Effective Communications in the Age of COVID

Misunderstandings and shortcuts in the workplace can create a hostile and stressful environment.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals

With more people using mobile devices for communication shortcuts, are we facing troublesome challenges in speaking in a recognizable language in the U.S.?

MORE: Why Proper Communication Is Critical | Syncing Up for the COVID Era | The New COVID-19 Workplace: Are You Prepared? | How to Create Effective Internal Communications | Profit Is Not a Mission | Confronting Leadership: Not Such a Bad Thing | New Opportunities for a ‘New Normal’ | Is Trust Elusive?
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While it may be convenient for some, for others it leaves them scratching their heads. I am not seeking to be a public scold. However, if you want your communication to be effective, then understand your audience, situation, and topic.

This is especially relevant with teams working virtually, and at a distance, in the Age of COVID.

Accountants See Economy Improving… But Mainly for Themselves

Accountants bullish on their firms. Not so much on clients. And outright negative on the U.S. Source: CPA Trendlines
Accountants bullish on their firms. Not so much on clients. And outright negative on the U.S. Source: CPA Trendlines

Not so much for their clients. And they’re negative on the U.S.

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines

If anyone has their finger on the pulse of the American economy, it’s America’s CPAs. They’re out there in the trenches of economic activity. They know what’s happening in their nook of the nation. They feel the optimism or pessimism of their clients, the people who make the economy work.

MORE on TAX SEASON for PRO MEMBERS:  Tax Season 2016: Turning I.D. Theft from a Problem into an Opportunity  |   Accountants Speak Out on Politics and the Economy  | Lessons Learned from a Bad Busy Season  |  3 Ways to Save Time During Busy Season  |  Most Tax Professionals Call 2016 Busy Season Much Improved over Last Year | Stress Less This Tax Season  |  Is Tax Season the New Fraud Season?  |  5 Tax Season Motivation Tips  |  Recognize Your Tax Season Resources  |  Tax Season 2016: IRS in Crisis  |  Eliminate Tax Season Excuses  |  Record Pre-Season Hiring Surge: Ready for Biggest Tax Season Ever?  |  16 Qualities of a Good Tax Season Client

And tax season is when CPAs and tax preparers receive an influx of information on how their clients are doing. Some of that information pops up in the CPA Trendlines 2016 Busy Season Survey. And the news is good… well, pretty good. Well, mostly. READ MORE →

Tax & Accounting Firms Wrestle Fewer Price Increases from Clients

Following a short-lived surge in rate hikes, clients push back and competitors swoop in.

By CPA Trendlines

After hitting record billing rates in February, the nation’s tax and accounting firms are facing new resistance to price increases, in which the industry seems to be taking one step back for every two steps forward, according to a new CPA Trendlines analysis.

The renewed pricing pressure suggests toughened competition in the marketplace and an overall softness in the economy as firms try to push up prices but have difficulty making them stick.

The latest data parsed by CPA Trendlines Research shows billing rates off by half of 1 percent, the seventh such decline in the last 12 months, leaving rates essentially unchanged in the last year.

The problems in raising and holding prices come after a strong surge last year in which fees rose 3 percent from March to October, according to CPA Trendlines Research.


Soloists Lag Multi-Owner Firms in Economic Confidence

Multi-partner firms show bullish signs. Soloists turn bearish on the U.S. economy.

CPA Trendlines Research

z-busy solos vs other in otlookCPAs aren’t economists, but they do know numbers, and they have their fingers on the pulse of the flow of money in their local areas. They know how their own businesses and their clients’ businesses are doing, and they have at least an inkling of the causes. Remembering 2014 and living through the 2015 busy season, they are well placed to prognosticate on financial flows over the next 12 months.

CPA Trendlines survey research detects a certain optimism, but it seems to be a bit more cautious among solo practitioners. READ MORE →

Tax Leads Accounting Industry in Price Hikes

PPIMay15thumbnailAccounting industry shows healthier pricing power than most other industries — and its own clients.

NEXT QUESTION: Which pricing strategies are best for today’s market? Join the survey; get the answers.

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines Research

Following hefty hikes in billing rates during tax season, the tax, accounting and bookkeeping industry is pushing through price increases three times faster than the rest of the nation’s economy, according to a new CPA Trendlines study.

MORE: Fees and Pricing Reports for PRO Members Only
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While most other industries — and, by implication, most of the profession’s clients — are barely managing to maintain price levels, the accounting industry is forging ahead aggressively. The industry’s powerful position in pricing suggests huge demand for the complex services that only accountants can provide. And many practitioners appear to be taking every opportunity possible. To be sure, costs are rising as well, with talent, technology and retirements putting pressure on many firms.

In this report, CPA Trendlines analyzes pricing trends and billing rates for:

  • CPA firm services in general,
  • Auditing and assurance services in particular,
  • Tax preparation and planning, and
  • Bookkeeping and compilations


Accountants See Solid Business Gains in 2015

Accountants report new highs in confidence levels for themselves and their firms, while casting a darker outlook on their client base and the nation as a whole.

CPA Trendlines Strategy Shift Report: Accounting firms around the world reap benefits of easing oil prices, government stimulus and innovation.

cpa trendlines strategy shift logo shadowBy Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines

Tax and accounting practitioners are heading into a new year and a new busy season markedly more confident and optimistic than they’ve been in years, according to the 10th annual CPA Trendlines Strategy Shift Report.

Kathy Bennett
Kathy Bennett

Professionals from Milwaukee to Tucson and Karachi to Kampala are telling CPA Trendlines of brightening business forecasts for their firms in 2015.

Top Trends in Emerging Business Strategies
Join the survey. Get the results.

Fully 71 percent of professionals say they are more than somewhat confident in the business and economic outlook for their firms, with a record 30 percent telling CPA Trendlines they are “highly confident” for the prospects of their business.

To be sure, they are less certain about the prospects for their client base or the nation as a whole than they are for themselves, their families and their firms. READ MORE →

Tax and Accounting Industry on Hiring Binge

Profession adds 1,400 new jobs in latest month.
Next question: Who’s hiring; who’s not. Join the survey; get the answers.

By CPA Trendlines

Jennifer Dizon

With practitioners across the country reporting strong demand for new hires, the nation’s tax, accounting and bookkeeping industries added 1,400 new jobs last month, with some sectors marking new highs for 2014 and approaching the pre-crash peak six years ago.

Jennifer Dizon, an audit and advisory partner at Hood & Strong’s San Jose, Calif., office, tells CPA Trendlines her firm is looking to hire.

“We need more staff to service business growth,” says Dizon, who is also the newly elected state chapter president of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Terri Ryman

In Elkhart, Kan., enrolled agent Terri Ryman at Southwest Tax & Accounting says the office is “getting busier.” She “can’t keep up.”

In Northridge, Calif., Gene Wechsler at Wechsler Accountancy reports a similar trend. “The firm continues to grow at the rate of 1 to 2 new clients per week.”

Needs vary though. “We need an additional tax preparer and accountant for small business monthly work,” says one of the owners of a seven-person firm in Prescott, Ariz., which is “currently advertising for an accountant/tax preparer.”

Marc Hutchinson

In Bellevue, Wash., managing partner Marc Hutchinson at the six-CPA Bashey, Hutchinson, & Walter reports, “We need experienced accountants, and ones that can take over the firm’s clients over the next 10 years.”

In this study, CPA Trendlines reports on:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, tax, payroll and CPA firm segments of the industry.
  • Average hourly wages for key segments.
  • Typical hours worked per week.
  • And trends concerning women in the accounting workforce.

The CPA Trendlines Careers and Hiring Outlook
Join the survey; get the results.


NEW DATA: Strong, Steady Hiring at Tax, Accounting Firms

Tax, accounting and bookkeeping employment, through August 2014
Tax, accounting and bookkeeping employment, through August 2014

The U.S. tax, accounting and bookkeeping industry remains a bright spot in the nation’s economy, according to CPA Trendlines sources.

Here CPA Trendlines reports on:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, tax, payroll and CPA segments of the industry.
  • Average hourly wages for key segments.
  • Typical hours worked per week.
  • And trends concerning women in the accounting workforce.

Overall, the U.S. economy added 142,000 jobs last month, 47,000 of them in professional and business services. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.1 percent.

CPA Trendlines Careers and Hiring Outlook
Job Satisfaction and Retention Benchmarks

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