Today's Features

IRS Has Recruiting Problems, Too

IRS budget cuts lead to staff cuts, even as returns climb.
IRS budget cuts lead to staff cuts, even as returns climb.

Theirs stem from money woes.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The IRS may a one-of-a-kind organization, with a unique mission, strengths, and weaknesses. But in at least one way, the IRS is a lot like many tax and accounting firms.

MORE on TAX SEASON: Team Expectations: A Checklist for Busy Season | You’re Not JUST Taxes | The Happier, Saner, Richer Tax Firm | SURVEY: A Glint of Optimism for 2021 | PPP Traps: 1 in 5 Accountants Report Shady Dealings

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The problems, of course, are many. But one rises above all the others:  Staff recruitment and retention.


10 Ways to Hold Partners Accountable

business meeting of a woman and two menDo your firm’s core values mean anything?

By Marc Rosenberg
The Role of the Managing Partner

We have addressed the techniques managing partners use to manage the partners. One of the most effective tactics to show leadership in working with partners – and managing the firm – is to create ways to establish accountability for their behavior and conduct. In this post, we drill down on this.

MORE: Five Ways to Evaluate Partners | Compensation Is No Way to Manage Partners | Clarify Partner Expectations | Exceptional Managing Partners Offer Their Advice
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I have had the privilege of working with dozens of highly effective managing partners during my career. These leaders are the CPA profession’s equivalent of rock stars. One question I always ask them: What makes your firm so successful? They almost never cite the obvious suspects: Great at bringing in business. Lots of billable hours. High rates. Expertise. Long work hours.

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.

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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.