Today's Features

8 Ways Comp Systems Get Partners to Do What the Firm Needs

Stylized industrial 3D number 8Is your firm's message clear or cloaked?

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Years ago, a senior partner at a 12-partner firm retreat I was facilitating gave us all an “aha” moment: “A partner compensation system is just a way of allocating income among the partners. It’s not meant to be the primary way to manage a firm.”

MORE: 7 Points of a Well-Crafted Partner Buyout Agreement | Take Yoda’s Advice on Strategic Planning | Buyers Name 20 Big Merger Turnoffs | Smart Tech Tips from Top CPA Firms | 15 Amazing Organizational Tactics to Manage a CPA Firm | Why Governing by Partner Ownership Is Bound to Fail | 6 Ways to Retain NextGen Staff | How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture | The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners | Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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There are two messages here, one obvious and one that is deeper.
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Debunking the Demise of the CPA Firm

AI and blockchain aren't replacing us.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

Industry pundits subject us to a nonstop barrage of predictions that CPA firms will cease to exist very shortly. You know how much I love our industry pundits, who have never worked a day in a CPA firm. I dislike the ones who have not worked in CPA firms in the last 20 years only slightly less. Their predictions are total and utter nonsense.

MORE: How to Thrive as a 21st-Century Firm | 7 Steps to Effective Project Management | WIP-ing Clients Into Shape | Managing People: The Heart of Effective Project Management | Beware the Leeches and Consultants
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I see two main types of doomsday predictions from our pundit buddies. First, they tell us that artificial intelligence will replace us. Next, if AI doesn’t get us, blockchain will.
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Make That Old Whiteboard ‘Smart’

https://amzn.to/2Js5ZeDReusable, inexpensive and app-oriented.

By Rick Richardson

You can now bring your old whiteboards into the 21st century with Rocketbook Beacons. These four re-stickable, reusable Beacons convert your writing surface into a smartboard by integrating with popular cloud services in the free Rocketbook app.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Go Paperless with the Best Smart Notebooks | Google Announces New Privacy Enhancements | When a Doorbell Raises Privacy Concerns | New Gadget Measures Water Purity | Casinos Deploy AI for an Even Better House Advantage | The Argument for a Robot Tax
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Brainstorm the next great mission with your crew, capture and share your ideas, and then take your Beacons with you to your next adventure. The Beacons Go-Pack is $15.
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Is Client Accounting Services Overhyped?

Source: CPA Trendlines Research

New CPA Trendlines study shows broad interest in CAS, but also widespread failures to achieve hoped-for goals.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Client Accounting Services (CAS), the full-menu offering of taking over many of a client's routine internal bookkeeping chores, is fast emerging as an essential growth strategy for accounting firms across the nation, according to a new CPA Trendlines Research study, perhaps the broadest such study undertaken in the field so far.

Join the Survey. Get the Results: The questionnaire remains open and all participants receive a special topline executive summary of the results at no charge, just for joining the survey. Take the survey here.

But most firms admit they're falling short of their financial and operational goals for CAS, illustrating the daunting challenges for accountants seeking to shift from traditional compliance services to the high-margin, fast-growth role of a so-called trusted advisor.

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How I Became a Published Author

Businessman writing on paperIt starts with clients. Of course.

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

I reached a stage in my career when I thought it was important to write articles. I wrote quite a few and sent them to editors, only to have them rejected. The nice ones wrote back rejections. The not-so-nice never bothered to respond at all.

MORE: Don’t Pass Up Opportunities | When to Say No to Pro Bono Work | I Used to Hate QuickBooks | Things Change | How to Be ’the Other Guy’s Accountant’ | Why We ‘Kill’ to Get Partnership Returns Out Quickly | Becoming an Expert in IRS Collections | High CPA Fees Should Be a Client’s Goal | How Hidden Bias Taints Results
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I even had articles typed multiple times to send “originals” to various publications at the same time to no avail. At some point, I gave up but decided to write tax letters to clients.
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How to Thrive as a 21st-Century Firm

Computer monitors morph into chain links"Professional staff without higher-level skills will be out of the business."

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

If you believe accounting industry pundits, artificial intelligence and blockchain will decimate accounting firms the way an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs. But paleontologists don’t think dinosaurs really went extinct. They survived as today’s birds. In the next 10 years, or sooner, accounting and tax firms will evolve from offices full of employees dutifully typing data into workstations to organizers of terabytes of accounting data for our clients.

MORE: 7 Steps to Effective Project Management | How Many Tax Preparers Do You Need? | How the Annual Tax Meeting Died | How to Be the Chief Communicator | 4 Steps to Take Before Next Tax Season
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The pundits are wrong about our extinction. Effective project management will prepare your firm to thrive in the 21st century. I'll take you there in a bit of a roundabout way via the coming of blockchain to the IRS.
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Who’ll Quit Next?

Mentor showing project presentation to menteeSmart ideas for retaining and developing top talent. 

Who's going to quit next? And why?
Join the survey. Get the Answers

By Steven E. Sacks

Professional services firms always have their eyes on the bottom line with as much, if not more, intensity than on the top line. Salaries and benefits take up a considerable chunk of resources, and programs designed for professional and personal development are given short shrift, except when it comes to meeting continuing professional education credits.

MORE: Make CRAP a Badge of Honor | The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent | The Power of ‘Real Influence’ | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet? | Outsourcing the C-Suite
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The younger professionals – your future leaders – should be viewed as investments. Part of that investment is allocating funds for their participation in associations or networking groups, in addition to conferences and workshops that expand their knowledge.
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Go Paperless with the Best Smart Notebooks

Illustration of reMarkable notebook
The reMarkable "smart" notebook

Need a smart pen? There's one of those, too.

By Rick Richardson

Whether you love paper and pen or prefer to live paper-free, you still probably need to take notes, read PDFs or maybe even illustrate an idea with a sketch.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Google Announces New Privacy Enhancements | What Happens If You Don’t Use Airplane Mode in Flight? | IRS Clamps Down on Unreported Cryptocurrency Profits | The Big 8 Next Tech Disruptors | New Translator Gadget Could Be a Traveler’s Best Friend
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Smart notebooks help bring ideas typically captured on paper into a digital format. Some smart notebooks also involve real paper.
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BKR Adds Three Firms

Ecuador, El Salvador, and Edina, Minn.

By CPA Trendlines

BKR International is adding Elias & Asociados, San Salvador, El Salvador; GW Carter, Ltd., Edina, Minn.; and Auditores Externos Varela & Patiño Cia. Ltda., Guayaquil, Ecuador,  to its roster of 160 firms with 500 offices in 80 nations. READ MORE →

What Staffing Shortage?

Demand for new hires shows signs of weakening.

By Beth Bellor

High-quality tax, accounting, and finance talent remain in high demand, with about 33% of companies reporting open positions, according to a new study that also forecasts strong hiring demand over the next 12 months.

MORE ON JOBS: Payroll Agencies Lead Jobs Growth in the Tax & Accounting Industry | Hiring Trends: Accounting Hits 4.2% Expansion Rate | Hiring Surge Powered by Growth in Payroll Agencies | Tax Shops Cut 6,200 Jobs | Salary Survey: Top Skills Getting Top Pay
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“More than one-third of the human resources professionals and hiring managers who participated in the Q4 2019 hiring forecast survey reported unfilled jobs in accounting and finance," according to Sagar Pandya, CPA, VP of operations at Brilliant. "This number is lower than last quarter and lower than any other quarter in the past year.”
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Reclaim Time with Remote Deposit

Woman using tablet in front of laptop and desktopBanks often provide the scanners.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

One of the easiest processes to convert to paperless with an immediate ROI is the firm’s system for depositing client checks. Manually receiving and physically going to the bank to deposit checks can be time-consuming and subject to too many errors.

MORE: Going Digital with A/P Processing | How an ‘Owner’s Drawer’ Boosts Security | The Top Portable Monitors for Auditors | Why Scanning Procedures Matter | Using Databases for Document Management | SURVEY: Firms Split on Mobile Device Management
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The manual procedure requires firms open mail on a daily basis, make copies to file in a binder, complete deposit slips and then send a person physically to the bank, which can easily take a half hour every day, five days per week, 52 weeks per year.
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