Today's Features

Can You Really Grow Without Adding Clients?

Large group of people gathered into an upward arrow shapeCombining new sales with upsells is a more reliable strategy.

By Ty Hendrickson, CPA

“Grow your practice without having to add any new clients!”

I seriously gasped when I saw this headline recently. I thought to myself, “Really? What kind of advice is this?!” I had to read this story to find out just what the author was suggesting and how this could be a good long-term strategy for anyone.

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As I read through the article, I was secretly hoping to learn some magic bullet or new idea that would make growth easier on so many people who do not like sales. However, as I continued to read, I became more and more anxious about the strategy that was suggested.
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How to Set a Profitable Price Every Time

The right clients will be willing to pay fair prices.

By Gabrielle Fontaine
AddviserPlus

Whenever in negotiations with a potential client, do you know when to walk away, or do you feel forced to lower your price just to win the sale?

MORE on PRICING:  4 Ways to Bill Clients   |  Timesheets: The Nuclear Option  |  Joey Havens on Advanced PricingI Lost a Client to an Accounting Firm with Cheaper FeesAugust Aquila: What Marketers Need to Know about PricingValue Pricers Ignore Half the Pricing PuzzleWhere Marketers Fit in the Pricing ProcessThe Value-Pricing Con Job |  Price It Right: How to Value Accounting Services

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Especially when attempting to use flat-fee pricing, many accounting professionals get caught up in doing anything to win new clients. That's a mistake.
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Why You Need an Independent Security Review

Illustration of computer security threatsThen follow up every few years.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Going “paperless” means that all firm files and client data will be digitally stored on the firm’s network, which is almost always accessible to firm personnel via internal workstations and remotely via the internet. The firm has a fiduciary responsibility to protect this data from anyone not specifically authorized to view it.

MORE: ‘Learning Culture’ Requires Standardized Processes | Centralize Contact Administration | How Digital A/P Processing Boosts Productivity | How an ‘Owner’s Drawer’ Boosts Security | The Top Portable Monitors for Auditors | Why Scanning Procedures Matter
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Proper security is VERY difficult for any internal network administrator to guarantee as few have the experience and have participated in ongoing training to implement security settings optimally the first time. Therefore, all “one-shot” implementations of firewalls, wireless routers, virtual private networks and other security settings should be outsourced to an organization that has experienced personnel dedicated to security.
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What Big Data Means to Small Firms

Artist concept of an AI-based neuronFocus on the hard trends, not the things you can’t predict.

By Donny C. Shimamoto
Strategic Technology Decisions

Emerging technologies will disrupt many lower-level accounting jobs, but overall they will be a boon to the accounting profession. To be able to adopt these emerging technologies and ensure that value is gained from their proper use, accountants must begin upskilling now.

MORE: 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 | Focus on Cyber Risk, Not Just Security | Making IT Matter to Accountants
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Accountants must develop additional competencies to ensure the success of projects associated with implementing emerging technologies and enable them to be value-added advisors to their organizations and clients.
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One Can’t-Skip Touch for Tax Season

Businessman talking on phone in the officePlus 4 more ideas.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Occasionally accountants lose touch with their clients, especially during tax season. Part of this is because of the crush of work, which is compressed into a pretty short period.

MORE: 5 Steps for Tax Season Success | Help Tax Clients Help You | 3 Steps to Tax Season Happiness | 12 Ways to Have More Fun This Tax Season | Bill with the Tax Return, Get Paid Faster
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We sometimes lose sight that we are working on something the clients consider one of the most important things in their lives at that moment.
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How Does Your Firm Leverage Its Talent?

Five questions you can't say "No" to.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals

With Millennials representing 35 percent of today’s workforce, 50 percent in the next couple of years and 75 percent by 2030, the career mindset will shift even more toward moving onward and upward – and out.

MORE: Retention Starts with the Hiring Interview | How Motivation Is Like Bathing | Be a Talent Magnet | Make CRAP a Badge of Honor | The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition | 10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ Needs | A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement
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Unless you are a business owner, the days of 40-year employees have disappeared.

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Reward Partners for Performing Like Partners

Piggy bank on scale with dollar signsPartnership is no time to coast.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Any of you who started out as sole practitioners surely remember that it was you – no one else – who made your firm successful. You brought in the business. You did top-notch work and delivered it on time. You nurtured and grew your client relationships so they came back asking for more. When you hired staff, you who were responsible for keeping them busy and training them how to do the work.

MORE: Merging in Sellers: What You Need to Know | 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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If you took days off from these activities, guess what? No one did it for you and your firm suffered as a result.
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2020 Outlook: Business Development Goes Borderless

Be ready to try new things faster.

By Jennifer Wilson

The traditional business model is under attack in so many ways including terrifically short staffing, which is leading to record profits for many firms, but also the cause of burnout and a growing sense of hopelessness and turnover, too. Leaders are being forced to rethink traditional staffing models and are realizing many of the jobs inside their firms do not require accounting graduates or CPA candidates to do them.

MORE: 2020 Outlook: Data Import on the Rise | 2020 Outlook: Becoming the Most Valuable Advisor | Top Three Tips for 2020 Success | 2020 Outlook: Where Do You Want to Be? | 2020 Outlook: Dicey Disruptions | 2020 Outlook: Upstream Mergers | 2020 Outlook: Staffing Gets Creative
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Firms are simply overpaying for those roles today. This is leading to the exploration of non-CPA hires, and firms embracing outsourcing and offshoring options, especially for lower-level leveraged positions.
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Keeping the Right People on the Bus

Illustration of different types of people connectedNot everyone will work out, and that's OK.

By Jody Grunden

There’s a common misnomer when it comes to retention and keeping people on the team. Retention doesn’t mean keeping every single person on your team forever.

MORE: 10 Interview Questions for Unlocking True Potential | The Hidden Cost of Running a Distributed Company | How to Develop Your Leadership Team | 4 Ways to Bill Clients | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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Not only do you want to get the right people on the bus, but you also want to get those people into the right seats. We want Summit CPA to be a great place to work, and we want great people to be working here. However, we realize it may not be the right place for every person.
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The 4 Marketing Disciplines

How to deploy them as a framework for CPA firm practice development.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

All marketing activities fall into one of four categories:

  1. Protect and grow revenue from existing clients.
  2. Identify and nurture referral sources.
  3. Focus on a well-defined group of prospects; get new clients.
  4. Support activities that complement those above.

We call these the Four Disciplines. Auditors follow certain steps of a predetermined program to perform an audit. It takes discipline to stay the course and execute the audit process.

MORE: 15 Powerful Niche Marketing Practices | 19 Takeaways from the History of CPA Firm Practice Development | Why You Have to Kill the Old Paradigms | Are You Ready for the Great Disruption?
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Marketing is no different. It requires discipline to engage in all four categories, execute the action steps continuously and avoid taking shortcuts or skipping steps altogether.
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2020 Outlook: Data Import on the Rise

Microsoft Power BI likely to become the visualization standard.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Security continues to be a significant and increasing threat, but many firm owners continue to assume it is being managed by their IT team. We find traditional firm IT does a good job on the internal components they control, but there are consistent shortfalls in the use of multifactor authentication, intrusion detection/prevention and staff training.

MORE: 2020 Outlook: Becoming the Most Valuable Advisor | Top Three Tips for 2020 Success | 2020 Outlook: Where Do You Want to Be? | 2020 Outlook: Dicey Disruptions | 2020 Outlook: Upstream Mergers | 2020 Outlook: Staffing Gets Creative
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With cloud providers having significantly better security and disaster recovery resources than on-premise networks, we expect this will be another reason that the majority of firms give up managing their own networks (with the uber-large firms having their own IT/security consulting being the exception). However, all firms need to be training personnel on safe computing when remote, on being suspicious of unexpected emails (phishing), as well as social engineering attacks that could expose their login/password as well as put the firm at risk of ransomware.
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Why You’re Only as Good as Your Staff

Senior businessman mentoring two younger workersEveryone is busy, but work still has to flow smoothly.

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

This is a response to a reader who sent me the following email:

MORE: Staff May Surprise You with Leadership | What’s Your Negotiating Style? | How to Make Your Own Opportunities | How I Became a Published Author | Large Clients We Landed from QuickBooks Consulting | 26 Value-Added Benefits Clients Need to Know
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All your articles are good, and so was this one about a surprise staff leader.

Question: Why was it important in your firm, for you personally, to “know” about Elliot and the tax manager?

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