Why Should Clients Keep You?

Most business clients must use an accountant, but it doesn’t have to be you.

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

I met someone one day and asked how she was doing with her accountant. She said everything was fine, but reduced the three interim quarterly visits to once every four months. The year-end work did not change.

MORE: Advice to New Accountants | What Does the Client Want to See? | 6 Ways to Increase Your Fees … If You Dare | The Clients that Got Away | Upselling Made Painless | Boosting a Fixed Fee Substantially | Creative Ways to Retain Staff | What CPAs Can Learn from Lawyers and Doctors
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This got me thinking. Most business clients must use an accountant, but it doesn’t have to be you.
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Before You Sell Your Practice

Older couple on autumn walk with trees in backgroundA broker is an option, but you have things to decide first.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: We are contemplating selling our firm. It’s a difficult decision due to the financial rewards and the enjoyment we get from our work. I am 63 and my wife-partner is 62 and we are not in a hurry.

MORE: Price Your Practice by Gross | An Alternative to Pro Bono | Work the Client Needs … But Won’t Pay For | Tossing Timesheets Is Just the Start | Collect More by Clearing Up Billing | Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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We would like to sell to a CPA who would be very committed to this business and our clients, many of whom have been with us for over 20 years. How should we start?
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Price Your Practice by Gross

Price targetBONUS CHECKLIST: 11 questions to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: Everyone I talk to about what my practice is worth talks about a percentage or multiple of gross. Just what is “gross” and why is it done this way?

MORE: An Alternative to Pro Bono | Work the Client Needs … But Won’t Pay For | Tossing Timesheets Is Just the Start | Collect More by Clearing Up Billing | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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ANSWER: You are right that practices are priced based on gross. The main reason is that this method seems to work well. However, there is a wide range of what gross is and how it is applied.
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Advice to New Accountants

Businesspeople discussing chartsWhat to know when you’re starting out.

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

I was asked to provide advice to people starting out in accounting and am sharing my thoughts here. I get many requests to speak, write and comment on all sorts of areas of practice management. Here is one such interview that hopefully you might find interesting and insightful.

MORE: What Does the Client Want to See? | The Clients that Keep You Awake at Night | Creating a Cross-Selling Culture | Cross-Selling Beyond Your Comfort Zone | A Test of Concentration | Value Pricing in Uncharted Waters
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What is the best career advice you received? Why do you consider it so?
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An Alternative to Pro Bono

Businesswoman at crossroads, facing two pathsTry board service instead.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: Occasionally I receive requests to perform accounting services for free for not-for-profit organizations. I usually ignore them. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle these emails?

MORE: Work the Client Needs … But Won’t Pay For | Advising Estate Executors: The Newbie Guide to Getting Started | 14 Better Uses for Timesheet Data | Tossing Timesheets Is Just the Start | How’s Your Overhead? | 9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth | Collect More by Clearing Up Billing | Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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Work the Client Needs … But Won’t Pay For

Young businesswoman putting hand out in "stop" gesture while sipping coffeeMaybe it’s time to part ways.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I know that one of my clients needs some extra work done, but they don’t want to pay for it. It is important that this work gets done.

MORE: Advising Estate Executors: The Newbie Guide to Getting Started | 14 Better Uses for Timesheet Data | 9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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Do you think I should do it anyway? What is my responsibility?
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What Does the Client Want to See?

The lesson isn’t the investment, it’s the presentation.

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

Here is a story of something that occurred in 1980 and became the reason for my understanding of how bond investments work.

MORE: The Clients that Keep You Awake at Night | Clients Don’t Lose Sleep for Overpaying Taxes | When Time-Based Pricing Works | How Auditing Is Like a Pirouette | ¿Que Es Bookkeeping? | Underpaying Others Hurts You, Too | Yes, Christopher Columbus Had an Accountant | 10 Reasons for My Success
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These rules still apply today, so in some measure, I’ve learned a lifelong message.
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Advising Estate Executors: The Newbie Guide to Getting Started

BONUS CHECKLIST: 14 questions to answer.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I have a client who became the executor after his mother died.

MORE: 14 Better Uses for Timesheet Data | Tossing Timesheets Is Just the Start | How’s Your Overhead? | 9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth | Collect More by Clearing Up Billing | Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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He has a brother and two sisters. They asked me to advise them, but I am not that familiar with handling estates. Is there anything you can tell me to get me started?

ANSWER: It is never good to work on things you are not familiar with, but doing so can provide that familiarity, as long as you cannot do any harm to the client.

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Yes, Your Clients Need Annual Minutes

Businesswoman writing with pencil on notepad in the officeBONUS CHECKLIST: 34 items for corporate or organization minutes.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: Should my corporate clients have annual minutes?

MORE: 14 Better Uses for Timesheet Data | Tossing Timesheets Is Just the Start | How’s Your Overhead? | 9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth | Collect More by Clearing Up Billing | Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

ANSWER: Yes. And not only corporations, but also partnerships, LLCs, not-for-profits and other entities.
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