3 Tips for Handling Rookie Tax Preparers

... and 4 challenges.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

How do you train up newly-hired tax preparers?

MORE: How to Hire and Manage Great Admin Staff | The Right Way to Assign Staff Projects | Workflow for Dummies | How Effective Project Management Makes Your Life Easier | 2 Lessons Clients Taught Me | No Consultant Can Solve Your Biggest Problem | The Great Marketing Hoax
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Hint: Don't start with taxes. READ MORE →

How to Hire and Manage Great Admin Staff

Businesswoman shaking hands with someone out of view3 key points to remember.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

You can divide staff into four categories: administrative, entry-level preparer, advanced preparer and manager.

MORE: The Right Way to Assign Staff Projects | Some Uncommon Advice on Hiring Full-Time Staff | What Goes Into a Client Project? | Value Pricers Ignore Half the Pricing Puzzle
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I’m tempted to state that administrative employees are the most important people in your firm. I won’t go quite that far, but your administrative staff are every bit the face of your firm that you are.
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The Right Way to Assign Staff Projects

Magnet drawing in three people... and then manage their workloads.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Let’s talk about assigning staff to projects. Understand that this discussion will mean nothing the first two weeks of April, when you may be assigning the family dog to some returns.

MORE: Some Uncommon Advice on Hiring Full-Time Staff | Managing People: The Heart of Effective Project Management | Tammy’s Tale of Tax Season Tardiness | Beware the Leeches and Consultants | The Value-Pricing Con Job | The 21st-Century CPA Firm | Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow Management | The Annual Tax Meeting is Dead. Clients Killed It.
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And that makes perfect sense in those circumstances. I’ve done worse. Who knew that goldfish can’t type?
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Some Uncommon Advice on Hiring Full-Time Staff

Your best bet is to be on the lookout all the time.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Finding full-time staff is a different beast altogether. Avoid recruiters. Most of their candidates are looking for jobs for good reasons. Nearly all of a recruiter’s candidates’ resumes will have the following job histories:

MORE: Managing People: The Heart of Effective Project Management | Tammy’s Tale of Tax Season Tardiness | Beware the Leeches and Consultants | The Value-Pricing Con Job | The 21st-Century CPA Firm | Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow Management | The Annual Tax Meeting is Dead. Clients Killed It.
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Job 1: 1.5 years (This company sucked.)

Job 2: 6 months (This company sucked worse.)

Job 3: 2 years (Fine company but they wouldn’t pay me $150,000 per year for billing $80,000 per year.)
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Managing People: The Heart of Effective Project Management

https://cpatrendlines.com/2019/05/09/managing-people-the-heart-of-effective-project-management/Remember, bad clients crowd out good ones.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Somewhere in the period between the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, the first accountant evolved.

MORE: Workflow for Dummies | What Goes Into a Client Project? | Value Pricers Ignore Half the Pricing Puzzle | CPAs Can’t Help You | The Agile Accountant | The Cure for Commoditization
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He looked around and realized this Earth thing might become immensely profitable and set out to get capital gains treatment.

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Workflow for Dummies

Exhausted man rubbing his eyes under glassesSo you can quickly tell when a delay is the client's fault. Plus: The 12-step tax return and 8-step writeup workflows.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Let’s play buzzword bingo. I’ll go first: workflow.

MORE: What Goes Into a Client Project? | Tammy’s Tale of Tax Season Tardiness | Beware the Leeches and Consultants | The Value-Pricing Con Job | The 21st-Century CPA Firm | Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow Management
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Workflow is the CPA firm buzzword of the decade. Every vendor leech trying to suck the life out of your bank account drops this term, and in so doing, workflow now means everything and nothing at all. Marketers have so devalued the term that we shouldn’t be surprised that no one has an effective workflow, because no one knows what it is. Let’s flush the confusion.
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What Goes Into a Client Project?

Woman drawing flowchart on a blackboard20 project types. 6 components for each. Let's make this simple.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

We have resolved to manage our projects effectively. Just what are we managing? What is a project?

MORE: Tammy’s Tale of Tax Season Tardiness | How Effective Project Management Makes Your Life Easier | 2 Lessons Clients Taught Me | No Consultant Can Solve Your Biggest Problem | The Great Marketing Hoax | What the Value-Pricers Get Wrong | 3 Rules for Asking Great Tax-Return Questions
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We could define a project in the manner Supreme Justice Potter Stewart defined pornography. “I know it when I see it.” But that will work as poorly for us as it worked for Justice Potter.
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Tammy’s Tale of Tax Season Tardiness

Pile of documents on desk stack up high waiting to be managed.Or, why you need project management.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Here’s a story about a former staff member who caused me years of therapy and cost us probably 20 clients in one year. Therapy for me consists of drinking craft beer, so I expect that I may need therapy for a lifetime.

MORE: How Effective Project Management Makes Your Life Easier | Value Pricers Ignore Half the Pricing Puzzle | CPAs Can’t Help You | The Agile Accountant | The Cure for Commoditization | Four Amusing Millennial Myths | 3 Rules for Asking Great Tax-Return Questions
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Also, note that this story happened before I started enforcing company policies with a loaded Glock. The company handbook, which I wrote, allows this. I give you the “Tragic Tale of Tammy Tardy.”
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How Effective Project Management Makes Your Life Easier

Happier clients and happier staff are just the start.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

I have some excellent news. Effective project management can make owning a firm fun and profitable again. If not fun, it will be at least more tolerable than a lifetime of root canals.

MORE: Value Pricers Ignore Half the Pricing Puzzle | Beware the Leeches and Consultants | The Value-Pricing Con Job | The 21st-Century CPA Firm | Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow Management
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I have worked two Aprils from the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament. This past September 15th, I worked from the beach. No one at the office seemed to miss me.
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Value Pricers Ignore Half the Pricing Puzzle

Profits.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

The best thing about value pricing is that you can succeed with just one piece of information – the value of your services to clients. You can toss your time sheets or any other cost tracking.

More Stitely: Beware the Leeches and Consultants | 2 Lessons Clients Taught Me | No Consultant Can Solve Your Biggest Problem | The Great Marketing Hoax | What the Value-Pricers Get Wrong | 3 Rules for Asking Great Tax-Return Questions

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The income statement for a value-pricing CPA firm consists just of revenue – no expenses. Expenses are irrelevant when we have forward-looking metrics such as client and employee satisfaction.

Let’s have a little fun with the core tenet of value pricing. You only need know the value of your services to a client. You can ignore the cost of providing the services.

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Beware the Leeches and Consultants

Kool-aid for tax and accounting firms.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

A group has been abusing my Facebook timeline with ads touting a system promising to transform our clients into $10,000 annual billing clients.

More Stitely: 2 Lessons Clients Taught Me | CPAs Can’t Help You | The Cure for Commoditization | Four Amusing Millennial Myths

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I did a little sleuthing – for free of course. If I were billing someone for this, I would call it forensics.

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2 Lessons Clients Taught Me

Older businesswoman pondering, seated by windowWhat our clients can teach us.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Let's discuss Lean Six Sigma as it applies to CPA firms. Let's discuss lean processes and error tracking.

MORE: CPAs Can’t Help You | The Value-Pricing Con Job | No Consultant Can Solve Your Biggest Problem | The Agile Accountant | The 21st-Century CPA Firm | The Great Marketing Hoax | The Cure for Commoditization | Ruthlessly Efficient Workflow Management | What the Value-Pricers Get Wrong | Four Amusing Millennial Myths | The Annual Tax Meeting is Dead. Clients Killed It. | 3 Rules for Asking Great Tax-Return Questions

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You’ve probably heard of Lean Six Sigma. Our manufacturing clients implemented it back in the 1990s.

I’m betting this is the first time you’ve heard of its application to the CPA world.

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CPAs Can’t Help You

Young Asian entrepreneur reading magazineLook outside the CPA world for practice management answers.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

There are no easy answers. The people who are selling “Firm of the Future” once sold "elder care" as the future. Did you make a killing off elder care? That was one rotting corpse of an idea.

MORE: The Value-Pricing Con Job | No Consultant Can Solve Your Biggest Problem | The Great Marketing Hoax | What the Value-Pricers Get Wrong | 3 Rules for Asking Great Tax-Return Questions

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Do you want advice from someone who found consulting to CPAs more profitable than being a CPA?

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