Today's Features

Growing and Developing Future Leaders Is a Two-Way Street

Businessman with briefcase riding on rocket5 leadership skills to hone and 4 questions to ask about your firm.

By Carrie Steffen
Bridging the Gap

Bemoaning a lack of future leaders within the firm is not a solution to the perceived problem. Instead, it behooves current leaders to identify and nurture potential leaders, helping them develop the relevant skills and clearly communicate a defined path to leadership as well as expectations for applying targeted competencies. Young professionals with aspirations of leadership, in turn, must embrace opportunities and demonstrate willingness to meet current leaders partway.

MORE: They Don’t Want to Be Owners! | The Culture of Continuous Improvement | A Winning Culture Is an Intentional Culture | A Call for Change: An Open Letter to Each Generation
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Firms are at a crossroad when it comes to transitioning to the next generation of leaders. According to the CPACA study on Succession Readiness, 48.3 percent of firms of all sizes cite “lack of future leadership talent” as a primary obstacle in their succession.

4 Ways a Production Orientation Can Harm a Firm

Men doing precision work on a production lineWhat kind of partner is more valuable?

By August J. Aquila

A pure production orientation can have negative consequences for an accounting firm.

MORE: Why Choose a Marketplace Orientation? | How Traditional Fee Methods Hurt Firms | 6 Questions for Planning Your Succession | Underperformers Come in Many Shapes and Sizes | 6 Focuses for Managing Partners | 10 Steps to Transitioning to a New MP | What Managing Partners Should Be Doing
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These consequences include a focus on internal measures, billable hours and technical aspect of tasks, and inhibit the development of a marketing orientation.

How to Compensate Your Managing Partner

Businesswoman holding giant dollar symbolHow firms are balancing base salaries against billable hours.

By Bill Reeb and Dominic Cingoranelli

The managing partner should have a compensation plan unique to that position focused on carrying out the strategic and tactical objectives of the firm.

MORE ON PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: How to Elect a Managing Partner … and How to Fire Them | Why Accountability Falls to Managing Partners | How to Implement Strategy, Step by Step | How to Decide Who Decides Pay | Accountability Includes Partners | Succession Plan Requirements | How Retired Partners Are Robbing their Own Firms | 4 Ways to Create More Capacity | Partner Retirement and the War for Clients | Succession: The Questions to Care About | Hazards of Not Reallocating Equity

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While there can be some individual performance goals assessed, the bulk of the managing partner’s incentive package and focus should be on overall firm performance. The key here is that you don’t want an incentive system for the managing partner that is overly focused on individual goals because the real value of this position is in driving firmwide change.

Chat Executive Predicts Death of Most Websites

LivePerson office spaceAvailable now: moving conversation from assistant to phone.

By Rick Richardson

Forget stumbling through a customer-support page – the future of commerce won't be found by surfing the World Wide Web.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Amazon Offers New Delivery Service for Buildings | 6 Blockchain Jobs of the Future | Paying for Life in 2040 | New Lidar Sensor Slashes Cost, Boosts Production | IBM Has Created a Computer Smaller Than a Grain of Salt | Solar Panels Generate Power from Falling Raindrops | Facial Recognition Could Replace Boarding Passes Within 4 Years | Google, Rolls-Royce to Create Self-Piloting Ships
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Soon many of the tasks we now do via websites and brand-specific apps will be handled through messaging and voice platforms such as iMessage, WhatsApp and Amazon's Alexa, according to Alex Spinelli, the chief technology officer at LivePerson.

A CPA Looks Back Across the Generations

Why the profession is so great.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything

When I became a partner emeritus, it meant that it was time to slow down and work less.

MENDLOWITZ' PRACTICE DOCTOR Q&A: How Many Hours Should Staff Work? | Is This a Rut?  | Taking Over Poorly Done Work | When to Offer Profit Sharing | What’s In a Title? | Managing Partners Should Drop their Book of Business | What’s Lousy, the Client or Your Approach? | Checklist for Running a Practice | Why Credentials Are Worthwhile
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I started working only two days a week. I thought I would have more time to pursue many of the things I had always wanted to do but never had the time. Since that point, I seem to be busier than I ever was and still have many projects I want to do, but can’t seem to get to.

Testimonials: Why and How

Woman winking and holding thumb upThese pay off HUGE.

By Sandi Leyva
The Complete Guide to Marketing for Tax & Accounting Firms

A testimonial is a short written recommendation from a past or current client. Most accountants I talk to hate testimonials and don’t use them. But here’s what they don’t realize: Other people love them, and they really make a difference.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: 10 Marketing Materials You Need | Make Direct Mail Work for You | Write Your Way to Expert Status | Make Newsletters Work for You | How to Schedule Social Media Content | The 5 C’s of Successful Websites | Speaking: How, Where and Getting Leads from It | The A-B-C’s of Getting Started with Advisory Services
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If you don’t have any, a prospect could assume that you don’t have any clients either. Get rid of that objection easily by posting testimonials so prospects know you’re not just starting out.

Making Partner: Today’s 15 Essential Skills and Traits

Do you have what it takes? Bonus: Six boxes to check off, and seven tough questions.

By Marc Rosenberg

What is the right stuff to earn a promotion to partner? This is one of several questions that if asked of ten partners from different firms, you may get ten different answers.

MORE: Why You Might Want an Executive Committee | How to Specify Managing Partner Duties | When Votes Must Be Taken, What Are the Options? | Ownership Percentage and Capital Accounts | 5 Key Reasons to Have a Partner Agreement

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I have worked the following script dozens of times at partner retreats: I ask the group what it means to be a partner and write their responses on a flipchart. When we’re done, one of the partners yells out “Oh no. None of us qualifies!” And because the truth is often said in jest, this retort is no joke.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every partner in every firm was a star partner? For almost all firms, this is an impossible dream. So how high should the bar be raised – realistically – to become a partner, or conversely, how low should it go?

Following are common examples of skills and traits that CPA firms require of their partner-potentials before they are promoted to partner. Plus: Six boxes partner-candidates must be able to check off, and seven of the toughest questions to assess readiness. This list is not all-inclusive and will vary from firm to firm.


True Diversity Means Creating Equity

Woman opens door to find brick wall behind itWho is trying to get in the room but can’t?

By Liz Gold
in From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

So, we know you can’t just put the diversity and inclusion phrase on marketing materials and call it good. There needs to be some substance behind the claim.

MORE ON RADICALISM: A Legacy of Leadership Must Extend to Diversity | 5 Ways to Create a More Diverse and Inclusive Workplace | Goals, Goals, Goals | 3 Challenges in Shifting to Product Management | Productized 1099s the New Vision Way | Why Our Clients Need Us to Be Radical
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Part of that substance includes looking at the word “equity” and considering how you can provide equitable opportunities and growth potential to every individual in your firm.

Checklist: The Essential Goal-Oriented Business Metrics

30 items for 2 types of goals.

By Jassen Bowman
Tax Resolution Systems

If you need help coming up with some ideas on what types of goals to set within your business, I might suggest you review the following list of possible metrics (things to measure) in your business.

MORE ON TAX RESOLUTION: Building Your Dream Team | Suggested Tax Resolution Client Payment Guidelines | When to Follow Up on Prospects | Checklists for New Lead Generation | How to Handle Client Complaints | Case Study: Building a Tax Resolution Business | Marketing Requires Ruthless Accountability
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You want your goals to be specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and timed. Your goals will probably change over time as you become better and more confident.

Mark Guiley Oversees New Cannabis Niche

Portrait of Mark Guiley

The firm talked to its insurance company first.

By Liz Gold

Mark Guiley is a tax manager at Isler CPA in Eugene, Oregon. And he’s the point person for the firm’s newly budding cannabis practice.

MORE ON CANNABIZ: Cannabis Trends: What CPAs Need to Know for 2018 and Beyond | Tom Achor: At the Intersection of Cannabis Accounting and Technology | PODCAST: John Repetti and Mitzi Hollenbeck of Citrin Cooperman | 4 Best Things About Being a ‘Dope’ Accountant | Five Reasons Accountants Should Serve Cannabis Clients | The Fire Starter: Groundbreaking Cannabis CPA Luigi Zamarra | CPA Kim Walker: ‘We Can’t Be Afraid of Diving into Marijuana’
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Though cannabis has been legal in Oregon since 2014, the firm recently decided to start serving cannabis clients late last year.

Why Tracking URLs Are So Important

"Good vs. evil in technology" illustration using laptops4 specific benefits.

By Becky Livingston
The Accountant’s Social Media Handbook

If you’re creating content and sharing it anywhere online, consider using a URL tracking code to help you identify where links to your website are coming from, i.e., Source/Medium and/or All Campaigns in Google Analytics.

MORE: Crafting Effective Landing Pages | How to Research Keywords | What Goes Into a Buyer Persona? | 3 Big SEO Changes | How Long Does It Take to Rank? | What Is SEO and Why Is It Important?
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First, let's use a URL builder.

Amazon Offers New Delivery Service for Buildings

Woman using Amazon Hub in building lobbyThere's even a way to request one.

By Rick Richardson

No doorman? No problem.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: 6 Blockchain Jobs of the Future | Russian Router Malware Just Got Much Worse | New Technology Purifies Water Using Sunlight | Holographic Memory Film Is Thinner Than Human Hair | Think Twice About Logging into Your Hotel’s Wi-Fi | DNA Nanorobots Killed Cancerous Tumors
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Amazon has introduced a new delivery solution for apartment complexes that promises to deliver both convenience and safety (alongside your actual package, of course).

Why Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Covenants Matter

Businessman sitting in office and reading documentsBONUS: A sample agreement.

By Marc Rosenberg

"Non-compete" and "non-solicitation" are two terms often used interchangeably. Though they are similar, there are important differences.

MORE: Why You Might Want an Executive Committee | How to Specify Managing Partner Duties | When Votes Must Be Taken, What Are the Options? | Ownership Percentage and Capital Accounts | 5 Key Reasons to Have a Partner Agreement
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For the sake of brevity, we use the term “non-competes” to refer to both covenants.