Today's Features

What Goes Into a Buyer Persona?

"Target market" illustration with arrow and bull's eyeSpending some time up front will save you both time and money.

By Becky Livingston
The Accountant’s Social Media Handbook

Before conducting any research, it’s important to know who your target market is.

MORE: 3 Big SEO Changes | How Long Does It Take to Rank? | What Is SEO and Why Is It Important?
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When I teach workshops and I ask attendees who their target market is, I often get in return, “Everyone!”

That’s impossible. If you have a product that applies to every person in the world, at any age, it must be pretty important … like breathing.

The Giving Identity Crisis

Group of businesspeople hiding their faces behind question mark signs at officeEven the feelings about philanthropy shift by demographic.

By Randy Fox
Ez Charitable

While it may seem obvious when looking for planned gifts, who you’re talking to is really important. That is, the client’s age and their gender should help you craft your conversation for a number of reasons.

MORE: Life Change As Opportunity | Opportunity Under Your Nose | Opportunities in Collectibles | TRPIF Is One of the Best Kept Secrets in Planning | 1031 and Done: What CPAs Need to Know about the New 1031 Changes
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Women are different than men in their giving and younger people are different than older people in how they approach their giving. It is important to create a different message depending on who you’re talking to about giving. Much has been written about how millennials are reshaping giving and, as advisors, we should be paying close attention to our approach to different populations.

The Great Debate, Part 2: The Case for Value-Pricing

18  Reasons to Trash the Timesheet. Next, read The Case for Timesheets.

Value-Pricing or Hourly-Billing: Which works better and why?
Sound Off: Join the survey, get the answers.

By Ed Mendlowitz

If you've read the "The Case for Timesheets," you might think I couldn't live without timesheets.  But I know many firms use their timesheets differently than I do.

But first:  The business model of not using timesheets recognizes there is a new way accounting services are being delivered to clients and so we need a new way of managing the accounting firm.  This new model is explained and charted excellently in a logically understandable book that I highly recommend which is From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide by Jody Padar.

Based on the partners and firms I know, most use timesheets only for billing and determining staff “bonuses,” which are substantially based on “excess” hours, rather than exceptional performance and client service.

Working long hours on a client does not equate to effective value transference.  Because of this, I believe these partners are short-sighted and actually do not understand how to fully run their business.  I have used timesheet information as a valuable tool to great success.

However, today I want to trash the timesheet and present my reasons for value-pricing.


The Great Debate, Part 1: The Case for Timesheets

The Essential Management Tool. Next, read The Case for Value-Pricing.

Value-Pricing or Hourly-Billing: Which works better and why?
Sound Off: Join the survey, get the answers.


By Ed Mendlowitz

There is a strong growing movement to do away with timesheets in favor of value pricing.  Needless to say, I have been following both methods – long before Ron Baker and his adherents formalized the no timesheet protocol.  Because of my experience and along with discussions I have had and continue to have with hundreds of accountants a year I have heard many arguments on both sides of the issue.  The ones in favor of no timesheets are more passionate but that doesn’t lessen the opinions of those that don’t agree with this.  I will be referring to Ron Baker a lot so I want to mention one of his books that should be read by everyone interested in this debate: Implementing Value Pricing.  Regardless of how you feel, it would be irresponsible for a firm leader to be unfamiliar with what he suggests.

I have opinions on both sides of these issues, and at various times express them depending on the circumstances.  That prompted these two columns: "The Case for Timesheets" and "The Case for Value-Pricing."

Here I will present the case, the way I see it, for timesheets. In "The Case for Value-Pricing," I argue for discarding timesheets and using the value-pricing model, or some form of fixed prices, exclusively.  I hope you enjoy them and this format. We welcome your comments.


3 Big SEO Changes

Blue pushpin in word "SEO" at center of a targetHow badly do you want to rank on that first page?

By Becky Livingston
The Accountant’s Social Media Handbook

Have you noticed the subtle SEO changes that have been happening over the past year?

MORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: How Long Does It Take to Rank? | What Is SEO and Why Is It Important? | Digital Marketing Isn’t ‘Set It and Forget It’ | How to Set Your Firm’s Social Media Foundation | How to Use Social Media Analytics | Get People to Your Landing Page | Content Categories and How to Leverage Them | How to Manage Social Media in 22 Minutes a Day | Use Finesse in Sharing, Scheduling Content
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Here are

  • three big changes;
  • what you need to know; and
  • how to implement changes on your website and in marketing efforts to effectively use SEO to your firm’s advantage.


Handling Pay During the Disability of a Partner

Statue of scales of justice5 best practices.

By Marc Rosenberg

It’s often been said that disability is much harder to deal with than death, from the standpoint of firm governance. Death is clear and finite. But disability is much more complicated and unclear.

MORE ON PARTNERSHIP: When Votes Must Be Taken, What Are the Options? | Why Voting Isn’t Such a Big Deal | What’s in a (Firm) Name? | Protect Your Business with a Solid Partner Agreement
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  1. What is the extent of the disability?
  2. What is the likelihood that the partner can fully recover?
  3. How long will the recovery take?
  4. When the partner returns to work, is he or she capable of performing normal partner duties and working normal partner hours?


Profession Transitions from Windows 7 to 10

More important now: running applications across all devices.

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Okay, we all know that the Microsoft Windows operating system is preferred to run computers by the primary vendors to the accounting profession.

MORE: Offsite Backup Is Critical | How the Cloud Plays into Scheduled Server Replacement | Monitor Real Estate: More IS Better
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While firms don’t place too much emphasis on the workstation operating system, one significant issue firms can’t overlook is increasing computer memory to ensure computers function optimally with today’s multi-monitor requirements and the multitude of concurrent applications your staff will be running that can impact your Windows version decision.

Jessica Velazquez on Cannabis Accounting and Activism

Portrait of Jessica Velazquez

Her concerns stretch from regulatory framework to the particular needs of minorities.

By Liz Gold

It was a fusion of life experience and natural skill that thrust Jessica Velazquez, CPA, founder and CEO of Indiva Advisors, into accounting.

MORE ON CANNABIZ: PODCAST: Rich Wortmann Pioneers in Pennsylvania | PODCAST: John Repetti and Mitzi Hollenbeck of Citrin Cooperman | 4 Best Things About Being a ‘Dope’ Accountant | Five Reasons Accountants Should Serve Cannabis Clients | The Fire Starter: Groundbreaking Cannabis CPA Luigi Zamarra | CPA Marcena Sorrels: From Health Care in Texas to Cannabis in Oregon | SURVEY: N.J. CPAs Support Recreational Cannabis | CPA Kim Walker: ‘We Can’t Be Afraid of Diving into Marijuana’
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A first-generation Mexican American, Velazquez is the second oldest of eight, lending a hand in a busy family clothing wear business. At the age of 15, when her parents got audited, she was able to serve as translator and bridge the language gap between her family and the IRS agent.

Goals, Goals, Goals

Businessman crossing finish line after leaping hurdlesYour timeline needs a deadline, or big things won't get done.

By Jody Padar
From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide

Now that we know who our customers are and our desired business model, we’re going to think about what we’re going to do for the rest of the year. We’re going to create goals!

MORE ON RADICALISM: Accodex Sets Up a Platform for Practice Management | The Persona: A Closer Look | Father, Son Team Up to Capitalize on Capacity | Going Deeper into Product Management | Firm Product Management Is the Way to the Future | Why Our Clients Need Us to Be Radical
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I’ve talked about Aha! and how that helps me set a course for my firm. But what I really like about the platform is that once you create goals, you can move them around. And it’s not a big deal!