Staffing: The How and Why of Upward Surveys

Word "SURVEY" on computer screenIncludes 19 sample questions, industry norms and how to decide who evaluates whom.

By Marc Rosenberg
CPA Firm Staff: Managing Your #1 Asset

Why do firms conduct upward evaluations?

MORE ON STAFFING: Survey to Find Out What Your Staff Think | MPs Chime In on Recruiting, Development, Retention | How to Set Your Firm Apart to Recruits | Why Staff Scheduling Should Be Centralized | Compensation: Money and Beyond | How to Make Mandatory Saturdays a Thing of the Past | What Staff Mentoring Is and Isn’t | Do Flexible Hours Help or Hurt Us? | 8 Keys to Keeping Staff Engaged
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Many firms believe staff are just as important as clients. The No. 1 reason why staff stay with their firm is their relationship with the boss. In the case of a CPA firm, “the boss” is the firm’s supervisory personnel, mostly partners and managers.

NEW SURVEY RESULTS: ‘Decisiveness’ Rated Top Trait for Success in Accounting Business

keys to success surveyFirst insights from “How to Succeed in the Accounting Business?” survey.

Join the survey; get more answers.

By Hitendra Patil

Although seven personality traits seem closely related to success as an entrepreneur in the tax and accounting business, the vast majority of accountants believe that one stands above all the rest in importance: Decisiveness.

Preliminary new findings from a CPA Trendlines survey of more than 300 accountants, more than 80 percent of them owners or CEOs of their firms, shows that the biggest success factors are not just knowledge, not just experience, not just problem-solving ability, and not just vision.


The Five Treacherous Factors Hobbling Today’s CPA Firm

2016-ROUNDTABLE-OUTLOOK-FOR-ROSENBERG-MAP-COMMENTARY-VF-240x219Crumbling firm infrastructures, succession, the economy, staffing shortages, and shake-outs.

By CPA Trendlines
Annual MAP Survey

The new Rosenberg MAP Survey reveals a few significant things about the state of the accounting business—that growth and profit-per-partner are growing at a negligible rate and that intangible people issues are becoming painfully tangible, for example. But some more subtle truths emerge in the gimlet-eyed observations of those who advise CPA firms.

More on the  2016 Outlook & Forecast: CPA Firm Growth Rates Hit a Wall  |  The Five Treacherous Factors Hobbling Today’s CPA Firm  |  Sam Allred: Change Agents Needed  |  Tamera Loerzl on Growth, Succession Plans Critical for Firms  |  Allan Koltin on Talent Wars Go from White Gloves to Boxing Gloves  |  Get the full report: The Rosenberg Map Survey

These truths are not self-evident. But with a little analysis, five trends emerge vividly – trends impacting CPA firms large, small, and middling. So it’s worth having a look:


The Cloud Isn’t Risky. You Are.

Rick 1

1% of users represent 75% of the security  hazards.

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

A new report from CloudLock, a major cloud security company, says that we need to focus on user behavior as the biggest risk.

Based on analysis across 10 million users, 1 billion files, and over 91,000 applications, CloudLock concluded that 1% of users represent 75% of the risk.

Rick Richardson

MORE TECHNOLOGY THIS WEEK: Hydrogen-Powered iPhone Runs for a Week   |    New Pocket-Sized Projector for the CPA Road Warrior   |   New Europay-style Credit Card Technology May Be Losing Steam   |  This Makes Hacking into an Accounting Office Computer System   |   The Newest Earthquake Early Warning System   |   Apple’s Secret Car Project Code-Named Titan   | More by Rick Richardson   |

Understanding the composition of this 1% of users is crucial for security teams: often times, this subset of users includes super-privileged users, software architects, as well as machine-based identities (i.e., applications with programmatic access) that grant access privileges and archive data.

The disproportionate nature of cybersecurity risk extends to cloud-based collaboration. While organizations on average collaborate with 865 external parties, just 25 of these account for 75% of cloud-based sharing per organization.


Report: Cloud Users Earn More Than Naysayers

Hand drawing cloud computing diagramAccountants slow to adopt integrated solutions.

By CPA Trendlines

Small businesses that use cloud-based software to support critical business functions make more money than those that don’t, according to research reviewed by CPA Trendlines.

Companies surveyed who are embracing the cloud achieve 25 percent additional growth, while doubling their profits. Those companies make up 51 percent of U.S. small businesses, with 29 percent using three or more packages. The United Kingdom is close behind, with 47 percent adoption and 27 percent using three or more packages.


Tax Professionals Find It Increasingly Difficult to Keep Up with Late-Changing Tax Regs

The number of practitioners reporting major issues with code & reg changes doubles.

z_tax key issues

By CPA Trendlines Research

Across the country, a lot of CPAs felt downright punished this busy season as they got hit by problems from all sides. Nobody reported earthquakes or tsunamis, but it seems a bunch got slammed by something worse than a tectonic pounding.

Bam! Pow! Oof! Yes, it was that dynamic duo, that tyrannical twosome, that yoke of you-know-whats: the United States Tax Code and the Internal Revenue Service.

According to the CPA Trendlines Busy Season Survey, 12% percent of respondents report a busy season “much worse than last year.” Another 24% had a “somewhat worse year.” Add them up, and more than a third of the nation’s tax preparers suffered a painful busy season.

And the most commonly cited complaint are difficulties with the tax code, ranging from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act to the new Repair regs. READ MORE →

The New Normal: A Busy Season that Never Ends

Staff woes contribute to major tax season problems

z_tax defining differences

By CPA Trendlines Research

The 2015 busy season may be one for the records. According to this year’s CPA Trendlines Busy Season Survey, more than a third of the nation’s tax preparers report a busy season that was much worse or somewhat worse than last year, and it wasn’t just the cold and the snow. READ MORE →