The CPA’s Best Role: Leveraging Knowledge, Not Just Process

David Bergstein says you’re wasting your time and your client’s money if you’re not focussing on the future.

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With Steven Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals: Thriving in Disruption

To be more competitive, CPAs need to shift their focus from compliance service to process-oriented, value-added work, veteran CPA David Bergstein tells CPA Trendlines. This means working with clients to understand their business operations, competition, and financial challenges, such as liquidity, solvency, and profitability.

MORE on VALUE-ADD: How CAS Communications Are Different | How Value Billing Eliminates Guesswork | Avoid Last-Minute Deal Making | How a Great Managing Partner Impacts Firm Growth | Tax Season Client Meetings: Kill Them Now | Do You Give Yourself Too Much Credit? | The 17 Rules for Making Partner at a CPA Firm | Family Feud Isn’t Just a Game Show

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The Key Takeaways:

  • Accountants need to switch their focus to look to the future and real-time accounting, which means that the right way of doing things these days is to take advantage of all technology and automation.
  • It’s a small and mid-size business that doesn’t have a bookkeeper, that doesn’t have an accountant, that doesn’t have a controller, that doesn’t have a CFO that looks to CPAs to help them. CPAs’ advantage is to use that technology to automate all those processes and then spend time selling value-added services.
  • Today, to be successful as an accountant, you must identify what platform or platforms you’re going to use to capture your clients’ data at the source to move it through the system.
  • Payroll tax processing services can be expanded by setting up the human resource tools that go with it. Beyond processing payroll, CPAs can find ways to get lower workman’s compensation; automate the onboarding of employees, and provide various benefit options.
  • As part of the de-emphasis on process, younger staff members don’t want to do vouchering anymore, which will be supplanted anyway by automation. So, it’s great for firms to offer more training opportunities to their younger staff regarding analytical thinking, selling, and how to consult with clients to find out what their needs are.

 

Transcript

David Bergstein, interviewed bySteven Sacks
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The Six Types of “Impossible” Clients

Not that there aren’t others.

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

As a CPA, I deal with many types of clients’ personalities. If I chose only one type, I would not have had much of a practice. And I doubt I would have found that one perfect type too many times. I have been very fortunate to have really nice and very smart people as clients.

MORE: 50 Ways to Make More Money in Busy Season | 14 Simple, Easy Tips for a Better Tax Season | How to Recoup Staff Training Costs | 10 Ways to Stay in Control | Advice to New Accountants | Clients Don’t Lose Sleep for Overpaying Taxes | When Time-Based Pricing Works
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I believe entrepreneurs are the most stimulating people to work with. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t have peculiarities and that this sometimes makes them difficult to deal with – sometimes, but fortunately not most of the time.

Here are six examples of types I had to put up with and had to learn to overlook some of the unfortunate traits.
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Ask the Right Question(s)

Stack of cards labeled with question marksWhat don’t you know you don’t know?

By Gary Bolinger

The most valued advisors spend a lot of time listening. They spend more time listening than they spend talking.  Listening provides insights to enhance advisory services. Of course, listening means that the advisor needs to spend time asking the right questions. Questions are hard.

MORE: Seven Elements of Engagement for CPAs | True Advisory Work Isn’t Just Consulting
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If you are engaged with staff, any question you ask will be different than when meeting with a partner. And different yet again with clients and prospective clients.
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Working with the Ultra-Wealthy

Jason Zayon, a partner in the Business Management & Family Office Group at Armanino LLP,
Jason Zayon, Armanino: “The accountant becomes the true ‘trusted advisor’ for everything the client needs.”

And how the family office can deliver.

By Russ Alan Prince and Anthony Glomski
Your $5-Million High-Net-Worth Practice

In many ways, the accounting industry is under pressure from fee compression and seriously increasing competition. The current crisis is exacerbating the problems some accounting firms are having.

MORE: Become a Thought Leader | Personal Wealth Creation Can Be Coached | The Power of Stress Testing | Guiding Clients through COVID | Maximize Referrals from Wealthy Clients | Building a High-Net-Worth Practice During COVID-19 | Setting Financial and Practice Goals During COVID-19Mistresses, Mister-esses and Accountants
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At the same time, certain types of clients and sets of services prove to be extremely profitable for accounting firms. One such type of client is the ultra-wealthy. Furthermore, a potentially highly profitable segment of the ultra-wealthy is those with single-family offices.
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Make More Money Starting Now

Businessman sitting on stacks of paper currency34 ideas for any size firm.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: Do you have any tips on how I could make more money?

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ANSWER: There are always ways to make more money. This includes managing every aspect of your practice and striving for productivity growth.

Here is a 34-item  checklist with quite a few ways you can make more money.
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True Advisory Work Isn’t Just Consulting

The difference may seem slight. But the dollars are very real.

This is the first in a series of articles by Gary Bolinger, the former CEO of the Indiana CPA Society, explaining how accountants can move beyond consulting and into higher-level advisory relationships with clients

By Gary Bolinger

Call it consulting, advisory, small business growth or entrepreneurial services – does it make a  difference? CPA firms are seeking to add value to clients in non-traditional ways. Something other than compliance-related services. But firms seem to struggle with defining what “it” actually is.

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All too often consulting services are after the fact. Practitioners discover a “problem” or some kind of shortcoming through a tax or financial reporting engagement. Dutifully, the practitioner brings the issue to the attention of the client. The client dutifully asks what should and can be done. After some discussion, there are agreed-upon next steps. Problem solved. Sort of. That is consulting.
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You’re Not JUST Taxes

Make Sure Tax Clients Know About Other Services.

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

During a tax return preparation interview, getting a client’s information is a tremendous opportunity to find out the concerns of the client and how you can help.

MORE: 20 Good Ways to Boost Tax Season Production | How to Recoup Staff Training Costs | 10 Ways to Stay in Control | Advice to New Accountants | Clients Don’t Lose Sleep for Overpaying Taxes | When Time-Based Pricing Works
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The assistance you give can sometimes provide a life-changing benefit to the client while enabling your firm to increase its service base and gain additional revenues.
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