A CPA Looks Back Across the Generations

Why the profession is so great.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything

When I became a partner emeritus, it meant that it was time to slow down and work less.

MENDLOWITZ' PRACTICE DOCTOR Q&A: How Many Hours Should Staff Work? | Is This a Rut?  | Taking Over Poorly Done Work | When to Offer Profit Sharing | What’s In a Title? | Managing Partners Should Drop their Book of Business | What’s Lousy, the Client or Your Approach? | Checklist for Running a Practice | Why Credentials Are Worthwhile
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

I started working only two days a week. I thought I would have more time to pursue many of the things I had always wanted to do but never had the time. Since that point, I seem to be busier than I ever was and still have many projects I want to do, but can’t seem to get to.
READ MORE →

The Great Debate, Part 2: The Case for Value-Pricing

18  Reasons to Trash the Timesheet. Next, read The Case for Timesheets.

Value-Pricing or Hourly-Billing: Which works better and why?
Sound Off: Join the survey, get the answers.

By Ed Mendlowitz

If you've read the "The Case for Timesheets," you might think I couldn't live without timesheets.  But I know many firms use their timesheets differently than I do.

But first:  The business model of not using timesheets recognizes there is a new way accounting services are being delivered to clients and so we need a new way of managing the accounting firm.  This new model is explained and charted excellently in a logically understandable book that I highly recommend which is From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide by Jody Padar.

Based on the partners and firms I know, most use timesheets only for billing and determining staff “bonuses,” which are substantially based on “excess” hours, rather than exceptional performance and client service.

Working long hours on a client does not equate to effective value transference.  Because of this, I believe these partners are short-sighted and actually do not understand how to fully run their business.  I have used timesheet information as a valuable tool to great success.

However, today I want to trash the timesheet and present my reasons for value-pricing.

READ MORE →

The Great Debate, Part 1: The Case for Timesheets

The Essential Management Tool. Next, read The Case for Value-Pricing.

Value-Pricing or Hourly-Billing: Which works better and why?
Sound Off: Join the survey, get the answers.

 

By Ed Mendlowitz

There is a strong growing movement to do away with timesheets in favor of value pricing.  Needless to say, I have been following both methods – long before Ron Baker and his adherents formalized the no timesheet protocol.  Because of my experience and along with discussions I have had and continue to have with hundreds of accountants a year I have heard many arguments on both sides of the issue.  The ones in favor of no timesheets are more passionate but that doesn’t lessen the opinions of those that don’t agree with this.  I will be referring to Ron Baker a lot so I want to mention one of his books that should be read by everyone interested in this debate: Implementing Value Pricing.  Regardless of how you feel, it would be irresponsible for a firm leader to be unfamiliar with what he suggests.

I have opinions on both sides of these issues, and at various times express them depending on the circumstances.  That prompted these two columns: "The Case for Timesheets" and "The Case for Value-Pricing."

Here I will present the case, the way I see it, for timesheets. In "The Case for Value-Pricing," I argue for discarding timesheets and using the value-pricing model, or some form of fixed prices, exclusively.  I hope you enjoy them and this format. We welcome your comments.

READ MORE →

Follow the 1/20th Tax Client Marketing Rule

Arc colored in on 5 percentHow to elevate your service beyond tax prep.                                 

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

What would happen if you set goals at a higher level?

MORE ON MARKETING: Hire a Sales Person to Get Leads | Following Up After Tax Season | How to Meet Referral Sources | How to Sell Bundled Tax Services | 7 Questions for Succession Planning | 15 Points to Buying or Selling a Business | Offering Elder Care Assurance Services | 9 Questions to Ask About Divorce and Taxes
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

The following is restricted to tax return clients only, and can be exceeded by you if you think this goal is too low.
READ MORE →

When to Hire a Sales Person to Get Leads

Man on the phone in officeAnd 15 types of work to seek.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

If you want leads to get business from large companies for tax services, consider hiring a sales person.

MORE ON MARKETING: Following Up After Tax Season | Advertising Done Right | 8 Considerations with New Clients | How to Conduct Business Valuations and Forensic Investigations | How to Counsel on Retirement Planning | What You Need to Start a Financial Planning Discussion
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

The sales person should be a “professional” sales person and does not need to be an accountant.
READ MORE →

Checklist: Following Up After Tax Season

Stacks of papers on the corner of a deskLay the foundation for work you didn't have time to do earlier this year.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

If you were paying attention during tax season, you likely picked up on other services your clients might need.

MORE ON MARKETING: Advertising Done Right | 12 Branding Tips | Structuring Partnership and Buy-Sell Agreements | The 64-Point Business Startup Checklist | How to Offer Second Opinions | How to Offer Employment Compensation Assistance | Basic Budgeting for Clients | Guiding Heirs | Add New Revenues with Tax Prep Follow-ups
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Here is a checklist of 15 possible additional services, plus a form to track your follow-up.
READ MORE →

President Proposes Adding 6 Justices to Supreme Court

Statue of scales of justiceEverything old is new again.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

The president sent a bill to Congress proposing a plan to add six justices to the Supreme Court. The way his plan will work is that as each justice reaches age 70½ and fails to retire, a new justice will be added.

MORE ON MARKETING: Advertising Done Right | 12 Branding Tips | 11 Ways to Get More Tax Clients | Structuring Partnership and Buy-Sell Agreements | The 64-Point Business Startup Checklist | How to Offer Second Opinions
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

The way his plan will work is that as each justice reaches age 70½ and fails to retire, a new justice will be added.
READ MORE →

Advertising Done Right

But remember there's more to marketing.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

I have not seen too many CPA ads that have generated revenue, but I’ve seen enough to know that the right advertising program works and produces new clients.

MORE ON MARKETING: 12 Branding Tips | How to Meet Referral Sources | How to Sell Bundled Tax Services | 7 Questions for Succession Planning | 15 Points to Buying or Selling a Business | Offering Elder Care Assurance Services | 9 Questions to Ask About Divorce and Taxes | Guiding Clients in Investment Allocation and Management | How and Why to Offer Estate Planning | Why CPAs Are Suited to Financial Planning
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Most of the CPA firm ads are announcements of their being there, goodwill ads, yellow page or Internet site ads, or branding ads. Advertisements should be designed to get business leads.
READ MORE →

12 Branding Tips

Man and woman holding briefcasesAppearances matter.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

Branding is part of marketing, but requires you to come up with a unique identity toward your specialty.

MORE ON MARKETING: How to Meet Referral Sources | 8 Considerations with New Clients | How to Prepare Returns for a Multiple-Year Non-Filer | How to Conduct Business Valuations and Forensic Investigations | Yes, Accountants Can Perform Conflict Resolution | Offering Second Marriage Assistance | What You Need to Start a Financial Planning Discussion | Tax Projections: How and Why | How to Raise Client Awareness of Services
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Tax department branding can be done as part of the overall firm, or separately.
READ MORE →

How to Meet Referral Sources

Illustration of different types of people connected9 tips you can start implementing today.                                                                                             
By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

Referrals should be your greatest way of obtaining additional business and in particular tax services.

MORE ON MARKETING: 8 Considerations with New Clients | 11 Ways to Get More Tax Clients | Structuring Partnership and Buy-Sell Agreements | The 64-Point Business Startup Checklist | How to Offer Second Opinions | How to Offer Employment Compensation Assistance | Basic Budgeting for Clients | Guiding Heirs | 11 Questions to Ask Every Tax Client | Add New Revenues with Tax Prep Follow-ups | Marketing vs. Selling: Both Must Serve the Client First
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Referrals do not just come from existing clients, but can come from almost everyone you know. Referrals are made by people who believe
READ MORE →

8 Considerations with New Clients

Businessman expressing refusal with open handsSometimes you should say no.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

We all want additional business, but sometimes the client should be vetted to determine if it is a good fit for your firm and if there are any danger signs.

MORE ON MARKETING: MORE ON MARKETING: 11 Ways to Get More Tax Clients | How to Sell Bundled Tax Services | 7 Questions for Succession Planning | 15 Points to Buying or Selling a Business | 9 Questions to Ask About Divorce and Taxes | Guiding Clients in Investment Allocation and Management | Why CPAs Are Suited to Financial Planning | How to Suggest More Services | Adopt a Marketing Mindset
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Following is a checklist that could help you in making a decision to accept the client.
READ MORE →