Today's Features

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.

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.

7 Checklists for Scheduling, Petty Cash and More

Apply systems to the nuts-and-bolts chores.

By Jassen Bowman

Every office function should have a system.

MORE: Difficult Phone Calls Are Opportunities | 11 Steps for Handling Client Complaints | Office Safety and More: Checklists for Your Tax Resolution Setup | How to Build a Tax Resolution Business | Why Lists Are Not Leads | Your Sales Funnel Needs Systems
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Here are some miscellaneous but vital functions and how to handle each one.

How to Implement the Laziness Equation

Time is money : clock hands on $100 billsCalculate and cut turnaround time.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

One of the funniest parts of launching Clarity Practice Management has been watching my business partner, Peter Daniel, learn about the business acumen of CPAs and accountants. Peter and I founded Clarity as a collaboration between a CPA firm client (Peter) and a CPA firm (me.). He knew what he wanted from a client perspective, and I knew what we wanted as a CPA firm.

MORE: The Happier, Saner, Richer Tax Firm | ‘Quick Questions’ and Other Client Sins | When Clients Create Errors | How We Killed the Tax Season Client Meeting | Why Small Firms Can Win the Talent Wars | There Are No Easy Answers | How to Thrive as a 21st-Century Firm
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Peter owns a software development company and believes in the rational decision-making model for businesses. The rational decision-making model is totally irrelevant to the way most CPAs and accountants run their practices. For instance, consider this interchange between Peter and a practitioner at our Clarity booth during a trade show.

Digital Era Drives Brick-and-Mortar Boom in Data Centers

REITs are the proof.

By Rick Richardson

The shift to digital work and play from home, hastened by the pandemic, has wreaked havoc on commercial real estate. But experts say it has also generated one surprising bright spot for the industry: data centers.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Go Digital-First, or Just Go Away | Tax Shocks Loom for Remote Workers | Go Ahead, Use Your Own Router | Is Amazon Stealing Your Internet? | Microsoft: Stop Using Phone-Based Multifactor Authentication | Unlock Your Flash Drive with Your Phone | Go from Work-from-Home to Work-Anywhere
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The growing reliance on cloud-based technology – and the huge, blocky buildings that house its hardware – has created greater opportunities for developers and investors as businesses and consumers gobble up more data in a world that has become increasingly connected.

Tax & Accounting Regains 3,800 Jobs

Tax prep down, payroll sees big swings.

By Beth Bellor

Some of those heady new highs the accounting profession was seeing a year ago are seeing reversals now. We’re looking squarely at you, COVID-19. Feel free to move along anytime.

MORE ON JOBS: Accounting Jobs Recovery Slows | Tax & Accounting Firms Rehire Two-Thirds of Pre-COVID Workforce | Tax & Accounting Firms Rehire Two-Thirds of Pre-COVID Workforce | New Job Cuts at CPA Firms
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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


How Are You Spending the Next Five Years?

Make time to learn new things.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I am just starting out in my own practice and started following your Accounting Today web blogs and your CPA Trendlines blogs. I even bought some of your books.

MORE: How to Run a Practice in 90 Pages | The Wrong Way to Look for Staff | Strategic Planning for the Small Firm | Before You Sell Your Practice | Work the Client Needs … But Won’t Pay For
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You seem to know everything. How is that possible and how can I grow to become more knowledgeable like you?

Why Daily T/E Entry Matters

Laughing businesswoman talking on the phone in office in front of four monitorsHow about better cash collection?

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless: Technology Guide & Checklist

Studies done over the past two decades have clearly shown that there is a significant improvement in realization for firms that enter, release and post time and expenses on a daily basis. This process allows for daily or “hotel”-type billing that is sent out with the completion of each billable project.

MORE: The Case for Digital Auditing | What Your Auditors Need in the Field | Why You Want a Digital Tax Workflow System | Why Digital Communications Matter | The Right Tech Tools for COVID Work-from-Home | It’s 10 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Backups Are? | The Best Scanners to Buy Today
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The next step in the evolution of time and billing systems provided real-time dashboards to report on firm activities and effectively allow firms to generate invoices. This can work only if all time and expenses for all personnel are captured within the system. While most firms have a daily time entry “policy,” the biggest abusers of the policy are often owners and managers, so it is about time for them to get on board and use the system.

How to Create Your Firm’s CAS Team

Plus how to boost their skillsets.

By Hitendra Patil
Accountaneur: The Entrepreneurial Accountant

“We do not have the staffing for client accounting services.”

Non-CAS firms cite this as the topmost reason for not being able to offer CAS. Nothing could be further from the truth.

MORE: Technology and Your CAS Clients | Will 2021 Be Your Cash-Flow Year? | Identifying the Right Clients for CAS | CAS Is, First, a Communication Challenge | Which of Your Existing Clients Are CAS-fit? | Client Accounting Services: The Definitive Guide
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Experience of firms that offer CAS, including that of small firms with fewer than five staff members, proves beyond doubt that you do not need more staff to start offering CAS. Even solo practitioners provide CAS. The only thing you need to begin your CAS journey is to be ruthless, relentless and fearless to leverage newer and cloud technologies. Automation, integration and even artificial intelligence make it easier, faster and cheaper to perform some repetitive, time-consuming work of accounting firms.