Archive for the ‘Helpful Information’ Category

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Is Your Holiday Greeting Inspiring?

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” – Muhammad Ali

Year after year, CPA firms struggle with what kind of Christmas card or holiday message they should send to their clients. Some spend quite a bit of money on prestigious holidays cards and gifts. Then, the question comes up – how do we top that next year?

Why not live your holiday message? Do kind and helpful things for your community then share your story with your clients and business associates.

I recently received my holiday greeting from a law firm (Ice Miller). Sure, they send it out to hundreds or even thousands of people, but it made me feel good about them.

You could do the same. Check it out here.

  • It's not about giving back if you're successful or a celebrity or how much money you have. It's about your responsibility as an adult to help others.
  • Trisha Yearwood

Monday, November 27th, 2017

Year-End Tax Checklist

“Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

Well-managed CPA firms have, for a long time, supplied their individual income tax clients with some sort of year-end tax checklist. It is meant to be a helpful tool to encourage the clients to consider significant (and some insignificant) events that might affect their tax return.

At my firm, we used to include the tax checklist with the tax organizer. Many clients, as you can imagine, never bothered to look at their organizer, so they also missed the tax checklist. Then, we stopped providing tax organizers. Our default setting was “No organizer” unless a client specifically requested one. A few did.

Things are so much better now. You can simply send an email to your clients with a link to the annual tax checklist. They can quickly scan through the questions and provide you with information that affects their return.

Last week I received an email from one of my clients that included the year end tax checklist link (just because I am on their mailing list). It was quick to read, easy to review and made me think about pertinent information. That’s exactly how you want your clients to feel about how you provide services – quick, easy and pertinent!

Make 2018 a year when you become a proactive advisor to your clients and get away from always being in reactionary mode.

  • The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
  • Hans Hofmann

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

State Income Tax

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” – Albert Einstein

This is one of those “I thought you might find this interesting” posts. You and your clients probably have several mobile workers.

Patrick Adcock, an analyst with Tsheets, provided insight into some interesting tax news and wanted to share some research he worked on related to the Mobile Workforce and Tax Simplification Act. 

The bill would prevent states from taxing non-resident workers unless they work in that state for more than 30 days. According to the CBO, the hardest hit states will be Illinois, Massachusetts, California, and New York.

Be sure to check out The Complete Guide to State Taxes for Mobile Workers and read more interesting details about this simplification act. 

  • Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes
  • Benjamin Franklin

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Winning in the Competitive Era of Disruption

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” – James Sephens

Here’s a great video from the Illinois CPA Society about enabling your CPA firm to survive this era of disruption.

Allan Koltin is featured. It’s short and informative – please take 2 minutes to watch and listen.

Winning in the Competitive Era of Disruption.

  • In skating over thin ice our safety is our speed.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Xcentric

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” – Earl Nightingale

I’m sure by now you have heard the news – Right Networks has acquired Xcentric. You can read all about it here via Accounting Today.

Xcentric has been a prominent player in helping CPA firms with cloud solutions. I know that many of you have visited with them at CPA management conferences year after year and have enjoyed presentations by Roy Keely and Roman Kepczyk of Xcentric.

Many of you are also clients of Right Networks. Last week, I enjoyed a conversation with Michael Ferrigno, Content Marketing and Channel Enablement Manager with Right Networks.

Today, I thought I would share some information from Michael – The Top 5 Reasons Right Networks Customers Cloud-Enable Their QuickBooks Desktop.

The Right Networks and Xcentric combination should be an interesting marriage.

 

  • The power of imagination makes us infinite.
  • John Muir

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Programs to Advance Women to Leadership Roles in CPA Firms Seen as Bolstering Talent Acquisition, Survey Finds

“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” – Marilyn Monroe

Here’s a recent press release from the AICPA. Since “women in accounting” are very important to me, I wanted to be sure to share this with my readers. I have bolded some points that were important to me.

CHICAGO (Nov. 9, 2017) – U.S. CPA firms that use advancement programs for promoting women to leadership positions overwhelmingly view them as effective tools in recruiting and retaining talent, according to new research by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

Mentorship is by far the most popular advancement program, with 45 percent of firms using it, the 2017 CPA Firm Gender Survey found. Sponsorship, in which influential firm leaders take a more formal role in guiding promising employees to career opportunities, professional development and promotions, is used by 12 percent of firms.

“There are two important takeaways here: 1) firms that use these programs have seen a beneficial impact on attracting and retaining talent,” said Melissa K. Hooley, CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee. “And 2) firms that are taking active steps to promote women and minorities likely will have a competitive advantage when it comes to securing talent.”

Advancement Program

Percentage of Firms Using It

Of That Group, Those Who Say It Has an Impact on Attracting or Retaining Talent

Mentoring

45%

87%

Sponsorship

12%

97%

Gender Initiative

11%

85%

Minority Initiative

2%

90%

Combined Diversity & Inclusion

6%

90%

Women comprise nearly half of all accounting graduates entering the profession, but remain underrepresented at the partnership level and other leadership positions. The survey shows little change in this area from studies done in years past, which have typically found less than one-quarter of the partnership ranks made up of women. As was the case two years ago – the last time the CPA Firm Gender Survey was conducted – the percentage of women partners was found to be highest at smaller firms.

Firm Size

Percentage of Women Partners

Two to 10 CPAs

42% (43%*)

11 to 20 CPAs

30% (39%)

21 to 99 CPAs

26% (27%)

100+ CPAs

21% (20%)

*Results in parentheses from 2015 CPA Firm Gender Survey

Among other findings of the survey:

  • An analysis of job titles found that women maintained parity or better with men in CPA firms through the senior manager level, after which the ratio declines
  • The larger the firm, the greater the gender gap in equity ownership
  • Only 47 percent of firms have a succession plan and only two percent have a formal gender component in those plans
  • Some 89 percent of firms say they have instituted some form of modified work arrangements, with flextime and reduced hours being the most prevalent

Survey methodology:  The CPA Firm Gender Survey was conducted online by MKTG Incorporated for the AICPA’s Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee from Aug. 3 to Sept. 11, 2017. Some 492 qualified respondents, drawn from CPA firms of varying sizes and regions within the United States, participated.

For more information about gender initiatives and other resources, visit aicpa.org/womenlead.

  • Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes”
  • Clare Boothe Luce

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Cancel Some Meetings

“Being aware of your fear is smart. Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person.” – Seth Godin

Occasionally, I repost – word for word – something that Seth Godin has posted. He posts everyday and I encourage you to follow him.

Here’s the message I want all my CPA tribe to hear:

All those meetings you have tomorrow–they were just cancelled. The boss wants you to do something productive instead.

What would you do with the time? What would you initiate?

If it’s better than those meetings were going to be, why not cancel them?

  • One reason I encourage people to blog is that the act of doing it stretches your available vocabulary and hones a new voice.
  • Seth Godin

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Be a Proactive Advisor

“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.” – W. Edwards Deming

Thanks so much to SageWorks for sponsoring my webinar yesterday: Women in Accounting – Thriving now and into the future and thanks to the hundreds of people who joined in. You are probably using ProfitCents in your accounting practice, if not, check it out.

At the end of my presentation, Colin Tierney of SageWorks shared some interesting points. I wanted to share some of them with you:

  • 25-40% of new business generated by top CPA firms comes from cross-selling to existing clients
  • 75% have changed firms because their CPAs are providing reactive services rather than proactive advice
  • 80% of the accounting market sees an immediate demand for advisory

I hope these numbers inspire you. Profession leaders are urging CPAs to move toward more advisory services. You are “the most trusted advisor.” Capitalize on that fact. Don’t compete on the price of your compliance services. Be more proactive and help your clients become more profitable.

  • Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.
  • Harper Lee

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Men & Women Working In CPA Firms

“Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” – Sheryl Sandberg

I believe accounting is a very female-friendly profession. When I began working in the CPA profession, I remember the Silent Generation managing partner telling me, “We now have a young lady who is taking the CPA exam.” He was very proud of that fact!

In my experience the profession has always been very female friendly and even years ago I felt flexibility was always there for working moms. It just wasn’t very flexible when it came to female partners!

Some of the friction I observe between male and females in CPA firms can be traced back to misunderstanding. Much like in a marriage, men and women are not always on the same wave-length. They approach things differently and think about solutions differently. Better understanding from both sides about some of these mysteries – Why did he do it that way? Why did she react that way? – can go along way to enjoying harmony at work.

Join me tomorrow – Thursday, November 2, 12:00-1:00 eastern to for a special webinar sponsored by SageWorks to learn why when women win, CPA firm win.

Register here.

  • The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.
  • Ayn Rand

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Make A Commitment

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” – Jeff Bezos

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, here is an example of a Mutual Commitment Statement that I often share. Simply customize it to fit your firm.

Our Mutual Commitment Statement

I, Sally Partner, and the entire team at (name of firm) want your experience with us to be the best it can be.  We offer the following commitments to you:

  • You will be respected and never taken for granted.
  • We will act with integrity, honesty and openness in everything we do for you and with you.
  • We will absolutely respect the confidentiality of our working relationship with you.
  • We will return phone calls and answer email within 24 hours.
  • We will meet the deadlines we set. In the case of circumstances beyond our control, we will notify you and discuss with you immediately.
  • Our services will rarely, if ever, be the least expensive. They will, though, always be of exceptional quality and designed to help you obtain significant value.
  • You have the right to know our fee structure in advance of any engagement.
  • You are the sole judge of our performance. If anything we do falls short of your expectations, we – without question – will respect your right to simply pay for whatever you feel the service was worth.

To facilitate our efforts in providing the highest level of service, we ask the following of you.

  • You will be open, frank and honest with us at all times. You will let us know immediately of any concerns you have about our work together.
  • You will give us all the information we need to complete our assignments.
  • You will meet mutually agreed upon deadlines. In the case of circumstances beyond your control, you will notify us immediately of the situation.
  • You will pay our fees per our engagement letter. If you cannot pay, you will call and talk to us immediately.
  • You will give consideration to referring us to at least one other business that might benefit from our services.

 

  • If you take care of your people, your people will take care of your customers and your business will take care of itself.
  • JW Marriott