Today's Features

6 Ingredients for Firm Value

Man preparing bread for bakingShould you merge? What can you offer your people?

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

I am often asked two questions by small and midsized CPA firms:

  • How do we create significant firm value?
  • If we can get there, should we sell or stay independent?

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: 4 Ways to Add $100,000 in New Business Fees Every Year | 8 Steps to Small Firm Survival | 10 Roles of an Executive Committee | Why Do We Accept Poor New Business Results? | The Link Between Strategy and Winning on Value
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The answers to these questions, of course, depend on a firm’s particular facts and circumstances and one size does not fit all. Nevertheless, I am happy to share my perspective based on best practices.

How Accountants Can Ride the Artificial Intelligence Wave

Let machines crunch the data. You provide the insight.

By Hitendra R. Patil and Eli Fathi

You are already riding the AI wave to some extent because, most likely, your car has some AI built into it. You ride it to work. How about riding artificial intelligence at and in your work?

MORE ON ENTREPRENEURIAL STRATEGY: Automation Makes It Easier for Accountants to Offer Cybersecurity | The Why, What and How of Cybersecurity for Accountants  | The Client of the Future | Urgently Required: A New Definition of Accounting | Is Blockchain a Cloud Killer? | How to Beat Automation in Accounting | 3 Reasons Small Firms Stay Small | The New Needs of People at Accounting Firms | 4 Pillars of Future Firm Foundation | Do You Want a Practice … or a Business? | 3 Apps to Automate Business Networking
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In today’s economic environment, it’s not enough to offer services in the same way that it’s always been done and hope that business will thrive. Many accounting firms are embracing new technology, such as robotic process automation, cloud-based analytics and dashboards to offer a competitive edge but the industry has come to a crossroads. While these computer-assisted and rules-based tools are considered the norm, AI and machine learning solutions are driving the leading edge.

Are You a Box or a Funnel?

3 metal funnelsHarmonize, don’t just clash and resist.

By Bill Reeb

A college professor I know has had a difficult time harmonizing as his approach always escalated to clashing and resisting. And no, this isn’t a story about Michaelle in disguise, but someone else I had the pleasure of getting to know.

MORE: Tension Impacts Performance | Your Perception Will Shape Your Experiences | For CPAs: The Road to Wisdom Is Paved with Failure | Fear Stifles You in Every Way | Change the Way You Think | Let Go to Get Unstuck | Investing in Loss | You Might Be Your Biggest Obstacle | What to Stop May Be More Important Than What to Do
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He had a definite approach to teaching and was good at it. He believed in setting very high standards for his students and passing only those who achieved a specific level of excellence.

2019: Staff Policies Improve, But Not Mentoring

And mergers are getting tougher. Ouch!

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Survey

Firms are stepping up their efforts to be more liberal and staff-friendly with their staff policies. More unlimited PTO polices including many variations of this, working remotely, staff setting their own hours, etc.

Unfortunately, I am not seeing any changes in the lip service most partners give to staff mentoring. Eighty percent of firms never make it to the second generation – many reasons for this but a big one is that the quality of partner mentoring sucks.

The Agile Accountant

Scrum line art illustrationLearning a lesson from software programmers.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Agile project management conjures up the image of scruffy software programmers surrounded by empty pizza boxes at 3 a.m. hacking away at producing the next Google.

MORE: The Cure for Commoditization | Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow Management | What the Value-Pricers Get Wrong | Four Amusing Millennial Myths | The Annual Tax Meeting is Dead. Clients Killed It. | 3 Rules for Asking Great Tax-Return Questions

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What could Agile possibly bring to accounting and income tax preparation?

Actually a lot, and it could transform your workflow and provide a quantum leap in the efficiency of your project management.


Yes, Home Equity Loans May Still Be Deductible

But watch out for the lower dollar limit.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA

Contrary to early reports, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allows taxpayers who buy, build or substantially improve their homes using either a home equity loan, home equity lines of credit (HELOC) or second mortgages to deduct interest on the loans.

MORE: How to Challenge Property Taxes | Portability: Sharing the Estate Tax Exemption | Tariffs: What Clients Need to Know Now | New SALT Deduction Limit: What Clients Need to Know | Passwords: How to Beat the Hackers
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That's the good news. But if clients take out the loan to pay for personal living expenses – credit card debt, for instance – they can't deduct the interest from their taxes.

29 Things Smart Firms Do

Happy multi-ethnic business team with thumbs up in the officeWhat the best firms already know.

By Rick Telberg
The Rosenberg Survey

CPA Trendlines finds a wealth of information in the new Rosenberg Survey, the leading national compendium of financial and operating statistics for CPA firms.

A host of consultants points out some of the things they see CPA firms doing right and wrong.

Here are some of the rights.


Make Your Accounts Payable Digital

Woman entering credit card information on laptopLook for cash rebates.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Processing accounts payable is another of the manually intensive processes within the firm’s administrative department that can be significantly streamlined through digital processes.

MORE: Remote Deposit Saves 130 Hours Per Year | SURVEY: 76% of Auditors Rely Heavily on Remote Access | Enter T&E Daily | SURVEY: Firms Divided on eSignatures | Firms Need ‘Best Practices’ Manuals
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Consider how many “touches” a single payable creates: receipt of the invoice, timing of payment in a folder, writing the check and attaching the stub, sending it to an owner for signature, filing a copy of check with backup in its own folder, and stuffing, sealing and sending the check to the vendor.

Kennedy’s Acceptance Speech

John and Jackie Kennedy in car in Dallas
by Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News (public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

Selling by swaying.

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

This is not about JFK.

MORE: Make Obsessed Leadership Work for You | Roger Is My Only Client | Blown Loan Covenants and How to Recover from Them | Beyond the Numbers: Be a Friend | Perception Becomes Reality
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When he was nominated at the 1960 Democratic Convention, his acceptance speech was preceded with an introduction by Chester Bowes narrating a film about Kennedy’s life and achievements.

Join the Radical Movement

Who defines innovation? You.

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

It's time to get going!

You’ve read my Beyond Radical approach.

MORE ON RADICALISM: Quick Tip: 7 Ways to Add Value and Charge for It | Profits: New Firms, New Measures | When Staffers Meet Clients | Selling Product, not Hours | Maximizing Social Media: The Importance of People | What Are AI and Bots? | True Diversity Means Creating Equity
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Are you exhausted or energized? If you know me, you know that I can’t wait to help you get started on your journey.

6 Secrets to Getting Great Testimonials

Businesswoman being applauded by peersSpread the word about your successes.

By Michael Rozbruch, CPA
The IRS Audit Notice Checklist

When marketing your services, obviously credibility is critical to your success. This includes number of years in business, number of clients served, etc.

MORE: 9 Secrets to Getting IRS Penalties Removed | Social Media’s Place in Your Marketing Strategy | KPIs That Accounting Firms Don’t Measure But Should | 10 Tips for Maximizing Referrals
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However, “believability” is even more important than “credibility.” The facts about your business, proprietary systems/methods, and cases resolved, years in business and so on are important, but not nearly as persuasive as what clients have to say about their real-life experiences with you, benefits realized and skepticism erased.