Don’t Get Burned by These PPP Pitfalls

Three ways to get it wrong and only have one chance to get it right.

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By Stephen Nelson

Over the last few months, I’ve answered hundreds of questions about PPP loans. And I’ve written a short e-book, “Maximizing PPP Loan Forgiveness” for the accountants who will help small businesses with their forgiveness applications.

Stephen Nelson’s new e-book Maximizing PP Loan Forgiveness is available through CPA Trendlines directly from his website for instant download. |  More from Stephen L. Nelson

Learn more here: New e-Book: ‘Maximizing PPP Loan Forgiveness

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And, here’s an insight from all this frenzied PPP activity: Big surprises await many borrowers.


New Job Cuts at CPA Firms and No Recovery in Sight

Payroll remains the hardest-hit sector.

By Beth Bellor

After shedding 77,800 jobs in April, tax and accounting employers have added back 45,300 employees, but the total headcount has dipped again and remains down by 32,300 from the pre-COVID level, according to the latest data reviewed by CPA Trendlines.

MORE ON JOBS: COVID Job Toll: Tax & Accounting Cuts 17,500 Employees | Firms Recall Half of Furloughed Staffers | Covid Kills 67,600 Jobs in Tax and Accounting | Pre-COVID-19, Accounting Profession Hits New Highs | Planning for the Coronavirus Recession
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In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current and long-term hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax, and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce


Non-CPA “CPA” Firms? Really?

What the AICPA and NASBA could learn from other professions.

By Donny C. Shimamoto, CPA.CITP, CGMA

I’ve been watching NASBA and the AICPA communicate the need for a change to the requirements to be CPA. While their rationale may seem to make sense, I’m not sure I agree with their direction  – enabling more non-accountants to be CPAs.

MORE DONNY SHIMAMOTO: What Small and Midsized Firms Can Learn from PwC’s Digital Upskilling | What Big Data Means to Small Firms | Accountants: Unleash Your Secret Superpower | Ready for Non-CPA CPA Firms? | Accounting Services Aren’t What You Think They Are | Learning from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

See complete coronavirus coverage here

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When I think further about the bigger picture of the accounting profession, I believe the accounting profession needs to be more cohesive and inclusive – and perhaps that is the better course to pursue.


What Smaller Firms Must Do to Become Firms of the Future

12 trends to consider.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

It used to be common for practice management conference agendas to include a panel of luminaries – prominent consultants and rock star managing partners – to make predictions for the CPA industry. As an up-and-coming consultant (who was too new to be invited as a panelist), I saved several years of these predictions to see if, years later, the predictions came true.

MORE: When Managing Partners Can’t | Don’t Let Exiting Partners Double Dip | How COVID Impacts Partner Retirements | COVID-19: How Your Firm Can Respond | 8 Ways Comp Systems Get Partners to Do What the Firm Needs | Buyers Name 20 Big Merger Turnoffs | Why Governing by Partner Ownership Is Bound to Fail
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I was not surprised to find that only 10 percent of these predictions came true. (Examples: the demise of small and midsized firms; outsourcing to become mainstream; tax law simplification.) I vowed then, as I continue to do today, to refuse invitations to make predictions.

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. (

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…


COVID Drives New M&A Trends

Buyers find good deals as Baby Boomers head for the exits.

By Joseph Tarasco
Accountants Advisory Group

As the economic recession and health concerns in our nation are at a pivotal point and closely linked in a “Perfect Storm,” strategy-oriented CPA firm leaders will take more of a holistic approach to manage and lead their firms.

MORE on M&A: M&A Surges Ahead Despite COVID Crisis | New Rules: Covid Shifts M&A Landscape | Merging in Sellers: What You Need to Know | How to Start (Or Re-Start) Your Own Accounting Firm | Five Keys to Successfully Selling a CPA Firm | Mergers: What Could Go Wrong? | 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying an Accounting Practice

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Coming to terms with the recession and health risks, leaders must not only focus on the current and immediate issues affecting their firms but now they must also plan for the near and long-term future “New Model.”


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.