Today's Features

New COVID-19 Crisis Toolkit Provides Practice Aids and Client Communications Templates
Click to learn more | Save $50 with code CPATRENDLINES20

Guidance, templates, client letters and emails, phone scripts, conversation starters, best practices for your firm – available through CPA Trendlines.

CPA Trendlines is partnering with Inovautus Consulting, a nationally recognized leader in marketing and business development programs for accounting firms, to offer a new client COVID-19 client communications and practice management toolkit that will be updated continuously for the duration of the Coronavirus crisis.

Save $50 today with discount code CPATRENDLINES20
Click here to learn more

The "FFCRA+ Toolkit" was launched with coverage for the Families First Coronavirus Response and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Acts, and will include coverage of all future crisis-related legislative, regulatory, and business impacts.


10 Things You Can Start Doing Immediately

Telberg Photo Barcelona blur 183-20160206Okay, so we're not invincible.

By August Aquila

The pandemic has hit us fast and furious. The current crisis is forcing us to change the way to live and work. If you are reading this, you're probably in an accounting firm. But these suggestions apply to many other sections of the economy.

The Coronavirus Crisis: Three Ways to Step Up in Uncertain Times | Accountants Battle Coronavirus Chaos | Smartphone Thermometers Predict Coronavirus Hot Spots | Go Remote with This App You Already Own [#WFH] | The Top Portable Monitors for Working from Home | Why Process Is Key to Remote Work | In These Turbulent Times, Leaders Must Lead! | The Tax Effects of Coronavirus [Live 1-Hour Webinar] | How to Think Straight through the Coronavirus Crisis | Coronavirus Culture-Shift Hits Accounting Firms | How to Sanitize Electronics Against COVID-19 with UV Light

More: CPA Trendlines is providing free access to our latest crisis update. Start here for a guide to all our coverage.

Here is a list of 10 items that you can start doing immediately:


SURVEY: Confronting Coronavirus Chaos

Preparing for the new paradigm of economic and medical realities.

Today's commentators (clockwise from top left): Martin, Zacarias, Finning, Simms, Bowers, Collins
Today's commentators (clockwise from top left): Martin, Zacarias, Finning, Simms, Bowers, Collins CPA Trendlines Research

CPAs are hunkering down for a quadruple-whammy as the COVID-19 pandemic slams society and the economy. Information is tenuous and changing.

See All CPA Trendlines Special Coronavirus Coverage

More: Tax Season Turns Ugly under Coronavirus | Lessons from the Trenches of Tax Season | Coronavirus Rattles Tax Season | More Firms Falling Behind | Accountants Cautiously Bullish on the Economy
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No one knows for sure what’s going to happen, but in the tax & accounting industry, four things are pretty certain:


Go Remote with This App You Already Own [#WFH]

John Higgins explains how to leverage Microsoft Teams for work-from-home staffers.

Today, when tax and accounting firms are going remote, whether we want it or not, whether we've planned for it or not, it's good to know that most of us already have a tool that's ready to go.


In These Turbulent Times, Leaders Must Lead!

cpatrendlines.comSix things you needed to start doing yesterday.

By Allan Koltin

In the face of this unprecedented global pandemic, Leaders must Lead! We need to fill our days with talking to our people, clients, and our families and engaging them in the reality of the situation while at the same time stressing the positive things going on.

RELATED: All CPA Trendlines Special Coronavirus Coverage

I was on a call this morning with a client and I was sharing how wonderful it was to have all three kids back home (they would have been studying abroad, at college, or going to high school) and how nice it was to have family dinners together again. I was also sharing the positives with the kids that their grandparents were healthy, safe, and getting calls from so many family members and how important this was to them. As I was walking the dogs this morning it occurred to me that I heard birds chirping and that I had been “so busy being busy” for the past four decades that beautiful sounds like this or the smell of the morning air were never on my mind. At a deeper level, and to equate it to a sporting event, I feel like the proverbial “scoreboard” has malfunctioned and there is now a new way to keep score, and it is becoming the new normal.


Planning for the Coronavirus Recession

If past recessions are any guide, the profession could lose up to 100,000 jobs.

Busy Season Barometer:
Bracing for the Coronavirus recession

Join the survey. Get the facts.

By Beth Bellor

The tax and accounting profession was adding new jobs at a rate of 2.3 percent per year before the Coronavirus outbreak, according to CPA Trendlines Research.

See: All CPA Trendlines Special Coronavirus Crisis Coverage

More Staffing and Hiring Trends: Automation and the Future of Accounting  |  Getting and Keeping the Best: The Struggle Continues |  Headcounts Dip by 3,500 in Tax & Accounting |  Creative Perks for Remote Employees |  What Staffing Shortage? |  Hiring Trends Flash Warning Signs of Slowdown in Tax & Accounting |  Salary Survey: Top Skills Getting Top Pay

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But with a new recession looming, CPA Trendlines estimates the profession could lose up to 100,000 jobs and take up to seven years to recover.

The latest data available show more than a million employees in the profession, and growing at about 2,800 new jobs per month. At the same time, wages are hitting record highs.

But with the Coronavirus crisis threatening a new recession, CPA Trendlines conducted a long-term, 30-year analysis, focused on the job losses caused by the dot-com crash of 2001 and the financial meltdown of 2007. From the analysis, CPA Trendlines calculates the profession could shed up to 10 percent of its current workforce, and not fully recover for two to seven years.

All employees, thousands, accounting and bookkeeping services, seasonally adjusted
^ Showing dips after the dot-com bubble in 2001 and financial crash in 2008: All tax, accounting, and bookkeeping services, all employees, in thousands, seasonally adjusted. (CPA Trendlines Research)

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current and long-term hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce


My Top 10(ish) Regrets

What would YOU change?

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

I’ve written about the 10 reasons for my success. I received quite a few calls about that and I came up with some regrets, so I’m sharing them here.

MORE: Getting Bonuses from Clients | Yes, Christopher Columbus Had an Accountant | 10 Reasons for My Success | When the Kids Don’t Want to Take Over | Staff May Surprise You with Leadership
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1. Not taking off Fridays: I could have taken off either every Friday or Monday and extended the weekend.

Tax Season Funnies: The Next Political Party Symbol

illustration of gates of heavenAnd yet another tax lawyer tries to get into Heaven.

As collected by Robert E. Mckenzie

Paying your taxes goes for a good cause ... it keeps you out of prison.

The difference between cheating the IRS and crossing the street in New York City: One is tax evasion and the other is taxi evasion.

MORE: Tax Season Funnies: Gabriel and Saint Peter Confer | Tax Season Funnies: A Tax Lawyer at the Pearly Gates | Tax Season Funnies: Gargoyles in the IRS? | Tax Season Funnies: The ‘Service’ in IRS
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The elephant and the donkey were probably chosen as political party emblems because they are beasts of burden. If a new political party is started, a taxpayer might suitably be used as an emblem.


COVID-19 Turns CPAs into Emergency Workers

Tax & accounting professionals rush to rescue coronavirus economic casualties.

By Donny C. Shimamoto
Strategic Technology Decisions

Many people think that accountants are just rational, unfeeling counting machines that operate completely on logic and reason. While on the surface that may appear to be true, I know from my discussions with many accountants that underlying that cool exterior is an actual human being with feelings. But what I love most is that accountants often care more about others than themselves.

MORE: What Small and Midsized Firms Can Learn from PwC’s Digital Upskilling | What Big Data Means to Small Firms | Accountants: Unleash Your Secret Superpower | Ready for Non-CPA CPA Firms? | Accounting Services Aren’t What You Think They Are | Learning from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

See complete coronavirus coverage here

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The impact of COVID-19 on many of our lives will be told for years or decades to come. Through social media, I saw a lot of accountants (because I’m friends with so many of them) express concern for their clients and communities as well. I saw accountants trying to combat hysteria, sharing information about what Congress was doing and the implications to taxpayers, and also working creatively with small business clients to figure out how to make it through the crisis. Yes, many accountants looked beyond themselves and beyond their firms (which were also at risk) to help others who were in emergency situations and needed help navigating this confusing and complex crisis.

More Services for Your Tax Clients

Woman and man shaking hands across a desk40 options, plus a checklist for making matches.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

The following listing can give you ideas of additional services clients might need.

MORE: Keep These Tax Clients While You Have the Chance | What’s NOT to Like about Tax Season? | Do Your Clients Feel Important? | 4 Reasons to Push Ahead with Tax Question Research | Help Tax Clients Help You
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This list is not complete, but it is a good start for you to start thinking about what types of additional services you can offer to your clients!

How to Evaluate Workflow Management Software

Don't be afraid to use the full trial period to decide.

By Jody Grunden

When evaluating workflow management software, it is important to evaluate your priorities and know what you want out of the system. It is also important to understand that there isn’t going to be an exact fit.

MORE: How to Profit with Workflow Apps | Why Process Is Key to Remote Work | Innovate for the Right Reasons | Creative Perks for Remote Employees | 10 Interview Questions for Unlocking True Potential
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After comparing options, make sure that the system you go with meets the priorities at the top of your list. Once the system is picked, it is important to spend time inside the system to figure out how your company is going to use it.

Is Trust Elusive?

Businessman with fingers crossed behind backThe behavior of the partner group affects every staff level.

By Steven E. Sacks

Government, the media and business. Three of the many sectors where there is a dearth of trust. We continue to slide down that slippery slope each day.

MORE: Influence, Don’t Manipulate | Fake It ‘Til You Make It: An Ultimate Goal? | 4 Ways to Boost Job Satisfaction | Have You Gauged Your Staff’s Enthusiasm? | Why Knowledge Maintenance Is Key | Retention Starts with the Hiring Interview
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Pick up your iPhone, tablet, laptop and yes, a newspaper to realize the compass on morality has a broken spring. North is south. East is west. Up is down. Light is dark. If it’s legal, it’s moral. Nothing is described as it really is.

Pre-COVID-19, Accounting Profession Hits New Highs

We'll be comparing apples to zebras for a while.

By Beth Bellor

What a difference a month makes. The accounting profession set several new records in the latest employment figures ... but.

For our analysis on the COVID-19 impact on the profession, see Planning for the Coronavirus Recession

That "but," of course, is the global pandemic. The numbers almost seemed dated as soon as they were released, because we know many of those gains quickly melted away.

FBI Recommends Passphrases Over Password Complexity

examples of passwords vs. passphrasesHarder to crack, easier to remember.

By Rick Richardson

For more than a decade, security experts have had discussions about what's the best way of choosing passwords for online accounts.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: How to Sanitize Electronics Against COVID-19 with UV Light | Apple’s New Credit Card Carries Fraud-Fighting Feature | Smart Devices Need 3 Features to Be Secure | Replace All Your Wi-Fi Hardware with a Tiny 5G Router | Make Your Gadgets Much Harder to Find and Steal
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There's one camp that argues for password complexity by adding numbers, uppercase letters and special characters, and then there's the other camp, arguing for password length by making passwords longer.

Help Clients by Pivoting to Projections's crisis needs analysts more than historians.

By Gale Crosley

Major upheavals in economic conditions present an opportunity for significant growth. For firms prepared to embrace this concept, it’s Go Time for new service innovations that clients and prospects want, need and are willing to pay for.

SEE: All CPA Trendlines Special Crisis Coverage

MORE: Home Alone. But Not Really. | Dicey Disruptions | Be a Consultant or Be Left Behind | Sustainable Innovation: How to Pull It Off
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With so many of us sequestered at home, it may be some time since you’ve actually been in your car. But you’ve probably not forgotten the difference between the view from your rearview mirror and what you see out the windshield. Applying the metaphor to accounting highlights the contrast between where we’ve been and where we need to go as a profession in the current environment.

Getting Bonuses from Clients

Man putting dollars into suit pocketALSO: Value pricing vs. value billing.

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

I’ve written about being independent and not selling financial services or products to clients. Quite a few people called me to ask about “value billing” and how that fits in. Here are some comments.

MORE: Yes, Christopher Columbus Had an Accountant | My ‘Brand’ Is the Exciting History of Accounting | Social Security Is an Asset Class | How to Waste Lunch Hour | What’s Your Negotiating Style? | How to Make Your Own Opportunities | How I Became a Published Author
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To start, value pricing is a pretty straightforward issue for those who truly value price and a misunderstood issue for most who do not. I cannot treat it completely in a short article and refer my readers to Ron Baker’s book, “Implementing Value Pricing.” However, today I will address the focus of my caller’s questions about value “bonuses” from clients.

Tax Pros Trail by 908,000 Returns

Data chart
Week ending March 20

E-filing pace lags 2.2% from year-ago, but professionals hang on to market share.

By Beth Bellor

Coronavirus has changed much of society as we know it, but taxes remain a certainty.

MORE: Tax Pro IRS Filings Lag by 532,000 | Tax Pro E-Filings Lag by 512,000 Returns | Tax Pros Kick into High Gear | Slow Start for Tax Pro E-filing | Data Points Down as Tax Season Opens | The Fight for New Tax Clients
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Total returns, e-filings and average refunds are up, although tax pros are e-filing slower than last year.