Today's Features

11 Questions to Ask Every Tax Client

Question marksAn easy way to introduce clients to additional services.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

Many times we have important preliminary discussions when we obtain a client’s tax information.

MORE ON MARKETING: Why CPAs Are Suited to Financial Planning | Tax Projections: How and Why | How to Raise Client Awareness of Services
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Skilled interviewing, or effective follow-up techniques, can make these into an additional engagement.


How to Measure Social Business… and Why

cpas-love-facebook1It's not just for fun, so treat it like any other metric.

By Jody Padar
The Radical CPA

When I began dabbling with Twitter and Facebook, it was more out of personal interest. I found Twitter to be a fantastic place to learn. I became an active listener and then engaged, putting out information I thought people would benefit from.

MORE ON RADICALISM: How to Become a Social Business | Make the Cloud Work for You | 5 Ways to Capitalize on Trends | Embrace Disruption | Who’s Your Competition? EVERYONE | How the ‘New Firm’ Was Born | 3 Questions to Ask If You Dare
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I still do this today. I interact with everyone I can as I learn and share. I compare it to the partner who always took important paper articles and put them on my desk. I just do it via social and digital.

Why Shared Values Are Important

Happy multi-ethnic business team with thumbs up in the officeBe specific to help everyone walk the talk.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

After trust, the second building block for a successful partnership is having shared values. It does not mean that partners are clones of one another, but partners agree upon the firm’s shared values, on how they are going to treat each other, the clients and the employees. Shared values are what bring a group of individuals together to achieve something that they could not achieve individually.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: Great CPA Firm Partnerships Begin with Trust | Are You Driving Your Best Partners Crazy? | 7 Warning Signs for Your Firm | The Checks and Balances Your Firm Needs | Don’t Weed Out the Roses | Back to Basics: 25 Ways to Grow Your Practice | 3 Ways to Halt a Poor Leader | 8 Questions That Staff Ask In a Merger
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The concept of core or shared values gets a lot of press and most professional service firms’ websites promote their core values to prospects, clients and recruits. But, like so many management ideas that are on the soft side, shared values are often more talk than reality.

Accounting Industry Sets New Hiring Record

cpatrendlines jobs report tiltVolatility in payroll sector keeps rolling.

By CPA Trendlines

Payroll hit a new high in hours worked even as hourly wages continue to slide, according to new CPA Trendlines research. For payroll staff, numbers and hours are up at about the same rate that wages are down. Meanwhile, women keep making huge gains.

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax, and CPA segments of the industry.
  • Average hourly wages for key segments.
  • Typical hours worked per week, and
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce.

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CPA Firm Partner Performance: Different Activities, Different Metrics

Businessman sitting on scales with stack of coins in other trayWith breakouts by clients, people, and firm.

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

There are a variety of ways to measure these differing activities or capabilities for partners and team.

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: 6 Measures of Partner Performance | How to Drive Partner Performance with a Smart Compensation Plan | 3 Tools to Boost Your Metrics | Start with Sound Firm Governance, Economics | As Tax Season Ends, Strategic Planning Seasons Begins
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But some are better than others.


Communicate Your Worth and Value

Smiling businesswomanPut it all together for both clients and coworkers to see.

By Martin Bissett
Passport to Partnership

An advisor is trusted when they can show that they

  • took responsibility for their end of the bargain in the client engagement,
  • educated the client of their responsibilities,
  • offered prompting and assistance throughout but then allowed the client to ultimately govern themselves in terms of following through on their commitments.

MORE ON THE PASSPORT TO PARTNERSHIP: 5 Ways to Evaluate Your Communication | Why Communication Matters So Much | 3 Questions to Evaluate Your Firm Culture | Competence: More Than Technical Skills | Are You Partner Material? Maybe Not
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This then empowers the advisor to make a commercial decision when the client now faces the consequences, as to whether they want to communicate even more assistance to make things all better for the clients and gain huge appreciation and emotional capital.

Are Accountants Learning the Wrong Lessons?
Tooling up for 2017: Join the survey, get the results.

CPE choices fail to address the real keys to success.

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines Research

CPAs are saying one thing and doing another. And the discrepancy bodes ill for the profession's economic health.

MORE CPE TRENDS:  CPE Study Finds Six Essential Success Factors for Accounting Firms  |  Top Trending Specialty Niches  |  Busy Season Ends but Not the Focus on Taxes  |  Why Some CPAs Are Focusing on Accounting & Financial Reporting This Year  |  Top CPE Trends: How Accountants Are Re-Tooling for 2017  |  Mike Ramos on The Training Mindset: Mapping Firm Attitudes to Performance  |  Ohio CPA Society Teams with CPA Trendlines to Improve CPE ROI  |   Ed Mendlowitz on How to Choose the Right CPE  |  Sandi Leyva on Three Ways to Make CPE Work for You  |   Ed Mendlowitz on The Six Rules To Get the Most Out of CPE  |   Mike Ramos on How to Build a Powerhouse Learning Team for Your CPA Firm  |  4 Steps to Get More from Your Training Budget  |  How to Manage CPE by the Numbers  |  Three Tips for Creating Training Metrics  |  High-Impact Learning: 4 Ways to Maximize CPE ROI  |  Four New CPA Opportunities for the New Economy

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The survey on professional skills and the goals of accounting firms, being conducted with the Ohio Society of CPAs and consultant Michael Ramos, is turning up a curious mismatch. It seems, at first blush, that CPAs are studying for certain skills while reporting that something else is essential to their success.


Use Payroll to Grow Client Retention

Head shot of Jake Haffner

Why you might want to and how software can help.

By Sandi Leyva and Michelle Long
The Ultimate Accounting Virtual Conference

Forty percent of small businesses say bookkeeping and taxes are the worst part of owning a business. Ultimately that’s what each of us here can really help small businesses with. The payroll tax component is definitely something a small business owner isn’t going to want to focus their time on and so it’s an opportunity for you to use your skill set.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: When You Should Answer Questions for Free | 2 Ways to Serve Clients Better | How to Fire a Client | How to Manage Client Expectations | Trashing the Spreadsheet: Best Practices in Modern Expense Management
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We’re talking about having payroll become profitable for your practice. Helping us today is Jake Haffner, a CPA and payroll expert who works with ZenPayroll.

How to Build a Strong Landing Page for an Accounting Firm

Young businesswoman using a tabletDeliver on your promise to get the permission you need.

By Becky Livingston
The Accountant’s Social Media Handbook

What are landing pages?

MORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Social Media Campaign 101 | Content Categories and How to Leverage Them | How to Manage Social Media in 22 Minutes a Day | Use Finesse in Sharing, Scheduling Content | How to Schedule and Manage Social Media Activity | How Social Media Works with Accountants’ Top 5 Marketing Goals
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The challenge with the website home page is that there’s often a disconnect with the messaging. If you send out an email about the best tax practices for small business owners, sending visitors to your firm’s home page isn’t giving them the content that was promised.