What’s Your Negotiating Style?

Businesspeople having a meeting over coffee sitting together at a table discussing a document, young man and two middle-aged women presentThe meeting is the goal.

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

We all have our own styles. Many have different styles for different things. Over the years I’ve developed an individual style for negotiating on behalf of clients that I have been very successful with, which I am sharing with you now.

MORE: Why Tax Time Is the Best Time to Get New Business | Problem Clients | When Pushing the Pencil Pays Off | When to Say No to Pro Bono Work | I Used to Hate QuickBooks
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When entering a negotiation, it is very important to have clients clearly articulate their thoughts about what they want. This takes time and patience, along with some prodding and challenging. But if it’s done right, clients will be clear about what they want.
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How to Start an Accounting Practice

Free webinar: Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, at 4 p.m. ET.

Ed Mendlowitz, CPA Trendlines expert contributor, will be revealing everything you need to start an accounting business in this one-hour, one-CPE-credit session hosted by CPA Academy and produced by New Jersey-based Withum CPAs, where Mendlowitz is a partner.

Register Today | Learn More

Mendlowitz will cover what being in business entails, a quick discussion of the 64 things you need to do when you start your business, five ways to get into your practice, pros and cons of per diem work, and he'll touch on what to read, podcasts to listen to, and courses to take. The session will include a three-question test that can determine whether you would succeed in your own practice. READ MORE →

Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster

STAMP PAID - 3DIt's good business and your clients prefer it.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Tax season is a business and businesses need to be paid. It is harder to justify prices when providing services rather than products. Products are usually priced before delivery while many times services are priced after delivery, i.e. performance.

Many accountants price returns before they are worked on, usually basing the fee on last year, or a rate schedule. Sending a bill with the return establishes the relationship that you should be paid promptly for the work done.

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Why Tax Time Is the Best Time to Get New Business

Businesswoman talking on phoneSometimes it's as easy as being available.

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

Tax season has always been the best time of the year for me to get new business.

MORE: Problem Clients | How to Make Your Own Opportunities | Large Clients We Landed from QuickBooks Consulting | 26 Value-Added Benefits Clients Need to Know | Some Mistakes I Made | Growing with a Client
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The reason is that there is much less competition.

I never turn down an opportunity to get new business, whether it is tax work, audits, consultations or special assignments. Tax season notwithstanding, I am always available to meet with someone who needs an accountant.
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Problem Clients

Portrait of an angry man yelling on the phoneSome people's money isn't worth the cost.

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

I have been very fortunate to have really nice clients that I liked working with and for, but I have had some clunkers.

MORE: How to Make Your Own Opportunities | Becoming a ‘Media Star’ | Why We ‘Kill’ to Get Partnership Returns Out Quickly | Start with the Cash | Why a Break-Even Analysis Matters | Staffers Need to Speak Up with Clients | Bored by CPE? You’re Missing Out! | Roger Is My Only Client
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During my career I have dropped very few clients and in retrospect I dropped four clients that were “phone stalkers.”
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How to Make Your Own Opportunities

Take the first steps and Ed will help with the rest. Really!

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

I have been fortunate to have opportunities that helped me grow and have a great fun-filled career.

MORE: Becoming a ‘Media Star’ | When to Say No to Pro Bono Work | I Used to Hate QuickBooks | Learning from Lee Iacocca Et Al. | I Lost a Client to an Accounting Firm with Cheaper Fees | How I Saved a Business | The Staffer Who Was Too Smart
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The key was that I did not pass up opportunities that I stumbled on as they crossed my path. As payback I offered to assist many accountants in a like fashion and my regret is the lack of success in that regard. Too few takers! Here are some opportunities for you that I am willing to assist you in.
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Becoming a ‘Media Star’

TV studio with camera in foregroundBeing helpful comes full circle.

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

After I began writing regularly for financial and business publications like Boardroom Reports and my firm’s own newsletter, that opened many doors, but the opportunities needed to be actively pursued.

MORE: When Pushing the Pencil Pays Off | Large Clients We Landed from QuickBooks Consulting | 26 Value-Added Benefits Clients Need to Know | How an Out-of-Work Tax Preparer ‘Saved’ Our Lives | I Always Want to be ’The Other Guy’s Accountant’
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An associate producer of a local news program who was a friend of a client once called to ask if I could help her come up with some questions an on-air reporter could ask the tax expert who was going to be interviewed. I spent almost an hour helping her when she remarked how knowledgeable I seemed. She wondered if I would like to be interviewed instead of the person they had in mind.
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When Pushing the Pencil Pays Off

Man writing in notebook at deskHow I became an accidental author.

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

I’ve written about publishing a firm newsletter and the opportunities it opened for me. However, I really became a published author when I met Martin Edelston, the founder of Boardroom Reports and Bottom Line/Personal.

MORE: How I Became a Published Author | Don’t Pass Up Opportunities | When to Say No to Pro Bono Work | I Used to Hate QuickBooks | Things Change | Why We ‘Kill’ to Get Partnership Returns Out Quickly | Getting a Referral from an Adversary
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About two years after we started the S&M Newsletter, Marty was publishing Boardroom Reports and was shown one of our newsletters and called asking if he could meet me. Before we met I picked up a bunch of his Boardroom Reports publications to get an idea of what was included and the style.
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How I Became a Published Author

Businessman writing on paperIt starts with clients. Of course.

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

I reached a stage in my career when I thought it was important to write articles. I wrote quite a few and sent them to editors, only to have them rejected. The nice ones wrote back rejections. The not-so-nice never bothered to respond at all.

MORE: Don’t Pass Up Opportunities | When to Say No to Pro Bono Work | I Used to Hate QuickBooks | Things Change | How to Be ’the Other Guy’s Accountant’ | Why We ‘Kill’ to Get Partnership Returns Out Quickly | Becoming an Expert in IRS Collections | High CPA Fees Should Be a Client’s Goal | How Hidden Bias Taints Results
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I even had articles typed multiple times to send “originals” to various publications at the same time to no avail. At some point, I gave up but decided to write tax letters to clients.
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Don’t Pass Up Opportunities

Businesswoman working on laptop giving thumbs up signAre you ready to say yes?

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

I certainly have been fortunate in my career to become involved in a wide range of activities including interesting clients, great staff and partners, appearing on television, writing articles and books and presenting speeches. People always ask me what I did to get started. My answer is simple: “I never passed up an opportunity that came my way.”

MORE: When to Say No to Pro Bono Work | Large Clients We Landed from QuickBooks Consulting | 26 Value-Added Benefits Clients Need to Know | How an Out-of-Work Tax Preparer ‘Saved’ Our Lives | I Always Want to be ’The Other Guy’s Accountant’
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I have seen many accountants and others pass by – literally kicking aside – opportunities immediately in their path, and then they wonder when they will get their “big break.” What a shame for them.
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When to Say No to Pro Bono Work

Young businesswoman putting hand out in "stop" gesture while sipping coffeeSome people can afford to pay for your efforts – and should.

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

I just finished reading John Grisham’s novel “Gray Mountain,” about a young attorney working in a legal aid clinic. At one point she is asked to prepare a will for a woman with property worth about $200,000. This reminded me of some pro bono work I have been asked to do for people who could clearly afford it, and that caused resentment by me.

MORE: Large Clients We Landed from QuickBooks Consulting | Why We Train on Excel, Word and Adobe | Stop Pricing by the Hour | Getting by Giving Back | Some Mistakes I Made | Growing with a Client | Getting a Referral from an Adversary | Start with the Cash | Why a Break-Even Analysis Matters
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I have done my share of real pro bono work and was glad to do it. It left me satisfied that I was able to help someone. But for those who could afford it, I felt like a sap.
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Large Clients We Landed from QuickBooks Consulting

Two women in office shake handsSometimes small bait catches big fish.

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

I’ve written about QuickBooks and how we became the largest QB consultants in New Jersey along with receiving a few clients with very substantial fees. I’ve gotten some calls asking about them and what we did, so here is a description of three of them.

MORE: Why We Train on Excel, Word and Adobe | I Used to Hate QuickBooks | Things Change | How to Be ’the Other Guy’s Accountant’ | Why We ‘Kill’ to Get Partnership Returns Out Quickly | My First Thought Is to Never Turn Down Business | Becoming an Expert in IRS Collections
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The first client was someone who called asking to spend only one hour with us. At the time our minimum was five hours. We figured we would do him a favor and we told him the hourly rate if he would come to our office. He was a very nice, well-dressed man and spent the hour. He called us about a month later and asked if he could “buy another hour.”
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Why We Train on Excel, Word and Adobe

Woman training man at computerAre you losing time every day?

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

I’ve written about my introduction to QuickBooks and how we took our entire staff to a training course for it.

MORE: I Used to Hate QuickBooks | 26 Value-Added Benefits Clients Need to Know | How an Out-of-Work Tax Preparer ‘Saved’ Our Lives | I Always Want to be ’The Other Guy’s Accountant’ | Learning from Lee Iacocca Et Al. | I Lost a Client to an Accounting Firm with Cheaper Fees
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Today I am writing about training for the most basic software we use: Excel, Word and Adobe. We have taken our staff to courses for these programs and have periodic in-house training, but I realize many firms do not.
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