Are Bad Clients Driving You Crazy?

Angry businessman on the phone16 ways to tweak your compensation systems to get and keep the right clients.

If your partners are putting up a fight to keep clients who should be let go, take a look at your compensation system. It's not just about billable hours.

August Aquila, Creating the Effective Partnership, suggests 16 tweaks to your firm's compensation system. While the list is not exhaustive, it does provide criteria that firms can consider beyond revenue. READ MORE →

SURVEY RESULTS: The Billion-Dollar Business Hidden in Accounting

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 8.10.54 PMOne-third of U.S. accountants work at home, on their own, moonlighting. Here are their biggest issues and best tips... 

Get more when you join the survey, get the results.

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines

If you're reading this at home, or on your own time, you're not alone. Today more than one-third of accountants are already moonlighting in "side" practices or home offices – especially during busy season, according to a CPA Trendlines survey of almost 800 accountants.


CPAs Salute the People Who Shaped Their Lives

Today's best career advice: join the survey; get the answers.

by Rick Telberg

At 20 years old, the world was a blank canvas with vast opportunities for Sal Inserra. He thought he knew exactly what he wanted in life.

"Until," he once told me, "I was set straight."

Like many CPAs, Sal owes much of his career and success to a few key mentors who guided him early on.

Today -- as the kids head back to school and college, and as the rest of us wind up our summers and look ahead to the fall -- it may be a good time to salute the mentors who help steward a great profession to the next generation. READ MORE →

18 Pieces of Today’s Best Job Advice

Get certified. Apply early and often.  Join the survey; get the results.

By Rick Telberg

I’m looking over the early responses to our new CPA Careers survey and one stands out for its practicality and wisdom. This from a veteran senior finance manager at a Fortune 1000 company is, I think, 18 pieces of the best advice I've ever heard.

1. For the accountant who is not a CPA yet: If you're not  a CPA already, make it a goal.

2. If you need hours, apply to every accounting firm that you could drive to or are willing to move close to.

3. Apply beginning in mid-April, after busy season, when accounting firms clean house. READ MORE →

Competitive Economy Weighs on Work-Life Balance

CPAs share some of their best time-management tips. How hard are YOU working?

by Rick Telberg

With the days of summer rapidly dwindling, accountants and finance managers across the nation are grabbing their last vacation days. But it's not always easy.

Many finance and accounting professionals are working harder than ever, doing more with less as their organizations cut back with the recession. Balancing life and work becomes all the more difficult and all the more important. So we've been asking readers for their best time-management tips for a balanced life.

Here are nine of the best we've received so far: READ MORE →

CPA Career Advice Changes with Age

"Get along with people" is the wisdom of age.

But apparently it takes a lifetime to learn that.

Retired CPAs are virtually unanimous: The ability to relate to people, get along and communicate are the most important ingredients to a successful career in accounting, according to most CPAs, especially retirees. But not as many new and aspiring CPAs understand.

Bay Street Group's CPA Trendlines research shows that most CPAs agree on six keys to success:

  1. Relating to people
  2. Integrity and good character
  3. Constant, life-long learning
  4. Up-to-date technical knowledge
  5. Knowing how to balance life and work, and
  6. Making the right connections.

In this question, we asked 890 CPAs: "What are the most important ingredients in a successful career as a CPA?" And here, we slice the responses by age.

Clearly, career advice changes over time.

Young newbies start their careers with the best of intentions, believing in all the right things. But after a few years in the workforce, we see some disillusionment set in -- with declines in work-life balance and the importance of integrity and character.

Later in life, we see the march of maturity -- with rising ratings for skills development and a new focus on work-life balance.

11 Questions You Should Be Asking

A few easy-to-ask, feel-good questions can get a client or prospect comfortable and talking. It's up to you to know how to listen and how to find ways to help.

From Bob Burg,
Author, "Endless Referrals." 

1. How did you get your start in the "widget" business?

2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?

3. What separates your company from your competition?


25 Ways to Grow Your Practice

In a tough economy, many firms go back to basics to find success.

Here's a list of 25 ideas for growing your practice from management consultant August Aquila.

How many are you currently doing?

  1. Start with current clients. Look at clients that are only using one of your services. For example, a high income individual tax return client who is not using your wealth management services, an audit client that is using any of your consulting services. A client relationship services call is certainly due.
  2. Compile a list of clients by SIC codes and niches (e.g. not-for-profits, construction, manufacturing, professional services firms, etc.) READ MORE →

Herding Cats: Change Management for CPA Firms

Eight good tips for getting everyone on board when change is scary.

Change is inevitable. But with a crashing a crashing economy, it is also treacherous, which makes these suggestion from August Aquila all the more urgent.

1. Know where you want to go. What are you trying to achieve as a firm and a partner group? While it's always difficult to address the elephant in the room, now is the time to take advantage of the economic turmoil and bring all issues to the table.

2. Get others involved. If you are the only one in the firm who is pushing for the change, you might as well forget about it. When others get involved they also get committed. They provide you with feedback so that you can develop the best steps in the change process. READ MORE →

CPAs: You Need a Vacation

CPAs wish they were at the beach.

by Rick Telberg

And if our straw poll means anything, it would be a beach in Hawaii.

The statistical side of the survey showed most accountants and finance managers taking between two and four weeks off, with only 8 percent getting a week, and 9 percent getting more than five weeks.

Still, 59 percent saw some of their hard-earned vacation days untaken, and 69 percent thought they deserved more vacation than they got. Just over half said they could be tempted to take another job that offered more time off.


Is Business Too Good for Your Own Good?

Business is good, but CPAs say the workload never eases up.

by Rick Telberg

CPA across all areas of the profession this summer are confirming the best hopes and worst fears that the profession felt when the year was beginning. Yes, business is up across all sectors and should continue to improve, especially for public practice firms, but there are not enough people to handle the work.

Our readings are showing that two-thirds of CPAs in all sectors of the accounting profession are enjoying better business than last year. Asked to look 12 months into the future, roughly the same number expect their business conditions to be even better, although members in public practice are slightly more optimistic than members in business and industry.