101 Questions and Answers: Managing an Accounting Practice, Volume 1


“Fantastic..!” “Wise..!” “Great reference..!”

By Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, ABV, PFS

With tables, checklists, sample letters, illustrative examples, real-life stories, step-by-step instructions, and appendix.




Fantastic…! Wise…! Great reference…!

Withum-Smith+Brown partner Ed Mendlowitz is the Dear Abby of accounting, providing answers to tough questions from colleagues, peers and anyone else who wants to reach out for years. This fantastic book is a compilation of their questions and his wise answers on a huge range of topics related to running a practice, from how to raise rates or add new service lines, to how to deal with careless staff or plan your retirement. A great reference to keep by your desk for whenever you run up against a problem. – AccountingToday



This book brings together Ed’s forty-plus years of experience as an entrepreneur and a professional services provider.  Its easy-to-ready Q&A format makes it a great reference tool for accountants at all stages of their career.

Ed’s mentorship of our partners and staff has been invaluable. His philosophies on managing an accounting firm, our clients and oneself are timeless, full of common sense and most importantly, successful.

My favorite chapter is the “Family Tree of Referrals,” discussing how to work smarter by understanding the power of referral sources, and having the confidence that new business will come when deciding to cull unprofitable and irritating clients.  It’s sage advice which every partner at every CPA firm should follow. Enjoy the book, and may you have the discipline to follow through on Ed’s recommendations.  You’ll be a better person – and professional – for it.

Ed Mendlowitz
Ed Mendlowitz


  • 10 Reasons Clients Don’t Pay, and What to Do about It
  • Preparing to Sell Your Practice in a Few Years? 13 Things You Need to Know Today
  • 10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Decide to Add Financial Services to Your Practice
  • Asking An Attorney for a Referral Fee
  • What You Need to Know Before Expanding Into Business Valuation
  • 47 Types of Business Valuation Services
  • Dealing With Busy Season Demands
  • Not to Offer a Free Initial Consultation
  • 15 Tips for the Novice Manager
  • Three and a Half Ways to Get into Your Own CPA Practice
  • 14 Techniques To Get Your First Clients In A New Practice
  • Improving Quality Control
  • Talking Too Much Trying to Get a Client
  • Adding Family Office Services
  • Sample Engagement Letter for Family Office Services
  • Merging Your Practice
  • Selling Practice to Staff
  • Managing Client Meetings
  • Consulting With a Client Who Is Also a Friend
  • Serving on a Not-for-Profit Organization Board
  • Curing Careless Staff
  • Five Ways for a Young CPA to Network
  • Recognizing a Value Pricing Opportunity
  • Collecting Past Due Fees
  • Value Pricing
  • Transforming From a Practice to a Business
  • Below Normal Fee Assignments
  • Ten Tips to Managing an Acquired Tax Practice
  • 13 Ways to Get Better Value from Using Timesheets
  • Seven Ways to Increase Fees
  • Advising a Client Buying or Selling a Business 139
  • Eight Traits that Make for a Happy CPA
  • The Right Attitude for an Exit Strategy
  • Complaining Partners
  • Lowball Fees
  • Essential Data for a Merger or Acquisition Discussion
  • When a Partner’s Out Sick
  • Suing a Client
  • Five Ways to Bill for Phone Calls
  • Partnership Buy-Sell Agreement
  • 22 Guidelines for Outsourced Bookkeeping Services
  • 32 Guidelines for Outsourced CFO Services
  • I Just Lost My Biggest Client
  • Referral Fee to an Employee
  • Outsourced CFO Services Fees
  • Introducing Business Clients to Additional Services
  • When a Client Threatens to Sue
  • 17 Ingredients for Successful Change Management Projects
  • 11 Tips for Keeping Partners in Sync with Each Other
  • Eight Elements in Determining a Value-based Price
  • 19 Easy Staff Retention Ideas 231
  • How to Nurture a Staffer’s Professional Growth
  • Staff Development and Growth Checklist
  • Six Touchy Issues When Clients Divorce
  • Time Management for Partners
  • How Partners Really Spend Their Time
  • Choosing a Type of Office and Car
  • Charging Clients Late Fees
  • Five Clauses to Clarify and Protect
  • Mitigating Risk in New Services
  • 19 Tips on How Not to Lose a Lawsuit
  • Being Judged Based On The Clients You Have
  • Moonlighting Staff
  • Referral from a Bad Accountant
  • 78 Potential Value-Add Services
  • Preparing a Client Newsletter
  • Reasons for CPA Firm Mergers
  • Succession Planning for CPAs
  • Managing Partner by Default
  • Effective Staffing
  • Complaining Client
  • Thinking about Selling
  • 32 Reasons To Do a Deal
  • Future of Small CPA Firms
  • Practice Continuation In Event Of A Death Or Disability
  • Letter Agreement That Can Be Made With A Fellow Practitioner
  • Instructional Letter To Accompany Practice Continuation Letter



For over 40 years I have asked fellow professionals for assistance, and for almost as long I have reached out to offer assistance. As professionals, we do not live and work in a vacuum. We need each other and the more we collaborate the more we all grow.

I have not done everything I would have liked to do, but through interaction with fellow CPAs, colleagues, other professionals, staff and clients I have learned many things and I’ve tried to refine some of those lessons here. Without sharing, I would not have been as successful. I have also learned that sharing causes me to grow also. It forces me to be clearer about what I do, be able to express myself better, help me better articulate my thoughts, and puts me in contact with some of the brightest people I know – my fellow CPAs.

At some point I realized that many of the questions repeated themselves and that most of us have the same concerns. For that reason I started to write up the most often asked questions with my answers. There are, of course, very few perfect answers. But, hopefully, through the thorough consideration of the question and the possible solutions, the best (if not perfect) answer can emerge. I hope that you can get some your questions answered here.


Edward Mendlowitz – CPA, ABV, PFS
Partner, WithumSmith+Brown

Edward Mendlowitz is a partner in Withum Smith + Brown’s New Brunswick, NJ, office and has over 40 years of public accounting experience. He is a licensed certified public accountant in the states of New Jersey and New York and is accredited by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in business valuation (ABV), certified in financial forensics (CFF) and as a personal financial specialist (PFS). Ed is also admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court and has testified as an expert witness in federal and state court regarding business valuations, and twice at the House Ways and Means Committee on tax reform, fairness and reduction

A graduate of City College of New York, Ed earned his bachelor of business administration degree. He is a member of the AICPA, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJSCPA) and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA). Also, Ed was a founding partner of Mendlowitz Weitsen, LLP, CPAs, which merged with WS+B in 2005. Currently, he serves on the NYSSCPA Estate Planning Committee and was chairman of the committee that planned the NYSSCPA’s 100th Anniversary. The author of 19 books, Ed has also written hundreds of articles for business and professional journals and newsletters. He is the contributing editor to the Practitioners Publishing Company’s 706/709 Deskbook, and the AICPA’s Management of an Accounting Practice Handbook, Corporate Controller’s Handbook and Wiley’s Handbook on Budgeting and is on the editorial board of Bottom Line/Personal newsletter and the Journal of Accountancy Member Panel on Business Valuation. Appearing regularly on television news programs, Ed has also been quoted in numerous major newspapers and periodicals in the United States. He is the recipient of the Lawler Award for the best article published during 2001 in the Journal of Accountancy.

Ed is a frequent speaker to many professional and business groups, including the AICPA, NJSCPA, NYSSCPA, American Management Association, the National Committee for Monetary Reform, University of Medicine and Dentistry in NJ and many, more. For 11 years, he taught courses on financial analysis, corporate financial policy and theory, monetary and fiscal policy and managerial accounting in the MBA program at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

101 Questions and Answers: Managing an Accounting Practice, Volume 1