Today's Features

Hiring Growth Rate Shows Signs of Leveling Off

Still healthy, but not as good as last year.

Who's hiring, who's not.
Who's quitting, who's staying.
And why and why not.
Join the survey. Get the facts.

By Beth Bellor

"Stay the course." Remember that chestnut?

MORE ON JOBS: What Staffing Shortage? | Payroll Agencies Lead Jobs Growth in the Tax & Accounting Industry | Hiring Trends: Accounting Hits 4.2% Expansion Rate | Hiring Trends Flash Warning Signs of Slowdown in Tax & Accounting | CHARTS: Tax & Accounting Among Biggest Jobs Creators in U.S. | Hiring Surge Powered by Growth in Payroll Agencies
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Maybe it's not time to rock the boat. The accounting profession is more than holding its own, with new highs seen in:

  • overall earnings,
  • staff earnings,
  • CPA firm staff numbers and earnings, and
  • payroll services earnings.


4 Ways to Bill Clients

Businessmen standing on dollar billWhat services do your clients value the most?

By Jody Grunden

When I attend CPA conferences across the United States, I often hear from CPAs: “I don’t want to bill for my time.”

So, how do you bill your clients?

MORE: 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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Client billing can include hourly billing, but it can also include flat-fee, retainer-based and/or value-based billing. Most people use one of these four methods. Some use all of them or even a hybrid.

Let’s take a closer look at each of them:

How Digital A/P Processing Boosts Productivity

Woman at laptop holding credit cardDedicate one credit card to this purpose.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Processing accounts payable is another of the manually intensive processes within the firm’s administrative department that can be significantly streamlined through digital processes.

MORE: Reclaim Time with Remote Deposit | Going Digital with A/P Processing | Avoid Over-Auditing with ‘Document Containers’ | Beyond Email: New Digital Tools | Who Deletes Documents and When? | Capture Firm Knowledge on an Intranet
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Consider how many “touches” a single payable creates: receipt of the invoice, timing of payment in a folder, writing the check and attaching the stub, sending it to an owner for signature, filing a copy of check with backup in its own folder, and stuffing, sealing and sending the check to the vendor. Now imagine doing this a hundred times per month, every month. Imagine the volume of physical accounts payable vendor files both onsite and in storage, that can be eliminated by storing these images digitally.

MGI and CPAAI to Merge

CPA firm associations combine 250 firms with $1 billion in revenues.

Left to right: Jim Holmes, International Chairman of CPAAI; Michael Parness, President of CPAAI; Clive Viegas Bennett, CEO of MGI Worldwide, and Roger Isaacs, Chairman of MGI Worldwide, celebrating the merger agreement at MGI Worldwide’s Annual Global Meeting in Dubai, UAE.

CPA Trendlines

MGI Worldwide, a global network of independent audit, tax, accounting, and advisory firms, headquartered in the U.K., and CPA Associates International, headquartered in the U.S., have announced that they will merge, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The newly created organization, to be branded MGI Worldwide with CPAAI, will have more than 250 accounting, tax, and advisory member firms in almost 100 countries throughout the world. Combined, it will have revenues approaching $1 billion, placing it in 16th position in the current global accountancy network ranking.


Are Partners Getting Younger?

Rosenberg MAP survey finds the number of partners over age 50 in decline.

CPA Trendlines

For the last dozen or so years, the number of partners over age 50 has steadily climbed upward, but now that's changing, according to the new Rosenberg MAP survey.

In recent years, however, there has been a slight decrease in the percentage of partners over the age of 50. The MAP survey authors believe these decreases are due to the retirement of many partners over the age of 60 (even 70!) and firms bringing in new partners in their 40s.

The full survey is available for purchase from CPA Trendlines here.


When Pushing the Pencil Pays Off

Man writing in notebook at deskHow I became an accidental author.

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

I’ve written about publishing a firm newsletter and the opportunities it opened for me. However, I really became a published author when I met Martin Edelston, the founder of Boardroom Reports and Bottom Line/Personal.

MORE: How I Became a Published Author | Don’t Pass Up Opportunities | When to Say No to Pro Bono Work | I Used to Hate QuickBooks | Things Change | Why We ‘Kill’ to Get Partnership Returns Out Quickly | Getting a Referral from an Adversary
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About two years after we started the S&M Newsletter, Marty was publishing Boardroom Reports and was shown one of our newsletters and called asking if he could meet me. Before we met I picked up a bunch of his Boardroom Reports publications to get an idea of what was included and the style.

Survey: Nonprofits Report Bottom Line Growth

Source: Marks Paneth LLP Nonprofit Pulse survey

With demand for services increasing, agencies see tougher times ahead.

By CPA Trendlines

Facing more need among the neediest, nonprofit organizations are reportedly planning ahead for even leaner times.

They worry most about obtaining experienced talent and legislation negatively impacting funding, according to a new survey by New York-based Marks Paneth CPAs.

Still, many organizations are reporting an improvement in their bottom lines.


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.

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.

Make That Old Whiteboard ‘Smart’, 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.

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.