Today's Features

Some Mistakes I Made

... and some lessons I learned.

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

I’ve been around a long time and did some really great things. I’ve also made some mistakes.

MORE: Why We ‘Kill’ to Get Partnership Returns Out Quickly | Learning from Lee Iacocca Et Al. | I Lost a Client to an Accounting Firm with Cheaper Fees | How I Saved a Business | The Staffer Who Was Too Smart | How I Got a Mercedes as a Fee
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The mistakes linger on my mind more than many of the great things, and I am sharing some of the mistakes here.

Should the IRS Go Down in History?

Stock image of businessman pushing a giant stack of documents isolated on white background3 reasons an agency historian would be a good idea.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Karl Marx may have been wrong about workers rising up against their capitalist overlords, but he was right in observing that much of history can be explained by economics.

MORE: 5 Easy Ways That Congress Could Fix Tax Collection | 4 Ways to Fix IRS Collections | Taxpayers Deserve Better Receipts | What’s the Real Impact of IRS Audits?
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If history and economics go hand in hand, it makes sense  that the Internal Revenue Service, an entity through which trillions of dollars pass in a constant flow, should have an in-house historian. Its policies, programs, decisions, managers, records, cases, controversies and artifacts are an important part of American and world history – but only if they survive for historical analysis.

3 Ways to Emphasize the One-Firm Concept

Large rocks in road... and 8 likely obstacles.

By Bill Reeb

In the past, we've written a multi-part series on partner compensation that started out discussing the following:

  1. The Eat What You Kill (EWYK) model of operations and how that impacts partner compensation
  2. The most common criteria used in EWYK partner compensation formulas
  3. The Building a Village (BAV), or one-firm concept, model of operations and why partner voting has to be addressed to clear the way for changing partner compensation
  4. Addressing the retirement issue and separating it from partner compensation so that you are finally positioned to create a BAV partner compensation model

MORE BILL REEB: 8 Steps for a Successful Change Process | Building Competency on Every Level | Change Happens: How to Master It.
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Based on our experience, these are all issues that need to be discussed and addressed before a firm WILL make the decision to move from an EWYK to a BAV compensation system.

Automation and the Future of Accounting

How one firm uses bots to its advantage.

By Jody Grunden

There’s no doubt that advancements in technology are changing the world, and the accounting industry is no exception. Technology is making us more productive, more efficient and more connected.

MORE: Do You Want to Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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On the flip side, it’s also taking over some of our jobs. This is a reality in the accounting industry that we cannot ignore. Technology is driving major changes for the future of the accounting world. We need to be aware of what’s happening and take strategic steps to advance along with these changes. Otherwise, we are going to be left in the dust.

6 Action Steps for a Smooth Retirement Transition

Older businessman with jacket over shoulderPlus 8 questions the retiree should ponder.

By August J. Aquila

Firms today are facing succession planning issues at an unheard-of pace. Blame it on the Baby Boomers and the overall demographics of the accounting profession and population in general.

MORE: 7 Succession Planning Best Practices | 8 Steps to Make Cross-Selling Work for Your Firm | What Marketers Need to Know about Pricing | Client Centricity Leads to Profitability | 6 Steps to Making Your New Pricing Happen | Preparing to Change Pricing Philosophy
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Over the past year I have worked with several managing partners in helping them transition from one set of leaders to another. The question I often get is, when is the time right?

Why Jax Wheatley Shifted from LBGTQ to Cannabis Clients

Portrait of Jax Wheatley

They charge the same price for a cannabiz as for any other retailer.

By Liz Gold

Jax Wheatley has a unique accounting firm brand. As owner of Rainbow Tax & Accounting in Milwaukee, Oregon, just south of Portland, their focus for many years had been addressing the unique and special tax needs for the queer and LBGTQ community. But when same-sex marriage became federally legal, the needs of their clients changed (many of their tax issues went away) and Wheatley started looking for a new niche to fill their practice.

MORE ON CANNABIZ: iComply Helping Cannabusinesses Stay Ahead of the Curve | Green Bits: Helping Cannabis Retailers Stay Compliant | Silver Leaf CBC: An ERP Platform for Cannabis Companies | CohnReznick Goes National on Cannabis
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During that time, cannabis was becoming legalized in Oregon and Wheatley went for it.

Want an Open Culture? Let Employees Share Their Thoughts

Man in business suit listening attentively to coworker4 keys to soliciting genuine feedback.

By Steven E. Sacks

You are in a boardroom or a staff meeting room. The managing partner, his or her second in command, or someone else in charge has offered employees the opportunity to suggest or share an idea.

MORE: The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition | The Power of ‘Real Influence’ | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet? | Outsourcing the C-Suite | Battling Staff Turnover | Confronting Leadership: Not Such a Bad Thing
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Did you ever hear someone express what you thought was a ridiculous idea, which was followed by the sound of crickets? Furtive glances all around. Breaths held. No physical movements to suggest any type of reaction. Heads remain down, and note-taking was actually mindless doodling.

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"We have decided to be more intentional in running our firm as a business and I’m interested in gaining the perspective of other firms and experts in our field."


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How to Coach Your Staff

Confident businessman analyzing chart and explaining it to co-workerAlso, don't let your managers hoard work.

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

To recap, your first role as CEO is chief strategist. That means putting the right people in the right roles with the right resources.

MORE: Give Your People the Resources They Need | 4 Steps to Take Before Next Tax Season | 3 Tips for Handling Rookie Tax Preparers | Some Uncommon Advice on Hiring Full-Time Staff | What Goes Into a Client Project? | Value Pricers Ignore Half the Pricing Puzzle | CPAs Can’t Help You
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Your second role is trainer and coach. This role is closely related to your role as chief strategist. You can’t put the right people in the right positions without the right people. This second role is about creating and keeping the right people.

The Argument for a Robot Tax

EmTech panel... and why many people still think it's a bad idea.

By Rick Richardson

Should we should tax robots? We heavily tax human workers, so why not the machines that replace them?

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: Microsoft and Oracle Join Cloud Forces to Take on Amazon | Salesforce Buys Data Visualization Company Tableau | Flying Taxis Could Beat Cars for Efficiency | 5 Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Businesses with Remote Employees | IBM’s New Quantum Computer Could Make History | Software Will Determine Who Wins the Driving Experience Battle | Learn of Heart Attacks Years in Advance | Robot Teachers Might Be the Largest Internet Business in 2030
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Then, goes the theory aired at MIT’s Emtech Next Conference, that tax money could help provide training or benefits for workers who’ve lost their jobs to automation.

Who Deletes Documents and When?

Businessman jumping with papers stuck to himLike everything else in your practice, document retention needs a system.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Managing digital files is in many ways similar to managing paper files in that the firm must have standards for who can create a document, add to or edit a document, file it, and eventually purge the file.

MORE: SURVEY: 60% of Firms Employ Remote Access Tools | Capture Firm Knowledge on an Intranet | SURVEY: How Many Firms Back Up Data to the Internet? | The New Risks in Cloud Efficiencies
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Unfortunately, as digital files are on the network and “out of sight,” many firms are not really aware of what files are stored, the most current versions and whether or not they should be deleted.