Today's Features

Jobs Report: 43,000 New Hires

Hourly pay averages $33.53, up 4%.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines

As 2019 dawns, the most stunning trends in hiring in the tax and accounting industry is in payroll services, which shows year-over-year increases of 7 percent or more in overall employment, according to an exclusive CPA Trendlines analysis. Meanwhile, tax prep continues its slow slide.

MORE ON JOBS: Tax Shops Cut 6,200 Jobs | Tax Shops Cut Staff by 10% | Benefits, Perks, and Incentives: The Happy-Packs of Employee Satisfaction | Salary Survey: Top Skills Getting Top Pay | Growth Slowdown: Tax & Accounting Hiring Rates Hit Headwinds | Steady Gains in Hiring at Accounting Firms | Accounting Wages Set New Record
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In this report, CPA Trendlines reports:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry.
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce


Charitable Giving under TCJA

Donor-advised funds can be a simpler option.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA

The new tax law nearly doubles the standard deduction for individuals and families, simplifying the filing process for millions of Americans, but complicating giving strategies for many who have made a habit of deducting their charitable contributions.

MORE: The Latest Fraud Problem: Synthetic Identities | Why Padding Tax Deductions Is a Risky Proposition | Portability: Sharing the Estate Tax Exemption | Tariffs: What Clients Need to Know Now
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Indeed, an estimate from the Washington, D.C., Tax Policy Center is that the number of itemizers will drop from 46 million to 13 million. That means most taxpayers will have little tax incentive to donate cash or stock to charity, reducing giving by $13 billion to $20 billion a year.

The New $99 Tax Service for the Masses

Page of calendar showing date of 15th“Taxes should be as easy as ordering a cab.”

By Rick Richardson

The only sure things in this life, according to Ben Franklin, are death and taxes. And a new startup called Visor has just raised $9 million in financing to make one of them as painless as possible.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: RCS: What It Is and Why You Might Want It | Honda Reveals Fluoride Battery Breakthrough | How Artificial Intelligence Will Be Weaponized | MIT Investing $1 Billion in AI College | 3 Predictions About the Computers of Tomorrow | Cyber-Security: Finally, Something Better Than Passwords
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Unlike Dr. Jack Kevorkian (remember “Doctor Death”), Visor won’t kill anyone, but it may ring the death knell for the high-end tax advisors that most Americans can’t even access to get help filing and paying their taxes. It’s like having a personalized accountant for the cost of a high-end, do-it-yourself tax-prep service.

Training that Works

Woman training man at computerRemember to ask personnel for their input, too.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

For many firms, the ability to identify, standardize and implement best practices is the last remaining competitive advantage in business today as communications tools and access to technology have become available to everyone.

MORE: SURVEY: 61% of Auditors Commonly Use Data Extraction Tools | Standardize Your Firm’s QuickBooks Support | Make Your Accounts Payable Digital | SURVEY: 62% of Field Auditors Use Multiple Monitors | Enter T&E Daily | SURVEY: Firms Divided on eSignatures | SURVEY: 53% of Firms Deliver Tax Returns Digitally
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To take advantage of the continuous stream of innovation and opportunities, firms must adopt a “learning culture.” This requires a formal process to capture and standardize best practices in every department within the firm so that every person can take advantage of them.

Staffers Need to Speak Up with Clients

Two women talking5 takeaways.

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

I started my third job one year and seven months after I graduated college. I was hired as a “junior” but felt I was more experienced because I was doing “higher level” work at my previous job.

MORE: The Vanishing Writeup | The ‘Wrong’ CPE | Be a Sounding Board to Your Clients | Make Obsessed Leadership Work for You | Client Checklist: Top 10 Issues for Real Estate Investors | A CPA Looks Back Across the Generations
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The first week at my new job, I was sitting at a long table in the staff room with two other junior accountants, footing 50-page, 10-column schedules and similar work. I mean footing. This was January 1965 and we did not have calculators or adding machines. There was one Monroe calculator in the office, and if you wanted percentages you literally had to wait on line to get a turn using it.

2019: Using M&A to Launch Consulting


Technology drives hours down 40%; how will your firm cope?

By Terry Putney
The Rosenberg Survey: National Study of CPA Firm Statistics

The market for mergers is clearly moving toward narrow selection criteria for the acquiring side of transactions. Part of this is because of the increasing numbers of firms seeking to be acquired that are available. However, acquiring firms are also much more strategic with their objectives for an acquisition.

MORE FROM THE MAP SURVEY: 2019: More Focused Training | 2019: Expect More Alliances | 2019 Trends: Client Service Changes | 2019: Shifts in Hiring & Office Space | 2019: Firms Grapple with Change | Staff Policies Improve, But Not Mentoring
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Strong organic growth means pure revenue acquisition is not enough anymore. Firms with a need for a near-term succession of a substantial portion of the partner group are finding fewer takers among the larger firms. Firms that can be acquired to help grow and launch non-traditional, non-compliance-oriented service lines are in high demand.

The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent

Two businesswomen meeting in an officeThe 3 elements that matter. OK, maybe 4.

By Steven E. Sacks

We get so hung up on generational labels: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and now Gen Z. As a result, we ascribe certain characteristics or behaviors to each one – whether fair or not.

MORE: Battling Staff Turnover | Performing Like CRAP Can Be a Badge of Honor | 7 Steps to Take As Your Firm Grows | How Enthusiastic Is Your Staff?
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Adherence to the labels can cause a hiring manager or an executive to overlook the contributions each cohort can make to an organization. Potential stars are overlooked and the usual reliance on outdated search approaches continues unabated.

Moving Beyond 280E: Dean Guske on the Cannabusiness

Portrait of Dean Guske

Why the industry is in a sweet spot right now.

By Liz Gold

Here’s a piece of advice for accountants and CPAs in the cannabusiness industry – don’t get hung up on 280E.

That’s right, you read correctly.

More at CannaBizCPA.Pro: Matthew Karnes Provides Cannabis Research for Investors |  Leveraging R&D Credits and Depreciation for Cannabis Clients | Cannabis Lights Up Midterm Ballots | Squar Milner Takes on Cannabis in California and Beyond | Marcum LLP: Moving Forward in Cannabis with Confidence | Tom Achor: At the Intersection of Cannabis Accounting and Technology | PODCAST: John Repetti and Mitzi Hollenbeck of Citrin Cooperman.| Leveraging R&D Credits and Depreciation for Cannabis Clients | 5 Challenges for Cannabusinesses | Dope CFO Levels Up Its Offerings | Cannabis Trends: What CPAs Need to Know for 2018 and Beyond

More Dean Guske:  The Wild World of Weed: Tax Season Never Ends [VIDEO]  |  America’s New Breed of Cannabis CPAs [VIDEO]

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At least, according to Dean Guske, CPA, MST and owner of Guske & Company in Bellevue, Washington.

Don’t Be Someone Else’s Rug

Businessman with hand extended in "no" gestureThere's almost always a win-win available.

By Bill Reeb

In the ’70s, there was a big movement in business culture to learn to be more assertive, aptly called “assertiveness training.” Michaelle was quick to enroll because this was an important skill set to call upon, especially with many women moving into jobs that had historically been held by men (Michaelle was a systems engineer with IBM during this period). The concept was simple: “You need to speak your mind, ask for what you want, demand what is fair and don’t let yourself be a rug for everyone to step on.”

MORE: Focus on Changing Yourself (Not Everyone Else) | What Is the Best Use of Your Time Right Now? | Shrink the Gap between Strengths and Weaknesses | Be Ready to Forgive Yourself | Duty: A Tough Hurdle to Overcome
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In our early years working at IBM together, when one of the secretaries needed to step away or take a  break, she would often come over to Michaelle and ask her to cover with typing, answering the phone and so on. In addition to the fact that she held the professional job of being a systems specialist, Michaelle also had earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and an MBA with a concentration in accounting. I just had a bachelor’s degree in business – far less educated – yet no one ever asked me to fill in.

CPAs Can’t Help You

Young Asian entrepreneur reading magazineLook outside the CPA world for practice management answers.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

There are no easy answers. The people who are selling “Firm of the Future” once sold "elder care" as the future. Did you make a killing off elder care? That was one rotting corpse of an idea.

MORE: The Value-Pricing Con Job | No Consultant Can Solve Your Biggest Problem | The Great Marketing Hoax | What the Value-Pricers Get Wrong | 3 Rules for Asking Great Tax-Return Questions

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Do you want advice from someone who found consulting to CPAs more profitable than being a CPA?