Today's Features

14 Simple, Easy Tips for a Better Tax Season

Tax season is supposed to get better every year – if you know what you’re doing.

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

Tax preparation is a very serious undertaking that needs to be managed and continuously improved.

MORE: You’re Not JUST Taxes | 20 Good Ways to Boost Tax Season Production | Why Annual Staff Evaluations Fall Short | Why Create an Accounting Firm Business Model? | Creating a Cross-Selling Culture | Value Pricing in Uncharted Waters
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This requires buy-in from partners, managers and the entire staff. The culture of the firm has to be where only the best work done the right way at the right time is acceptable.

Here are some best practices you can consider adopting:

Who’s Your Most Valuable Employee?

Don’t be the fool in the room.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

We have been heavily in the numbers so far. Let’s take a break from that to discuss a factor that, while not heavily numeric, plays a big factor in managing WIP – employee productivity. Because capacity is the denominator in the Lean Six Sigma equation, and employee productivity is a big factor in capacity, employee productivity becomes a big factor in determining turnaround time.

MORE: How to Implement the Laziness Equation | The Happier, Saner, Richer Tax Firm | Avoiding Projects Hung Up in Process | Teaching the Meaning of ‘Done’ | Why Millennials Are the Answer | Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time
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First, let’s dismiss from the room all the consultants, who tell us that time tracking and productivity metrics don’t matter. For the most part, these consultants have never managed or owned CPA firms. Rarely have they worked in firms for any length of time.

Space Factories! DARPA Launches New Program

artist's concept of building in spaceCheck out the webinar this Friday.

By Rick Richardson

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the semisecret Pentagon outfit that brought you the internet, wants to invest in new materials and processes that could enable manufacturing in space and on the moon’s surface.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Digital Era Drives Brick-and-Mortar Boom in Data Centers | Go Digital-First, or Just Go Away | Microsoft Envisions a Passwordless Future Starting in 2021 | Five Edge Computing Predictions for 2021 | What You Need to Know About Amazon Sidewalk | AI Is Open to Anyone with Passion
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To that end, the agency is launching the Novel Orbital and Moon Manufacturing, Materials and Mass-efficient Design program, or NOM4D.

Make More Money Starting Now

Businessman sitting on stacks of paper currency34 ideas for any size firm.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: Do you have any tips on how I could make more money?

MORE: How Are You Spending the Next Five Years? | How to Run a Practice in 90 Pages | How Improv Can Help Accountants | Four Tips for New Partners | An Alternative to Pro Bono | 14 Better Uses for Timesheet Data | 9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth
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ANSWER: There are always ways to make more money. This includes managing every aspect of your practice and striving for productivity growth.

Here is a 34-item  checklist with quite a few ways you can make more money.

12 Signs It’s Time to Outsource

Four businessmen standing on world mapALSO: Seven COVID-driven client needs.

By Hitendra Patil
Accountaneur: The Entrepreneurial Accountant

When you are the key person to make things happen at your firm, you want to invest as much time in “business development” (not just marketing and sales) as humanly possible. Your firm’s growth will make you feel that producing and delivering your services is an essential core business function for you, but some of it is not.

MORE: How to Create Your Firm’s CAS Team | Technology and Your CAS Clients | Top Five CAS Killers and How to Overcome Them | 21 Ways to Adjust Your Practice in 2021
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Freeing up yourself to spend more time focusing on the things that add value to your practice and help set it apart from the competition is the most essential differentiating growth strategy you will ever deploy. The same principle applies to your experienced, talented staff.

Business Is About Relationships

Two businesspeople meeting over coffeeThere’s no secret sauce.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals

Business can usually be conducted by phone, videoconference or in person. It really doesn’t matter the approach; what is important is how you comport yourself – irrespective of whether the individual(s) with whom you are dealing are superiors, peers or subordinates. I can’t tell you how many times I have witnessed conversations that were best conducted behind closed doors. The old adage of praise in public, criticize in private is underused or completely ignored.

MORE: Reaching for Authenticity in Client Service | Bigger Firm, Bigger Thinking | 5 Steps to Better Time Management | SWOT’s the Purpose? | Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet or a Repellent? | Building Teamwork under COVID Pressure
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When did we fall down on practicing the basics of common courtesy: returning phone calls, knocking before entering an office or saying “excuse me” when certain situations call for it?

Why Clash When You Can Harmonize?

3 metal funnelsPut another way, are you a box or a funnel?

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: Rely on Strengths … but Not Too Much | Increase Your Odds of Success | Heading Off Course? Time to Correct | Don’t Let Time Pass Without … | Is Your Sense of Duty Misplaced? | Are You Sure You’re In the Wrong Place? | How Are You Programming Your Mind?
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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.

Team Expectations: A Checklist for Busy Season

What do you think your staff knows about tax season? Check again.

By Kristen Rampe

Busy season is here. Are you ready? Is your team ready?

You might feel your team “should know” your expectations, but that’s not always the case.

MORE RAMPE: Pandemic Lesson: Innovate Faster | Tax Season Savvy: Five Ways to Stay Sane | Why Host a Partner Retreat? | SURVEY RESULTS: Effective Stay Interviews for CPA Firms | The 16 Biggest #FAILs in Delegation | SURVEY: Work-Life Balance: According to Whom? | NEW SURVEY RESULTS: Two Ways Your Strategic Plan Can Reduce Turnover |

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A client of ours once assumed a five-year staff they hired from a Top 10 regional firm would know tax professionals work on Saturdays from February – April. She chose not to show up for any of them in February.

While the managing partner stewed over this behavior, we realized three key factors were in play:


SURVEY: If Only We Had Time For …

Sure, relaxing, but prospecting and professional development are right up there.

By Randy Johnston and Brian Tankersley
The Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

bar chart

MORE: SURVEY: Where Do You Get Clients? | SURVEY: What Is the Hardest Part of Your Job? | SURVEY: Business Is Still About Taxes | SURVEY: Recruiting, Profits, Security Are Top 3 Concerns | SURVEY: Tech Spending Slows | SURVEY: Firm Size Matters in Tax Software Choice | Top Challenges? Staffing, Staffing, Staffing

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