Today's Features

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Going After New Work

Error stampedPlus 9 business development metrics you should be measuring when checking your conversion rates.

By Martin Bissett
Passport to Partnership

Like it or not, the 21st-century accountant is in the relationship-building business. When a qualified accountant learns the art of developing those relationships in such a way as they empower the practice to be able to forecast its new fee income each year, the accountant becomes a profit center and their value to the firm increases tenfold.

MORE ON THE PASSPORT TO PARTNERSHIP: Communicate Your Worth and Value | 5 Ways to Evaluate Your Communication | 7 Levels of Communication Management | 5 Ways to Get Buy-In for Firm Culture | Partnership: Competence Is Just the Foot in the Door | Are You Partner Material? Maybe Not
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Our fourth "C," Conversion, has flirted with being the top answer from respondents in the Passport to Partnership study and has featured in over 80 percent of all firms interviewed as to what makes a senior manager stand out as a potential partner.

Experience Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

Young businesswoman talking to her client and using tabletHow to increase lead generation, conversion and retention.

By Rob Nixon

Most accounting practices have a zero-based lead generation (or new inquiries) strategy, which means they do nothing. New clients just "appear," typically via referral.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Change Is On the Horizon | Do Your Clients Want More? | The Bizarre Habits of Accountants | 12 Traits of a Better You | How to Calculate a Value Price | Boost Efficiency and Your Bottom Line | 4 Sales Systems and Some Secret Sauce | Marketing Objectives Determine Marketing Amount | Rewards Go Far Beyond Money | What It Means to Be a Real-Time Accountant
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Nothing wrong with getting referrals from existing clients. In fact they are the best quality leads you can get – free and credible.

They Don’t Want to Be Owners!

Dennis Sherrin: "It is my mission to empower our employees to do great things and reach for more than they think they can while making sure they get the credit and this firm prospers."It may be just a matter of perception. But numbers to draw from are lower.

By Sandra Wiley

There’s a general assumption these days that younger professionals don’t have as much inclination toward, or ability for, firm ownership compared to previous generations.

MORE: 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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Data is scarce to support that idea, however. It may be a misperception stemming from factors other than simply desire and potential. When asked, firm leaders young and old express enthusiasm about the opportunities for emerging leaders.

In our discussion of bridging the gap between management and emerging leaders, we would be remiss in not addressing the topic of moving from emerging leader to owner. The perception among many in our profession is that there are fewer individuals at the senior and manager levels who aspire to be an owner, and even when they show a desire, they simply do not seem technically capable. I can find no statistical data that proves this perception but when I ask current partners how many of their own peers actually became owners, the number is low. That indicates to me that there have always been relatively few people entering our profession who ultimately aspire to climb to the partner level.

First, You Need Clients

Small potted plant fertilized with coinsApply systems to your sales funnel.

By Jassen Bowman
Tax Resolution Systems

If your experience is primarily in the tax return preparation arena, then you are most likely used to the service being what is referred to as a “lay down” sale, meaning you really don’t have to sell.

MORE: Tax Resolution: A Lucrative Opportunity | 4 Problems with the Tax Resolution Industry | When Tax Filing Season Is Over, What’s Next? | How to End the Tax Revenue Roller Coaster with a Four-Season Practice Model
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As an optional service that many people just aren’t familiar with as an option, tax resolution actually requires a little bit of sales skills. I think it’s important for you to have a handle on the key benefits that you bring to the table for potential clients.

5 Ways to Get More Referrals

Woman pressing one of many faces on a gridDo your clients even know you WANT them to share your name?

By Sandi Leyva

The most popular way to get clients is from referrals or by word of mouth.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Measure Client Retention … Against Yourself | Turn to the ABCs for Client Feedback | Use Client ‘Touch Plans’ to Stay in Touch | Build Your Revenue Plan in Reverse | 5 Fast, Easy Ways to Turn Annual Clients into Year-Round Clients | Best Practices for Growth: Network, Specialize, Share | How to Handle Referrals – And How Not To
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A referral takes place when other clients refer you to their friends or a business associate passes your business card to a prospect, and the prospect calls you for more information. At the beginning of your career, you may get started with referrals from relatives, personal friends, previous employers or co-workers, or other entrepreneurs if you have been active in professional business groups.

Focus on Cyber Risk, Not Just Security

Infosec triangleTake a comprehensive and holistic approach that includes your business strategy.

By Donny C. Shimamoto

Cybersecurity is a huge buzzword right now. Businesses are worried about it, people are worried about it and vendors are trying to sell you cyber protection solutions.

MORE: Making IT Matter to Accountants | IT Nerds Need Budget Help | 8 Ways to Wrestle Software Subscriptions Into Submission | IT Hardware Gets Even More Complex (Great!) | How Accounting Geeks and Techie Nerds Can Play Nicely Together
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Attending a cybersecurity webinar or seminar is also not for the faint at heart. Even I, an IT specialist in the CPA profession, often leave those events scared to put any of my personal data anywhere online.

Pricing Strategies: The Real World vs. The CPA World

Businessman and tablet with the word "pricing" above.7 types and how they work.

By August J. Aquila
Price It Right

Pricing in the real world is much different than in the accounting profession.

MORE: Marketing and the 5 P’s | How to Shift from Production to Marketing 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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Usually, wholesalers and retailers set their prices by using markups as the product moves through a distribution channel. Producers or manufacturers usually set a list price. Think of the manufacturer’s suggested list price on the window of a new car. Car dealers will use various methods to price the new vehicle.

Will HEIF Kill JPEG?

Side-by-side comparison of HEIF and JPEG.Everything you need to know about the new image format.

By Rick Richardson

HEIF is the new photo format that Apple is using to replace JPEG. And it probably will replace JPEGs, because the iPhone is the most popular, most-used camera in the world, and as of iOS 11, most iPhones will be switching from JPEG to HEIF.

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But what is HEIF? What makes it better than JPEG? And what difference will it make?