Clients Don’t Lose Sleep for Overpaying Taxes

man lying awake in bedPoor controls are a different matter.

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

In my early days I would get many leads for clients who told me they were switching accountants because they believed they were paying “too much tax.” However, at most of those meetings, we only spent a few minutes on taxes and then most of the time expressing concern about whether their controls were good enough!

MORE: 6 Ways to Increase Your Fees … If You Dare | Creating a Cross-Selling Culture | Cross-Selling Beyond Your Comfort Zone | Value Pricing in Uncharted Waters | Advising Cheapskates | Getting Bonuses from Clients | Why You’re Only as Good as Your Staff
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My conclusion from these conversations is that the potential of loose controls is a major cause of keeping someone awake at night. No one stays awake at night wondering if they are paying too much tax. A pending tax audit might keep someone awake, but not paying too much tax.
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9 Must-Haves for Firm Growth

Number 9 created by gaps between many small green plastic 9'sPartners must be accountable.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I am the managing partner and run a tight ship, however, some of my partners do not appear to be growing and on some level that is holding back the firm’s overall growth.

MORE: Collect More by Clearing Up Billing | Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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Any suggestions or is this just the way it is?
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6 Ways to Increase Your Fees … If You Dare

Hand moving triangle along beam to indicate balance between price and valueReverse value billing defined.

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

Working out how to set fees and using value pricing or value billing can sometimes be daunting.

MORE: Creating a Cross-Selling Culture | When Time-Based Pricing Works | How Auditing Is Like a Pirouette | ¿Que Es Bookkeeping? | Testifying Before Congress | Underpaying Others Hurts You, Too | My Top 10 Personal Game Changers | Yes, Christopher Columbus Had an Accountant | 10 Reasons for My Success
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We are in this business to make a living, so we have to become adept at pricing, billing and collections. One thing that vexes me is colleagues who tell me they never would value price or bill, and then they engage in what I refer to as “reverse value billing.”
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Collect More by Clearing Up Billing

How to handle everything from late payers to extra services to minimum fee schedules.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: Can you give me some suggestions on overall firm pricing and billing methods?

MORE: Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It | 5 Ways to Build Teamwork
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ANSWER:  Here’s how we’ve handled the billing and collection process at my firm.
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Envision Your Future, Then Plan for It

You need goals, not just a desire to get new business.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: We are a 20-person firm and are thinking of engaging a marketing consultant for training on how to get new business.

MORE: 5 Ways to Build Teamwork | Creating a Cross-Selling Culture5 Ways to Build Teamwork | When Time-Based Pricing Works | Start Marketing Now for Next Season | The Clients that Got Away  | 4 Reasons Not to Let Staff Go After Tax SeasonCross-Selling Beyond Your Comfort Zone
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Have you heard of anyone in particular for CPA leadership training? What does your firm do regarding this? An internal program or do you use outside consultants?
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Creating a Cross-Selling Culture

Two businessmen talking at officeIf you can help, why wouldn’t you?

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

Part of my success in getting new business was getting additional work from existing clients.

MORE: When Time-Based Pricing Works | The Clients that Got Away | Upselling Made Painless | Boosting a Fixed Fee Substantially | Creative Ways to Retain Staff | What CPAs Can Learn from Lawyers and Doctors | Advising Cheapskates | Getting Bonuses from Clients | Be an Accountant, Not a Salesperson for Other Things | When Clients Don’t Know
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I was always good at this, and I think it was because of my attitude of helping the client beyond what the routine services were. Early on I felt queasy about mentioning that there would be an additional fee for the extra services, but after a few times, I got over that.
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5 Ways to Build Teamwork

Set the tone for your staff.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: My staff seems to have “wandered” away from feeling this is a firm – that we are all in this together – to becoming a bunch of people who happen to work at the same address. Do you have any suggestions to get them to pull together?

MORE 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? | Not the MP, Still a ‘Managing’ Partner | Checklist for Running a Practice
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ANSWER: Yes – it’s called leadership.
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When Time-Based Pricing Works

Time is money : clock hands on $100 billsWhat is most fair?

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

Back in 1980, I got a pretty large client and quoted a fixed annual fee to start, which would cover the routine regular work.

MORE: The Clients that Got Away | Cross-Selling Beyond Your Comfort Zone | A Test of Concentration | Value Pricing in Uncharted Waters | I Am an Accountant Because of Clients like Stanley | Advising Cheapskates | Getting Bonuses from Clients
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After about three months I was asked to suggest some methods of compensating highly paid managers and to present them at a meeting in two weeks. I put together a memo with a few suggestions. When I showed up for the meeting, there were four other “groups” who were given the same assignment. One was the client’s law firm, one was the personal accountant for the client’s lady friend (who later became his wife), another was an insurance agent and one was an employee benefit plan specialist.
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Start Marketing Now for Next Season

No, it’s not too early to begin planning.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Marketing takes many forms. Further, many accountants are not trained in marketing. I also know that while most CPAs want more business, they are too busy with what they have to be actively seeking new business. Additionally, marketing can be external, internal or retentive.

MORE: 4 Reasons Not to Let Staff Go After Tax Season | Nine Keys to Success and Growth | What Kind of Accountant Are You? | COVID Tests Accountants’ Entrepreneurial Talents | Have You Gotten Where You Wanted Yet?
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External is where new clients are solicited. That takes effort, ingenuity, time and maybe even some money.
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