

Portrait of Sean Robinson
Robinson

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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The IRS Free-File Flop

Percentage of Free File Users by Income Demographics

Fix it, or lose it.

By CPA Trendlines

Can you believe that 70 percent of all U.S. taxpayers could be using Free File, yet only 2.5 percent actually are? Did we mention "free?"

MORE BUSY SEASON: Protect Your Clients’ Assets  |  The Demise of Schedule A?   |  Tammy’s Tale of Tax Season Tardiness   |  How Effective Project Management Makes Your Life Easier   |  Survey: Busy Season Goes Sour   |  When Clients Cash Out: Four Smart Financial Moves   |  Lessons Learned: How the Federal Shutdown Hit Busy Season 2019   |  The IRS Mess: Taxpayer’s Roadmap is a Plumber’s Nightmare  |  Fixing the IRS: Tax Professionals Speak Out   |  Tax Refund Fury Roils Busy Season

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The reasons are mostly a mystery, but we found five major problems and seven ways to improve the program. If all else fails, even it's backers agree: Give up.

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Protect Your Clients’ Assets

Digital visualization of a blue alarm clockGet the plans locked down.

By Anthony Glomski

Let's look at ways to help your clients minimize taxes when they sell their business, to avoid leaving money on the table and to reduce concentration risk.

MORE ON LIQUIDITY: Even Entrepreneurs Must Diversify | When Clients Cash Out: Four Smart Financial Moves
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Here we’ll take a closer look at two common missteps that business owners and their advisors make during the exit process – and how to avoid them.
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The Demise of Schedule A?

Join the survey. Get the results.

"If you charge by the form, Schedule A's are almost obsolete."

TODAY's BONUS QUESTION:
The Future of the Tax Practice?
Join the survey. Get the answers.

By CPA Trendlines Research

With the countdown clock running down toward April 15, many tax professionals' early-season optimism is turning into frustration and anger, according to the CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer.

The latest readings from the tracking poll show:

  • Only half as many professionals now predict "significant increases" in the number of clients, and who now expect a "significant decrease" has almost doubled.
  • The number of practitioners forecasting revenue gains has been cut in half.
  • The number expecting better profits than last year has been cut by a third.

What's happening?

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Tammy’s Tale of Tax Season Tardiness

Pile of documents on desk stack up high waiting to be managed.Or, why you need project management.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Here’s a story about a former staff member who caused me years of therapy and cost us probably 20 clients in one year. Therapy for me consists of drinking craft beer, so I expect that I may need therapy for a lifetime.

MORE: How Effective Project Management Makes Your Life Easier | Value Pricers Ignore Half the Pricing Puzzle | CPAs Can’t Help You | The Agile Accountant | The Cure for Commoditization | Four Amusing Millennial Myths | 3 Rules for Asking Great Tax-Return Questions
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Also, note that this story happened before I started enforcing company policies with a loaded Glock. The company handbook, which I wrote, allows this. I give you the “Tragic Tale of Tammy Tardy.”
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Hot Shot Sales Manager Is Not Such a Hot Shot

Businessman holding a printed red "down" arrowSometimes people reveal more than intended.

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

A client decided that to grow her business she needed a top-tier sales manager and recruited someone from a much larger competitor.

MORE: Am I Happy? | How Hidden Bias Taints Results | When to Keep Some Plans to Yourself | Employees Have Better Memories than Bosses | When Writeups Went Extinct
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How to Be Ready for Real Artificial Intelligence

What to know before investing in new technology.

By Hitendra Patil and Eli Fathi

To use AI or not?

That is the question for accounting and audit firms looking toward the future. There is a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt regarding the availability, adoption and use of artificial intelligence-based systems. There is even some misleading information within the broader community of accounting and audit tools.

MORE ON ENTREPRENEURIAL STRATEGY: How Accountants Can Ride the Artificial Intelligence Wave | The Client of the Future | The Rise of the Robot Accountant: Opportunity or Threat?
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A wide range of claims and news can be found online, from AI “not being ready” for accounting, to questioning the benefits of artificial intelligence. Vendors stating their solutions are AI-enabled may be adding to the confusion. READ MORE →

Even Entrepreneurs Must Diversify

Also: Don't let them undervalue themselves.

By Anthony Glomski

Based on my years of experience helping successful entrepreneurs, as well as my research and interviews with experts in the area of successful business exits, I have identified key financial challenges that entrepreneurs who are about to cash out must address.

MORE ON LIQUIDITY: When Clients Cash Out: Four Smart Financial Moves
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The idea is to ensure that you can help them make a smooth and successful transition from where they are today to where they want to be post-exit. READ MORE →