11 Ways to Keep the Family Business On Track


Mixing family and business can be hazardous.

portrait of Matt Rampe
Matt Rampe

By Matt Rampe
Rampe Consulting

Thinking of going into business with a family member? Or maybe you already made the plunge? That’s what I did recently after many years happily employed by non-family members.

More: Listening: How a Conversation WorksClient Accounting Services: The Definitive GuideBuilding a High-Net-Worth Practice During COVID-1914 Better Uses for Timesheet Data |  Why You Need Windows 10 with Automatic Updates

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For years I have assisted family-owned businesses as a professional service provider, and I’ve seen up close the many ways in which families can become dysfunctional around money and business. Somehow that still didn’t stop me from recently joining my wife, Kristen Rampe, in our business, Rampe Consulting, where we help small and midsized accounting firms with practice management and leadership development.

Five Steps to Firm Transformation

Clients will be open to new pricing if they see the benefits.

By CPA Trendlines

Growth is one thing, transformation another.

Growth is good. It’s what most CPA firms want: Growth in clientele. Growth in revenue. Growth in profit.

Marketing efforts tend to engender growth. But it’s an incremental growth – a new client, then another, then a new service, then a bump in revenue.

Transformation is more than that. It engenders exponential growth – a host of new clients, a whole new set of services, a local reach rendered regional.

COVID is Calling

Eileen J Kennedy
Eileen J. Kennedy

…Calling you—to reinvent your firm. Now.

By CPA Trendlines 

You may be missing a rare appearance of opportunity in the pandemic that’s stymying everyone else, says Eileen J. Kennedy in a new CPA Trendlines 30-minute Flash Briefing.

PLAY THE VIDEO or DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST: How to Dazzle Clients in the COVID Age: Creating Customized Client Experiences

In “Creating Customized Client Experiences in the Age of COVID-19,” Kennedy rolls out a host of ideas and insights to use the pandemic to: READ MORE →

Value + Pricing = Value Pricing

Some 64% of CPAs say one of the chief benefits of value pricing is “transparency.” (AICPA)

Automation is a key part of the process.

By CPA Trendlines

Matching pricing (what an accounting firm figures it can charge) with value (what a client things a service is worth) is always a challenge. A firm may think its capability in compliance is worth a lot, but if the client has nothing to comply with, it puts no value on compliance services.

MORE: Opportunities in Common and Uncommon ServicesCloudy Forecasts Call for Rainmaking
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So the question is: What does a given client or potential client value?

How to Dazzle Clients in the COVID Age

CPA Trendlines expert contributor shows how to make more money with the clients you already.

^ Click to play video

Eileen J. Kennedy, CEO of The Kennedy Factor, demonstrates how to create a consistent, exceptional, customized, and memorable client experience in the Age of the Coronavirus.

MORE VIDEO from CPA TRENDLINES: Three Hidden Surprises in PPP Loan Forgiveness |  Judy Trepeck on How to Think Beyond Accounting, with Steven Sacks |  Attaching Files to a Chat or Post in MS Teams |  How to Add Visuals to a Message in MS Teams | Bill Reeb: New Rules for the COVID Era  | Composing Text Messages in MS Teams  | When COVID ‘Got Real’The COVID Outlook: A Long, Slow Climb back to Recovery  | Composing Chats and Posts in MS Teams  | How to Fight COVID-19 ‘Fear’ and ‘Insecurity’ | COVID: Learning How to Operate in the New Normal  |  What Comes After Coronavirus? | COVID and Client Communications | Andrew Argue Is on a Mission  |  COVID Slams U.K. Accountants, Too  | COVID Crisis Separates the Winners from Losers  | Go Remote with This App You Already Own [#WFH]  | Geared Up for Exponential Growth at Mowery & Schoenfeld CPAs  |

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You can thrive for years to come – if you take the Covid Crisis as a call to reinvent your practice, Kennedy tells attendees of the free 30-minute Flash Briefing aired live by CPA Trendlines.

> Hit “play” to stream the podcast or download it here


Opportunities in Common and Uncommon Services

bar chartWhat do your clients want that your competition doesn’t offer?

By CPA Trendlines

Virtually every CPA firm faces two common challenges:

  • Get the work done.
  • Find more work.

MORE: Three Hidden Surprises in PPP Loan Forgiveness | Cloudy Forecasts Call for Rainmaking  |The Forecast: Partly Gloomy, Chance of Doom  |  Busy Season Benchmarks in Free Fall  | Say Hello to the New 24-Month Busy Season | Maybe the Pandemic Isn’t All BadCOVID Drives New M&A Trends  |  Re-Thinking Today’s Firm with Five Global Leaders|  Clients Want to Pay You More (Really!)

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Or, to put it another way:

  • Satisfy clients.
  • Find more clients.


Cloudy Forecasts Call for Rainmaking

Have you assessed your clients’ needs, or just provided what they asked for?

The average monthly price paid for accounting services: Clients who do not receive advisory services pay their firms an average of $1,108 a month. They’d be happy to pay $564 more.

By CPA Trendlines

Rainmaker alert! The cloudy skies of 2020 show a good chance of precipitation.

More in Surveys & Research: COVID Impact: 17,500 Tax & Accounting Jobs LostCAS: Critical Success Factors for the Covid Age | Clients Want to Pay You More (Really!) | The Forecast: Partly Gloomy, Chance of DoomBusy Season Benchmarks in Free Fall | Say Hello to the New 24-Month Busy Season | Accounting Firms Take Billions in PPP PayoutsThe More Monitors, the Better | The Top Portable Monitors for Working from Home

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But praying for rain isn’t going to work. Neither will a rain dance. The most effective action is often simply a matter of asking and offering.

A new survey of small and midsized businesses and their CPA firms finds that clients are generally willing to pay 50 percent or more for additional accounting-related advisory services … but only if their accounting firm offers them.


Clients Want to Pay You More (Really!)

New research shows opportunities to boost revenues by up to 31%.

What clients want: Adding strategic advisory services to your tax prep and payroll bundle could increase fee income by more than 48 percent. (cpa.com)

By CPA Trendlines

As CPAs know better than anyone, these are turbulent times. Whatever the situation was, it just changed. CPAs know because they are at the center of it all — the calm, analytic eye at the center of Hurricane Upheaval.

MORE in COVID TRENDS in SURVEYS & RESEARCH: The Forecast: Partly Gloomy, Chance of Doom | Busy Season Benchmarks in Free Fall | Say Hello to the New 24-Month Busy Season | COVID Drives New M&A Trends | Re-Thinking Today’s Firm with Five Global Leaders | The No. 1 Reason Accountants Fail To Build Advisory Practices

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So consider for a moment the desperation of the businesses that are or could be your clients. They are suffering:

  • the financial and logistical onslaught of the pandemic,
  • the ever-evolving rules on taxation,
  • the constant change in compliance,
  • the lack of time for issues not within their core business (accounting, for example),
  • the problems and insecurities of their own clients and customers, and
  • concerns about the future.

In other words, clients have more important things to do than keep track of financial matters.

And they’re willing to pay for the freedom to stick to their core business.

The trick…


The Forecast: Partly Gloomy, Chance of Doom

Almost three in four accountants now foresee a deeper downturn for the U.S. economy.

It gets worse: Almost 25 percent of accountants forecast a “much worse” outlook for the nation’s economy over the next 12 to 18 months. And another 48 percent predict “somewhat worse.” (CPA Trendlines Research)

How accountants are battling the Coronavirus recession
Join the survey. Get the answers.

By CPA Trendlines Research

New CPA Trendlines 2020 Busy Season Barometer results bear bad tidings for CPA firms, their clients, and their families. The forecast is not good. Accountants know numbers, and the numbers they are seeing do not bode well.

MORE BUSY SEASON 2020: Busy Season Benchmarks in Free FallFIinal RS eFiling Stats: The End of Tax Season? | Say Hello to the New 24-Month Busy Season | 9 Big Ways the IRS Could Help Accountants | The Mystery of 10 Million Missing Tax Returns | Tax Pro E-Filings Down 20 Percent | IRS Web Traffic Doubles over Year-Ago | COVID Drowns IRS in New Filings |   Percent | IRS Web Traffic Doubles over Year-Ago | COVID Drowns IRS in New Filings | 2020 Tax Season Comes to a Screeching Halt | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | Tax Pros Fall Behind 6.2% in Returns Filed
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As the U.S. braces for a summer surge in coronavirus infections, the economy is crashing – with GDP down at an annual rate of 33 percent last quarter, and a 10 percent drop from the first quarter – the worst declines in more than 70 years of record-keeping. And new jobless claims in the latest week rose by 867,000 to 17 million.