Will Obamacare Penalties Kill Your Small Business Clients?

drug in syringe on white background

Fines run $100 per day, per employee.

By Stephen L. Nelson, CPA
and Elizabeth C. Nelson, CPA

Small Business and the Affordable Care Act

By now, many of your small business clients understand they don’t have to provide employees with health insurance. The employer mandate starts when a firm employs 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees.

But here’s an awkward follow-up question: Do your small business clients understand that many of the ACA’s rules still apply to them and that they may still be vulnerable to the ACA’s 4980D excise tax penalty—which runs $100 per day per employee?

LEARN MORE: Small Businesses and the Affordable Care Act: What Every Tax Practitioner Needs to Know (55-page PDF digital download)

Can We Talk IRC Code Sections?

People sometimes hear references to the 4980D penalty and scoff, say you can’t believe everything you hear on talk radio or read at some blog. So let’s look at the actual Internal Revenue Code Section in question.

Here are the first few sentences of IRC Sec 4980D: READ MORE →

It’s Not Sales. It’s Your Duty

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and AHow to suggest additional services to clients and why you’re doing them a disservice if you don’t.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I always feel awkward telling clients they need additional services that I should perform for them. Can you tell something that could “rev” me up for this?

MORE PRACTICE DOCTOR Q&A: Yes, You Should Send Rejection Letters | When to Hire an Admin Assistant | 7 Ways to Lose a Client’s Trust | How Much Should You Pay To Buy, Sell or Merge an Accounting Practice? | Why the Average Fee Doesn’t Matter | No More Printouts at CPE Programs? | 6 Ways to Take a Client Beyond Tax Prep

ANSWER: Actually, by suggesting additional services you are doing the client a favor and a good deed. Also, you are in business and the easiest way to generate additional revenues is to cross-sell services to present clients.


Savvy CPAS Focus on the Constants

Don’t be distracted by the hot trend of the moment.

In “10 Things That Accountants Didn’t Need to Worry about 10 Years Ago,” CPA Trendlines contributor Hitendra Patil generated reader reactions with some provocative thoughts about a tsunami of trends. Today, he looks at the other side of the coin, starting with a quote from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos:

You should build a business strategy around the things you know are stable in time and then invest heavily in ensuring you are providing those things and improving your delivery of them all the time. If you want to build a successful, sustainable business, don’t ask yourself what could change in the next 10 years that could affect your company. Instead, ask yourself what won’t change, and then put all your energy and effort into those things.”

By Hitendra Patil
Pransform Inc.

What has remained unchanged in the tax and accounting profession over the last few decades? And what will not change over the next couple of decades?

More on The Entrepreneurial CPA by Hitendra Patil here.

Being a futurist is not easy. Being a realistic futurist is even more difficult. But being a person who knows the foundational value of his or her profession is relatively easy, if you know why and what customers buy from you. A CEO of Black & Decker once said the almost proverbial “customers don’t buy a drill machine, they buy a hole in the wall.” As an accountant and tax professional, you must figure out what your customers buy from you and why they buy from you rather than from your competitors.

Now is the time to think about what they will continue to buy in the future. READ MORE →

7 Ways to Lose a Client’s Trust

Ed Mendlowitz CPA The Practice Doctor Q and AAre you about to do any of these? Is it worth it?

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I believe I have a very high degree of client trust. But somehow I feel it is not 100 percent. Any comments?

ANSWER: This person has a common problem. The trust is very high – probably higher than any other profession – but not complete. It is rare for trust to be 100 percent. But here are seven ways to lose a client’s trust:

Busy Season 2015: When Clients Are the Problem

Get a read on the busy season. Join the survey; get the results
Get a read on the busy season. Join the survey; get the results

Top nine client management solutions.

NEXT QUESTION: Lessons Learned.
Join the survey; get the results

By CPA Trendlines Research

The CPA Trendlines annual Busy Season Barometer is uncovering some frank and candid talk about clients. Yes, we love them. Couldn’t live without them. Most of the time. But, well, not always.

It’s not that they’re bad people. But let’s face it, they aren’t always sweating tax prep much in advance of April 1, they have no idea what new regulations are in effect this year and their advisories from their CPA are filed under “migraines that can wait.” Plus, they truly believe their CPA is exclusively dedicated to their company and doesn’t really have much else to do but wait around for their phone call.

“No matter how proactive you try to be at scheduling and planning ahead, clients still delay providing information for their taxes,” Bryan Lantz says. “Seems the IRS, Congress and the media are out to make our jobs even more compressed and stressful.” His solution: “Keep communicating with clients to ensure that we can do the best we can at equalizing workflow during busy season.”

From their remarks, CPA Trendlines draws at least nine lessons in smart client management.:


Are You a Passionate Accountant?

Young Asian entrepreneur reading magazineTake this quiz to see whether you’re phoning it in.

Do you seek out opportunities to learn new things that will help your clients overcome their most difficult challenges?

Selling value-creation advisory services is truly a slam dunk with most modern business owners, according MentorPlus. The bad news is that, although most CPAs would say they are their clients’ most trusted advisor, few could answer the following questions in the affirmative.


The 12-Step Program for Building Better Client Relationships

Selfie Cell Phone PicsTurn the habits of everyday friendship into business skills.

By Jean Marie Caragher
The 90-Day Marketing Plan for CPA Firms

Since strong client relationships contribute to client satisfaction, longevity and lead generation, partners often encourage their managers and staff to build relationships with their clients. But these managers and staff look at the relationships their firm’s partners have built over time and think it’s impossible to replicate their results.

Building relationships with clients can be done using the same behaviors that we use when building friendships and courting our spouse or significant other. Consider these 12 tips to build client relationships, especially during tax season, prime time for in-person client contact. READ MORE →