Today's Features

SIX-MINUTE SURVEY: Top Business Strategies for After Busy Season

After Busy Season, which STRATEGIC ACTIVITY will be your TOP PRIORITY?

Check one to launch the survey and get the results.

b. Focus on marketing and getting new business

c. Learning from Busy Season '19

d. Investing in new technology

e. Adding, cutting, or upgrading staff

f. Adjusting pricing strategies & billing rates

g. Changing jobs or getting a promotion

h. Fire some clients

i. Other

Yes, the survey should take only six minutes. (We timed it.)
And you'll be the first to get the special topline executive summary, just for participating. 
As always, confidentiality assured.

Wanna Change the Tax World?

Should the April 15th IRS extensions go automatic and paperless? The IRS needs your feedback.

Vote YES or NO
to add your voice to the discussion
Join the Survey. Get the Results.

By Eva Rosenberg, EA
TaxMama

You CAN affect IRS Policies – Really!

You’ve recently finished up the tedious task of doing extensions for your clients’ pass-through entities.

You’re about to do it again for your individuals and corporations.

Are you feeling like it’s a frustrating waste of time? It’s the same people and businesses that need additional time, year-after-year. You know it. The IRS knows it.

Please fill out our survey and give us your feedback – good or bad. We’d like your honest input – because, really, YOU can change tax policy.

So why go through the charade of the annual extension, when we all know the returns aren’t going to be finished before September or October anyway? And then, suddenly wake up in the middle of the night with the horrifying realization that you left out a client – and, oh those penalties! Or they walk in, in May and tell you they created a partnership or corporation – and, oh, forgot to mention it.

That’s what we are proposing to change. To have the IRS make those March 15 (7004) and April 15 (4868 and 7004) extensions automatic and paperless. Believe it or not, with your feedback, we can make this happen.  Why? Because it’s not just your time being wasted, IRS wastes a lot of time on this, too.

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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.

Many Thanks!

Thank you!

Not a PRO Member yet? Go PRO here: GoProCPA.com

The 5 C’s of Successful Websites

Woman designing a websitePlus 4 components to build credibility.

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

The power of a website over many other marketing methods is its potentially enormous reach. When you can market to many people at a time, your costs are generally greatly reduced.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: How to Maximize Online Profile Sites | Make the Most of Trade Shows | Track Your Online Reputation | Partnering: Referrals on Steroids | Measure Client Retention … Against Yourself | Take Your Client’s Pulse | How to Determine Your Ideal Client
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

For accountants, their website is one of the prime ways to get business without having to do much interaction. If you’re highly introverted, you may not like serving on committees and attending networking events. If that’s the case, then it’s all the more important to work on your website and maximize its message.
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The Technology that Helped Hikers Survive 5 Days in Mountains

Photo of LifeStrawHydration made a difference.

By Rick Richardson 

Two hikers missing for five days on California’s Mount Baldy were found alive after rescuers tracked their footprints to their camp, according to authorities.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: 5 Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Businesses with Remote Employees | What to Expect from the April Windows 10 Update | Amazon Takes More Control Over Smart Home Technology | 5G is Coming: Ford Leads the Way | RCS: What It Is and Why You Might Want It | Vaporize Invisible Smartphone Filth | 190 Universities Launch 600 Free Online Courses | Can a New Font Boost Your Memory?
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Eric Desplinter and Gabrielle Wallace had gone hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains in San Bernardino County, California, on April 6 and were expected to return that night. But when the two hadn't returned by 8 p.m., friends reported the two missing.
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Tax Season Funnies: Travel Deductions and Limo Drivers

A traffic cop treads carefully.
As collected by Robert E. Mckenzie
  • On tax day we remembered the immortal quote from Charlie Brown in the "Peanuts" comic strip: “No problem is so big or so complicated it cannot be run away from.”

More Tax Season Humor: Lawyer Vs. Accountant | Who Gets the Penthouse Suite? | April Fool Is When? | What Money Can Buy | How Golf Is Like Taxes  | After the Revolution | Worst Video Game Ever | A Little Tax Humor | How many IRS agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

  • "Tax day is the day that ordinary Americans send their money to Washington, D.C., and wealthy Americans send their money to the Cayman Islands." – Jimmy Kimmel

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Tax Filings: Everything Up but Refunds

Data chartPros handled 57% of e-filings.

By Beth Bellor

With only three days left in the tax season, things finally were looking up.

MORE: What’s the Real Impact of IRS Audits? | E-Filing Pace Quickens Toward Finish | Salary Survey Shows Pay for Tax Professionals | 2 Ways the EITC Error Rate Is High | Tax Pro E-Filing Off 2.7% from Last Year’s Pace | Tax Season 2019 Serves Up a Taste of the Future | The Demise of Schedule A?
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

All the figures were positive ... except the one of most interest to many taxpayers. Refunds not only were in the red, but on every point by larger percentages than last week. The picture was slightly better for direct deposit refunds, but even there, average refunds dropped.
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What’s the Real Impact of IRS Audits?

Blue audit button on keyboardThree types, including one that some taxpayers don't recognize as an audit.

By CPA Trendlines Research

According to Harper’s Magazine, more than half of all Americans would rather be mugged than audited by the IRS. And many Americans don’t see much of a difference between the two events.

MORE: Why Shouldn’t All Tax Practitioners Need Licenses? | Data Divers Profile Taxpayer Filing Styles | Salary Survey Shows Pay for Tax Professionals | Fixing the Tax System: Accountants Sound Off | 2 Ways the EITC Error Rate Is High
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

And that’s a problem. Because fear and loathing are not conducive to voluntary compliance.
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Tough Lessons from Tax Season

How to conduct an after-action review for a better season next year: 8 essential questions, 11 new opportunities.

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

Now that the initial tax deadline is past us, it’s a good time to take a look back to see how things went and how they can be done better. This is called an after-action review, and it’s not the same as a de-brief or a post-mortem. It’s a great tool for large companies, and small businesses can benefit too.

More from Sandi Leyva: Change Overload: 5 Simple Coping Strategies |  39 Advisory Services for Accountants  |  Mix and Match Marketing Channels  |  Marketing Materials 201: Some Advanced Tips  |  Testimonials: Why and How  |  10 Marketing Materials You Need  |  Make Direct Mail Work for You  |  How to Use ‘Warmed-Up’ Telemarketing  |  Content Marketing Types and Tips  |  Write Your Way to Expert Status    |  71 Places to Find New Clients  |  Awards Can Boost Your Reputation  |  Are You Newsworthy?  |  Step-by-Step: How to Make Newsletters Work for You  |

GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

An after-action review is a fantastic process to help you look back at a project or period of your business to see what, why, and how things occurred and how they can be improved for the future. Taking a profit-focused view will help you get the most out of the idea.

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Change Overload: 5 Simple Coping Strategies

Master the change around you with some healthy new habits. 

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

This busy season brought with it massive changes in tax laws, form layouts, technology, and client confusion. If all this change seems to be a bit much, you’re not alone.

More from Sandi Leyva: 39 Advisory Services for Accountants  |  Mix and Match Marketing Channels  |  Marketing Materials 201: Some Advanced Tips  |  Testimonials: Why and How  |  10 Marketing Materials You Need  |  Make Direct Mail Work for You  |  How to Use ‘Warmed-Up’ Telemarketing  |  Content Marketing Types and Tips  |  Write Your Way to Expert Status    |  71 Places to Find New Clients  |  Awards Can Boost Your Reputation  |  Are You Newsworthy?  |  Step-by-Step: How to Make Newsletters Work for You  |

GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Handling change requires extra energy and resources that our brains would rather not use, causing a struggle within ourselves.

As you move from the April 15th deadline to working on your pile of extensions, here are some tips to reduce the feeling of overwhelm and better manage your energy and productivity.

Everyone is different when it comes to the amount of change they can tolerate. Use these five tips to help you master the change around you.

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E-Filing Pace Quickens Toward Finish

Data chart
YTD April 5, 2019. IRS.

Average refund remains down.

By Beth Bellor

As tax season entered its final days, a few positives brightened the data that generally have been bleak all year.

MORE: Why Shouldn’t All Tax Practitioners Need Licenses? | Data Divers Profile Taxpayer Filing Styles | 2 Ways the EITC Error Rate Is High | Tax Pro E-Filing Off 2.7% from Last Year’s Pace | Tax Season 2019 Serves Up a Taste of the Future | The Big Free-File Flop | The Demise of Schedule A? | Survey: Busy Season Goes Sour | Lessons Learned: How the Federal Shutdown Hit Busy Season 2019
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

As of April 5, the latest figures available, the Internal Revenue Service had received 103.5 million individual income tax returns, down 0.3 percent from the same period last year. It had processed 100.6 million of them, down 0.5 percent from 2018, for a 97.2 percent processing rate.
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Becoming an Expert in IRS Collections

Young businessman in office on phoneThe takeaway? Don't say no to new types of business.

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

After I received a Mercedes as a fee to help a pair of businessmen resolve their tax withholding problems with the Internal Revenue Service, I soon became an expert in IRS collection matters.

MORE: How I Got a Mercedes as a Fee | Mendlowitz: How I Owned a Printing Company and Restaurant | 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! | Clients Buy Solutions, Not Hours | Roger Is My Only Client
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

After that job was completed, their attorney recommended a few other clients and I became quite active with collections. Each time I got a new client, I took giant steps in learning how to handle these matters. I also got to know many IRS revenue officers, at least one in almost every IRS office in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey. While I was learning, it seemed as if everything built on what I had previously learned, and I was becoming an expert in settling tax delinquencies.
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Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up

Sometimes the team needs to come first.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

To paraphrase Shakespeare: When to speak up and when to shut up – that is the question. There are times partners should speak their minds and times they should remain silent.

MORE ON PARTNERSHIP: 15 Partner Agreement Weaknesses and Omissions | How Business Entity Type Affects Partner Income | What Partnership Gets You (and Doesn’t) | Partner Comp Pearls of Wisdom | Equity Vs. Non-Equity Partners | 5 Cautionary Tales in Partner Compensation | New Partner vs. Manager: What’s the Difference? | Partner Pay in Retirement Transition Period
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

A great managing partner once told me, “If you’re not building the firm, then you’re not a partner.”  This post is about two ways (there are others) that partners build the firm. First, by speaking up when your partners need to hear what you think.
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Why Shouldn’t All Tax Practitioners Need Licenses?

Data chart

Does a 90% error rate alarm anyone?

By CPA Trendlines Research

America needs tax preparers. Without them … well, it’s hard to imagine how people would calculate any more than the most rudimentary returns.

MORE: Data Divers Profile Taxpayer Filing Styles | Who’d Like a Friend in the IRS? | Wanna Change The Tax World? | The Big Free-File Flop | Survey: Busy Season Goes Sour | Lessons Learned: How the Federal Shutdown Hit Busy Season 2019 | Taxpayer Advocate Slams Congress over Funding
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

The funding of the government would fall to a fraction of what is needed to sustain the nation. Tax preparers are an essential link between the government and those who fund it.
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